The Best Schedule for Injury Care

Massage for injury rehabWhen clients come in with an injury that stops them from playing their sport, they usually want to know when they will be 100%.  And they usually hope you can tell them.  They want anyone to tell them.

They know their body pretty well, and they know how severe or mild their own injury is, so the answer or words they are really hoping to hear is for someone to tell them “out loud” what they are thinking to themselves.

“Oh, this is terrible.  Just terrible.  You are out for 6 weeks or 12 weeks.  Then you’ll be right back where you were before you got hurt.”

We wish it were that easy to know the future of when and/or how fast or slow someone will get back to 100%.

But it’s not that easy.  Every human body is different.  Every injury is different.  Every athlete is different and has unique styles of discipline, rest, recovery, diet, positive self-talk, etc.

Even the exact same doctor performing the exact same ACL replacement has different outcomes.  A different muscle tone before the surgery, different muscle imbalances that probably caused the ACL tear in the first place, etc, etc.

So, when helping athletes, put yourself in their shoes.  Consider their fear of NEVER playing their sport again.  Even with a simple injury, THIS is their main concern.

This is the schedule I usually try for acute injuries: (not the plan for post-surgery)

  • First Session: 1 hour in length, massage with assessment, ice, ice massage, stretches if indicated, refer to doctor if indicated.  You are looking for the specific muscle affected, how hot/swollen it is, is it even safe for you to work on them. After isolating the problem area, assess how much pressure they can handle, how strong of a contraction if any can they make, how much stretching of the area can they handle. Ice the area, and ice massage if tolerated.
  • Next Day, Day 2: 30 minutes in length, quick massage with assessment, ice massage, stretches
  • Next Day, Day 3: 30 minutes, same as yesterday
  • Two Days later, and every 2 days for 2 weeks: 30 minutes, same treatment plan using more pressure as tolerated, adding more stretching as tolerated.  If you are also a personal trainer, add strengthening as tolerated. Start assessing why the injured area is possibly out of balance.  If injury does not improve, or keeps coming back with little activity, send them to a doctor
  • 7 & 14 days after first session: 1 hour in length (in the middle of the 30 min/every other day schedule), massage with assessment, use more pressure as tolerated, ice massage, stretches and start adding opposite areas.  Always check in with the athlete about their workout schedule and how they are feeling, are they back to regular workouts? How is the pain right after the massage? When do they feel best? Worst? What are they doing themselves to help heal? You are looking for the swelling to go down, the heat in the affected area to go away, the pain to go away with pressure and then with action of that muscle, and lastly no pain with both.
  • Next twice per week @ 30 minutes or 1 @ 60 minutes, if they are still hurting, or this is a more serious injury that will take more time, pull back to 2-30 minutes or 1 60 minute session per week, depending on their availability and yours.  Be consistent & show them their progress.

Hope this helps.

 

Making a Good Impression in Your Massage Interview

Make a good first impression

Make a good first impression

So, you would like to work as a Massage Therapist in a certain place you have seen or found to need massage help?  They don’t need a resume, but are requesting an initial interview to see if you are a match.

Great!  Now you can prepare and show your best professionalism. Before you go in for your massage interview, do some research on the company you are interviewing with.  Also, do some brainstorming: do an honest self-assesment, make a list and be clear about  what your needs are:

      • What days can you work?
      • How many massage sessions are you willing to do in one day?
      • How much time between sessions do you need?
      • What type of clients do you/don’t you want to work on?
      • Why do you want to work in this particular place?
      • What are your favorite modalities?
      • What are you strengths & weaknesses?
      • Are you a team player or do you work better alone?
      • Do you want/need to be in charge?

Make your best first impression for your massage interview.  It can be a make or break of getting a job you really want.  Basic interview do’s:

  • Be on time
  • Look professional: smell nice, have good “massage friendly” clothes on
  • Wear shoes
  • Cover your underarms
  • Have your nails clipped and clean
  • Use a friendly greeting, look them in the eye and smile
  • Be yourself
  • Be honest
  • Show good manners
  • Stay positive
  • Have your resume with you or emailed ahead
  • Know their business, do your research, know why you want to work there, express that
  • Sit with good posture with both feet on the ground
  • Breathe

What NOT to do in an interview, especially for a Massage Therapist: (all of these have happened to us in an interview through the years! Shocking!)

  • Show up late
  • Come barefoot
  • Brag
  • Be confrontational
  • Wear revealing clothing, no bra, tank tops, no shoes, flip flops, sandals, or heavy perfume
  • Talk nervously without stopping
  • Show up stoned or drunk
  • Ask simple questions about their business, know ahead of time…why are you interviewing here?
  • Bring others with you to the interview
  • Bring food to eat during the interview
  • Bring pets with you to the interview
  • Tap your fingers or feet
  • Chew gum
  • Say negative statements about the place you are interviewing with

Good luck!

Massage is Great for Soccer

Soccer Ball

Soccer is a rough sport, causing many bruises and sore muscles.  Bruises can be worked out with massage, either from a massage therapist, or by yourself.  Check out the article “Self Care of Bruises” in another article.

Soccer players use many specific muscles for shooting or different types of kicks that can leave the body sore and tired.

You, as a soccer player, use your lower back to extend (lift) your leg behind you in order to kick or shoot.  The higher your leg, the more of your muscle is working.  On the flip side, the front of your body needs to balance you and stabilize your leg.

Massage for Soccer Players is great for this reason: it pinpoints those areas that sometimes won’t relax after practice or a game/tournament. Our goal is to ease the pain of the bruises and relax the areas of powerful  spurts, ie. your legs, back, glutes and neck.  Deep massage on these areas can really give you relief.  And, not only does massage help the body heal 50% faster than rest alone, it can get you back to playing your hardest faster as well.

Stretching and massaging the front of the body are usually the key for allowing the back and legs to relax.  The front stomach and hip flexor muscles are usually over worked on most soccer players, and the front muscles being tight will keep the low back and glutes tight.

If you are pressed for time, or you just can’t get a massage therapist, then stretching is the next best thing…besides a week of rest.

Stretching forward to relieve your back pain is one way, but we suggest also stretching your abs, your psoas major and all your hip flexors along with your rectus abdominus and obliques.

Check out the “Rainbow Stretch” in the stretching section of our website or “My Favorite Stretch” in the blog articles.  This is one of the best stretches for soccer players.

Unwinding Really Works

I was reminded today, of how far I’ve come in my openness to treating the body, as my intern, Jordan, helped with a massage where we used “unwinding” of the neck. This slow, gentle technique is amazing…and took years to learn for my ADD type personality.

During massage school and for the first 500-1000 massages, I didn’t believe certain modalities (types of massage) really worked or mattered to learn. A few of the modalities I’m referring to are: Polarity, Reflexology, Cranio Sacral Therapy, etc. Anything I considered “non-sports massage” or “non-deep tissue” were dead to me. I would sleep during these classes. Phew on you, “non-massage” techniques!”

These modalities are often referred to as “Energy Work”.

I was a muscle person; I only wanted to learn about the muscles and how to help or manipulate muscle tissue with a firm grip. “Energy Work” was boring, useless and Woo-Woo. Massage Therapy has a stigma of having irresponsible, “Woo-woo” type people involved, and I was trying to fly very straight and narrow.

The clients I attracted and attract today are of similar thinking, and we understand each other when we discuss pain and problems in the body.

But, interesting “coincidence” started happening in my first year as a Massage Therapist: Deep Tissue work and Sports Massage were not helping all the issues coming into my office.

It turned out that muscles were sometimes responding to a lighter touch, a slight stretch or just being still. I was shocked with the results that came from presenting something “Calm” to tight muscles. Soon, I realized how naive I had been in school and arrogant to assume so much about the amazing machine our bodies are.

I went back to my school and sat in every “Energy Work” class I could fit into my schedule and received treatments from many therapists across Albuquerque, Santa Fe and San Diego (where my family lives)

Through the years, I have incorporated many “Energy Work” techniques into all of my Sports Massage or Deep Tissue work. The conversations with my clients changed to be more open to stillness, less pressure, slow movements and deep breathing. It turned out that some of my most type “A” clients, top athletes, real “go-getters” benefited the most from adding these techniques into their treatments…and they were also the most resistant. I walked them through the uncomfortable feeling of “stillness”, even when they were about to blow up at me. Each time, it turned out great, and we learned to communicate better…calmly.

I still feel like a kindergarten-er, learning new ways to help each different body feel better, run faster, punch harder, recover quicker. But mostly, I realize the importance of Calm…