Sports Massage and Your Massage Therapy Practice


As any practicing massage therapist knows, there are as many different types of massage therapies as there are clients’ needs. Sports massage is just one technique that is useful to have in your practice’s arsenal. And despite the name, it’s not a technique limited to use on athletes. Many of your clients will appreciate your familiarity with sports massage.

So What Is Sports Massage, Exactly?

Sports Massage BundleThe exact definition of sports massage is the manipulation of soft tissue that focuses specifically on muscle groups associated with a particular sport (or other activity). The focus of the therapy is to help athletes prepare for competition, recover from injury or an event, or adjust to training. Sports massage involves treating one muscle or group of muscles, which also makes it a useful therapy for people with repetitive motion issues, chronic pain, or limited ranges of motion caused by an injury.

By combining Swedish massage (to the circulation of blood and lymph fluid) with specific trigger point therapy, a massage therapist can ease pain, aid in healing, and help an athlete recover more quickly from both injury and training through the removal of toxins and the relaxation of muscle fibers. It increases flexibility, relaxes nerves, and decreases likelihood of injury.

Why Should I Learn About Sports Massage?

The most obvious answer is twofold: you’ll be able to both offer more comprehensive treatment to your existing clients, and treat new clients with specific pain or recovery needs. Some clients who are uncomfortable with the spa-like setting of a regular massage (like big, burly athletic dudes) would also appreciate having the option of a more sport-centric treatment.

You’ll be able to treat clients who have a specific complaint (for example, tennis elbow or a crick in the neck from sitting at a desk all day at work) but who aren’t after a general relaxation session. Some clients want a therapist to fix one particular cause of pain or discomfort for the entirety of the session. Sports massage will give you the skills to do that.

How Do I Get Sports Massage Certified?

You will need to complete a 100-hour certification course in order to advertise yourself as a sports massage therapist. Not all therapists are prepared to dedicate that much time and effort into a certification process without a little background information. Completing a continuing education course will provide you with an introduction to the techniques and background of the practice, help you decide if it is something you want to pursue further, and allow you to recognize clients who should be referred out to a sports massage therapist until you become certified yourself.

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