2013 – The legal and professional parameters of sports massage

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FOCUS ON SPORTS MASSAGE: In terms of the current South African health and education legislation, the use of the term ‘sports massage therapist’ is illegal. Therapeutic Massage Therapy representative on the Allied Health Professions Council (SA), Briony Esterhuysen. Sports massage is a term that is bandied around by current and prospective massage therapists as well as training institutions wishing to portray a trendy niche service namely treating sports injuries with massage. In South Africa where the profession of Therapeutic Massage Therapy is statutory recognised it is important that we understand the legal context of using the term sports massage therapist in relation to the professional practice of Therapeutic Massage Therapy when treating athletes and patients in the professional practice. The scope of treatment for athletes traditionally extends to pre- and post-event treatment, maintenance treatment to manage wear and tear and the development of myofascial lines of tension as well as the treatment and rehabilitation of injuries. For this reason, if a therapeutic massage therapist has an interest in sport or participates in sport himself or herself, they will have a more realistic approach to the treatment needs of the athlete. SPORTS MASSAGE IN THE LEGAL CONTEXT There is however only one statutory register in that permits the practice of any form of massage for gain. This register entitled Therapeutic Massage Therapy is controlled by the Allied Health Professions Act, No 63 of 1982 and its regulations. A person whose name appears in this register may use the designation Therapeutic Massage Therapist after their name to indicate the nature of their professional practice. According to Section 16B of the abovementioned regulations, the requirements for registration as a therapeutic massage therapist with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa, is a two-year qualification in Therapeutic Massage Therapy inclusive of all the prescribed subjects. No specific register exists for Sports Massage Therapy and there is no accredited training in to become a Sports Massage Therapist. As such the use of the term Sports Massage Therapist in reference to a therapist’s professional practice or nature of practice is illegal within the context of the South African health and education legislation. In the absence of a register entitled Sports Massage Therapy, the use of the terms specialising in sports massage or sports massage specialist among others as a qualifier in conjunction with the designation of the qualification Therapeutic Massage Therapist, is also illegal practise. To compound the transgression, it constitutes fraud as pointed out earlier, there is also no post-diploma qualification in sports massage currently available. Should a post-diploma qualification in sports massage be approved and legislated at some stage in the future, training will have to conform to higher education norms. This...

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2013 – Sports Massage: Getting to know the game of golf

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Golf is possibly one of the fastest growing sports in and internationally. Not only have superstars like Tiger Woods and Ernie Els injected tremendous excitement into the sport in the last decade, but the game has also been ‘democratised’. Slowly the image of the elitist, country club activity has shifted with golf attracting more and more people who include it as part of their fitness programme even at primary school level. The problem according to anatomical physiologist and sports injury consultant to the big names in sport, Pete Egoscue, is that people still consider golf a physically undemanding game. That is simply not true he argues in his book Pain free – A revolutionary method for stopping chronic pain. Golf requires balance, strength and co-ordination. Without these components, injury is very likely to follow. Yet he argues, the cause is not necessarily the game itself. “The thesis that golf hurts backs has become so pervasive that even the most dedicated golfers, who have never experienced a twinge of pain, believe it to be true.” The problem however, is that golfers don’t get in shape by playing the game, they get in shape by living life – sitting at a desk in a classroom, using computers at the office, driving a car, slouching in front of the TV. Muscoloskeletal dysfunctions and imbalances follow the golfer to the course rather than golf causing the misalignment and disturbances in the kinetic chain. Where does this argument leave the massage therapist who is increasingly required to treat patients complaining of golf injuries? Four points stand out: It makes rubbish of the spot treatment approach (back and neck or legs only treatments). Massage is at its most effective when treating whole-body postural patterns, the exact thing that will affect the golfer’s game. As the golf swing uses almost all the muscles in the body, isolating problem areas here and there will not address the imbalances causing the pain in the first place. It is therefore imperative that the therapist does a comprehensive visual and gait assessment to establish misalignment and to verify these observations by means of special tests that determine muscle strength and weakness. It further supports the argument that sports massage is not a type of massage that implies deeper and more invasive techniques. Rather it demands of any therapist who wants to work with sports participants to have a thorough grounding in the biomechanical demands of each modality. Although a golfer uses all the muscles in a golf swing, the muscles on one side of the body may be doing the exact opposite of the muscles on the other side. Just like both sides need to be trained for the specific jobs...

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2013 – Massage therapist to the sport stars

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FOCUS ON SPORTS MASSAGE: John Hooper, gives readers a glimpse into the day-to-day responsibilities of the therapeutic massage therapist in the world of professional sport. I have always been actively involved in sport, and therefore it followed that my interest would lie in the area of sports massage. I completed my therapeutic massage training in 1989, and immediately set up practice in a gym, hoping that the environment would ensure a predominantly sporting clientele. Besides doing active marketing into the sporting world, I was fortunate enough to work at the World 100km Road-running Championships in Stellenbosch in 1989. This resulted in the local road running fraternity getting to know about my services. Between the gym, my involvement with the local running club, and my marketing strategies, my practice slowly became largely sports massage orientated. In 1995 I started working with the touring Super 12 rugby sides (from and ), something that I continue to do up to now. In my experience, the international sporting fraternity is far more aware of the benefits of sports massage than the South Africans. This has meant that, ironically, I have worked with more international sporting teams and stars than I have with national sportsmen and women. CAREER HIGHLIGHTS Over the years I have had the privilege of working with some of the great sports teams, including Team South Africa (Olympic, Commonwealth and All Africa Games), national rugby and cricket teams (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England and India), Super 12 rugby teams (Australia and New Zealand), SA cycling team, World’s Strongest Man Competition, as well as various professional cycling teams. Currently I take care of the Springboks and Proteas whenever they are in Cape Town, and continue to work with the Australian and teams when they are here. Without a doubt the highlight of my career was being selected to accompany Team South Africa to the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998. Besides the honour of working with some of ’s elite sportsmen and women, the experience of marching into the stadium at the opening ceremony was thrilling. (I am not ashamed to admit to the shedding of many tears!) Working with the cyclists, I have travelled to five times, and have many wonderful memories of the country and its people. Another interesting experience was working at the World’s Strongest Man Competition. When the average competitor weighs in at over 145kg – most of which is serious muscle – you learn very quickly the importance of using your body weight correctly! ON TOUR Most of my travelling has been with cycling teams, where traditionally the role of the massage therapist is integral to the team management, and is referred to as the...

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Flip-side Finesse – Champion cyclist turns massage therapist for other champions

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With more and more fellow therapeutic massage therapists wanting to explore the world of professional cycling teams, experienced therapist Julie Briggs, shares her insights into the daily routine of a massage therapist working with cyclists. She also offers suggestions of what might be helpful when massaging. Julie has successfully combined her experiences as a mountain bike champion with her massage expertise. Every year since 1997 she has been awarded provincial colours for mountain biking and national colours in 1998, 1999 and 2001. Her selection for the South African Mountain Bike team has taken her to , and the . It was after completing a Therapeutic Massage Therapy course with the Cape Institute of Allied Health Studies and registering with the Allied Health Professions Council (SA) that Julie turned her hand to massaging in earnest. From 2005 to 2007 Julie worked at the Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike race. In 2005 she joined the support team of the South African National Road Cycling team in and in 2006 Julie was off to with them. The same year also saw her working with the Excel Cycling team Giro in 2006 and the Harmony/Schwinn Cycling team Giro in 2007. Being a therapeutic massage therapist on a professional cycling team must be the best way to see and understand the cultures of the world, but to say that it is very hard work, is an understatement. The massage therapist who travels with a cycling team is expected to be involved in the many other activities apart from just massage. I have even landed up dressing wounds and feeding a cyclist in hospital who had a drip in one arm the other arm in a sling! A typical day begins at 5 am. You are expected to prepare the drinks and /or food parcels that will be consumed during the race, pack the race cars and get the riders and their bicycles organized.  The therapist’s next task is to drive the back-up cars behind the cycle race. This also involves controlling the radios and feeding the riders (typically there are six riders in a team). Fortunately cycle races also take one to some of the most beautiful parts of the world and the drive affords you the opportunity to take in the exquisite scenery. As the race finishes at the end of each race day, the massage therapist’s first task is to serve the riders’ post-race recovery food and drink. Thereafter, you have to get them to their hotel so that they can wash and freshen up.  Hygiene is critical. Many good riders have had to abandon races due to saddle sores and other related conditions. Only once that’s all done, can the therapist...

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2013 – Sports & exercise massage: Comprehensive care in athletics, fitness & rehabilitation

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Sports & exercise massage: Comprehensive care in athletics, fitness & rehabilitation By Sandy Fritz Elsevier Mosby Publishers © 2005 Pgs: 682 ISBN 0-323-02882-9 Price: Unknown This book by one of the foremost international writers on therapeutic massage is written in the style of a learning tool and is specifically aimed at massage students or qualified therapeutic massage therapists that have a special interest in developing their knowledge in the field of sports massage.    It is focuses on identifying the specific massage needs of all athletes, be it professional, amateur or just recreational.  The user is required to have an established foundation of therapeutic massage to be able to effectively access the information provided as the author assumes that this knowledge is in place. This practical resource includes an overview of the following: Definition and explanation of sports massage. The author describes sports massage as a therapeutic application aimed at supporting fitness, helping to reduce the demands sport places on the body, increasing the ability to perform the sport, and enhancing and shortening the recovery time of athletes. Scientific validation of sports massage benefits. The author touches on varies scientific studies that were done to validate the effectiveness of massage as part of the medical team of athletes.  One such topic discussed is the beneficial effects of massage on delayed onset muscle soreness.   Basic functional movements and movement strategies. This section is designed to provide the reader with information regarding basic movements such as walking, jumping, kicking, throwing, etc.  This is important to know because each sports activity consists of a combination of these functional movements.  Understanding this concept will then enable the therapist to identify and assess sport-specific patterns of use, and apply appropriate massage treatment. Assessment for sports massage and physical rehabilitation application Case studies 90 minute DVD that features the correct technique for specific massage applications Even though this book is written for the American market, most of the concepts discussed are universal to massage everywhere.  The discussions in the book gives the reader a comprehensive and  clear understanding of the world of an athlete, the role of massage within this population and the specific skills needed in order to facilitate an effective goal-oriented treatment. One of the key features of this book is that it draws on the author’s practical experience that she acquired during her years working with athletes. In the book the author does not just focus on the why related to application of techniques and their effects but also onhow the techniques should be applied. For this reason the level of information provided in the book makes it a welcome addition to any professional massage therapist or learner therapist wishing to pursue a career in providing...

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