I have been lucky enough to start working as soon as I joined the Honsberger team with an OHL Junior A hockey. Being part of athletics in highschool and varsity sport during post secondary education, I thought that the players would be thrilled about the addition of a Registered Massage Therapist to their therapeutic team.
Upon my first visit I found out that most of the team would only receive therapy when they sustained an injury. With this type of sport and the demands it places on the body, the amount of training required for oprtimal perforamnce, the rigerous schedule and level cometition there are bound to be injuries of course, but what if athletes did more to prevent injury.
Upon assessing one of the players, I found the level of wear and tear on his body especially towards the end of a season, leading into the play-offs was causing muscle fatigue in key areas and requiring other weaker muscles to overcompensate. We talked more about how the frequency and duration of his practices and games create stresses throughout his body. He informed me that this team is on the ice 6-7 times a week, with limited time spent mobilizing pre and post training or game play. When asking about his awarness of his body and more specifically pelvis, hips, back and legs (arguabley the most important parts of the body for hockey) and how he thinks his body will hold up will little or no self care and only seeking therapy after they injury he turned to me with a dull expression and said, “I don’t know”.
As with most competiative players in any sport they are taught to see a Physiotherapist, Massage Therapist or Athletic Trainer after they have been injured. As well, when most people hear the words Massage Therapy, they think a relaxing 60 min spa sessions, but the practice of Massage Therapy is so much more then just insence, oils and hot stones.
At Honsberger Physio+ we take a biomechanical approach to Massage Therapy that allows us to assess the whole body and not chase the pain but focus on what is causing that pain. We focus on the root cause not just the symtpoms. There HAS to be a reason for this pain, tightness, weakness or imbalance. Once we have found the dysfunction that is causing the imbalance, we focus on soft tissue release and teaching the body to balance in its natural position. We believe that in order to treat the acute symptoms you have to look at what structurally is causing these impairments. Only by realigning the body can we work to resolving the problems caused by being structurally out of line. This approach along with understanding the specific body mechanics needed in each sport or activity, is how we differ our selves from other Sports Medicine clinics.
On top of that, through 'preventative maintenaince' as we call it here at Honsberger Physio+ and home care which includes perscribed exercises and tools, we can help you improve mobility, building strength and avoid overuse which can lead to either acute injury or potentially career ending injuries!
We often revert back to the African proverb: "it takes a village to raise a child" when talking about athletes and the general publics health and well-being. It is not a sign of weakness to have a functional movement and biomechanics therapist in your corner, in fact, it is a sign of strength, hightened personal and body awareness and willingness to be the best you can be!
Written by Jordon Querino, Registered Massage Therapist