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Qualification Overview

The Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy qualification provides learners in Plymouth with the knowledge and skills needed to be able to provide sports massage therapy to a range of clients who have dysfunctional tissue, without acute/post-acute injuries or underlying pathological conditions.This course is an excellent addition to already qualified personal trainers and Beauty/Massage therapists.


  • Fully Funded for ages 19 and over
  • Plymouth Centre
  • Accredited Qualification



Course Details

Fully Funded for ages 19 and over

Course Length: 2 days per week for 10 weeks, 09.00-17.00

Type: Blended learning – Classroom and massage based 2 days a week and home study (recommended 10 hours a week)

Entry Requirements

Ages 19+

It is recommended that applicants should have achieved a level of education equivalent to five GCSEs at grade A*-C  or a Level 2 Diploma in health and fitness or a similar field of study prior to commencing the Active IQ Level 3 diploma in Sports Massage; however, exemptions may be made for adults with relevant experience of the workplace.

Applicants will also be required to complete a functional skills test upon enrolment.

Qualification Structure and Units

Anatomy and physiology for sports massage

Knowledge and an understanding of the human body and how it functions is the starting point of sports massage theory. The more we understand about how the body functions, what may interrupt this functioning (such as trauma and injury), and what influence increased activity has on the systems that combine to make it function, the more the sports massage practitioner can use their skills and knowledge to advise their clients.


Principles of health and fitness

Developing your knowledge and understanding of the principles of health and fitness is an important aspect of being a sports massage therapist. This includes the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle, understanding the short and long-term effects of exercise on the body, knowing the components of fitness and principles of training. You will also learn the key fundamentals of healthy eating, hydration and professional boundaries when offering nutritional advice.


Understand the principles of soft tissue dysfunction

Here you will develop your knowledge and understanding of soft tissue injury and dysfunction. This will include teaching you to differentiate between injury and dysfunction, learning the different types of soft tissue injuries, common causes and signs and symptoms of each. You will also learn the process of soft tissue repair, the factors that may influence the repair process and the importance of the inflammatory process.


Professional practice in sports massage

In this unit you will develop the knowledge and understanding related to professional practice in sports massage. This includes current legislation, the use of chaperones, informed consent, scope of practice, contra-indications, referral and record keeping. You will also discuss expected standards of professionalism, the purpose of regulation, insurance requirements and the importance of continual professional development.


Sports massage treatments

You will learn the knowledge, understanding and skills required to prepare, apply and evaluate sports massage treatments. You will develop their knowledge of the history and development of sports massage and how this can be used to complement other therapies and treatment. You will also develop your understanding of the fundamental of sports massage and how different methods can be used for different purposes. You will develop the skills to prepare and apply sports massage, to reassess clients and provide appropriate aftercare advice. You will also develop the skills to evaluate treatments and reflect on their practice including the proper posture for both client and masseur.


Useful Information

Active IQ is an awarding organisation recognised and regulated by Ofqual within the Active Leisure sector designing qualifications that support clear career pathways. Active IQ pride themselves on excellent customer service, and strive to provide high quality resources for their qualifications enabling Training Providers to give a positive learning experience.


This qualification will prepare you for employment as a massage therapist. You will also be eligible to join a professional association and gain insurance as a massage therapist. Career opportunities as a massage therapist exist in a variety of contexts, including:

  • Working in a salon/gym as an in-house sports massage therapist
  • Self Employed sports massage therapist using a gym or salons facilities
  • Self Employed sports massage therapist with your own facilities

This qualification provides progression on to:

  • Active IQ Level 4 Certificate in Sports Massage Therapy.
  • Routes into fitness instructing.

Advanced Learning Loan

Advanced learner loans are available for individuals aged 19 or above to undertake approved qualifications at Levels 3 to Level 6. Administered by Student Finance England, the Advanced Learner Loan is a government-funded loan which is paid directly to the college or training organisation on behalf of an individual. It’s easy to apply for, doesn’t take your household income into account and doesn’t involve a credit check.


Adult Education Budget

Adult Education Budget is full government funding to up-skill yourself if you are aged between 16 and 24 for courses at level 1, 2 and 3 if you have not previously completed a qualification at these levels.