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Neurological Testing & Evidence Based Practice

Course Overview

This course forms a compulsory module only available to students undertaking the modular Level 5 Sports Massage Course.

Within this 3 day course, you will gain a understanding of neurological presentations, delving into the intricate details of various aspects crucial to clinical practice. You'll start by exploring the peripheral nerve pathways, unraveling their complexities to grasp how information is transmitted throughout the body. Through detailed study, you'll come to understand the characteristics and organisation of dermatomes, mapping out the intricate network of sensory innervation across the skin.

Furthermore, you'll delve into the characteristics of myotomes, gaining insight into the muscles innervated by specific spinal nerve roots. This comprehensive understanding will equip you to recognise and interpret common neurological presentations more effectively in clinical settings.

As you progress, you'll explore the common causes of neurological damage, ranging from traumatic injuries to degenerative conditions, broadening your diagnostic acumen. You'll also analyse common peripheral neuropathy patterns, learning to identify key clinical features that can guide differential diagnosis and treatment planning.

You'll delve into presentations that necessitate neurological testing, honing your skills in recognising red flags and indications for further assessment. By understanding the pathophysiology of common neurological injuries and soft tissue dysfunction, you'll be empowered to formulate targeted interventions that address underlying mechanisms and promote optimal recovery.

You'll also review how to find research and develop your critical thinking around Evidence Based Practice. This is to aid you in completing the requirements for the written elements of the Level 5 Sports Massage Certificate.

Progress to Level 5 Sports Massage

This course can only be taken by students wishing to complete the ITEC Level 5 Certificate in Sports Massage. Upon successful completion of all modules and examinations, students will attain the ITEC Level 5 qualification. Check out an overview of all modules of the Level 5 qualification here! or jump to each one below:

Course Syllabus

Understand Neurological Presentations including:

  • Peripheral nerve pathways
  • Characteristics and organisation of Dermatomes
  • Characteristics of Myotomes
  • Common causes of neurological damage
  • Common peripheral neuropathy patterns
  • Presentations that require neurological testing
  • Pathophysiology of common neurological injuries/soft tissue dysfunction
  • The importance of referral for neurological testing

Evidence Based Practice

You'll review how to find research and how to evaluate its eficacy. This is to aid you in completing the requirements for the written elements of the Level 5 Sports Massage Certificate which includes 2 Harvard Referenced assignments as follows: 

Assignment 1: Unit iUSP158 Conduct Complex Assessment for Sports Massage

Click here to view the assessment guidance form

Research and critically evaluate a variety of modalities to support soft tissue repair.

To include:

  • Neurological presentation
  • Sports specific posture and gait
  • The principles and practice of complex assessment methods for sports massage

Assignment 2: Unit iUSP161 Provide Complex Sports Massage Techniques for Sports Massage

Click here to read the assessment guidance form

Conduct a Review on Research Undertaken on Sports Massage/Soft Tissue Therapy

To include:

  • Critically appraise research undertaken on the use of Sports Massage
  • Draw conclusions on support for the use of Sports Massage

Assessment Criteria

Students will be assessed within the Level 5 Sports Massage coursework and examinations which is as follows:

Folder work/Evidences

After your contact days, you will complete: 

  • 15 Case Studies (5 people x 3 times)
  • Plus 14 treatments logged in consultation forms
  • 2 x assignments (Unit iUSP158 & iUSP161) - 2500 word minimum essays 


You will then return to the Academy to sit your exams (usually 3-4 months after your course):

  • "Mock" Practical Exam (2 weeks before the actual exam, for practice and tutor feedback)
  • Practical Exam, externally invigilated by ITEC

Entry Requirements

Level 4 Certificate in Sports Massage Required (or equivalent)

This is a compulsory module only available to those undertaking the Level 5 Sports Massage Certificate.

If you do not already hold a Level 4 in Sports Massage (or osteopathy, physiotherapy or sports therapy qualification), you will need to complete this prior to joining. Find out more information about the ITEC Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage here or ITEC Level 4 Certificate in Sports Massage here.

Books for Study

Not essential for studying. A nice guide to Neurological Testing and Presentations.

Neuro Notes - Clinical Pocket Guide

Why Train with Us

At the Academy, we are dedicated to providing the highest quality training in Complementary Therapies and Sports Massage, ensuring that each student attains the highest level of professional qualification. What sets us apart is our unwavering commitment to your success.

Here's why you should choose us:

1. ITEC Accredited Course: Ensuring highest quality training.

2. Guaranteed Small Group Tuition: We believe in personalised support, so our class sizes are kept small, with a maximum of 10 students per tutor. This ensures that you receive individual attention and guidance throughout your training.

3. Passionate, Experienced Tutors: Our experienced tutors are not just educators; they are industry experts committed to upholding the highest standards. You'll learn from the best in the field.

4. Free Thursday Evening Support: Your learning journey doesn't end when you're qualified. We offer free Thursday in person evening support, available both during your training and after you've earned your certification. We're here to assist you every step of the way.

5. A Positive, Inclusive Learning Environment: Our academy provides a fun and friendly atmosphere where you can immerse yourself in your studies and connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion for complementary therapies.

6. Exclusive student TOTUM Card Eligibility: All our courses qualify you to apply for a TOTUM card, granting you access to discounts and savings at various retailers, making your educational journey even more cost-effective.

7. Ongoing Industry Support: We are committed to your success as a qualified therapist. Beyond your training, we offer free talks on setting up your own practice, provide access to exclusive Facebook groups with job opportunities, and maintain regular contact with your dedicated tutor. We're here to support your journey into the industry.

When you choose the Academy, you're not just choosing a training college; you're choosing a pathway to a successful and fulfilling career in Complementary Therapies. Join us today and embark on a journey of knowledge, growth, and achievement.

About Your Tutor(s)

Adrian Edwards

L5 Sports Massage Tutor

Adrian (Ady) is our Level 5 sports massage tutor.  He began his career in the Royal Navy and qualified as a personal trainer and sports massage therapist on leaving.  He was a sports massage therapy lecturer for Premier Training for a number of years and worked in professional rugby with the Cornish Pirates as Team Manager and Head Therapist for many years, then as Head Coach and Director of Rugby with Redruth RFC.  From 2009 he delivered the Level 2 Gym Instructor course to sixth-formers at Redruth Academy as well as taking on the role of pastoral leader for students throughout the school.  From 2009-2011 Ady delivered Sports Massage courses to graduate physiotherapists at Southampton University and is a senior tutor at the OSSM deliverying the Level 5 sports qualification.

Throughout his career Ady has continued to see his own patients, either from his home practice or at local clinics, and has made a considerable voluntary contribution within his local community assisting rowing teams and school rugby teams in strength and conditioning and soft tissue therapy treatments


I attended the Level 3 Sports Massage course at the Academy in July 2021. I really enjoyed my time learning with Chris and I hope to keep in contact and attend the Thursday evening sessions to further my learning.

The classroom learning was very intimate and perfect for both people with no experience in sports massage and for those who have been in the industry for years.

After working through the course I feel confident with my understanding and skills to deliver a professional and competent treatment, this is reflective of the high standard of teaching at the Academy.

I would like to thank the staff for all their help both in the class room and through the online learning support platform.

Henry Trinder- Sports Massage | July 2021

Really professional outfit. High quality level of instruction and a huge number of useful resources on the website. When I first signed up, I was called by a tutor asking if I needed anything and giving me a number to call if I ever needed support. Admin side of the shop is swept-up too - any issues dealt with swiftly.  Despite imposition of restrictive covid safety measures, they have adapted well and cracked on. Highly recommended organisation for any service leaver. 

James - Sports Massage | Sept 2020

I found the Cotswold Academy team incredibly supportive and very knowledgeable and continue to provide support after the course is completed to help develop knowledge and understanding further in my chosen subject and provide a point of contact to help with an future issues or questions, I would highly recommend them as a provider for anyone looking for a change of career after leaving the army. I feel the course tutors went above and beyond what was required of them.

— Michelle Hordern- L3 Sports Massage | January 2019

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