Essential Sports Massage Equipment Checklist

Essential Sports Massage Equipment Checklist

As a newly qualified masseur, it’s essential to have the right sports massage equipment. These pieces can make or break your business, so be sure to follow this checklist diligently. 

With this article, we’ve listed the best sports massage equipment around, with options to suit every budget and business. We cover:

But first, are you looking to expand your sports massage therapist career opportunities? You can do just this by enrolling on OriGym's Personal Trainer Courses.

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What Equipment Does a Sports Massage Therapist Need?

What Equipment Does a Sports Massage Therapist Need?

When creating a sports massage business plan, you'll need to place your clients' satisfaction at the forefront of your mind. In order to deliver a high standard of service, you will need the best sports massage equipment on the market. 

Choosing the right sports massage equipment is never an easy decision, but to help make this process easier we have curated a list of variables to adhere to when shopping. 

  • Cost-effective:  If you’re starting your own business every penny counts, and saving money can help you grow exponentially. However, please don’t conflate cost-effectiveness with products that are lower in quality, as you will learn from our list below the two aren’t always interlinked. 
  • Durable: Sports massage equipment must be sturdy, especially if you’re a mobile masseuse and have to constantly move your equipment to different locations. The last thing you want is to spend more money on replacing gear that has been broken on transit from one client to another.

Massage Therapist Equipment Needed

  • Re-usable: Similar to the point mentioned above, having reusable sports massage equipment is imperative for starting a business on a budget, or if you have limited resources. 
  • Safe: When conducting equipment checks for sports massage therapists, you must always ensure that your gear is safe to use. If you're purchasing a product online, always read the reviews, to ensure that you aren’t being sold something that could potentially endanger you or your client.
  • Functional: Functional equipment helps you to treat a multitude of clients. If a piece of sports massage equipment cannot be used to treat a targeted area, then it must be replaced immediately.
  • Portable: As a mobile masseuse, portability is very important for traveling to different locations. You don’t want to be carrying heavy and/or impractical sports massage therapist equipment to each client, instead opt for portable options that can ideally be placed in one bag. 

Cost vs. Quality Sports Massage Equipment 

Cost of Massage Therapist equipment

Once you have qualified as a sports massage therapist you can officially start your own business. However, doing so can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to deciding how much money to spend on resources such as sports massage therapist equipment. 

As a sports massage therapist, there are several one-time purchase items that you will need to invest in. However, since you’ll be running your own business, you can be selective of where else your funds go.

If you’re on a budget, we recommend purchasing basic necessities as a priority. On top of your list should be a high-quality massage bed, as without this you would not be able to operate your business at all. 

For example, a high-quality massage bed will ensure that your clients are relaxed during the massage process, which will increase the likelihood of them returning for additional services.

Money for Sports Massage Therapy Equipment

As stated in the section discussing cost-effectiveness, when purchasing sports massage therapist equipment it’s important to not skimp on the quality.

This will only result in purchasing equipment that needs replacing, effectively costing you more money in the process. 

You don’t need to spend thousands of pounds on quality equipment, but you do need to take time to research and price compare, in order to ensure you’re receiving the best quality product for your money.

Ultimately, finding the right balance between costs and quality will set your business up for success, and ensure that your client retention levels remain high. 

For more advice on how you can ensure high retention levels, check out our article on going the extra mile for clients.


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Sports Massage Equipment Checklist

#1 - Massage Bed 

Sports Massage Equipment Table

Starting off our list of sports massage therapy equipment is a massage bed, which is arguably the most essential piece of equipment to feature within our list.

As a masseuse, you will use a massage bed to comfortably position your clients, in a manner that will allow you to target a specific area of their bodies. 

Massage beds come in different shapes and sizes. Some have foldable legs for mobile sports massage therapists, while others have thicker, more solid legs designed to remain stationary. 

They will typically be designed with cushioned material and a circular hole for clients to position their heads. 

Deciding what type of massage bed you require (mobile or stationary), the model, make and quality of materials used will influence the price of the bed. For reference, most massage beds cost between £100 - £250.

Massage Bed Sports Therapist Equipment

But before rushing into purchasing any piece of equipment for sports massage purposes, you must determine which product suits your needs best. 

For example, if you’re a mobile sports massage therapist the weight of the bed will influence your choice. Not only will it have to be strong enough to support your clients entire body weight, but it will need to be light enough for you to carry around and transport. 

In order to make your choice of purchase that much easier, at the end of every section we will provide you with links to some of the best sports massage equipment the UK has to offer. 

For this section, we have made sure to include multiple examples of massage beds that are both stationary and mobile. 

Stationary Massage Bed: 

Mobile Massage Bed: 

#2 - Massage Mediums

Sports Massage Measures Equipment

The required equipment for sports massage therapists also includes massage mediums, which is a term that refers to products you use to massage your clients. This includes: 

  • Massage Oil
  • Massage Cream
  • Massage Lotion

Massage mediums help to promote fluid movements when massaging your clients. They help you to perform a deeper massage which will relieve any muscle soreness and deep-rooted knots. 

Using mediums also help to enhance blood circulation to promote muscle recovery, which is the primary goal of any sports massage therapist. 

Massage Oils - These are the most common type of massage medium as they are great for promoting fluid movement and hydrating the skin. However, a common complaint lobbied at this particular piece of sports massage equipment is that they can leave the skin feeling greasy, which may result in a massage that is less pleasurable for a client.

Massage Therapist Equipment Oil

Massage Creams - These are best for clients who require deep tissue work, whilst simultaneously acting as a moisturiser. Unlike oils, they won’t leave any greasy residue on a client's skin.

Massage Gels - This absorbs into the skin very quickly and is typically used on clients who require shorter massage sessions. Due to its lighter nature, massage gel isn’t ideal for deep tissue massage. 

When purchasing equipment for sports massage therapy, you should highly consider investing in each one of these products. 

This will allow you to appeal to a wide variety of clients, who will have different preferences and requirements. 

Here are some examples of products that we believe to be the best for massages: 


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#3 - Massage Props and Tools

Sports Massage Equipment Tools

The roles and responsibilities of a sports massage therapist can vary from client to client, depending upon their specific needs. 

Unfortunately, a therapist can't do everything alone and may need to use massage props/tools in order to reach deeper tissues. 

Massage props, also termed ‘massage tools’, help to soothe the body and muscles by providing different sensations. 

When they reach these deep tissues, they can promote blood circulation and aid in muscle recovery.

Additionally, from the masseuses' perspective, offering deep tissue massages can tire your hands and fingers if performing for hours each day. Incorporating props into your massages can help to reduce this from happening. 

There are different types of massage props such as ball rollers, thumb tools, massage sticks, and head and neck tingler sticks. Each has its own set of benefits for the client such as: 

  • Massage ball rollers - These are typically made from plastic or rubber, and have a series of rotating balls attached to a handle that can be rolled across the skin. There are a variety of types of ball rollers, each coming in different sizes and shapes all of which will provide your client with a different sensation.

Sports Massage Equipment Roller

  • A thumb massage tool - This piece of equipment for massage therapists is designed to target deep-rooted knots and to help to ease a client’s trigger points. They are very small in size and so are perfect for mobility, typically being made from rubber or plastic. 
  • Massage sticks - When it comes to sports massage therapy equipment, massage sticks are rather simple in design. They are merely sticks with ridges engraved along the side, which can help to promote blood circulation and muscle recovery among clients.
  • Head massage tools - When used correctly head massages can promote additional relaxation among your clients. Unlike the other pieces of equipment for sports massage therapy, they won’t relieve any deep-rooted knots, but can be seen as an additional benefit that can improve customer satisfaction.

Now, we at OriGym want to ensure that you’re provided with the best sports massage equipment in the UK, and will therefore provide you with a selection of every item listed above.

Massage Ball Roller

Therapist Thumb equipment for sports massage therapist

Thumb Massage Tool

Massage Sticks 

Head Massager 

If you're enjoying this article, you can read these ones to get further information:

#4 - Spa Towels

Spa Towels massage equipment

When initially creating a list of essential equipment for sports massage therapy sessions, you may have overlooked towels. 

However, this is an example of an item that is essential for your client's comfort and can determine whether they return for follow-up sessions.

Whilst very simplistic, towels are multipurpose pieces of equipment for sports massage therapists. For example, they can be used to cover a client’s glutes while you’re massaging other areas of their body, in order to make them feel more comfortable.

Additionally, by providing your clients with towels they can be used to wipe away any excess oil, cream, or gel before a client puts their clothes back on.

sports massage equipment towels

Finally, towels are also good for cleaning down your massage table following a client’s session. 

Massage beds can become dirty with excess massage mediums and wiping them down with a paper towel will not appear professional. Therefore, having multiple towels on hand will allow you to tackle a multitude of jobs.

You may want to consider getting towels of different sizes; larger towels to cover your client with, and smaller towels to wipe away excess product.

Recommended Towels: 

#5 - Massage Bed Linen

Linen sports massage therapist equipment

When conducting equipment checks sports massage therapists often overlook bed linen too, which is a mistake that could cause great discomfort for your clients.

This is due to the fact that most massage beds are made with a vinyl finish, this could cause an uncomfortable sticky sensation when clients lay on it for prolonged periods of time. 

However, a layer of linen will prevent this and help to make your client’s experience more comfortable. 

As for how linen can benefit you, having a layer between your client and the massage table makes your workspace more hygienic. 

When a client’s message is finished, linens can be easily taken off the bed and straight into the washing machine. 

examples of equipment for sports massage therapist linen

It’s important to also make sure that your linens are soft and smell fresh. Small aspects like this will make your client’s experience all the more comfortable and memorable. 

Much like towels, you might want to consider purchasing multiple linen cloths. If you don’t clean enough each day, you run the risk of appearing unprofessional and unprepared. 

Here are some examples of bed linens that you can incorporate into your equipment checks for sports massage therapy.

Massage Bed Linen: 

#6 - Couch Cover 

Couch cover for sports massage therapist

Additionally, you could also choose to purchase a couch cover when selecting equipment for your sports massage business. This will typically go over your massage table, which can then be fitted with linen. 

Much like linen and towels, couch covers will protect furniture from spills, stains, and general signs of damage that will occur naturally over time. 

However, they are often thicker and more durable, meaning they provide your bed with unbeatable protection. 

Unlike towels and linens, though, you don’t need to wash your couch covers in-between each client, as it will not have direct contact with the client. 

Instead, you should consider washing your cover every couple of days, unless something occurs that requires immediate attention.  

Remember, when shopping around couch covers, be sure to purchase ones which will fit the dimensions of your massage table. 

#7 - Case For Your Sports Massage Equipment 

bag to carry all your sports massage therapist equipment

Mobile sports massage therapists will need something to hold all their equipment. Should you forget something, you may have to leave a client unattended on a massage table, which will appear incredibly unprofessional. 

Therefore, much like your gym bag, you’re going to need something that is both sturdy and practical in order to carry everything you need.

There are various types of cases and bags that you can purchase, the type your business requires is entirely dependent upon you and your working style. For example, you could have:

Massage bed cases - Despite the name sounding somewhat holistic, a massage bed case has the potential to hold all your necessary pieces of sports massage equipment. Whilst being designed to hold your entire massage table, there will also be interconnected compartments for your towels and oils too.

examples of sports massage equipment bag

A tool bag - This may surprise you, but a tool bag is also a viable option for transporting your massage equipment. Tool bags are actually beneficial as they have several small compartments which are useful for keeping bottled oils, gels and creams upright to prevent spillages, whilst also having larger compartments for you to store other items such as towels and linens. 

A suitcase or large shoulder bag - Many massage therapists prefer to carry their equipment in a large suitcase or shoulder bags. However, when using these options be sure to handle with care in case of spillages, as unlike the previous two examples, these designs don’t feature many compartments.

Here are some options for how you could store your oils and towels:

Massage Tables Cases:

Tool Bag:

Suitcases and Shoulder Bags:

#8 - Bolsters & Pillows 

Bolster sports massage equipment

A bolster is a long narrow pillow that promotes additional support for clients, while also providing you with further access to a greater range of muscle groups. But, how do they operate?

When qualifying to become a massage therapist, you will learn how to treat specific aches, pains and injuries. Bolsters allow for clients to position their bodies in specific ways, which will grant you easier access to their muscle groups.

For example, when clients lie on their front, situating a bolster underneath their feet will provide access to more areas of the calves and shins. 

examples of bolster sprots massage equipment

When clients lie on their backs, pillows can be slotted under the back to help reduce back pain.  Bolsters can also be positioned behind the knee to allow more access around the thigh. 

Bolsters come in various sizes to accommodate different people, therefore when shopping around for the best massage equipment be sure to purchase multiple to accommodate all your clients. 

#9 - Consultation Forms

Consulation Forms for Sports Massage therapy equipment

Consultation forms are another example of equipment for sports massage therapists that often goes overlooked. 

Consultation forms allow for your clients to discuss their wants and needs from your services. They can state what regions of the body they want you to focus on, whether they want a light, medium or deep massage, and current medical information. 

Each of these aspects will help you to deliver the best quality massages, meaning that they are absolutely vital for ensuring your business stays afloat. 

However, as well as knowing how to personalise your massages for your clients, consultation forms also protect you and your clients. Clients will feel a sense of confidence in your services and will recognise that you won’t perform any treatments on their bodies that could be detrimental to their well being. 

Another consultation form for Sports Massage therapist equipment checks

For example, since you’ll be using creams, oils and gels, you need to know whether your clients have any known allergies. You’ll also need to check if clients are on medications or pregnant before performing massages on their bodies. 

It’s important to keep a continuous record of up-to-date, relevant information about your clients in the event of a claim being brought against you. Keep these forms organised in yearly files.

If you’d like more advice on what goes into a consultation, head over to our article discussing personal trainer consultations.

Here’s a few suggested websites you can use to create your own consultation forms and templates:

#10 - Journal To Track Appointments

Journal to track necessary equipment for sports massages

One of the best ways to keep your massage therapy business organised is to invest in a journal to track your appointments. 

This is especially important for mobile massage therapists as you’re going to need easy access to a range of information on a daily basis including: 

  • The time that your clients are booked in for
  • Their names
  • Address’ 
  • Contact information
  • Type of massages so you can pack relevant equipment 

If you don’t have a journal, you’re going to quickly become disorganised, as maintaining multiple clients' information in your head will be near impossible. 

Failure to maintain this information will only result in you looking unprofessional. You should turn up to every session on time, with the right equipment, and ready to give the best possible service to your clients. 

sports massage equipment journal

Even if you’re not a mobile masseuse, keeping a journal of who is visiting your parlour and at what time will also help to keep you organised. 

Alternatively, if you’re not one for carrying around a pen and paper, you can take your journal with you virtually.

Whilst not the same practice, many of the entries in our list of the top 23 personal trainer apps are primarily used for organisation. Such applications can be used to track a client's relevant information, and can even send you notifications relating to your schedule.

Ultimately, whether you use them physically or virtually, journals are some of the cheapest pieces of sports massage therapist equipment. A fact which is clearly evident by the examples given below. 

#11 - Washing Facilities 

Cleaning Station sports massage equipment

When discussing the best sports massage equipment in the UK, many therapists seemingly overlook one of the main essentials - a good washing machine.

In order to maintain a clean and sanitary business, you’ll need access to a washing machine in order to clean your towels, linen, couch cloth, and pillow/bolster covers.

Towels and linen should be fresh for each client, which is why it’s important to purchase a few so that you always have access to clean, fresh equipment when a new client arrives. 

However, since you’re going to be washing your towels and linen frequently, it’s important to make sure that you use fabric softener to ensure that they remain soft. 

Scratchy materials can negatively affect your client’s experience so be sure to keep your towels and linen soft and fresh.

cleaning sports massage equipment

As discussed earlier in the article, you won’t need to wash other pieces of equipment such as a couch cover, or bolster as regularly. However, they will still need to be washed and sanitised at regular intervals. 

Ultimately, having access to washing facilities is important for making sure your equipment remains fresh, clean and soft. 

So, whether you use your own washing machine, one located at the massage parlour you work for, or a local laundrette, be sure to clean your equipment diligently.


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#12 - Disinfectants

Disinfectant sports massage equipment

As a qualified sports massage therapist, your equipment list should always include disinfectants, for both your safety and that of your clients. 

It goes without saying that you should always wipe down your massage table in-between clients. You’re going to be using gels, creams, and oils during this process, so be sure to wipe away any excess leftovers. 

Following this process, it is equally as important to decontaminate the message table following a session with a client. This will remove any lingering bacteria, ensuring that it's safe for another client to use. 

It is also important to recognise that when operating as a sports massage therapist you may be tending to athletes who require immediate attention, following a sporting event or competition. 

As a result your massage table may become coated in sweat and dirt, which will require immediate attention.

cleaner for your sports massage equipment

Other clients may be hesitant about getting onto a massage bed if they suspect it hasn’t been properly cleaned, so be sure to keep your customers happy and get repeat custom by making sure your workspace is clean. 

However, be aware that you should avoid using cleaners that contain high levels of alcohol, chlorine, or citrus-based ingredients. 

These disinfectants can irritate a client’s skin and even damage the vinyl coverings of your sports massage table.  

Instead, we recommend opting for a gentle cleaner in diluted water, massage table cleaning wipes or soap with hot water. 

Here are some examples of products you could use to clean your massage bed without it causing damage to the vinyl. 

#13 - Disposable Couch Roll 

disposable linen sports massage equipment

The final piece of sports massage therapist equipment to feature within our list is disposable couch rolls. 

Also commonly known as ‘hygiene rolls’, couch rolls are long strips of disposable paper towels that can be rolled out onto your massage bed.

The purpose of couch rolls is to reduce the spread of bacteria and to help create a more hygienic environment for your clients.

Many don’t consider these to be an essential piece of equipment, but in order to maintain an immaculate level of hygiene they should be implemented into your practice. 

Now, just because you may choose to cover your massage bed with a disposable couch roll does not mean you don’t need to disinfect the bed in-between clients.

Regardless of what measures are in place, it’s vital to ensure that all equipment is clean and sanitary for every client. Some clients may even be hesitant to get onto your massage bed if they suspect it’s not clean.

bed cover for your equipment sports massage therapy

A disadvantage to disposable couch rolls is that they can be uncomfortable for the client as some create a slight scratchy sensation on the skin. 

For this reason, when clients book a sports massage, it may be worth disclosing to them that your sessions use coach roll. Alternatively, you can include it as an optional feature within your consultation forms. 

Here are some disposable couch roll options for you to consider implementing into your workspace:



Become a Level 3 Personal Trainer with OriGym!

Enrol in OriGym's industry-leading Level 3 PT course!


What Sports Massage Equipment Are The Most Important?

questions about equipment for sports massage therapy

You’re likely to be wondering what sports massage equipment is considered to be most important out of this list. This question is somewhat hard to give a definitive answer too, as many are equally as important as another.

For example, you will absolutely need a massage bed to perform sports massages. This is a necessity - without it clients won’t have anywhere to lie, nor will they feel comfortable or relaxed.

Whereas choosing to opt for an alternative such as a client’s regular bed may prohibit you from gaining access to the necessary muscles that need treatment.

Remember, you’re going to need to decide whether you want a stationary or mobile massage bed, a factor which will be influenced by your particular business. 

Be sure to always do diligent research and never impulse buy, as a faulty massage bed can seriously impact your career. 

happy about your sports massage equipment

Massage mediums are also another must, given that they help to create a fluid movement when massaging your clients. They’re also beneficial for targeting deep tissue and easing tight knots, both of which are likely to be what your clients want you to alleviate. 

Antibacterial products are also essential, as you’re going to need to clean your equipment in-between sessions. 

Therefore, with just three examples we can see just how important each piece of equipment is for ensuring the entire sports massage process runs as smoothly as possible. 

The only optional pieces of equipment are additional tools and couch roll. Whilst these can enhance your client’s experience and make your job as a masseuse easier, they aren’t vital to your practice.

In short, doing equipment checks for your sports massage sessions will help you to deliver the best massages for your clients. 

Shall I Play Music When Giving Massages? 

Should I play music for sports massage therapy

Each item of sports massage equipment highlighted in this list helps to enhance a client’s experience when getting a massage. But, is there another way of making the session all the more relaxing? 

In some respects, music can be seen as another additional piece of sports massage equipment. During the session if you choose to play calming music, it may help to make the session more tranquil and enjoyable for your clients. 

You might want to consider playing light music such as piano or soft jazz, or even natural sounds like trickling water or whistling birds. 

Alternatively, your client might just prefer silence and so you could always ask them beforehand whether they’d like music or not.

Ultimately, your clients are coming to you to unwind and relax, and playing music may help to magnify these feelings.

Before You Go! 

As evident from our list, sports massage equipment fulfills different purposes. In order to ensure that you can deliver a high-quality massage, you must purchase some of these pieces for your own business. 

Before you go, remember our Personal Trainer Coursesis the perfect next step for those who are looking to advance their career and continue to develop their practical and theoretical knowledge.

You can also download our free prospectus to learn more about all of the other qualifications OriGym has to offer. 

Written by Emily Evans

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Emily studied English Language and Literature at the University of Sheffield, graduating in 2021 with a 2:1 BA honours degree. Alongside her degree, she also gained experience in student publication as Forge Press’ Lifestyle Editor and Deputy Editor for Post-Production. This is where her love for content writing stemmed from, which also led her to OriGym. Outside of her work, Emily will either be found on a long hike, at the gym or making a mess trying new healthy recipes in her kitchen!

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