Show all courses

ITEC Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy QCF Level 3 - QAN 601/5574/7

Print Print

Qualification Gained

ITEC Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy

This course is open to beginners, or those with a UK recognised qualification at Level 3 or above, in body, Swedish or holistic massage
Please click here if you already hold a recognised qualification.

The School of Natural Therapies provides specialist massage training with our popular ITEC Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage, which can if desired, lead to a further programme of study to Level 5, in Clinical Sport and Remedial Massage.

We offer a 2-step programme, allowing our students to qualify at Level 3 Sports Massage Therapy first, whilst continuing to study for the BTEC Level 5 Diploma; the advantages of this system are as follows:-

The School of Natural Therapies continues to provide specialist massage training with our popular ITEC Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage, from January 2013.
However, we now offer a 2-step programme, allowing our students to qualify at Level 3 Sports Massage Therapy first, whilst continuing to study for the BTEC Level 5 Diploma; the advantages of this system are as follows:-

  • It allows beginners, without previous massage experience, but seeking future employment within this area of healthcare, to join the programme and work towards a level 5 qualification.
  • It allows qualifying students to build a successful sports massage practise earlier, or to seek employment, perhaps in the sport & leisure industry.
  • Whilst actually working and building a client base, learners may continue to focus on the development of level 5 functional skills and upgrade their qualification to this standard, by continuing with their studies and undertaking our Level 5 Bridging Programme.
  • Students may take a study break, or stop at level 3 if they desire and re-join the bridging programme at a later date, in order to achieve a level 5 qualification through BTEC.


Initial Level 3 Syllabus (Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy)
This course will be examined by a visiting ITEC examiner and successful students will achieve a Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy at Level 3 initially

Additional Information

  • Level 3 is equivalent to NVQ 3, Advanced GNVQ, BTEC National and AS/A Level
  • Some home study and case studies are required away from the classroom.
  • The course will take place over four months, spread over seven study weekends and one revision weekend. You can expect to study therefore around two weekends per month – see dates for this course above and on the right hand side of this page.

The Level 3 course consists of five units, (numbered 451 to 455) as follows:-

Unit 451 – Functional Anatomy & Physiology for Sports Massage

Students will learn how to understand the structural organisation of the human body, in relation to sports massage application; these areas include:-

  • Human cells and tissues
  • The structure and function of the Skin
  • The structure and function of the Skeletal system, including joints and categories of joints, ligaments and tendons
  • The structure and function of the Muscular System and the location and function of relevant muscles in the body
  • The structure and function of the Nervous System
  • The structure and function of the Endocrine System
  • The structure and function of the Cardio-vascular system
  • The structure and function of the Lymphatic System
  • The structure and function of the Respiratory system
  • The structure and function of the Digestive System
  • The structure and function of the Urinary System

This unit will be assessed by an externally set multiple choice question paper (25 questions) on exam day.

Unit 452 – Principles of Health & Fitness.
Students will be able to understand the following –

  • The benefits of an active healthy lifestyle
  • The effects of exercise on the body
  • The components of fitness
  • The principles of training
  • Nutrition - the role of micro/macro nutrients, hydration and healthy eating and how this relates to growth, repair and injury.

This unit will be set as a combination of classroom lectures and home assignment work

Unit 453 – Professional Practice in Sports Massage
To include-

  • Sports Massage Legislation
  • Scope of practice in the sports massage industry, including awareness and understanding of caution, contra-indications and interface with other professionals and therapists.
  • Professional Standards and regulations, pertinent to the industry
  • Legal obligations, legislation and client record keeping

This unit will be set as a combination of classroom lectures and home assignment work

Unit 454 – Understanding the Principles of *Soft Tissue Dysfunction
*Soft tissue is an anatomical term to categorise the tissues that connect, support, or surround other structures and organs of the body, other than bone. This includes tendons, ligaments and muscle fascia, amongst other tissue and is relevant therefore to the sports massage industry. Learners will therefore understand -

  • Soft Tissue Dysfunction and the process of repair of this tissue, including causes and types of injury and damage.

This unit will be set as a combination of classroom lectures and home assignment work

Unit 455 – Applying Sports Massage Treatment
Learners will gain the knowledge, theory and skills to understand and apply –

  • The history, origins and development of sports massage
  • Sports massage techniques* and tools and apply them as sports massage treatments
  • Equipment and its adaptation/modification in relation to different environments and events.
  • Identifying contra-indications and contra-actions before, during and after massage treatment
  • Assessing and screening clients for sports massage treatments
  • Consultation and client assessment recording methods
  • Devising a suitable massage strategy for each client and their specific needs/requirements and carrying out an effective and safe treatment.
  • Develop and ensure good posture whilst working and making effective use of massage equipment, including massage couch, oils and massage mediums.
  • Working to good professional standards of practice, ensuring that hygiene and sterilisation is observed at all times.
  • Monitoring client communication and feedback.
  • Evaluating the outcomes and effectiveness of the massage strategy and treatment in every case.
  • Post massage analysis and aftercare advice and guidance.

Techniques will include :

  • Effleurage,
  • Petrissage,
  • Friction,
  • Tapotement,
  • Vibration,
  • Neuro-Muscular Technique (NMT)
  • Pre/Post/Inter-Event Massage
  • Other specific sports massage techniques (CTM, Cross fibre friction, pressure, etc)

I have no previous massage experience and I have no previous background in science or anatomy – can I sign up for this course?
Yes, the course is aimed at those who have no prior knowledge and who are looking for a career change, as well as those who do have some experience and/or qualifications already in either Swedish, holistic or body massage .
We will train and guide you throughout the course on practical massage techniques and all sports massage related theory, including anatomy and physiology.

Course Entry Requirements for existing practitioners
This course is also open to existing qualified massage practitioners,  or student practitioners of disciplines, such as –

  • A UK recognised qualification in body/Swedish/holistic massage at Level 3 or above
  • Students or Graduates of Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Chiropractic and students or graduates of Sports Science
  • Those with an existing Level 3 or 4 Sports Massage qualification may also join the bridging program part of the course
  • Acceptance on to the Level 5 bridging programme for all of the above students or graduates, is subject to an initial assessment day, where prior practical (eg massage skills) and theory based knowledge will be assessed by one of our tutors.

Will I have to study Anatomy & Physiology again, if I have already studied it and obtained a qualification?
No, not necessarily. If you already have an existing UK recognised qualification in massage, or an holistic therapy which included this element, we may be able to exempt you from further study. There are however, three criteria which must be met:

  • The A&P qualification must be part of a massage qualification; UK recognised and listed on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF or QCF). Examples of such are ITEC, VTCT, City & Guilds. Please check with us if unsure, by email or phone call
  • It should be Level 3 or above
  • There may be a requirement to attend around two or three sports massage specific A&P sessions throughout the course, although we can exempt you from most other sessions, so long as you meet the above criteria in 2 and 3.

Do I need to do any pre-reading or preparation before the course starts?
Some general reading on the human body in advance of your course may be helpful if you haven’t studied any anatomy or physiology before and we will supply a basic recommended reading list prior to the course, once you have booked and paid your deposit. Don’t forget we also provide our own exclusive and comprehensive course notes as well once the course is under way?

Do I have the right background to study sports massage?
As we have said, the course is open to anyone with a genuine desire to learn the art of sport/remedial massage and is physically fit enough and able to perform what we term ‘bodywork’. This is quite a physical course, so it is important to advise us at the time of booking or enquiring, if you have an illness or condition which may affect your ability to perform massage. Something that may be helpful for potential candidates is a background in some sort of sport, exercise or dance, but it is absolutely not essential.

What will I need to bring to the course?

2 bath towels for personal use.

You will provided with a course manual, comprehensive course notes throughout the course.
Coloured pencils and general writing materials will be needed for the anatomy class, although we do provide a notebook and school pen.

Will I need to buy my own couch?
You will undoubtedly need your own couch for practise at home and for case study treatments. We will be able to advise you before you purchase one and we have an exclusive deal with a well-respected massage couch supplier, who is able to offer discounts and very good deals for students.  We will provide couches during class time of course.

How much study time at home will be needed?
You will need to allocate time regularly throughout the week for assignment work and some small pieces of written work. You will also need to set time aside for case study work/home treatments as the course progresses. Of course it depends on how quickly you learn as to how long you will need but you will need to make some time available.

Will there be lots of essay writing?
The ITEC Level 3 anatomy exam is multiple choice only. The other units involve some writing but the tutor will guide you as to the style of presentation. Generally, bullet point presentation is passable if the information is thorough, clear and accurate.

What if English is not my first language, or if I haven’t studied for a long time
We would expect anyone applying to possess a reasonable command of English language, both written and oral. However, there are many ways of presenting work and we can advise what is best for the individual in terms of how they present their work, if they find they are struggling with their written skills.

I have dyslexia
We can assist those who struggle with English, don’t have English as their first language, or have dyslexia – see question above.  

Is there an age limit?
We prefer students to be at least 21 years of age in order to undertake this course. Younger students may apply by contacting us and acceptance on this programme is subject to telephone interview first.

Can I park at the venues?

At our London venues, there is free parking available in the side roads near our Clapham venue at the weekends.

During the week there is pay and display parking (9:30am-5:30pm). Clapham North tube station is a 1 minute walk away.

Parking in Brighton is available in local car parks, but street parking is not advised at weekends. Brighton mainline station is a 5 minute walk away from the venue.

Do I have to provide my own “clients” to practise on for coursework?
Yes, you will need to find people to do case studies on in your own time – friends, family and work colleagues are usually very willing to receive a free massage session!!

Can I leave my belongings at the venue between sessions?
Students cannot leave belongings at the venue as there is very limited storage available.

Are the massage classes single sex?
The massage classes include both male and female students. You would need to advise us in advance if you have an objection to that and we will advise you if this course is suitable.



 This practical unit will be externally assessed by a visiting ITEC examiner on the scheduled exam day and will last for one hour approximately.

Additional work will also be required for this course, as follows:-

  • Evidence of 3 detailed case studies will also be required - these must be completed away from the classroom as home study
  • Three additional written assignments must also be completed as homework - these will be internally marked by our tutors. (Please see our FAQS if you may need help with written work)
  • Learners will also be required to undertake a 25 question multiple choice exam paper for unit 451 - (Anatomy & Physiology for Sports Massage) on exam day.
  • Final total marks are calculated and graded as Pass, Merit or Distinction.
  • Guided learning with tutor support for home study
  • All relevant massage equipment, towels, oils, etc are provided.
  • Comprehensive course manual.
  • Advice, guidance and help with choosing and purchasing a massage tunic/uniform and top quality massage couch and equipment at student rates
  • All ITEC’s exam fees
  • A friendly and relaxed learning environment

Student Feedback about this course

""I know the next course is around the corner, but I had a revelation today - again.. Wow!!! This stuff really works!! ALL of my clients are quite satisfied, tipping and returning.. And all thanks to your wonderful teaching, brilliant and hands on techniques, which I am very grateful for. And this is only Level 3! What may come next? "
Submitted by Szilvia Ophir (Sep 11th 2017)

"I did the ITEC Level 3 & BTEC Level 5 courses. The tutors were all absolutely brilliant as was all course contents. Even when I had not finished the course and doing case studies clients often asked where I was studying and it was my pleasure to say SNT. It was re-iterated to us throughout the course that the idea was to make us great therapists and not just students who made it through or passed an exam, what great focus. The standards were always high and all the tutors supported us in all the right ways including trusting that their teaching and our ability as students to learn would make us great therapists. In particular Joseph, Trevor and Luke I cannot thank you enough and I will always be grateful that I made the right choice in choosing to learn massage therapy at SNT. So I now just need Joseph & all at SNT to make sure they run all the CPD courses I wish to attend going forwards and we're sorted. SNT rocks and I am beyond grateful to be an alumni. I am inspired to be the best therapist I can be and I have SNT to thank for that. I had a such fabulous experience at SNT that I am actually going to miss the tutors! "
Submitted by Patsy Jawo (Aug 8th 2017)

" I cannot tell you how amazing the course has been. A 5 stars experience in all aspects. The Tutors are brilliant and so committed and passionate about their teaching. Every weekend, Iris, Joseph and Alison were enthusiastic and energetic. The group of students was also great. On your part Marc, the service was outstanding. Ditto to Duncan and Helen. You always replied to all my emails so kindly and promptly. Overall, it was a magical learning experience. I could not recommend your school more highly. You’re all the cream of the crop. The best of the best.              Thank you Marc - and all my gratitude to Alison, Joseph and Iris too. I wish you all a lovely Christmas and a prosperous, healthy and fun 2015. Very best, Jessica "
Submitted by Jessica Berton (Jan 6th 2015)

Show all courses

Dates for this course
< Location:
This is a Weekend course
Jan: 13th, 14th, 20th, 21st
Feb: 3rd, 4th, 17th, 18th
Mar: 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th
Apr: 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th
Venue Details: Synchronicity Clapham
Tutor: Joseph O’Dwyer
Co-Tutor: Iris Kettner
Co-Tutor 2: Trevor Gorard

Exam Info: Exam date 21/04/18 TBC

Course has already started
This is a Weekend course
May: 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th, 26th, 27th
Jun: 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th
Jul: 7th, 8th
Venue Details: Synchronicity Clapham
Tutor: Joseph O’Dwyer
Co-Tutor: Iris Kettner
Co-Tutor 2: Trevor Gorard
Note: Course runs for a total of 16 days
and is held on a Weekend
Cost: £1475.00
Exam Info: Exam date 14/07/18 TBC

Examining Body


ITEC is an international examination board offering a variety of qualifications worldwide.


itec logo edexcel logo CNHC logo ISRM logo Association of Reflexologists logo The Sports and Remedial Therapists Council