Whether sports therapy is your main career focus, or you’re a personal trainer, yoga or Pilates instructor looking to broaden your range of services, a career as a sports massage therapist can be a rewarding step to take.
Sports massage involves manipulating the soft tissues of the body, including the skin, fascia, muscles, tendons and ligaments, to promote balance within these soft tissues and enable them to function optimally. Often used alongside exercise, the aim is to aid recovery, reduce inflammation and limit the risk of injury.
The needs required from a sports massage therapist can be varied, so a flexible approach is required when working with clients. Each patient will have their own specific needs and may also require emotional support, especially if their treatment is due to injury. The nature of the work often depends on where you are employed, who your clients are, what qualifications you hold, and whether you have any other specialist or complementary skills.
Successful sports massage therapists have a person-centred approach and a genuine interest in working closely with individuals. They bring empathy and sensitivity to their work, as well as strong communication skills when explaining complex subjects to clients.
When it comes to training and qualifications, the two most widely recognised courses specific to sports massage therapy are the Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy and the Level 4 Certificate in Sports Massage Therapy. Those wanting to study sports massage therapy as part of a degree will find this available as part of a broader course, such as Sports Therapy. These degree-level qualifications often put more emphasis on rehabilitation and other sports science-related subjects, and are typically tailored more towards those who want to work in a clinical setting or in elite sports.
Opportunities available for sports massage therapists can be found at sport and fitness clubs, physiotherapy and private health clinics, sports injury clinics, at sporting events, and in clients’ homes, to name a few.
If you’d like to find out more about this career, Prospects offer a sports therapist job profile overview, and HFE have a range of articles looking at career guides specifically for sports massage therapists. For a list of degree courses in sports therapy accredited by The Society of Sports Therapists, see their website.
If you’re a professional or student therapist, don’t forget you can get 25% off all orders from us by registering for a free professional account.
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