The massage therapist who didn’t give a massage
One thing I am finding out about myself as I grow into my adult life is that I don’t trust my decisions enough.
I am still learning everything there is to know about me as an adult. I knew me pretty well as a teenager, but there is nothing like belly flopping into the real world to realize that you have some reconfiguring to do.
So as I continually reconfigure, I am learning to trust my gut on certain things. I generally am right and one of the beautiful things about being an early 20’s human being is that people generally expect you to be a bull in a the china shop of life and seem to give you a “get out of jail free” pass. The only question becomes where that invisible line is that demands that pass stop, but I do not want to over think it; it would be another post anyways.
All this to say, I trusted my gut today and it was awesome.
In between shifts at work today, I drove 30 minutes only to arrive at an industrial area with no massage area in site. I called the company and was told that I was right by the location.
I located the place and walked in with the full intention of walking out hating everything except how yummy my IT bands felt after being stripped of tension and whatever else jams up my legs and causes me pain in racing season.
It even continued when I opened the door and saw a beautiful women in a Crossfitesque gym.
“How …trendy.” I thought.
It all changed when she started going over my training, my past injuries, and my racing season. She moved at my pace of appointment style: break neck speed. She knows all my past coaches and physiotherapists and she wasted no time in getting me on the table and began explaining all my injuries and stress points.
“I am a sports therapist first and a massage therapist second.” she said.
She took me on the floor and analyzed my gait, my squats and my running strides.
She then did one of the most surprising things of my massage appointment: she didn’t give me a massage. She gave me fascial stretch therapy.
What is Fascial Stretch Therapy? (source)
FST is a form of assisted stretching during which one person takes another through various stretch positions. But FST has some unique characteristics that distinguish it from other types of assisted stretching.
It is guided by ten principles:
1. Synchronize your breathing with your movement.
2. Tune your nervous system to current conditions.
3. Follow a logical anatomical order.
4. Make gains in your range of motion without pain.
5. Stretch the fascia not just the muscle.
6. Use multiple planes of movement.
7. Target the entire joint.
8. Use traction for maximal lengthening.
9. Facilitate body reflexes for optimal results.
10. Adjust your stretching to your present goals.
FST uses traction and a multi-planar stretching technique to increase a joint’s full range of motion and works in a deep to superficial muscles direction. Typical stretching does not follow this approach.
It is also very participant oriented. The participant needs to contract and relax a muscle as the therapist moves it through stretch positions. This uses the participant’s nervous to help improve the muscle response by manipulating the muscle stretch reflex.
FST follows a logical anatomical progression to work through the entire chain of muscles.
It looked something like this:
One important thing is that you must be comfortable with getting up close and personal with this type of treatment. The therapist uses their body weight to guide you through the stretches.
It was AWESOME. I immediately felt mobility return to some of my joints. My problem areas are my ankles (particularly my left side), my right IT band and my left shoulder.
The cutest thing in the world is that her and her husband own the company and they work together to get clients healthy together. They had a professional Ironman competitor who had completely mangled biomechanics and they had him riding with ease within three sessions.
I have begun a program to help prep me for my race season. Which is fabulous considering she told me that no one should be as tight as I am in off season and if I didn’t have muscle, I would be falling apart.
But I am going to be continuing with the fascial stretch therapy, having a true stride analysis done (they will be videoing me after 15 minutes of running and after 100 minutes of running and using that to correct my stride.) I am also working with the trainer to help condition me so I have corrected the things that are problem spots in my biomechanics.
You may be asking why? And that is an EXCELLENT question. I am NOT a professional athlete under any circumstances. I am at best a front of the middle pack runner. But the fact is, I want to be an (almost not mediocre) runner for the rest of my life. Which means I need to put in some of the preventative time now.
Also. My livelihood depends on me being able to move well and without injury or pain.
You may be asking who and where? I have some athlete readers and if you are local, check out KMTS Athletic. In particular, Karla McConnell.
All that to say. I have signed up for Tough Mudder in May.
And if you follow me on Instagram, you saw I started my long weekend with a wee bit of Hip Hop Pop Cardio at work.
It was a sight to behold because not only am I a white girl, but I also am 100% Mennonite.
How did you kick start your Easter weekend?