Category Archives: Sports Massage

The principles of soft tissue dysfunction

In order for an individual to create an effective and efficient movement, it is essential that the soft tissues are functioning properly. Any impairment of the soft tissue, including: Muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage will directly affect the quality of a movement. Impairment of soft tissue, can be caused by 2 factors:




Dysfunction can be described as an abnormality in soft tissue function. It possesses no specific condition such as a disease and it is free from inflammation. It can be described as having aches and pains or being tense. Soft tissues are placed under stress and demand every day, in a whole range of activities and they thrive being in this condition as they improve and adapt accordingly. However, these stresses can lead to imbalances which can over time lead to injury. A small imbalance could be a shortened muscle, a weakened muscle, an altered joint movement or faulty nervous stimulation. Two causes of dysfunction include: Read More

Discovering the best massage couch height for effectiveness

Setting the couch to the right height is the first crucial step in ensuring that you are able to work at a comfortable height to be most effective.

To achieve proper body mechanics, you need to adjust the couch based on the following criteria:

-Size of your client: The structure and body size of your client will play an important role in the placement of your arms away from your body. A larger individual would require the bed to be lowered. Read More

Sports Massage Therapy Legal Obligations

Health, safety, hygiene and protection are essential in the work place, and even more so in a sports massage environment. The law demands every work place is safe and healthy for employees and clients.

There are a handful of laws which must be followed including:

The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) provides the comprehensive underlying legal framework to encourage, promote and maintain high standards of health and safety. To ensure businesses are actively achieving this, the employer must: Read More

What is injury management?

Injury management is the process of understanding what has happened when an athletes tissue is damaged, which allows you decide on the appropriate treatment or action for your client.

Injury management is not only about providing sound treatment- it is as much about ‘managing’ the athlete, so that their actions help reduce inflammation and the risk of further injury and promote recovery. Read More

Benefits of Sports Massage Therapy

Sports massage is a form of massage involving manipulation of soft tissue to benefit an individual who is engaged in regular physical activity.

Sports massage benefits people who exercise, by assisting in the process of overcompensation and adaptation. During and after exercises the body’s system has to adapt to cope with the increased stress placed on them. These adaptations affect the muscles, bones, tissue, nerves and the brain. In the right measure, at the right frequency, regular exercise enables the body to cope with increased levels of stress (overload), which allows the body to exercise at higher intensities for longer periods of time. This is all possible due to a process called compensation. Read More

Sports massage techniques – Post-event massage

The focus of any post-event massage must be recovery and repair.

The massage will ideally take place immediately after the conclusion of an event. Should there be any significant delay (e.g. if the massage takes place the following day), the SMT can begin to consider this treatment as a maintenance massage and the selection of techniques may vary accordingly.

Effects of post-event massage:

– Mental recovery

Intense training and completion can be extremely mentally demanding. Post-event massage will help the athlete ‘unwind’, so the SMT may well find that they unwittingly become an ‘agony aunt’ for ‘what went wrong’ during the event. Empathy and an understanding of the stresses involved in sport is a useful asset for any SMT. Read More

Contra-actions to sports massage

A contra-action is a reaction which could occur in response to a massage.

Contra-actions can occur during or after a massage.

SMTs must make clients aware of possible treatment contra-actions during the informed consent procedure (before beginning and massage) and any precautions should be implemented to minimise the risk of contra-actions causing harm to an individual client. For example, this may mean adjusting the time of a massage booking or preparing an aftercare procedure (which is explained to the client at the time of booking). Read More

Sports massage techniques – Tapotement

Tapotement is a technique which involves the rhythmical tapping of percussion of the soft tissues.

Unlike many of the other massage techniques, the purpose of tapotement is to stimulate rather than relax the client, since it acts upon the sympathetic nervous system.


Effects of tapotement include:

– Stimulating a reflex muscular contraction (therefore useful for muscles that exhibit poor recruitment).

– Rapidly increasing local circulation.

– Stimulating nerve endings. Read More

Sports massage techniques – Petrissage

Petrissage means to ‘knead the tissues’.

Soft tissues are lifted, rolled, squeezed or pressed to stretch, separate and manipulate them.

Petrissage is used to:

– Mobilise muscles.

– Reduce intramuscular congestion.

– Reduce tension in muscles fascia.

– Address inhibition of free movement of muscles or muscle groups. Read More

Sports massage techniques – Effleurage

Effleurage means to ‘flow or glide’ and is the foundation stroke for the majority of massage treatments.

As with most techniques, it is progressed from superficial to deep and from quick to slow as the depth increases and surface area decreases.

Effleurage is used to:

– Introduce the touch of the SMT to the client.

– Relax the client.

– Apply the massage lubricant.

– Encourage blood and lymphatic circulation.

– Monitor the tissues as part of the palpation. Read More