At the Austin Massage Company a question we are often asked is “what is the difference between a spa and sports massage?” So, this week’s blog is dedicated to looking at three of the biggest factors that separate a clinical sports massage from a trip to the local spa.
- A clinical sports massage is focused on relieving a medical need. May it be consistent visits to repair an injury, or simply someone at a sporting event doing pre/post messages to ensure the best performance and recovery. On the other hand, a spa massage is expected to be a relaxing overall experience with the goal of de-stressing or relaxation.
- Different target, different technique. During a spa visit, you typically enjoy a regular, Swedish Massage that is more basic and centers on your relaxation. It focuses on all of the tissue layers that lay on top of the muscle, though not the muscle itself, this type of pressure is efficient enough to release small knots and stretch stiff muscles. During a sports massage, a professional sports therapist may use a broader set of modalities, such as Trigger Point Therapy, ART, or Myofascial Release, to offer and aid in muscle health and overall training and recovery.
- Finally, you will also find a difference in the suggested frequency of massage visits. Because there is a targeted plan during clinical sports massages and not with spa visits, you will have a goal that’s based around a health outcome and includes a series of timed visits versus a sporadic spa trip to relax. A sports massage factors into a larger plan of improving specific medical challenges you may be facing. Tangible results are what is expected from a sports massage; you’re just at the spa for ‘me time’ not 1st place.