Sports Massage v Soft Tissue Therapy



How Sports Massage came about. 

The term ’Sports Massage’ appeared as the title of my first book in 1988 and it was the right title for the book at that particular time. Back in the 1980’s the most common use of massage was in the sex industry (No! That’s not how I started). So we needed an abstract title which gave the instant message that this was a modern new approach to massage that had nothing to do with sex.

‘Sports Massage’ was never indented to be a descriptive title because it is meaningless. You can’t massage a sport! You can only massage a person who happens to do sport, as well as the many other activities in their life.

My first book ‘Sports Massage’ (Ebury Press) was never about how to do massage anyway. It described how to use massage and other more advanced techniques to improve the recovery of common sports injuries.

So how did ‘Sports Massage’ become a mini-industry?

Organisations that were already training massage therapists for the spa, beauty and leisure industry started to teach the same basic massage routine but with much more heavy pressure and called it ‘Sports Massage’. Because it has no real meaning who could say this was wrong, and with the newly emerging fitness industry at that time it really caught on.

Misled by ‘Sports Massage’

Many people are being misled by the term ‘Sports Massage’. Injuries in sport are common so it is easy to imagine that Sports Massage will be able to treat these injuries but this is not true. All that it really offers is a deep massage without the assessment and treatment skills need to safely treat any injuries.

Regular ‘Sports Massage’ is very good for athletes, and anyone else, to help them stay on top form and injury free. But what if someone has an injury? With sports massage they just get a deep massage and have to hope for the best!

Is Sports Massage a good job?

It is a good job if you love sport but most clients want to see you in the evenings and weekends which may not be such a great lifestyle. Also, only a small proportion of the population do regular sport so the market is quite limited in real terms.

What is Soft Tissue Therapy?

This is on a much higher clinical level and sports massage is just one small part of it. The aim is to treat all minor and chronic injuries whether cause through sport or any other lifestyle factor, using massage and other more advanced techniques. It also aims to identify the underlying causes of injury and offer more long-term improvements in physical wellbeing and injury prevention.

Everyone suffers with these injuries at some time and they can badly affect their quality of life but treatment is often hard to find. Main-steam medicine may be good at treating more serious conditions but who deals with all these minor and chronic injuries?

Career potential in Soft Tissue Therapy

Soft Tissue Therapy has evolved as the answer. It is a safe and effective way of helping all people with minor and chronic injuries and it offers the therapist a truly stimulating and rewarding life-time career with the greatest potential.