Sports Massage Therapy
Level 3 Diploma
A Level 3 sports massage practitioner will be working with patients with muscle and movement dysfunction arising from postural abnormalities or non-acute injuries and those patients looking for maintenance treatments as part of injury prevention. To be able to make informed decisions on whether a patient is within your scope of practice you need conduct patient consultations that include taking a medical history and performing a basic postural and movement assessment. From this you will be able to plan your treatments, provide massage using a range of soft tissue manipulation techniques and where appropriate, discuss a self management plan with your patient to reduce any negative lifestyle factors impacting on their presenting condition or recovery and give general yet basic advice on healthy eating, exercise and stretching techniques.
In additional to providing clinical based treatments, a sports massage therapist is also able to take these skills to sports and outdoor activity events. Learning how to adapt patient assessment and treatment techniques to use for pre, inter and post sports treatment is a valuable skill included in the level 3 course. All of the above describes the standard requirements for a level 3 sports massage practitioner.
Now let’s add some more unique, yet subtle skills to this, in practical ability but also in self development.
We can listen to what our patient says but as importantly, we can listen to what their tissues tell us as we treat them - and it’s not always the same thing being said. Being able to ‘read’ the tissues brings what you do in line with what the body needs. The patient may be saying, “that feels really tight and could do with you really getting in there and loosening it off” but as you begin to work the area you can ‘feel’ the tissues resisting your efforts. What do you do?
It would be easy to say to yourself ‘I can fix this, loosen this off and the patient will feel I’ve done what they needed.’
Much of that line of thought comes from our needs rather than the patients; wanting to please the patient, be recognised for being capable of making a difference, not failing to achieve the results the patient wants, retaining the patient for future treatments ….. Recognising all of this helps us work on any issues we may have with personal confidence and self belief, brings our ego (that is always trying to look after us) into check and allows us to see what is genuinely possible. What we definitely can do is help the body heal itself. We are the facilitators of healing, nothing more. And what a privilege it is to be able to help others.
And now we are learning more about ourselves.
We are learning how to listen with more than just our ears, extending that skill by developing ‘listening hands’, as well as using our other senses to gain a fuller picture of what is happening and working with the body, not against it, which creates much better and longer lasting results. We are learning to respect the needs and limitations of the body, no longer pushing for results but being able to confidently address any unrealistic expectations a patient may have because we ourselves are no longer under any illusion that we can ‘make things better’. When we experience resistance or frustration from the patient, we will have a deeper understanding of where this can come from and be able to support the patient in having patience with themselves by educating them on how to listen to and support their own needs.
Now we are no longer personally involved, we have instead developed a professional distance that allows us compassion and understanding, gives the patient a safe, non-judgemental space to be in and to know that this in itself is a powerful healing tool.
This is level 3 sports massage therapy, the holistic way.
Module contents and course structure
This course is delivered over 5 modules and has 3 skills workshops and 1 assessment workshop to conclude your course.
- The history of massage
- Contexts of treatments
- Principles of professional practice
- Anatomy & Physiology; The structural organisation of the body
- Anatomy & Physiology; The Integumentary system (the skin)
You now need to complete your end of module tutorial.
- The fundamentals of sports massage
- Anatomy & Physiology; The Lymphatic system
- Anatomy & Physiology; The Muscular system
- Anatomy & Physiology; The Nervous system
- Techniques; Effleurage
- Techniques; Petrissage
- Techniques; Tapotement, vibrations & shaking
You now need to complete your end of module tutorial and book your first skills workshop that will include massage techniques application and developing 'listening hands'.
- Assessing and screening patients
- Anatomy & Physiology; Skeletal system
- Anatomy & Physiology; Joints
- Anatomy & Physiology; Cardiovascular system
- Anatomy & Physiology; Respiratory system
- Revision: Muscles of the body
You now need to complete your end of module tutorial and book your 2nd skills workshop that will develop your massage techniques, application, patient care, how to give pre & post event treatments and preparation for your pre & post treatment assessments in your next workshop.
- The benefits of an active, healthy lifestyle
- The effects of exercise on the body
- Anatomy & Physiology; The Endocrine system
- Anatomy & Physiology; The Digestive system
- Anatomy & Physiology; The Urinary system
- Revision; Muscles of the body during function
You now need to complete your end of module tutorial and book your 3rd skills workshop that will include your assessment in pre & post event treatments, practicing patient consultations & conducting patient assessments and treatment planning. There is also preparation for your theory paper and maintenance massage treatment assessment in your final workshop.
- The principles of soft tissue dysfunction
- Soft tissue repair
- The components of fitness
- The importance of healthy eating
- Muscles of the body
You now need to book your final workshop to complete your practical assessment in giving maintenance treatments and your multiple choice theory paper.