Deep Tissue vs. Sports massage


Whether you’re an ultra-marathon finisher, or a fair-weather gym-goer, it’s likely someone, somewhere, has told you to book a sports or deep tissue massage.

After you’ve nodded profusely and said the standard “yes, yes, I should!” line, you’ve probably wondered what the difference between a sports massage and a deep tissue massage actually is…

It’s really common to lump the two together, as they share similar techniques, traits and end goals. However, there’s some important distinctions between them both. Read on to discover wha they are, so that when you come to book, you’re fully informed.

Deep Tissue Massage

A deep tissue massage is pretty much what it says on the tin. Your therapist will use firm pressure to manipulate the deeper tissues in the body, including the muscles. Unlike Sports massage, this treatment focuses to reduce newer, smaller areas of tension across the entire body rather than the larger, older knots or any previous injuries you might have.

Just like a workout, this treatment has the same effect on the body, promoting increased blood flow and breaking down of muscle mass that has adhered. It is therefore not unusual to be a bit sore and achy after this treatment, but this should ease off after a 72 hours.

deep tissue

Sports Massage

Sports massage on the other hand, will help to break down the larger and older knots and also help with recovery from injuries. This is because your therapist will use passive stretching techniques alongside other techniques that will manipulate and stretch the tissues to increase range of movement and prevent injuries.  

A therapist that is qualified to perform a sports massage treatment will have a more extensive knowledge of the anatomy than those qualified only for deep tissue treatments. You can therefore expect the treatment to begin with a postural assessment and run through of any injuries you may have.

During the treatment your therapist will use a combination of techniques including trigger point release, joint mobilisation and passive stretching such as soft tissue release and myofascial release. This is not a relaxing massage and you should be aware that you might feel some discomfort due to the nature of the treatment. However, the therapist will always ensure that you feel comfortable at all times and don’t feel any pain.


So, there you have it! In a nutshell, Deep Tissue massage is the best option for newer complaints like minor aches and pains, whereas Sports massage is more appropriate for the treatment of injuries or of knots that have built up over time in the muscles. We hope that this had made choosing which treatment to have a little easier for you.


Who are we? We’re Urban Massage – on a mission to make wellness rituals convenient and accessible without compromising on quality. So, from just £49 an hour, you can enjoy a range of massages from an expert therapist at a time to suit you. Download the app or go to to book 60 minutes of restorative me time.


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