30 November, 2022 | Posted by Michelle Hogan

How Do I Become A Sports Massage Therapist in Ireland?

A sports massage therapist is a professional who uses massage techniques to treat and care for athletes who are suffering injuries or pain.

They work with their clients on rehabilitation processes, aiming to reduce pain, inflammation, long-term impact, discomfort or the risk of injuries occurring again.

Sports massage therapists work with a wide range of clients in a number of different settings and can be a highly rewarding role.

How to Become A Sports Massage Therapist 

If you're interested in becoming a part of the sports industry without taking on an active sporting or athletic role, you can consider becoming a sports massage therapist.  

Like other areas of physical therapy, the key goal is to help people overcome injuries and problems, that either they have suffered through sports or to help them become capable of returning to exercise and activity. 

Sports massage therapists use a wide range of specialised techniques, including friction, effleurage, compression, and stretching and know which techniques to use in different scenarios. 

Therapists use massage mainly to target muscle pain, but also to help with issues in joints, ligaments and tendons.

Whilst the main aim is to alleviate symptoms of pain, they may also look to reduce inflammation, improve muscle function or reduce the onset of future injuries, depending on the needs of their client.

Sports massage therapists can work with a wide range of clients, from athletes to elderly people, or may wish to focus on a specific group of clients, like only cricket athletes.

Here are the steps you can take to become a sports massage therapist: 

Visit a sports massage therapist and have a treatment for yourself 

Before heading straight into attaining a qualification, you may wish to consider visiting a sports massage therapist yourself, or more than one, to get a deeper understanding of the role. By attending sessions, you can develop an understanding of what your future career may entail. You can also begin to understand how the structure of treatment sessions work, the communication methods and the special healing techniques used. By booking sessions with a few different therapists, you could also discover what makes a good and bad sports massage. You may also take the opportunity to talk with the therapist about their career and ask for insights and tips.

Gain a sports massage further education qualification

In Ireland, there are many further education institutions offering level 5 and level 6 qualifications in sports therapy, sports massage, pre-physiotherapy and more. Undertaking a qualification at this level gives you the foundation you need for future studies, and builds your confidence on the subject and in academia while also offering you further insights to ensure that this is the correct career path for you. These qualifications also help your efforts if you decide to enter into further studies. Sometimes, during these courses, you may also undertake work experience which means you can start building your network of connections in the industry and gain hands-on experience. Places like Coláiste Íde offer these programmes, check them out here.

Enrol in a sports massage degree programme  

One of the easiest and most efficient ways to become a sports massage therapist is to complete a degree in sports massage therapy. Portobello Institute runs a BSc (Hons) in Sports Therapy awarded by the University of Essex. During your degree, you will learn the skills and knowledge that are necessary to succeed as a therapist working to prevent and treat injury among athletes. Over the course of the three years, you will develop proficiency in therapeutic skills and modalities as well as business development in health sciences to support you should you wish to set up a private practice. Areas of study include sports therapy techniques – from foundation to advanced, human anatomy and biomechanics, sports injury treatment and rehabilitation, to psychological factors impacting sports athletes. Your undergraduate degree will bring you up to a level 8 qualification on the National Framework of Qualifications. This puts you in the position to study further applying for level 9 Masters programmes in physiotherapy or similar courses. 

Becoming a sports massage therapist in Ireland opens huge career opportunities across multiple sports, and industries, with your own practice and further career and academic development. It is a rewarding, exciting and fast-paced role that allows you to engage with the sports you love, in a setting that invigorates you and your interests.

Read our sports graduates' success stories here.

If you are interested in studying sports therapy, you can check out our sports department here. 

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