A common misconception is that massage is a type of stretching. This is not true, nor is stretching a type of bodily massage. While both processes work on the body to keep it healthy, in tune and relaxed, they are very different. Below we will discuss some of the ways that they differ.
Who Is Performing the Task
This is somewhat obvious, but usually when you receive a massage, someone else is giving it to you. On the other hand, when you stretch, you’re doing it on your own. While you can massage your own muscles and someone else can help you stretch, fundamentally one is a joint activity and one is solo.
What Happens to Your Muscles
In a stretch, muscles are tightening or lengthening. This is what they’re supposed to do, and a stretch helps them reach their full capacity so they stay limber and young. In a massage, however, muscles are being conditioned and prodded. It helps with circulation and feels good, but isn’t about flexibility.
Of course, one of the biggest differences between massage and stretching is that while anyone can stretch their body, real massage therapists require a lot of professional training. And while a strength coach or personal trainer may help an athlete by coaching them in stretches, they don’t go to school to learn to stretch for them. Only becoming a massage therapist requires a certificate and license.
If you’re interested in taking classes to learn the art of massage, you might consider Hollywood Institute of Beauty Careers’ Massage Therapy School, which takes seven to nine months. You could also try a program that incorporates massage and skin care—a combination never seen with stretching.
While massage and stretching do share some serious benefits, including pleasurable feelings and making the body perform better, the advantages of both do vary. The benefits of stretching include:
- Injury prevention
Massage usually targets different benefits, such as:
- Pain prevention
- Relief of soreness
- Faster healing
Despite their differences, both massage and stretching are great ways to keep the body in peak physical condition, especially if you work out a lot. Knowing the difference between the two so you can explain them to clients is a smart move as well, so be sure to read up on this if you do decide to enroll in a massage program.