Sports massage is different from other types of massage in that it is generally used in either pre- or post-athletic exercises, competitions or other physical activity. It is also used to rehabilitate after a sports injury.

Other types of massage might be: medical massage (used for recovery after surgery, maintenance of good health and reduction of pain); relaxation massage (such as Swedish) or various Eastern modalities which use acupressure points (such as Shiatsu or Thai massage).

  • Pre-event sports massage is generally vigorous and used on the legs and arms to warm up and activate muscle activity. It helps to bring extra blood flow into the muscles and, by doing so, more oxygen.
  • Post-event massage is more gentle and calming, consisting of long effleurage strokes, as well as the kneading petrissage strokes. This helps to de-stress the muscles and push out any toxic buildup in the body.

Massage used to rehabilitate the body after injury will vary depending on the injury itself, where it is and how severe. This type of massage is often recommended by both sports physicians and physical therapists.