I feel that there is a bit of misunderstanding and confusion as to what these terms refer to. When I ask people what they think Sport Massage is, the majority seem to think that it is some sort of deep, necessarily painful (I hear a lot ‘no pain, no gain’) and hard massage that is used specifically for people who do sports to treat and prevent injuries, and a way to prepare for a sport event or as an after event treatment. Although the majority of this is true (with the exception, in my opinion, of the idea that sport massage has to be painful in order to be beneficial!), I would add that Sport Massage is just a massage with an emphasis on the techniques used to help athletes to recover from, and prepare for, sport. However, this is where Sport Massage application really ends in the definition of what it does.
And this is where Soft Tissue Therapy (STT) comes in. Soft Tissue Therapy incorporates most of the Sport Massage specifics and techniques, but is more comprehensive and holistic in the sense that it involves the ‘assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of minor and chronic musculoskeletal conditions (aches & pains!)’ in both sport and non-sport people. A Soft Tissue Therapist will do more than ‘just treat the immediate problem’; they will look and consider the underlying issues, such as postural habits and alignment, exercise, occupational and emotional factors and so on; they will test muscles to look at tightness and weakness, which can bring the body out of alignment and therefore cause pain and injury. Specific massage techniques are then used to help the body rebalance and realign. Finally, the therapist will look at prescriptive exercises to support the recovery and maintain the body alignment, muscle tone and general wellbeing.