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Sports massage is a type of massage suited to athletes or people with overuse injuries from other activities.


Competitive sports training causes overuse and trauma of certain muscle groups, specific to the type of sport being done.

Sports massage can address this and improve athletic performance.

Sports massage is not defined by a particular technique; rather it focuses on the individual needs of the athlete and recovery from soft tissue dysfunction.

For the sports person, this can be defined as preventing injuries, improving their endurance and performance and reducing recovery time.


Sports massage can be used to prepare for an event, recover from an event and for general maintenance during training.

This massage is also suitable for non-athletes who may have sustained injuries through activities involving repetitive movements at work or other physical activites such as gardening or gym work.

A sports massage therapist will use a combination of massage and stretching techniques; Swedish massage, acupressure, deep tissue massage, facilitated stretching, STR (Soft Tissue Release), MET (Muscle Energy Techniques), NMT (Neuromuscular Technique) positional release, soft tissue release, Myofascial release, visceral mobilization and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation.



What can you expect from a session:

Relaxation is not the focus of sports massage and is not a full body massage.

It targets areas that are injured or in the case of athletes, muscle groups used in their sport.

The therapist will use their hands, fingers, thumbs, forearm†and elbow to apply pressure.

When working on scar tissue or crossed muscle fibers, sports massage can be uncomfortable and sometimes unavoidably painful.


Do I need to buy any equipment?


What to wear

Loose comfortable clothing, wearing shorts is practical.

You may be required to remove clothing depending on the area being treated and if lubricants are needed.

Your practitioner will respect your modesty and cover areas not being worked on with towels or a sheet.


How long is a session

1/2 hour to 1 hour.

The first consultation will take longer than an hour to take a full case history and assessment.

Pre and post event massage can take around 15 minutes.


What is expected of clients?

You may have to move into different positions on the couch depending on areas to be treated.

To effectively recover from your injury or physical dysfunction, you may be required to make changes to your lifestyle, training or work environment if these are the causes of your problem.


Average costs / fees per session

£ 30-60 depending on length of session, experience and location.

What are the main Qualifications a practitioner should have?

Any qualifications that are validated by one of the following professional associations or membership of any of these associations.

They are member organizations registered with the General Council of Massage Therapy.

STO The Sports Therapy Organisation

LCSP London and Counties Society of Physiology

SMTO Scottish Massage Organisation

APNT Association of Physical and Natural Therapists

ISRM Institute of Sports and Remedial Massage

NAMMT National Association of Massage and Manipulative Therapists

What can it treat?

Sports massage can help the following conditions:

Muscular aches and pains
Back, neck and shoulder pain
Migraine and tension headaches
Nerve pain and tingling in the hands or arms
Repetitive strain injury
Tennis elbow
Golfers elbow
Achilles tendonitis
Carpel tunnel syndrome
Frozen shoulder
Runners knee
Ankle sprains
Shin splints
Plantar fasciitis
Ligament injuries

Sports massage can also help:

Increase flexibility and range of motion

Reduce healing time of injuries

Improve body alignment to optimize performance and eliminate wear and tear

Reduce stiffness and soreness of training

Reduce risk of injury

Increase blood circulation

Improve endurance and overall fitness

For research on sports massage and it’s techniques:

The Massage Therapy Foundation has a research database, you need to register to have access.



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