Massage and Therapy

Difference Between Sports Massage And Deep Tissue Massage

Ricky Kambray
Ricky Kambray

If you feel body pain or need to relax, then nothing is better than a massage. This also works as a kind of therapy that gives calmness of mind. Sports massage and deep tissue massage are the most common types of massage. But they are quite the opposite of each other. These two types of therapeutic massage share similar techniques.

But do you know the difference between sports massage and deep tissue massage?

Both are used mainly pre or post-physical activity to improve recovery time and reduce pain by applying different techniques and purposes.

So, read this blog and learn more about the contrast between sports massage and deep tissue massage.

What is Deep Tissue Massage?

As a type of therapy, deep tissue massage focuses on relaxing the entire body. Applying more pressure to the deepest layers of muscle tissue aids in the relief of small, newer areas of muscular tension in the tissue.

According to Amy Montia, the goal of a deep tissue massage is to support joint restrictions, knots, and adhesions in muscle and fascia.

Actually, a deep tissue massage is a good option for someone who can tolerate pain.

What’s the difference between a Sports Massage and a Deep Tissue Massage?

What is Sports Massage?

Sports massage is for anyone who requires remedial or soft tissue mobilisation. This massage is necessary for all types of athletic patients, such as professional, collegiate, and high-school level players or those people who are within a sporting context. It is a type of deep-tissue massage that is more focused and may target a specific area of the body.

Many people like sports massage. Do you know Chris Pine, the famous actor who believes that this massage helps him get in shape for a role? As he says, 

“I like a deep sports massage—a casual beating up. I try to get them whenever I can, usually more if I’m getting in shape for a role.”

A man is taking deep tissue massage at a spa clinic


Difference Between Sports Massage and Deep Tissue Massage

Sports massage and deep tissue massage both help to reduce pain and stress while keeping flexible muscles tight. Despite these similarities, they both share a different conception of each other. Have a look at some of the following key differences between sports massage and deep tissue massage.

Sports MassageDeep Tissue Massage
Sports massage type focuses on specific body parts that require healing or relief.Deep tissue massage is a type of full-body massage that does not focus on a specific area of the body.
A sports massage therapist focuses on areas of your body that have been overworked or stressed. He uses a massage combination of light and deep modalities to loosen muscle knots and prevent lactic acid buildup.Deep tissue massage therapists gently apply pressure to the skin to relieve tension and chronic pain in the upper back, shoulders, lower back, and neck. It also helps to reduce stress.
This therapy is used for athletes or those who engage in intense physical activity.Deep tissue massage can benefit a large number of people.
Sports massage can help you feel better and move more freely.It is great for relieving chronic aches and pains.
It is used to treat injuries or muscle soreness.It uses pressure to release tension from muscles and joints.


Which is better deep tissue or hot stone massage?

A hot stone massage is good, but a deep tissue massage is much better.

What Are the Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage?

As a most helpful form of bodywork, deep Tissue massage is available today. Some benefits of deep tissue massage are given below:

  • Deep Tissue Massage is a massage technique which centres on the deeper layers of muscle tissue and connective tissues.
  • It’s an excellent way to improve blood circulation, reduce stress, increase energy levels and promote faster healing.
  • They relieve tension from muscles and joints, headaches, backaches, and other aches and pains.
  • This massage technique is used to treat musculoskeletal issues and break down adhesions in the fascia. It is the connective tissue that surrounds your bones, muscles, and joints.
  • It helps alleviate muscle tension, and it relieves soreness and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, arms, legs, and feet.
  • Deep Tissue Massages are performed by trained professionals who have experience in treating various conditions such as arthritis, sports injuries, and more.

If you’re considering a career in the field of massage therapy, a Deep Tissue Massage Course For Professionals is essential. This course offers specialised training and techniques to tackle deep-seated muscle tension and chronic pain effectively. With these skills, you can provide personalised treatments, elevate your practice, and satisfy clients. Deep tissue massage’s growing popularity for its therapeutic advantages makes it a valuable asset to your skill set.

What Happens to Your Muscles After Taking a Deep Tissue Massage?

Take a breath before going to this answer. Your massage is just finished now. It’s your first step to enjoying a painless and healthy life.

It’s normal to be sore after a massage. This is a physical reaction to the inflammation as your body heals. This can happen if your muscles aren’t used to receiving massages. 

But sometime later, you will feel fresh. Deep tissue massage lowers blood pressure by relieving stress and tension. It improves systolic, diastolic, and arterial blood pressure. Massage can also boost serotonin production, which promotes good feelings and happiness.

A woman is relaxing at a spa centre


What Are the Benefits of Sports Massage?

Athletes have used the popular sports massage since ancient times. Some benefits of sports massage are-

  • This massage helps athletes recover from injuries faster and perform better. Sportspeople use it for pre-and post-game warm-ups.
  • This technique stretches movements on the muscle-tendon junctions to provide certain benefits to athletic performance.
  • Sports massage can reduce pain in various muscles by releasing endorphins. Endorphin release helps to improve anxiety, mood, and pain relief.
  • This massage improves blood circulation to different muscle areas, like exercise. It also widens blood vessels and increases the nutrients flow through your blood flow.
  • Athletes and sports teams use sports massage to treat previous injuries that result in scar tissue. By breaking down the scar tissue, it is possible to reduce the risk of repeat injury in a specific area.
  • This massage is beneficial pre or post-surgery, in conjunction with physiotherapy, osteopathy, or chiropractic, or as a health benefit in the workplace.

A woman is taking therapy from a physiotherapist for back pain


Now before we move on, let’s take a look at other types of massages, too, in contrast to Sports and Deep Tissue massage, so you’ll have a better idea.

What’s the Difference Between a Chiropractor and a Sports Masseuse?

When I discuss the difference between a chiropractor and a sports massage, the main thing that comes to mind is that a chiropractor usually sees patients for long-term care, while a sports masseuse is more likely to be used for short-term relief.

However, Chiropractors often use manual adjustments, whereas sports massages use a variety of techniques like compression, friction, and vibration. Most health insurance plans cover chiropractic care, but sports massages do not.

What is the Difference Between a Regular Massage and a Deep Tissue Massage?

There are many different types of massages, but the two most common are regular massages and deep tissue massages. Some contrast between them is given below.

Some contrast between them is given below.

Regular MassageDeep Tissue Massage
A regular massage is a gentle massage that helps to relax the body and mind.A deep tissue massage is a more strong massage which targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue.
It improves circulation and increases flexibility.It is useful for chronic pain and tension.
It is a good alternative for those who want to have a relaxing, stress-relieving experience on a regular basis.This massage is often recommended for people who have chronic pain or muscle tension.
It helps to feel both relaxed and dynamic.It helps your body relax and reduce stress levels.

If you’re thinking about becoming a deep tissue massage therapist, having a strong understanding of deep tissue massage therapy, mastering its core principles, and exploring various techniques is a must. This knowledge will be essential for your career, helping you provide effective treatments to address chronic pain and tension. And if you’re interested in learning all of this, you might want to check out Deep Tissue Massage Diploma.

What Type of Massage is Best for Muscles?

If you have muscle problems like soreness, injury, imbalance, tightness, or chronic muscle pain, then deep tissue massage is best for your muscles.

Your massage therapist applies slow, firm strokes to your muscles and connective tissues to release tension in their deepest layers. During this massage, you can be naked or in your underwear. The massage will last between 60 and 90 minutes.

What Should You Do Not Do Before a Massage?

You definitely have to follow some restrictions before a massage. For example-

  • Avoid sunburn and showers.
  • Don’t consume “caffeine” or alcohol.
  • Don’t eat a large meal. 
  • Don’t run a marathon.
  • Do not use lotion or oil on your skin.
  • Don’t take prescribed pain medication, patches or tapes to your skin.

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What You Should Not Do After Massage?

A man is taking a body massage and relaxing at a spa centre

There are some basic things which are better to avoid after a massage. These things are listed below.

  1. Don’t take a shower immediately. 
  2. You have to skip taking a hot shower.
  3. Don’t eat a large meal
  4. Avoid coffee and alcohol. 
  5. Don’t do any strenuous exercise or activities.
  6. Stressing yourself out
  7. Do not stretch.

Besides, explore the world of massage therapy and the diverse roles of massage therapists by delving into the informative blog “What Do Massage Therapists Do.” Learn about their techniques, the benefits they provide to clients, and the rewarding career opportunities within this field.


If you’ve read the blog, you’re already familiar with the “difference between sports massage and deep tissue massage.” Although both sports massage and deep tissue massage are beneficial and effective, they are best used in certain situations.

Before deciding the best one for you, it is important to understand the difference first.

Thanks for reading!



What is better a sports massage or deep tissue massage?

Instead of a sports massage, choose a deep tissue one.


What is a sports massage good for?

By releasing and reducing muscle tension, enhancing circulation, and promoting the removal of waste products like lactic acid, sports massage helps to relax the body.


Which type of massage is best?

Swedish massage therapy is generally the best.


Are sports massages worth it?

Yes, sports messages are worthy and effective.


What massage should I get for back pain?

If you have back pain, then you can take typical Swedish and deep tissue massages. However, for lower back pain, you can consider Shiatsu massage also.


Is a sports massage the same as deep tissue?

No, sports massage is not the same as deep tissue, but they share a common notion.


How often should you get a deep tissue massage?

Depending on the therapist’s recommendations, deep tissue massages can be used daily, a few times per week, or once a month to relieve pain.


What type of massage is most relaxing?

Swedish massage, aromatherapy, and Thai massage are known as the most relaxing massage.


When should you get a deep tissue massage?

If you are engaging in any kind of highly physical activities, like running, or you may have an injury or chronic pain.


When to use deep tissue or sports massage therapy?

Are you looking for treatment for injuries or repetitive sprains or strains in specific soft tissue and muscle areas that have built up over time? Then you go for sports massage. Otherwise, you can do a deep tissue massage.


Should You Book a Deep Tissue or Sports Massage?

It depends on your requirement and your therapist’s recommendation. So consult with a specialist and book your time.


Who Reaps the Benefits of Sports Massage?

All athletic patients, including athletes at the collegiate, professional, and high school levels, as well as those who are involved in sports, benefit from this massage. 

Read more!

What is body to body massage?

How To Become A Massage Therapist?

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Ricky Kambray

Hey this is Ricky Kambray an award-winning first-aid trainer with over 20 years of healthcare and teaching expertise. Highly certified general nurse regularly appears in the press discussing accident prevention and first aid advice.