What Are the Differences Between Deep Tissue and Sports Massage?

If you’re considering getting a massage, you might be wondering “what’s the difference between deep tissue and sports massage?” Both of these techniques are popular among athletes, but they have different approaches and goals.

In this article, we will explore the differences between these two types of massages.

What are the difference between deep tissue and sports massage exactly? Our therapists give you the good and answer this question.

What is Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep tissue massage is a therapeutic technique that uses slow strokes, friction, and pressure to target deep muscles and connective tissues. The therapist will use their fingers, knuckles, elbows or tools to apply intense pressure to specific areas in order to break up adhesions (scar tissue), or trigger points (knots) in the muscle fibers. 

This type of massage can sometimes be uncomfortable or even painful for some individuals due to its intensity. However, pressure is adjusted to work within each individual’s tolerance. 

If working on a pressure scale between 1 and 10, 1 being you can’t feel it and 10 being you can’t stand it. The therapeutic range is 4 to 6. We never want to go over a 7.

Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage:

  • Releases chronic tension patterns
  • Helps with muscle soreness
  • Improves posture
  • Increases mobility
Tennis players benefit from Sports Massage

What is Sports Massage?

Sports massage is a specialized form of massage that focuses on preparing an athlete’s body for competition or helping them recover from injuries related to sport-specific movement patterns. 

It involves using several modalities such as trigger point therapy (TPT), myofascial release (MFR), joint mobilization among others aimed at improving range/mobility while reducing muscle soreness/tightness and often PNF Stretches.

Benefits of Sports Massage:

  • Enhances athletic performance
  • Reduces risk of injury
    • Speeds up recovery time
    • Improves flexibility

Key Differences Between Deep Tissue and Sports Massage

There are several key differences between deep tissue massage and sports massage:


The main goal behind each type of therapy differs significantly ;deep tissue aims at releasing knots/tension throughout your entire body whereas sports massages targets specific areas based on sport-specific movements analysis.

Intensity Level

While both forms may involve varying degrees or intensities depending on individual needs , deep tissue usually tends towards greater intensity due it focus on breaking down tight knots or adhesions within soft tissues. 

This can sometimes lead to painful sensations during treatment compared with sports massages typically involving medium-intense levels designed more around aiding optimal athletic function rather than addressing existing pain points primarily .

Techniques Involved

As mentioned earlier, various techniques involved differ greatly; our massage therapists in Edmonton often utilize multiple methods during sessions including trigger point therapy (TPT), myofascial release (MFR) and joint mobilization when performing sports massages while focusing more on friction-based strokes when conducting traditional deep-tissue work.

See all the Massage Services we provide at Got Knots.

Which One Should You Choose?

To sum up, both deep tissue massage and sports massage are effective techniques that offer unique benefits for athletes. Understanding what’s the difference between deep tissue and sports massage is crucial when choosing which technique is best suited for your individual needs. 

It’s always best to consult with professional massage therapists who understand how to tailor their approach according to each client’s goals, preferences and expectations while factoring in personal health history and physiological conditions before deciding on the modality that works best for you.

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