Different types of massage for health and fitness

Whether you're a pro athlete, someone who goes to the gym a couple of times a week, or somewhere in between, massage can play a big part in your overall health and fitness. You don't have to be running 100+ miles a week, or be in the gym every day to benefit from massage therapy. It's a beneficial way for anyone to relax, de-stress and ease tired joints and muscles.

Sports massage

Sports massage, while it can be relaxing, is generally used for assessment and treatment of injuries and is more clinical in nature. It is likely you will have a specific ailment that requires attention and the therapist will usually do some physical assessments to determine the problem, then work on that primarily. The treatment itself will involve using deep pressure on the muscles and mobilisation of particular areas. Typically the therapist will use less oil or wax than other massage types, and it can be quite painful, but the therapist should continually check that you are ok with the pressure and adjust accordingly. You may be given rehabilitation exercises to help strengthen the injured area - although sports therapy isn't the same as physiotherapy, and therapists will use different techniques. What's involved? Very firm/deep pressure | mobilisation Who can benefit? Fitness buffs | athletes | those recovering from injury

Deep tissue massage

Whereas sports therapy is more focused on injury treatment and rehab, deep tissue massage is centred around relaxation and injury prevention. While many of the techniques involved are similar to sports massage, they are performed in a more relaxed setting, with lower lighting, calming music and more massage oil.

As the name suggests, the pressure involved can still be quite intense (the use of knuckles and elbows is common), which is to loosen and relax the muscles. The pressure can be adjusted accordingly if you need - don't be afraid to mention this to your therapist. Overall, you should come out of a deep tissue massage feeling relaxed but with some mild, temporary soreness where the muscles have been worked.

What's involved? Deep pressure | muscle loosening | relaxation Who is it suited to? Gym-goers | regular exercisers

Swedish massage

Swedish massage is much more gentle than the other massage types mentioned above. Generally there is less pressure, and more sweeping and stroking motions applied using the palms and fingers (although you can ask for greater pressure if you wish). Again set to low light, candles and calming music, the idea is deep relaxation rather than deep pressure and you can expect to come out feeling light and refreshed. It's ideal for those looking to de-stress the mind and body, and is popular with people whose jobs involve sitting or standing in the same position much of the time. What's involved? Gentle pressure | relaxation Who is it suited to? Office workers | casual exercisers | anyone

Depending on your needs, there is a type of massage to suit you. Whether you like firm or gentle pressure, relaxation is at the tips of your (or rather, the therapist's) fingers. If you feel like your body could use it, then book a massage with me today.