If you’ve spent any time in sports circles, you’ve probably heard of sports massage. Manual therapy continues to grow in prominence as scientific research catches up with what most coaches, trainers, and athletes have known for years: it helps. Every year, more pro teams make investments in massage therapists, often keeping them on their payrolls indefinitely. So what is sports massage exactly? And what sets it apart from a spa treatment?
To put things simply, sports massage is manual therapy designed specifically to help active people meet their goals—whether those goals consist of enhancing their performance or recovering from an injury. Unlike a spa or relaxation treatment, in which the therapist may use a routine to cover the entire body, sports therapists work in a more specific manner to address a particular problem or to work toward a particular goal, using whatever tools necessary to achieve those ends.