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Massage Today
July, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 07

Sports Massage Q&A

By Michael McGillicuddy, LMT, NCTMB

This month's column addresses some questions I received recently related to sports massage. I hope you find the information helpful.

Dear Michael:

I have been reading your columns.

"The Art of Palpation" was excellent ( I often hear the same words, "How do your hands know exactly where to go?" Very exciting; it's a lot of intuition, along with good experience and training.

My question: I have been asked to be the guest speaker for an organization of runners in my area. I have worked with several of its members and some marathon runners, including one former Olympic athlete. I have only had one short course in sports massage (really, just a day) to prepare me to work as a volunteer for a 10-mile race.

I am not certified in sports massage; my specialties are deep tissue and myofascial work, with some trigger point experience. I need some ideas on where to turn for research, so my talk will target runners. They want 35-40 minutes from me, which, although I've done some public speaking, is a long time, considering I'm not specializing in their sport.

They have written about me on their Web site and also in the local sports newspaper, so they expect a good talk. Any assistance in the right direction would be so greatly appreciated.

- Karen

Dear Karen:

Three sports massage books I recommend are: Sports Massage by Jack Meagher (I like him best); Athletic Massage by Rich Phaigh; and Performance Massage by Robert King. I have never seen a sports massage book that I thought was the "bible" of sports massage. The books listed above should give you some ideas for your talk.

In order for you to feel comfortable, you need to talk from a place of experience. As a massage therapist, you already treat people: Runners are just people who run. Talk about what you do naturally. Your talk will go fast if you leave time for a few questions at the end.

Do not be afraid to say that you do not know the answer to a question. If it seems really important, you can always ask to see them after your talk. Get their name and address, look up the information and send it to them later. Most of all, remember to have fun when you are talking, because runners are usually pretty open people.

Dear Michael:

I just read "The Art of Palpation." I am interested in becoming a sports massage therapist. This is a whole new world to me. What course of study is best to take? Would a medical massage therapy program be best? After school is done - then what? Any help would be great!

- Heather

Dear Heather:

Medical massage is good. I became a sports massage therapist because playing sports was very important to me while growing up - I played every sport I could in high school. I took every sports massage workshop I could after I graduated from massage school. I learned from as many different sports massage therapists as I could find.

Each chapter of the Florida State Massage Therapy Association has its own sports massage team. I joined the team, became a sports massage team trainer and then became director of sports massage for the state association.

I encourage you to take every workshop you can, read about sports massage and volunteer to work sporting events. Most important is to enjoy working with athletes. You really should love what you do. It shows!

Click here for previous articles by Michael McGillicuddy, LMT, NCTMB.


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