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What Is The Difference Between A Sports Massage And Physiotherapy Treatment?

January 12, 2016

Both Physiotherapy and Sports Massage are health practices employed by professionals to improve the body condition and well-being of a person. As a medical profession for registered physiotherapists, physiotherapy seeks to provide care to people who have acquired body injuries and pains through one means or the other such as sport or work. Some of the methods through which care can be rendered by a physiotherapist include therapeutic exercises and manual techniques.

On the contrary, sports massage therapy is often used by many to help with injury preventions and optimum rehabilitation of a patient’s health of muscle and connective tissue, tone, a range of movement, quality of posture and balance of muscle. As an alternative medicine, sports massage therapy involves the use of structure movement to manipulate ligaments and muscles.


In order to restore proper function and movement to the body, a tailored individualized program is created for each patient by the physiotherapists. Injuries, diseases as well as age are common factors that lead to limited movement in the body. As a result, physiotherapists implement various treatments aimed at restoring the patient’s well-being, such as therapeutic exercises, manual therapy techniques, modalities and functional training. In addition, physiotherapists can also specialize in custom orthotics or bracing, pelvic floor rehabilitation, acupuncture and myofascial etc.

Physiotherapists enjoy a more general healthcare education which deals with respiratory systems, neurology, injuries, diseases and musculoskeletal system. Within the sporting environment, physiotherapists do not routinely have any placements at undergraduate levels, however, they are required to 1000 hours of placement time in hospitals and within the community.

In the UK, the physiotherapist title is protected by legislation while they will be listed on the Health Professions Council register (HPC) these physiotherapists will also become members of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP).

Physiotherapy is used to treat people with arthritis, back, neck injuries, sprains, fractures and multiple sclerosis and any other bodily injuries that are related to work or sports. Programs are also developed to prevent any form of mobility loss, any disabilities that an individual might have and reduce body pain.

Sports Message Therapy

Many members of the public are often unaware of who sport massage therapists are and what they do; this is because sports therapy is a relatively new profession. Some who try to know often confuse the profession with other professions that tend to be similar such as physiotherapy and massage therapy.

Sports Massage involves the use of techniques that are aimed at moving muscles and soft tissues in the body. This technique which is only employed by certified practitioners may include but is not limited to, kneading, vibration, friction, percussion, compression, gliding and passive or active stretching which are within the typical range of anatomical movement. Trigger point therapy, Swedish massage as well as deep tissue massage are the most common forms of message utilized by sport massage therapists to perform their duties.

Unlike Physiotherapy, Sports Massage Therapy is not a protected title especially in the UK and so it is very easy to find people calling themselves Sports Therapists. Before engaging the services of a Sports Message Therapist, please ensure that the therapist is properly insured and qualified. This can be guaranteed by using therapists who are members of the regulating professional body for Sports Therapists. British Association of Sports Rehabilitators and Trainers (BARAT) and The Society of Sports Therapists (SST) are the two main regulating professional bodies.

A qualified health care provider is always available at Physio and More to provide relevant advice on how to choose the right therapy between physiotherapy and sports massage.

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