Massage Modalities: Spotlight on Russian Sports Massage

What is Russian Sports Massage? Created in the former Soviet Union and designed to offer minimally invasive and relaxing relief for stress, sleeplessness, headaches and many other disorders, Russian Sports Massage is a type of therapeutic massage based on four main techniques: effleurage, friction, petrissage and vibration.

History of Russian medical massage

According to a history of Russian medial massage published in Massage Today Magazine, Russian Sports Massage as we know it in America was relatively rare until recent years, with Russian massage techniques making their U.S. debut in the 1980s. Because massage is an integral part of traditional Russian medical practice and rehabilitation techniques, many of the therapeutic applications for Russian Sports Massage have been tried and tested over hundreds of years. From ancient medicine women to contemporary medical practitioners, massage has been a staple of Russian healing culture for centuries. 

Today, an increased awareness of and exposure to Russian healing arts has made it possible for practitioners in the United States to learn and benefit from the unique qualities of Russian Sports Massage. With an emphasis on deep yet painless strokes, this type of massage is broadly applicable and especially well suited to elderly clients. While it is also ideal for athletes, it is by no means limited to use with athletic clients.

Russian Sports Massage 101 

At the School of Healing Arts, we offer an intensive introductory course in Russian Sports Massage that includes twenty-eight hours of lecture and hands-on applications under expert instruction. Students will learn how to use minimal oil and specific bolstering to go deep into a client’s tissues with mutual comfort and ease. The course includes training protocol and introduces the therapeutic, pre/post event and seated applications of Russian Sports Massage. Meticulous study of hand techniques and body dynamics will help students learn how, when, where and why to utilize this unique style of bodywork. Students will also discuss how Russian Sports Massage benefits various body systems and review study results with both athletic and non-athletic applications.

Russian Sports Massage at the School of Healing Arts is appropriate for all students who have completed a massage trainee course or equivalent. It is also an ideal supplement for licensed practitioners looking to build their knowledge of new massage modalities and styles of bodywork. This spring’s class is scheduled to run May 30-July 18, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Thursday afternoon. To learn more about this course, sign up or register for other San Diego massage classes, contact us in the office at (858) 581-9460. We also welcome new students to stop by our Pacific Beach campus for a tour at any time during our regular hours (8:30 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 am to 3:00 pm on Friday). Feel free to pay us a visit, or simply check out our website at

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