As athletes push the physical capabilities of the human body, aches and pains are sure to follow.

From the simplest of exercises to the most rigorous workouts, muscles can inflame and injuries can occur. So why not tap into this market through home study courses?

Sports massage therapy can help ease the pains athletes and physically active individuals can endure.

Sports massage can be applied in different forms, relative to the clients’ injuries. The massage techniques are typically divided into three types, pre-event, inter-event and post-event.

Depending on the athlete, a blend of Swedish and shiatsu massage are typically used. But other techniques, such as lymphatic massage, trigger point massage, compression massage and cross fiber massage, are also used to treat injuries or general aches and pains from athletic strain.

Theses massage techniques can reduce the chance of injury to the client by using proper stretching, preparation and deep-tissue massage. Massage can also shorten recovery time between activities, improve athletes’ range of motion, break down scar tissue, increase blood flow and tissue permeability, improve tissue elasticity and reduce pain and anxiety.

An Internet search on the subject resulted in numerous home study courses available that any massage therapist can take.

Some of those courses include: the benefits of sports massage, client positioning for deep-tissue massage, anatomy, body mechanics, common techniques, ice treatments, injury recognition and prevention, remedial massage and consultation.

Recent studies have shown that applications of sports massage may “aid the recovery, particularly among women, from the temporary state of immunosupression often induced by exercise.”

The study included 60 healthy, active subjects, who were all university students. Of those monitored, 23 were women and 37 were men.

The study’s subjects participated in two exercise sessions that were at least two weeks apart and then were randomly assigned to receive either 40 minutes of massage therapy or 40 minutes of sham electrotherapy.

Saliva samples taken before and after the exercise sessions evaluated the levels of immunoglobulin A (sIgA) and total protein to determine the effects of massage.

The study showed the women in the group benefited more from the massage than men. Analysis of gender differences will be the subject of additional studies.

Make sure you check with your national and state licensing bodies to make sure the courses you select are acceptable for your continuing education credits.

—Jeremy Maready