One of the most fascinating aspects of massage therapy is how vast and varied the profession has become. You’ll find massage therapists pursuing successful careers across a huge spectrum of different fields and specialties, including medical massage, geriatric massage, pain management, wellness, animal massage, spa therapy, energy massage, craniosacral therapy, and many other areas. These days, massage school graduates have an endless number of career paths from which to choose.

The wide world of sports … massage

One of today’s hottest new bodywork fields is sports massage. Our modern culture places a high value on fitness and athleticism, and millions of people are engaged in—and in some cases, obsessed with—sports of all kinds. Sports massage puts therapists in the middle of this fast-paced, action-filled arena, offering them a chance to not only work with extremely fit and health-conscious clientele, but become part of the team, assisting and supporting top-level athletes in their quest to reach the pinnacle of competitive success.

Whether you’re helping prepare local runners for an upcoming marathon, rehabbing college football players after injury, helping the U.S. win the gold in Olympic track and field events, or traveling across the nation as part of a professional basketball team, sports massage is a highly thrilling, immensely rewarding and, at times, quite profitable way for massage therapists to earn a living. And with the health-care industry’s huge push for people of all ages to live more active, fit lifestyles, the field is sure to keep growing and evolving into the future.

Education options

Because most massage schools don’t offer specialized degrees in sports massage, it will be up to you to develop your own education and training that focuses specifically on athletes. To this end, one of the most effective ways to hone your skills is through home study courses in sports massage and other related modalities. Even if you’ve been practicing massage professionally for several years and possess little or no experience in massage for athletes, you can refocus your practice and engage sports-based clientele by taking such home study courses to build up your expertise.  

There are numerous such continuing education opportunities available. You’ll find many different courses specifically labeled as teaching, and even certifying, therapists in sports massage. There are also a number of courses that train you to assess and treat several common sports-related conditions, such as foot and ankle injuries, shoulder dysfunctions and iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome.

Furthermore, there are many massage modalities and techniques that are not specifically classified as “sports massage,” but which provide many of the foundational skills used in the field. Some of these include orthopedic massage, myofascial release, stretching, Myoskeletal Alignment, Kinesio Taping and trigger point therapy. Of course, for anyone looking to become involved in sports massage, home study courses that focus heavily on the origins, insertions and functions of the specific muscles involved in athletics will always be highly valuable. 

Two passions, one profession

If you’re passionate about both athletics and massage therapy, home study courses in any of these areas can allow you to combine your two loves and develop an exciting new career path in sports massage. With such an amazing opportunity awaiting you, don’t you think it’s about time that you got yourself in the game?

Chris Towery is the former associate editor of MASSAGE Magazine and is currently a full-time freelance journalist. He has written hundreds of articles for more than 20 different magazines, newspapers and custom publishers. Much of his recent writing has been for the complementary and alternative health-care industry. To contact Towery, e-mail cmreuben@yahoo.com.

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