I’ve been doing some personal training recently and it’s been awakening my remedial massage keen. Talking about which muscles are loading, reciprocal pairings, feeling where different muscles are and aren’t activating.
You’re probably thinking “Hang on, this is titled Sports Massage, what’s this remedial massage business?”. Well, back in the 00’s when I was a baby therapist I was lucky enough to train with John Lamont, a specialist in sports and biomechamical injuries. He described remedial massage as treating soft tissue dysfunction, and sports massage as treating soft tissue dysfunction for sports people, with the addition of pre- and post-event treatment. Let me copy from his training website:
“The objectives of Remedial Massage are to:
The difference doesn’t come into it for me, as I want to support all my clients whether they are competing internationally or have back pain from postural imbalances. I want to enhance all my clients’ day to day lives as it makes my day just as much when a client who has put up with a sore back for FOUR YEARS tells me their back hasn’t been sore at all since their last appointment as when I see a client competing. And finally everyone receives advice on preventing RE-injury, whether it’s tennis elbow or how you sit at your desk.
TL:DR, the terms seem to be pretty interchangeable.
So, with my renewed enthusiasm I’ve been studying my notes and books again and looking for refresher courses. Did you know you can do a weekend, or even a ONE DAY course and call yourself a sports therapist? Or why bother with the messy massage part at all, you can learn it online! Several of these seem to be of the “massage really hard and call it sports massage” school. No wonder there is a perception that sports massage is all no pain, no gain!
My treatment starts with a consultation: medical questionnaire, what are the client’s aims for the treatment (e.g. less pain or strengthen right leg to stop it wobbling during squats, or to lengthen muscles during a period of strenuous training, etc..).
There is a postural assessment so it’s down to bra and pants for the ladies and down to your shorts for the guys.
Then it’s onto the treatment couch for spinal health safety checks. If these flag any concerns the appointment stops there and I refer you to your GP.
Now the massage can start, hurrah! Sports massage is deep, but if it becomes too uncomfortable then your body will put the muscles into a protective spasm. You tense up and the treatment becomes pointless. So communicate! I use the highly technical terms “good sore” and “bad sore”. Good sore is that ache when you’ve had a really good workout, it’s the muscle fibres releasing and lengthening, allowing me to work on any areas of scar tissue, lesions, whatever is causing the issue. If it gets to bad sore tell me immediately and I’ll step it back.
As well as deep tissue massage I use a whole bunch of techniques with long names which usually go by their abbreviations such as PNF, NMT, MET, RI…whatever I take out the tool box to use on you I will tell you about, but you don’t learn them on the short courses!
Your treatment concludes with aftercare recommendations which may include stretches, exercises, lifestyle advice, etc..tailored to you.
Still reading? Well done!
Like what you’ve read? Awesome!
Want to book an appointment? This is where it gets even better: I’m offering 5 new clients their first appointment for £15 and their follow up appointments for £20.
What’s the catch? I want you to keep a treatment diary. Nothing massive (like this post has turned into), just a couple of lines covering each treatment and how you feel afterwards which I (or you) can scrub of identifying details and use to explain the treatment process from your point of view.
(Mad props to Jamie Thorp, personal trainer at Pure Gym Bramley, he’s ace.)