Sports Massage should be part of support package for athletes and is much more than just giving a good massage. It is about injury prevention and enhanced performance by carefully planning treatment as integral part of training. To do this the therapist needs to be confident in assessing risk factors for injuries and provide appropriate treatment and advice. Athletes will undoubtedly suffer injuries so sports massage must include the treatment of minor injury problems. To be able to do this well, you need good in-depth training.
Level 3 & 4 Sports Massage training
Under the Ofqual criteria that awarding bodies like VTCT/ITEC follow, a Level 3 qualification should be equivalent to a school A Level. But this is not high enough to able to provide a proper Sports Massage service. And at this level, the scope of practice is limited to treating people who don’t have any injuries and this is not what people expected from Sports Massage.
A Level 4 Sports Massage qualifications should be equivalent to a Higher National Certificate (HNC) and will include the assessment skills and treatment techniques needed to provide a proper Sports Massage service. But these qualifications are normally delivered as a short additional course on top of the Level 3. Although the extra subjects appear to meet the requirements, they are built on a weak Level 3 foundation of knowledge and understanding. It would be more effective if they were a complete integrated Level 4 courses where the underpinning knowledge and understanding are all delivered at Level 4.
Our BTEC Level 5 qualification in Soft Tissue Therapy
This is equivalent to a Higher National Diploma or a Foundation Degree and because Soft Tissue Therapy involves much more than Sports Massage it can only be achieved at this higher level.
ISRM only operates a fully integrated BTEC Level 5 qualification in Soft Tissue Therapy (which includes Sports Massage). This means that all our lessons are geared towards the Level 5 outcome.
So from the start we teach good functional anatomy and advanced massage techniques to give the course its solid foundation, we then build on this with a deeper understanding of pain and injury, all within and evidence based framework.
Treating people with injuries is a central theme throughout our course. Our Customised BTEC qualification has evolved through our success as clinical therapists, as well as current evidence, so we know how to focus our training on the skills and knowledge that the therapist truly needs.