Triathlete turned to massage to heal her shoulder September 10, 2015 09:36

She knew the minute it happened that something was seriously wrong. Lifting weights in moderation as part of her workout routine had never caused a problem, until that day when she felt the strain in her shoulder. 

For Cathy* (not her real name), a triathlete who has trained in Davis and Wasatch counties for years and has been a self-described “gym rat” for more than two decades, she feared the worst. Whatever happened that made her left shoulder suddenly feel weak and “useless” caused her to fear that it would never get better without medication and perhaps major surgery. 

Then she discovered therapeutic massage. In her case, within just a few months, her shoulder was back to normal. She’s had no problems since.

Just as there are many types of injuries, there are many kinds of therapies and remedies that can be employed to help them heal. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and individuals need to decide for themselves if they should consult a doctor. In Cathy’s case, she wanted to try massage first.

“For specific kinds of injuries, it’s often a repetitive action that has caused the problem,” said Sarah Daniels, owner and massage therapist. “I’ve worked alongside many medical practitioners for the past 15 years to better assist in the healing and well-being of my clients. It starts with listening to them, really hearing what their particular problem or injury is, and then customizing a massage program for their individual needs. That personal relationship helps them also get to know their own bodies better.”

Daniels said that often, if an athlete has had a previous surgery, scar tissue can cause problems with performance and mobility. Cathy found from her experience that repetitive workouts, without giving the body some “time off,” was just as harmful as lifting too much weight or working out too vigorously. 

“When something isn’t right, when a client feels something’s off a bit, they generally have a pretty good idea where the problem lies,” Daniels said. “It can happen to someone who works out, plays tennis or golf, or simply walks around their neighborhood or even their office. And I have clients ranging in age from grade school to seniors. There are many ways a therapeutic massage program can help them.”

She tells of one client who had served in World War II, had survived more than one traffic accident in his life but who had never seen a doctor about his back problems. With age, he developed a hunched back, but came to Daniels to see if he could get some relieve from his pain.

“He loved the treatment he got without medication,” she said. “He tells me his back feels much better, and he seems to be walking a little taller now.”

“I can’t say that everyone would benefit from massage like I did,” Cathy said. “But I didn’t want to be on a lot of medication or have surgery unless it was absolutely necessary. This worked for me.”

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