This is a question that gets asked a lot when deciding what sports massage course to undertake and why.
Deciding between a level three and a level four sports massage course can be challenging, especially when you are changing career or adding a new skill into your business.
Here are the main differences between a level three sports massage course and a level 4 sports massage course. This is a simple guide, and some courses vary in detail, length of training and quality of training; so before taking part in a course it is always best to do your research.
1. A level 3 sports massage course often teaches only the basic sports massage skills.
This is a general point (as the T3 Education level 3 covers advanced sports massage training); but a basic level three sports massage course will teach you how to deliver a good full body massage and the basic sports massage techniques. There is less focus on practice hours on many courses without the need for log book hours or case studies. Although this means you can qualify quickly you may leave with less confidence or without deep rooting of your skills first. Its different here at T3 education and we spread our level 3 course out over a 5 month period, with log book hours and a case study to ensure you leave confident and ready for success!
Most techniques covered in a level 3 are:
- Passive Stretching
A level 4 sports massage course will then cover some of the advanced sports massage techniques which include:
- Soft Tissue Release
- Muscle Energy Techniques
- Trigger Points
- Positional Release Technique
This is just a guide as our Level 3 Sports massage covers all of the basic and advanced massage techniques to be able to deliver a higher quality of massage as soon as you have a massage qualification.
Why are the advanced techniques important?
The advanced techniques help you create quicker results with your clients than the basic massage techniques. They focus on creating a greater change through changes to the nervous system than the basic techniques and are more time effective. They can often also be done through clothing making them effective in a sporting environment.
2. A level 4 sports massage course allows you to work with injured tissue.
A level 4 sports massage course is for those of you who want to work with clients experiencing soft tissue injuries.
Most level 4 courses will teacher a greater understanding of the stages of injury of the stages of injury, the healing process, scars and how soft tissue work changes through these phases.
In the T3 Education level 4 Sports Massage course we cover all of the above and it enables you to have a greater understanding of when and how to apply the advanced sports massage techniques during the stages of healing to support your client in a quicker recovery.
3. You can work in a clinical environment with a level 4 sports massage course
If you are looking to work within a clinic environment, most employers will look for a level 4 qualification.
The reason for this is so you have a greater understanding of how to assess for injuries, and how to refer to others as a clinic environment will often be within a multidisciplinary team.
What about level 5 and 6 massage courses?
Level 5 courses build on your level 4 skills. They will teach the same hands on techniques but will give you more time to work on these and practice often with 100 hours of practice before assessment. You may cover the same content but the course takes longer and you will leave more practiced.
As you are doing your research you may come across higher levels and courses marketed at "degree level" or "masters level" courses, often as a level 6 course. The important thing to note is that sports massage is vocational training, and none of the courses can be compared to degrees, as they are not equivalent and cannot be compared as such. You will go deeper in your education on a level 6 course and may cover additional hands on assessment and soft tissue skills and expect the course to take 2-3 years.
Our suggestion is that if you would like to go deeper in your education and become an allied health professional, a degree in Osteopathy or Physiotherapy would be your next step after a level 3 or level 4 sports massage course.
Deciding on which sports massage course can be challenging, and we hope this helps you workout the difference between a level 3 and a level 4 sports massage course.