Professional sports stars, amateur athletes and even those of us aspiring to live more active life styles can all benefit from sports massage therapy.
From flexibility to rehabilitation, sports massage training teaches students how to treat a wide range of muscle and performance issues and emphasizes injury prevention as key to boosting the life of a person's sporting career.
Sports massage therapists deliver treatments before professional competitions to help improve an athlete's flexibility and after competitions to alleviate injuries or keep muscles from tightening. They might also work in private practice, health care or athletic facilities where they provide sports massage therapy to everyday clients seeking some of the many benefits of sports massage, such as these:
- Faster recovery from strenuous workouts
- Increased flexibility and long range motion
- Increased blood circulation
- Reduced muscle spasms and strain
- Reduced blood pressure and stress
- Rehabilitation from injuries or chronic pain
Training and Education
What You'll Study in Sports Massage Therapy School
As part of an overall massage therapy curriculum, sports massage training encompasses a wide range of modalities. Practitioners can use these sports-specific techniques on-site at events like marathons, cycling tours or triathlons or in a private office as part of maintenance or preventive health regimens.
Students interested in sports massage training can expect to take classes that cover these topics:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Injuries and injury prevention
- Trigger point therapies
- Deep-tissue massage
- Foot reflexology
- Career development and core business concepts
- Hands-on practice
Average Length of Study
Sports massage training programs generally involve 700 or more hours of combined classroom and hands-on clinical practice. On average, students can complete their training in about 12 months.
Tuition for sports massage training ranges from $9,000 to $12,000. Sports massage training at community colleges might cost a little less, and private massage schools might cost a little more. Many massage schools offer financial aid packages to help students cover the costs of their sports massage training.
Sports Massage Certification
Sports massage therapists must meet the same requirements for certification in their state as other massage therapists. Typically, this means graduating from an accredited massage therapy program and passing a state or national licensure exam.
Learn more about massage therapy certification.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of massage-related occupation, like sports massage therapy, will grow at a rate of 23 percent through 2022. The country's ongoing interest in health and fitness and in massage as a means to achieving flexibility and reducing stress will play a significant role in the career outlook for sports massage therapists over the coming decade.
Sports Massage Therapy Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for massage therapists is $35,970. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.
Learn more about massage therapist salaries.
Is a Sports Massage Therapy Career Right for You?
A career in sports massage requires training in a broad range of massage therapy modalities, in-depth knowledge of injuries and rehabilitative treatments, and, in many cases, a willingness to stand ready and waiting on the sidelines of sporting events to treat participants in urgent situations. Additionally, you'll need strong communication and business skills to help you build a sports massage practice.
If you are interested in a sports massage therapy career, take a closer look at sports massage training schools. Then choose the sports massage program that meets your personal and professional needs.
Sources: SportsInjuringClinic.net, HolisticOnline.com, Cortiva.com, Nevada School of Massage Therapy, National Holistic Institute