It’s that glorious time of year again: football season.

For football fans, it’s relief from a stagnant sportsless summer. But for sports massage therapists, it means business is about to boom. Ankle sprains, shoulder injuries, sore muscles and about every bump and bruise you can think of are facing athletes and will continue to throughout the season.

Massage therapists can help ease the pain suffered by these athletes by learning sports massage therapy. By learning the benefits and techniques of sports massage in the privacy of your home or office through home study courses, massage therapists can easily implement these tools into practice.

While it might be football season, sports massage isn’t limited to the injuries of those athletes who play football. Injuries of all types face many athletes.

Some benefits of sports massage include reducing the chance of injury by using proper stretching, shortening recovery times between activities, improving an athletes’ range of motion, breaking down scar tissues, increasing blood flow and tissue permeability, improving tissue elasticity, and reducing pain and anxiety.

An Internet search resulted in numerous home study courses any massage therapist can take to fulfill their continuing education requirements. For sports massage, some of the courses offered cover such topics as the benefits of sports massage, PNF stretches, client positioning for deep-tissue massage, anatomy, injury evaluation and treatment, cross-fiber friction, body mechanics, common techniques, ice treatments, injury prevention, remedial massage and consultation.

Sports massage therapy 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 Sweedish and shiatsu massage are typically used, which focuses on deep-tissue massage.

Lymphatic massage, trigger-point massage, compression massage and cross-fiber massage techniques are also used to treat the injuries or general aches and pains from athletic strain.

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

–Jeremy Maready