Sports Massage v Soft Tissue Therapy

The aim of this blog is to improve awareness of Soft Tissue Therapy as a new level of clinical practice in the UK.  This goes far beyond sports massage (which it includes) by providing a safe and effective remedy for minor and chronic injuries cause by any lifestyle stress. Discuss how it can meet modern healthcare needs and where best to train.

   This Blog does not deal with technical advice on clinical matters.

by Mel Cash
May 12th, 2023

Sports Massage Training Scam


I have overseen the training of thousands of successful Sports Massage therapists since I started the industry with the first ever training course in the late 1980’s (and I’m still a hands-on therapist today). But it saddens me to see how many training organisations have now jumped on the band-wagon and the competition between them has turned into a race to the bottom with their short and online courses.

Mistakes to avoid:

You can only learn practical hands-on clinical skills on a classroom-based training programme taught by successful therapist/tutors.

And it must take time (at least 6 months) to practice to develop the good quality hands-on skills and clinical awareness that is essential for success.

Live online classes, even one-to-one, don’t work either. During the Covid lockdown we tried this but it was never a very effective training method compared with the classroom experience.

by Mel Cash
Jul 6th, 2022

Is Soft Tissue Therapy the Career for you

Taking over from Physiotherapy which no longer uses the hands-on treatment techniques.

Treating the most common of all injuries + preventative and maintenance treatment + Sports Massage. The market is immense.

by Mel Cash
Jun 20th, 2022

What is Soft Tissue Therapy

Soft Tissue Therapy has evolved over the last 30 years through the work of a small group of pioneering therapists who kept increasing their clinical skills so they could meet the needs of their clients better. And those needs have also changed because Physiotherapy in the UK no longer includes the hands-on techniques that Soft Tissue Therapists now specialise in.

by Mel Cash
Jun 13th, 2022

Don t waste time and money trying to learn massage online

  • Why online learning does not work with hands-on skills?

by Mel Cash
Jan 27th, 2022

Latest Covid News

  • Today, Covid Plan B will be removed in England and there will be a relaxation of restrictions also in the devolved nations. Vaccination, immunity and better understanding of the virus have meant that people are not getting as ill as previously but let us not be too complacent as it still is a dangerous virus for those in our community who are more vulnerable. 
  • Summary of main changes are: 

by Mel Cash
Jan 21st, 2022

Why Soft Tissue Therapy cannot get Statutory Regulation

  • Statutory Regulation for a profession can only be achieved through an Act of Parliament. This is a very major undertaking which takes years of public consultation and is very expensive. Because of this, the Government has made it clear that they will only consider it for professions that are at risk of causing significant harm to people. But...

by Anna Maria Mazzieri
Jan 13th, 2022

Understanding Long Covid April 2021 Information and Guidance for Soft Tissue Therapists

This document has been written as guidance for Soft Tissue Therapists on how to support and potentially treat clients who continue to suffer from the effects of COVID after the acute stage of the infection. The guidance has been developed by the ISRM via a Working Group of Soft Tissue Therapist members. The document will be updated from time to time as new information around COVID becomes available.

Sufferers of Long-COVID symptoms should be identified through a thorough consultation process. The usual red flags and contraindications apply, of course.
In addition, the following symptoms require referral to the GP before any treatment of any nature can commence:

  • Acute breathlessness

  • Chest pain

  • Palpitations

Hands-on work should proceed with appropriate considerations, for example:

by Mel Cash
Jan 13th, 2022

The future of Soft Tissue Therapy in a Covid hit World

  • Soft Tissue Therapy is a very safe and effective way to treat minor and chronic musculoskeletal pain and help improve physical wellbeing and it must have a strong future in modern healthcare.
  • Soft Tissue Therapists generally spend more time with their clients and treat them as a whole and not as just ‘an injury’. And this is what people really want, especially now when so many have been affected on a psychosocial level by the pandemic. Our holistically biopsychosocial approach to treatment is just what they need and want more than ever before. It is also effective in helping people overcome some of the symptoms of Long-Covid.

by Mel Cash
May 7th, 2021


 The ISRM Upgrade to Soft Tissue Therapy Diploma course (BTEC level 5) is an integrated course which builds on the subjects learned at levels 3 and 4, develops them to the Level 5 clinical context and then provides the advanced skills necessary for assessing, treating and rehabilitating people with pain and injury from all aspects of life.

Soft Tissue Therapy is also more than just a treatment because it has a much broader awareness of musculoskeletal care.

All the knowledge and advanced clinical skills you will learn with us are taught within a Biopsychosocial framework of care and this is what truly defines it as Soft Tissue Therapy.

For more information and application

by Mel Cash
Jan 29th, 2020

You Can t Massage Someone With Your Certificate

  • Short intensive courses with a lot of online content may be very tempting but in reality they are most likely to be a waste of time and money because they don’t provide enough skill and knowledge to enable you to succeed as a therapist.  
  • A good career needs a good investment and the cheaper easy options are a false economy because they just don’t work!

by Mel Cash
Jan 6th, 2020

Evolution Has a Lot to Answer For

The human body has evolved into what we see today and every part of it is there for a reason.

It has all evolved to meet our lifestyle needs in the best and most efficient way.

Or has it?

by Mel Cash
Jan 24th, 2019

Why Our Qualification Is The Best

As a small independent training provider we have been developing our qualification since 1989 through the clinical experience of Mel Cash and his team of incredibly talented tutor/therapists. 

It has been built only on the proven techniques and methods that we know work well in the real clinical environment and help our clients the most. It has also responded to changes in modern healthcare so we now go way beyond sports massage and can also effectively help the 90% of the population who do not do sport but still suffer with minor and chronic injuries.

by Mel Cash
Jan 16th, 2019

How Much Can You Earn as a Soft Tissue Therapist

  • Part-time it should be easy to earn about £8,000 a year.
  • Full-time about £40,000 a year and even as a student you should be able to earn back about half the cost of the course 

by Mel Cash
Aug 22nd, 2018

Everyone Needs Soft Tissue Therapy

  • Aches and pains are an inevitable part of modern life whatever our age and lifestyle.
  • We all know deep down that we won’t live forever but we want to believe our body will keep going at 100% until that time comes, but it sadly doesn’t.
  • Soft Tissue Therapy is not a miracle cure but it can often come pretty close to that.
  • So don’t put up with those chronic aches and pains that get you down, find yourself a Soft Tissue Therapist.

by Mel Cash
Jul 11th, 2018

A Good Career Needs a Good Investment

There are now many short intensive massage courses which I suppose fit in with modern-day life expectations. People want fast-food or instant results and they don’t want to wait for anything anymore. But you only get what you pay for!

by Mel Cash
Jul 3rd, 2018

How Did We Get Here

  • Our journey began in September 1989.
  • In those days Sports Massage was a good fun job but we were not trained to treat injuries, however, this didn’t stop injured clients turning up for treatment.
  • We developed our clinical skills so we could better meet the needs of injured clients.
  • Financial pressure on the NHS meant it could no longer fund the treatment of minor and chronic injuries.
  • In response to this we continued to develop our qualification.
  • Soft Tissue Therapy. A new title that more accurately describes what we do now.
  • The only therapy that effectively treats minor and chronic injuries using traditional hands-on methods.

by Mel Cash
May 30th, 2018

How to Succeed in Private Practice for Physiotherapists

  • Physiotherapy has changed a lot over the years.
  • It Is now mostly exercise based
  • Patients still want hands on treatment
  • To succeed in private practice you have to give the patients what they want and you need to get positive and cost effective results.

by Mel Cash
Apr 19th, 2018

Soft Tissue Therapy Where is the Science

  • Some people want to dismiss Soft Tissue Therapy because they say it has no scientific basis. But we all use self-massage and stretching because we know it works. This pre-dates modern science by tens of thousands of years. People go to Soft Tissue Therapists because they do these natural remedies better than they can do themselves, and because you can't massage your own back!

by Mel Cash
Mar 22nd, 2018

Is this Sports Massage or Violent Abuse


  • This picture shows the shocking result of a ‘Sports Massage’ and although it may be an extreme example it shows what can happen.
  • So if you go for any massage, beware! Or this could happen to you.
  • Ask about the therapist’s qualification which should at least have a recognised educational Level.
  • They should be a member of a professional association so you know who you could complain to if you are unhappy with the treatment.
  • You should also ask if they have professional indemnity insurance to practice.

by Mel Cash
Feb 15th, 2018

Physiotherapy v Soft Tissue Therapy

  •  Physiotherapy has changed a lot over the years.
  • The old traditional hands-on techniques that Physiotherapists used to use are still as effective today as they ever were, also patients still like them and respond very well to them. Indeed, we now put on special Soft Tissue Therapy courses for recently qualified Physiotherapist who desperately want to develop these hands-on skills again
  • Physiotherapy training takes three years on a full-time degree with tuition fees of nearly £30,000, plus living costs.
  • Soft Tissue Therapy training only costs around £3,000 on a part-time (usually weekends) course taking no more than a year.
  • Find out more about Soft Tissue Therapy go to

by Mel Cash
Jan 10th, 2018

What Gives Me the Greatest Satisfaction in My Teaching Career

  As I approach my 30th year as a teacher, and head of the LSSM and ISRM, I can reflect on a question I have often been asked.

by Mel Cash
Nov 24th, 2017

Where Do People Go to Get Their Chronic Backache Treated

What the different disciplines offer. 

by Mel Cash
Aug 31st, 2017

Career Success in Soft Tissue Therapy

This article describes how good training and experience develops into a successful lifetime career in Soft Tissue Therapy.

by Mel Cash
Jun 8th, 2017

The Definition of Soft Tissue Therapy

  • Soft Tissue Therapy is now clearly defined and should only be used by those with the clinical skills that meet the definition.

by Mel Cash
May 24th, 2017

What the Different Therapy Titles Mean

What Do These Titles Mean?

  • Masseur (male), Masseuse(female) or Massage Therapist.
  • Sports Massage Therapist.
  • Sports and Remedial Massage Therapist.
  • Soft Tissue Therapist.

Other Commonly Used Titles.

  • Manual Therapist.
  • Manipulative Therapist.
  • Deep Tissue Therapist.
  • Sports Therapist.
  • Trigger Point Therapist.
  • Sports Injury Therapist.

What Titles Can We Use?

You are free to use any title that is not otherwise protected but it must be fair and honest.

What Do You Think The Answers Are?

by Mel Cash
Jun 13th, 2022

Sports Massage courses Are they worth it

  • Quick low-cost courses with a lot of online content may be tempting but they are more likely to be a waste of your time and money because they don’t provide you with the enough skill and knowledge to succeed as a therapist.  
  • A good career needs a good investment and the cheaper easy options are a false economy because they just don’t work!
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