August 5th 2016 marks the beginning of the Summer Olympics. Thousands of athletes from around the world will march in the opening ceremony. On the sidelines and in the gyms, you will find doctors, athletic trainers, and physical therapists ready to assist. You will also find many qualified, skilled massage therapists, ready to provide sports massage, a type of specialized bodywork tailored to the specific needs of athletes.
Sports Massage at the Olympics
Sports massage gained momentum in the 1970’s when Olympian Lasse Viren (a.k.a. “The Flying Finn”) credited his back-to-back Olympic Gold Medals to the sports massage he received between training sessions. While there are many subtypes of sports massage, the basic protocols target specific muscle groups, utilize specialized strokes, and incorporate stretching and range-of-motion exercises. The ultimate goal for sports massage is peak performance and the avoidance or reduction of injuries.
Uniquely, sports massage is segmented into pre- and/or post-event sessions (each lasting 10-30 thirty minutes). Pre-event massage prepares an athlete to compete. It warms up the muscles, stimulates the nervous system, and increases blood flow to targeted areas. Friction, vigorous compression, and tapotement are common massage strokes utilized in pre-event massage. Post-event massage, performed after the event and a cool down, soothes the athlete’s muscles and calms the central nervous system. Gentle compression, effleurage, and stretching are effective bodywork techniques frequently utilized in post-event massage to aid in an athlete’s recovery.
Whether you’re an Olympian, an aspiring Olympian, a professional, or an amateur weekend warrior, you could benefit from sports massage. If you or someone you know is looking for professional sports massage in Central Florida, ask your Take 5 Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) for advice or for a potential referral.
One of the awesome licensed massage therapists we discovered heading to the Rio Olympics is Lori-Ann Gallant-Heilborn, LMT, a four-time massage veteran of the Olympic Games. In an interview with Massage Magazine, Gallant-Heilborn stressed the importance of sports therapists knowing the muscles, muscle groups, and how to gain the desired effects from soft tissue manipulation. You can follow her journey at the 2016 Olympics at http://www.ultimate-sports-massage.com.
Lori-Ann Gallant-Heilborn, LMT Four Time Olympic Massage Therapist
Compassion fatigue is a common hazard that care-givers face and is often the result of chronic stress that accompanies care-giving. Mother Teresa once wrote to her superiors, that it was imperative that her nuns take an entire year off to allow them to restore their own health and sense of well-being after long stints of caring for others.
Characterized by waking up tired, emotional exhaustion, loss of sense of self, isolation, feeling frustrated or easily irritated, aches, pains, and illness, compassion fatigue can take weeks to surface. The path back to wellness lies in self-care: getting adequate rest, moderate exercise, healthy food, and spending time socializing with family and friends.
The Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project created a “The Caregiver’s Bill of Rights” a helpful guide to self-care and wellness for professional caregivers.
Amazing athletes show up in our massage chairs: beginners, amateurs, seasoned pros and even the top tier elite athletes! The US Olympic diving team (and their coaches) recently training in Orlando, found their way into our chairs! During the annual Arnold Palmer Invitational Golf Tournament, golfers and golf fans alike find us. And year-round, Disney Marathoners show up to relax and restore in our chairs (before or after) their races.
After all, competitive athletics and massage therapy go waaaay back – all the way to 776 BC (the Greek Olympics). Massage warms and loosens muscles before a competition and helps to reduce swelling and pain afterwards. Massage soothes the central nervous system, improves range of motion, reduces muscle fatigue and promotes healing. Today massage is highly sought out by athletes in all sports, at all levels, all over the world.
Athletes, like the rest of us, also appreciate chair massage – it’s efficient, effective, affordable, and convenient. Since chair massage relieves tension, reduces pain, relieves headaches and promotes well-being – it’s a win for athletes at any level, regardless of their goals or their outcomes.
More than you might imagine! A 2012 study at MIT discovered that driving in city traffic can be as stressful as jumping from a plane. I-4 shoots us daily through the heart of Orlando – a heavy stream of traffic moving at variable, unpredictable speeds through winding construction zones. Add tourists – or a few kids in the backseat – shake, stir and presto: the conditions favoring the “Ultimate” stress level are achieved, simply trying to get from here to there.
Commute Much? A 2012 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that the farther people commute by vehicle, the higher their blood pressure (BP) and body mass index (BMI). Since re-construction of I-4, optimistically dubbed, “I-4 Ultimate”, is scheduled to continue until 2021 (YIKES), best buckle yourself in and adjust your driving strategies to manage your speed, space and stress. Orlando, let’s pull together, survive together and (eventually) cross the finish line, alive and well!