MASSAGE: Sports Massage, Deep Tissue Massage – What’s the Difference?!

New Body Osteopathy Health & Fitness, Osteopathy

New Body Deep tissue massage

When our muscles ache and feel tired from the daily grind and the stresses of life nothing feels more relaxing than a gentle massage to soothe those aching muscles. This will not only help you to relax and de-stress, but also improve circulation by draining waste products from your muscles and bring fresh nutrients to your tissues. Deep tissue massage uses strokes that penetrate deeper into your muscles and pressure techniques that further help to cause relaxation of muscles.

So, what’s the difference then between deep tissue and sports massage?

New Body Deep tissue massageSports Massage Therapists have gone through extensive training in anatomy and physiology and understand the physical demands relative to sporting competition. They will assess the state of your muscles and design treatment plans to help prevent injury and aid performance and recovery. Alongside more advanced massage techniques they may also give advice to improve your flexibility, boost performance and recovery. This should be a part of any competitors training routine.

Do I have to be playing sport to benefit from a sports massage?

Not at all, your Sports Massage Therapists can also help with postural imbalances that often lead to muscular strains by helping to lengthen short tight muscles and advise you how to strengthen those which are weak.

But what if I’m injured or have recurrent pain, who should I see???

When you get a sharp pain or muscle spasm often the first thought is to get a massage to ease the pain, instinct leads us to rub or press on the area for relief but in many circumstances, this may not be the best course of action.

Muscles are not really that smart and yet very sensitive structures, they are told what to do by nerves and so if a nerve tells them to go into spasm to protect a disc in your spine for example, they will do as they are told and whilst painful this spasm is not necessarily a bad thing. Equally if a nerve is irritated by a joint in your neck as it exits the spine it will tell all the muscles in your shoulder and arm about it, it may ache, tingle, cause numbness or make your arm feel like a dead weight even though your neck might feel fine. Massaging your shoulder muscles will not treat the cause, whilst it may ease some symptoms temporarily it can add to the inflammation affecting that nerve.

Muscle pain can also refer from other structures in the body for example your kidneys, bowel, prostate and ovaries due to underlying pathologies. Knee pain can be referred from your foot, hip or lower back.

Osteopaths and Physiotherapists undergo a minimum of four years medical training they will take a full and extensive medical case history when they see their patients. This, along with specific tests allows them to make a clinical decision regarding the cause of pain and subsequent symptoms. Once a diagnosis has been made they will use their expertise and a plethora of skills including joint manipulation, exercise prescription, medical acupuncture and advanced massage techniques to treat the cause of your pain. If your symptoms are purely down to tight or strained muscles then after initially treating you they may then refer you back to a massage therapist if nothing else is required.

So what’s the difference between a Physio and an Osteopath?

A frequently asked question! Despite popular misconception Osteopaths do not treat just necks and backs (although we are seen somewhat as specialists in these areas). Both professions treat the same conditions however we look at the body in slightly different ways for more information see the introduction on the home page of our website.

For more information about different services we offer call 0207 177 207 or visit the Services page of our website or

Author Bio:

Zoe Mundell M.Ost, DPO, ND
Zoe is the Principle Osteopath and Director of New Body Osteopathy.  A qualified Paediatric Osteopath, Naturopath, Medical Acupuncturist, Pilates Practitioner and Personal Trainer, Zoe has a natural desire to optimise health, nutrition and wellness.