Sports massage has its base in recovery of an Injury, in the rehabilitation of the client’s injury and in preventing injury at the outset of physical work whether by a sporting or life style activity. Sports massage may be explained as the skilled, manual, therapeutic application of soft tissue remedial techniques that are selected and performed after careful consultation, recording of medical history and appropriate general and specific assessment.  

With all massage treatments, the therapist will adapt the pressure and techniques used to suit the client’s individual needs and preferences.

What to expect

Before treatment, your therapist will provide a full consultation, asking you various questions about your health and lifestyle, to ensure treatment is right for you. 

Treatments usually take place on a massage table or couch. The techniques involved will include performance enhancement, injury, trauma and or soft tissue damage prevention, restorative, event related and rehabilitative techniques to improve the condition of the client, as well as early identification and treatment of minor soft tissue overuse conditions. It can also involve improved self-awareness of the sports person and/general member of the public who may have suffered a similar injury to that of an athlete, but in the form of back strain/pain after gardening, for example. The aim is to develop a treatment programme, including evaluation and monitoring, which takes into consideration the client’s age, health, life style, physical capabilities or restrictions and previous exercise/sport history.

Whatever type of massage you are having, your therapist will advise you of what to expect before the treatment begins. 

Benefits of massage

Massage is used by people for a variety of reasons. The general public are being continuously recommended to get up and out to exercise whether it is walking on soft ground for those with joint problems or speed and pressure exercises to build up cardio-vascular improvement. GPs are giving prescriptive medicine in the form of gym attendance which would be under the supervision of a sports massage practitioner in many cases, who work with the client/patient to help with their health issues and advise on a range of movements to enhance or improve lifestyle.

To read more about the potential benefits sports massage has as a form of complementary therapies

Sports massage should not be used in place of conventional medical care. Always consult a GP or other health professional for medical attention and advice.

Choosing a therapist

It is important to choose a qualified sports massage therapist who has undertaken the necessary training to understand the theory and practice of this technique. 

In order for a qualification to be accepted for FHT membership and to the FHT Therapist Register, it must meet the following criteria:


Sports massage qualifications are mapped to the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and therapists are expected to cover the following as a minimum:

  • Anatomy and Physiology for Sports Massage
  • Principles of Health and Fitness
  • Understand the Principles of Soft Tissue Dysfunction
  • Professional Practice in Sports Massage
  • Sports Massage Treatments

Qualifications must also meet the following NOS standards: 

  • CNH1 Explore and establish the client’s needs for complementary and natural healthcare (all levels)
  • CNH7 Provide Massage Therapy to clients (all levels)
  • CNH20 Plan, apply and evaluate massage methods (Level 3)
  • CNH21 Plan, apply and evaluate massage to prevent and manage injury (Level 4)
  • CNH22 Plan, evaluate and apply complex massage/soft tissue methods (Level 5)
  • SFHCNH27 Provide sports massage therapy to clients*

*with effect from 8th January 2019

All qualifications related to the FHT’s Register modalities must be reviewed by the FHT Education Panel. The qualification is reviewed by an expert in that particular therapy prior to the registrant being accepted to the FHT Therapist Register.

Training Required

Practical led and observed training to Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) Level 3 equivalent or above in Sports Massage. This will ensure the course is mapped to the above standards.

By choosing a massage therapist who is an FHT member, you can be confident that they are professionally trained, qualified and insured. They will also be listed on our FHT Therapist Register, as massage is considered a form of complementary healthcare.