Nov 3, 2017

Posted by in School of Massage Therapy | 0 Comments

Modality: Sports Massage

As part of my education at CNWSMT, we were able to get little samples of different massage modalities that we might want to eventually go on to specialize in. There is so much you can do with massage, and so many different routes you can take, that having these snippets in the program has really been a benefit to figuring out where you want to go with your own practice. The modalities we were able to sample were:

  • Sports Massage
  • Chair Massage
  • Polarity
  • Myofascial Release (MFR)
  • Craniosacral Therapy (CST)
  • Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT)
  • Forearm Massage
  • Gentle Massage

Sports massage is a huge modality, but we only covered how to handle massage at an event. So this is the massage you receive either right before you do a sporting event, or right after you finish; at that nice massage tent full of LMTs (or students in our case) waiting to take care of you. Here in NYS, a massage therapist is considered to be part of medical staff, so we actually hold a little weight (not nearly as much as the actual medical tent, obviously), and are often located right next to first-aid full of medics.

For this class we took everything we learned in FOM, and we sped it up. So we were taught how to take a one-hour massage, and condense it down into no more than ten minutes. That’s insanity! You will be hot and sweaty, and it is absolutely a cardio workout for the massage therapist. Event massage is not meant to fix everything though, it’s meant to help the athlete in the moment, so that they have less aches-and-pains the next day. To really work out the kinks though, they’d have to see someone that specializes in sports massage as a whole, and go see them for what’s considered maintenance massage. That’s when the kinks would really be addressed, as well as any sprains or strains (to aid in healing by keeping the injury from limiting range-of-motion or to reduce swelling, among other things).

Our class, personally, had a bit of a hiccup. We were on-track to being one of the few classes that got to do more than the rest because we were focused and attentive, but the main teacher had a vacation for the last three of the six classes we had in this. The pass-off to a secondary teacher didn’t go smoothly, and because of that it felt like the class just wasn’t clear or concise, and for many of us it sat poorly. That’s not to say we didn’t learn anything, we just felt that we hadn’t gotten the true extent of what we should have.

In this class, in addition to learning about event massage, we were instructed in pin-and-stretch techniques (basics), hydrotherapy (use of heat or ice for injuries), working with a hydroculator, cramp management, and recognizing athletes at events who need immediate medical attention (specifically hyponatremia (water intoxication and a lack of electrolytes, can be fatal), hypothermia, and injuries).

As part of our curriculum, we were required to volunteer at one sporting event of the school’s choice, to actually get experience at sporting events. In addition, we had the option to volunteer at Ironman Lake Placid (which counted toward clinic hours). Being the crazy person I am, I did volunteer at Ironman Lake Placid, and it was AMAZING. It was a long day between the 3hr drive there, 10hrs at the event itself, and then the 3hr drive home (on a Sunday, before school the next day), but it was so worth it. The level of athletes that come out for an Ironman are incredible, and there is no way to truly describe how awe-inspiring it was to be a part of that. Having done it once, even though I’m really not into sports massage as a whole, I definitely am considering volunteering again at Ironman Lake Placid since it was just so amazing.

The actual sporting event I did, the Mohawk Hudson Marathon, was very lack-luster compared to Ironman, but that’s just how it goes I suppose. After all, the level of athlete was not nearly as high in most cases as it was for Ironman, and that’s okay. Not everyone can do an Ironman. Despite that, it was still a good time meeting people and congratulating them on their accomplishment. Unlike Ironman, the people who participated in the Mohawk Hudson Marathon were local to my area, so they were people that I could potentially see in my practice in the future (though I couldn’t advertise as such since I’m not an LMT yet). Instead, we were able to get them interested in the school clinic, which could then give someone else a chance to practice some sports massage maintenance.

Of everything we learned in this class, I know I will be using cramp management in my work. It’s evident, because that knowledge has already come in handy several times for me. I have a lot of friends and family who do some physically intensive things, and cramps are common among them (though minor compared to what I saw at sporting events). I was even able to pass the knowledge onto a friend who has a child that suffers from severe cramps due to a weird growth thing (bones are outpacing the muscles or something, I forget the details), and is woken up screaming in the night in pain from them. I’m always happy when I can help with things, so I was grateful I could impart this knowledge on the parents. Hoping it was helpful to them, haven’t had a chance to ask.

Overall though, sports massage is not my thing. I wasn’t terribly excited going into the class, and in the end I at least knew for sure that this would not be the direction I went in with my practice.

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