It’s a question that often arises when people contact us to make a booking. Often the answer is simple but there can be a grey area.
Firstly, let us consider sports massage. The term ‘Sports Massage’ can be a bit misleading. You don’t have to be a sportsperson to have a sports massage! The primary purpose of sports massage therapy is to help alleviate the stress and tension which builds in the body as a result of physical activity. Physical activity may not necessarily be sport, it might be sitting at a desk all day or movingheavy boxes during a house move. Sports massage tends to be deeper and more firm handed than other forms of massage. It is based on the various elements of Swedish massage and often incorporates a combination of other techniques involving stretching, compression, friction, and trigger point release. A skilled therapist will bring together a blend of techniques, knowledge and advice to work effectively with the client.
Physiotherapists might use sports massage as a treatment technique to address a particular injury based on assessment and diagnosis of that problem. Interestingly not all Physiotherapists are equipped with the skills to deliver a sports massage treatment. It is usually a post-graduate skill that they acquire. Physiotherapists may often refer a patient to a sports massage therapist as part of their treatment plan.
But I still haven’t answered the initial question – Physio or Sports Massage?
In the event of a specific injury or an undiagnosed pain the correct choice of health professional would be Physiotherapist. As part of the management of an ongoing problem or to prevent the build-up of muscular stress or strain, then sports massage therapy is the way to go.
At Peak Physio & Fitness we are lucky enough to have both Physiotherapists with massage skills and a highly qualified sports massage therapist as part of our team. Timely and pro-active sports massage treatments can actually reduce the risk of overuse injuries (soft tissue stress) and prevent the need for reactive physiotherapy sessions to address actual soft tissue damage.
Choosing the right practitioner
Physiotherapists should be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The HCPC is an independent, UK-wide regulatory body responsible for setting and maintaining standards of professional training.
Sports Massage therapists unlike Physiotherapists do not have anational regulatory body but look for a minimum of a level 3 qualification to more confident of an appropriately skilled practitioner.