Many people feel intimidated at the thought of sports massage therapy thinking that it is incredibly painful, or only for athletes. In reality, like many other types of massages there are techniques that can cause pain, while others are actually quite gentle.
One of the main differences between a sports massage therapist and a Swedish massage therapist is the knowledge base of muscles, physiology, injury types, and advanced treatment techniques.
In Montreal, sports massage therapy requires an extra 210 hours of training above the required 400 hours for a basic massage therapy certification. In those 210 hours, the sports massage therapist will learn advanced anatomy, preparatory, recuperative and clinical sports massage techniques that include trigger point and tender point treatments.
The advanced training in anatomy will allow the sports massage therapist to conduct a more precise and in-depth clinical investigation. He/she will be able to compare a full injury and medical history with symptoms and a postural evaluation to pinpoint the cause of the pain and discomfort. In short, this means the sports massage therapist is better able to target the cause of the problem rather than just treat the symptoms.
The Canadian Sports Massage Therapy Association requires a certification as a sports first responder and over 500 hours of field and 500 hours of clinical work to qualify for certification. This certification allows a sports massage therapist to qualify for contracts during world-class sports events such as the Olympics.
The certification in sports first responder gives the sports massage therapist the knowledge and tools to be able to work at sporting events and manage any injuries or accidents as soon as they happen. View my certifications and diplomas.
An epicondylitis experienced by an office worker due to repetitive movements with the mouse is quite similar to that of a golfer or tennis elbow experienced by an athlete. And a hamstring strain experienced by someone who fell on the ice is similar to that of a soccer player who was running on a field. The sports massage therapist will use the same principles to evaluate the injuries and build a proper rehabilitation plan using sports massage techniques.
Some of the specialized sports massage techniques that are mastered include strain-counter strain (the sports massage therapist places the muscle fibres in a shortened position to release them much like a jammed drawer); facial therapy, shaking of the muscles and trigger point therapy. The sports massage therapist can incorporate these techniques into the preparatory and recuperative massages to help the body balance itself and heal faster.