Today I got asked what a “soft tissue therapist” does. I explained that I assess and treat chronic and minor injuries using a variety of specialist techniques.
The person asking didn’t really understand until I mentioned that one of the techniques I use is massage. “Oh, you do sports massages!” they exclaimed. I didn’t bang my head against the wall, but it was close.
I don’t like the term “sports massage”. It’s a nonsense term in itself, as you can’t actually massage a sport, so it should really be an “athlete massage”, or at least “sports injury massage”.
But my main issue is that it’s a term used to cover up poor work by badly trained masseuses. Yes, some people have good “sports massages”, but lots don’t, or worse, they come away hurt and in pain. I’ve even seen massive bruises and people unable to walk properly following sports massages.
In fact I’ve written a whole page about it here.
I really don’t like being associated with that. I’m a professional and I take a great deal of pride in making people feel better. We (Greg and I) love fixing people.
But we need to pay the bills too. We love how our clients recommmend us, but in the age of Google and Facebook, we need to be found online too, otherwise not enough clients, and then the bank forecloses, and then we won’t be able to help anyone!
People know the term sports massage, so we use it, even though it’s like saying Leonardo Da Vinci dabbled in painting or that Mozart occasionally hammered the piano keys.
“It’s a bit like that”, was my answer. But later (after they’d left, of course), I realised that what we do - what soft tissue therapy is - actually is what people think a sports massage is. We assess, treat, offer rehabilitation advice, reducing pain and increasing mobility and happiness.
It’s just that sports massage so often isn’t that.