Sports Massage Therapist Profile – Tommy

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Sports Massage Therapist Profile – Tommy

Tommy isn’t a new face at all, in fact he’s been a part of the Body Mechanics team for over 4 years! He’s treated hundreds of clients, many of whom trust him to maintain their health on a regular basis, but we still wanted to dig in and find some tidbits about Tommy that no one would know. Here’s what we learned!

What’s your history with sports? Do you compete? Train? Maybe just watch?

Tommy – From the ages of 4 – 10, I practiced Martial Arts. As I got older I gave up on Martial Arts to focus on playing football, baseball & lacrosse during high school. After high school, I became fascinated with bodybuilding. I had abs for the first time in my life! But…I still couldn’t lift my own body weight in a pull-up.

My goal became to be able to do 10 perfect pull-ups which lead me down the rabbit hole of bodyweight training. Before the pandemic I had just started practicing Jiu Jitsu and really enjoyed it. I would love to go back when I feel it is safe to do so.

Can you share one experience, as someone who knows their body and is active, that has greatly impacted your massage

Tommy Over the past few years I have overused my body so much. I have developed and sometimes gotten rid of many of the same symptoms my clients complain of. I’m currently dealing with a chronic pain in my shoulder. It isn’t so bad that it affects my work but I have to be mindful of not letting it rest.

What is your best uh oh story? A time you really messed something up with your body.

TommyWhen I first started Jiu Jitsu I had a sparring session where I was put into a choke hold and restraint. I was trying to escape a move and twisted my torso really hard, which my opponent squeezed his legs and arms around me even harder. I bruised my rib and had to work through that pain for a month!

If you could try any sport/or amazing physical activity what would it be?

TommyGymnastics, Olympic Lifting, & MMA

How did you get into sports massage? 

TommyI was going to school for acupuncture. My teacher at the time was an acupuncturist and a massage therapist. She suggested I get licensed in massage therapy first. I fell in love with massage therapy and completely lost my interest in becoming an Acupuncturist.

Are there any athletes you would love to work on? 

Tommy – I enjoy working on all athletes. None specifically!

What sets your sports massage apart from anyone else?

Tommy – My ability to understand my clients experience as my own. Since I have had and still get some of the issues my clients come in with I tailor my techniques using educated, experienced empathy.

What are your favorite kinds of people to treat and why?

Tommy – Anyone who needs my help! I like to teach people to help themselves after I treat them. People think they have to do big expensive things to feel better but there is a lot of knowledge out there that can teach people to help themselves. I guide everyone I can to that info.

Who is your favorite person who works in pain science? (doctor, personality on youtube or insta, website?) 

Tommy – One of our own therapists at Body Mechanics, Matt Danzinger. Sometimes the big people in the field are less reachable and sometimes even unpractical. Matt and I work in the exact same environment. Our interpretations of an issue come from a similar starting point, as opposed to where maybe a physical therapist or chiropractor would need to approach something. Even if we disagree on something we are speaking the same language. Our conversations and analysis have facilitated my growth at a much faster rate then my other work environments.

Are there any oddball facts we do not know about you that we should? 

Tommy – When I was younger, I used to believe Coffee was a scam! Hahaha! How could that smelly brown liquid make you stay awake?

Medical Massage Therapist Profile – Erika

We welcome Medical Massage Therapist Erika to the Body Mechanics team! She gave us some insights into her life, passions and hobbies. Take a read to get to know her a little better!

What is your clinical/career background and what drew you to medical massage?

Before becoming an LMT I worked with physical therapists and chiropractors. The work I assisted them with was mostly trigger point and myofascial release. 

What drew me to medical massage was being able to see a client progress and become healthier and stronger as I work with them. I love setting a goal with someone, focusing and forming a plan of attack with them, seeing them work harder and finally achieving that goal.

LMT Medical Massage Therpist at Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage
Medical Massage Therapist Erika Rossell

How long have you been practicing medical massage?

2 years. This is a new career path for me but I take it very seriously. All of my jobs as an adult have been a way for me to make someone’s life better, but  before now I did as an entertainer. I brought joy and brightness to them. Now I can help people by healing them with my own hands.

Can you share one experience that has greatly impacted your massage?

I treated a first time client who had been finding no comfort for her low back pain. She was mentally groggy from the heavy amount of  prescribed pain medication she needed to function, tried physical therapy, acupuncture, and reiki. None had brought her relief. She started to book after one session on a bi weekly basis and told me that massages with me were the only treatment that brought her any relief. I was so grateful to be able to help her.

What is your best “Uh-oh!” story? A time you really messed something up with your body, that helped inform your medical massage technique.

My Uh-oh story isn’t actually about my own mistake! One time I went to get a massage and the person I saw performed traction on my finger a little too hard and it was hurting for 2 weeks after! That experience reminded me that you really have to be proactive and check in with a client. It also made me understand how important it  is to grasp and respect the limits of the body

What are your favorite kinds of people to work on and why?

People that have a genuine interest in learning about their body and healing it through their own effort. I love people who are as eager to learn about their body as I was when I started to go to school for medical massage. People who are engaged and want to learn how they can help themselves and want to know why I chose the style of work I did. I love the conversation when people are interested in learning more and getting stronger.

If you could try any sport or attend a special event what would it be?

 Don’t know so much about history but I would love to work on some top ranking champion surfers!

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage Erika Rossell
Erika breathing fire

Are there any oddball facts we do not know about you that you’d like to share?

Plenty! I’m a retired dancer. I’m also a retired circus performer. I know how to eat and breathe fire. I know how to swallow a sharp sword. I surfed when I was a kid growing up in Florida. Bonus fact: my mother is a Florida LMT going on 36 years. 🙂

What sets your medical massage apart from anyone else?

I become invested in how that client feels. I care deeply about their pain. I’m a newer massage therapist but I’m highly experienced in pain and recovery being an injury sufferer and a retired dancer. I understand how restricting and inhibiting injury can be to somebody’s everyday life and I work my hardest to find the problem and get them past it.

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Can Massage Therapy Help My Lower Back Pain?

Can Massage Therapy Help My Lower Back Pain?

Can massage therapy help my pain? The answer to this question is more complicated than you would think. Massage Therapy research is all over the map. For starters, there are some inherent conflicts with the studies because people LIKE massages. And people are more likely to choose massage over another treatment that they do not like, even if something else could be more effective.

Back Pain is Common

To examine how others have answered the question, let’s start by taking a look at lower back pain in general. Did you know it is normal to have some pain sometimes? Lower back pain is the 2nd most common cause of disability in the USA and a surprisingly common cause of missed work. 80% of Americans will have an episode of low back pain in their lifetime. So you are not alone if your back is feeling achy and sad. 

Back Pain is Often Non-Spesific

Medical professionals are historically bad at treating lower back pain. You might have experience with a doctor suggesting a list of seemingly unrelated treatments for your pain, like throwing a dart at a target with their eyes closed, hoping for a bullseye. That may be because the WHO lists that 60-70% of back pain is “Non-specific,” meaning the cause is unknown. cause.  If we do not know what the cause is, planning the treatment becomes extremely difficult. The National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke lists about 30 different possible causes and contributing factors to back pain alone. 

Research is Complicated and Low Quality

To complicate matters, though massage has excellent research supporting the treatments of both depression and anxiety, the research is rather underwhelming in the area of back pain. Instead, movement is often the recommended treatment. However, massage can incorporate things that are not massage; On table exercise, stretching, mobilizations, and resistance might also be included in your message. So the research that measures the effectiveness of just massages on back pain, isn’t really accurate when a therapist is including these other treatments to help you recover.

Body Mechanics Sports Massage Therapist Matt performing a lower back massage NYC
Sports Massage Therapist Matt massaging a client’s back. Photo credit Adam Ninyo

Pain is Complicated

Muddying the matter further, pain in your back may not solely be caused by an injury. Going back to that WHO the number of 60-70% of back pain being nonspecific, many of us have back pain that chronically exists and isn’t a reaction to a movement or standing or bending. Pain is generated for a number of reasons, the number one being to protect you. Your nervous system takes into a number of variables such as your medical history, your environment, your mental state, your sensitivity, your general physical health and more, before it generates pain as a warning. 

So how do you know if massage is for you and your  back pain?

It is a hard question. I suggest you ask yourself the following:

Massage therapist treating low back pain

  1. Is it safe? I recommend having a diagnosis from a doctor and being out of the range of acute pain before coming in. Even when the diagnosis is “non-specific back pain,” it’s important to rule out other injury as the culprit. Being able to lay still and be touched for the duration of the massage is important, so if your back is too sensitive to touch, wait a day or two.
  2. Am I seeking an alternative route of pain management? When natural and over-the-counter options aren’t up to the task, massage can be a powerful ally in pain mitigation.
  3. Do I like it? If you enjoy being touched and it makes you feel safe, that can be advantageous. Our mental well-being affects the physical, so the boost from treating yourself and the physical connection of massage could help with your pain.
  4. Am I using it in addition with another rehab? If you are in physical therapy, massage can loosen up tight muscles and make a big difference in increasing ease of movement.
  5. Am I additionally stressed or depressed? If you’re burning the candle at both ends or in a stressful time, massage might really help. The trauma of being injured itself can be very stressful and so managing that can be a huge boost to recovery.
  6. Has massage worked for me before? If you have a history of massage working for you it is a good bet that it will work again!

If you answered yes to a few of those questions, then massage therapy might be a great choice for you and your back pain. Check out our booking options for medical massage to see if is right for you:) 

Stay tuned for our next blog on what goes into a good massage for back pain.

Back Pain & Knee Pain: Body Mechanics’ Orthopedic Study Corner

Our second look at recent studies and findings in the world of body and movement science!

massage therapist matt

Welcome back to Body Mechanics Study Corner where we do all the research so you don’t have to! Actually, Matt does all the research. Normally he does this to satiate his own thirst for knowledge and drive to learn any findings that could make him a better massage therapist, but once again we are offering up the fruits of his labor up to you all. We hope you find it enlightening and interesting.

Reads

What are the Major Contributing Factors to Osteoarthritis Knee Pain?

Many people suffer with knee pain and many people are given a list of different things that could be causing that pain. Todd Hargrove, of Physio Network, sought out to get to the bottom at the issue and find the real root of the issue.  He analyzed a study comparing general health workshops, high load strength training, and low load strength training for people with knee osteoarthritis, to see which method produced the most relief. Interestingly, he found that all three methodologies produced about the same amount of results, meaning the most important factor was the work being something the person would actually do consistently. These findings debunk the notions of “wear and tear” being the vague, inevitable, problem causing these osteoarthritis knee issues. 

Videos

Pinpointing Pain Along the Scapula

In the video above, physical therapist Marc Surdyka DPT discusses why most pain felt along the medial border of the scapula is actually referred from the structures of the neck. Without addressing habitually poor conditions such as sleep quantity and quality, and a lack of breaks when sitting for a long time, chronic shoulder pain will return no matter how much you roll your back out and stretch.

Interview with Dr. Mark Laslett on SI Joint Pain

This is a long one, but if you’re interested in Sacroiliac Joint pain then this is the video for you! Sports therapist Matt Phillips interviews Mark Laslett PT PhD about all things SI joint pain. Dr. Laslett is a true giant in the world of musculoskeletal physiotherapy, with over 50 years of experience as both a treating clinician and research scientist. Dr Laslett discusses the extra joint pain women feel when pregnant and theorizes that the cause of SI joint pain may, in fact, be chemical and not physical!

Research

What’s Really Helping Our Back Pain After Exercise

Working out and getting a massage to address your lower back issues are a surefire path to pain relief, right? Maybe not! This systematic review examined 16 studies to see if the reason exercise therapy really improves pain and disability levels in people. Surprisingly, the takeaway here is that brain functions and psychological health may have a bigger impact on chronic back pain, than regular exercise.

Bdy Mechanics Sports Massage Therapist showing cow pose for home care back pain presentation

Will Clients Do Their Homework?

Home-care is an important part of healing and strengthening. But what can we, as massage therapists, do to get clients to actually do the work at home? A study found at the National Library of Medicine tracked the progress of over a hundred military service people in physical therapy. It found that the recovering clients who had 4 or more exercises were far less likely to complete their at home work than the ones who were given only 2. From this, healthcare providers can see that it’s more important to be practical with a client’s home care notes, instead of giving them a long regimen of all the most effective exercises.  

Thanks for reading! Use the comments below to let us know what findings you found most interesting or if you have a contradictory idea about anything here. Also, let us know if you want to see a certain theory researched or explained in our next post.

BERET’S REVIEW OF ROCKTAPE FMT ROCKPODS ONLINE CUPPING CLASS

What are RockTape and RockPods?

cupping class rockpods

This is a fantastic place to start as not everyone is familiar with RockTape or the products that go along with them. RockTape is a trademarked brand that came out of the whole kenisio tape popularity. Their particular tape is mostly targeted to athletes, specifically for CrossFit. I do not want to get into the discussion here on if keniso tape works or not but I will say, if I want to tape, I really like RockTape best, as it is very sticky (especially their H2O version) and it is made for people who sweat rather unlike the clinical tape. I use it with my sports massage patients and clients.

Over the years, they have come out with several other products and changed from just a taping company into what they say is a movement company, and have many products and classes that fall under that umbrella. There are topical analgesics and warmers, stretching bands, compression movement gear, rollers, and more. For this, we are looking at their version of cupping, which they call “RockPods.”

What was the cupping class?

So the class I took was RockPods, it was a one-day, 6-hour cupping class. It is actually part of a series of a 2-day event that included another product called RockFloss. I took this during the pandemic, so it was entirely online. I used this class for my NYS LMT Continuing Education Credit – or CEU. The class covered the history of cupping, decompression, research around cupping, treatment considerations, exposure therapy, cupping techniques, and thinking out of the box. Our teacher was a CrossFitter named Jen Deiter. This class had a wide range of students, including LMT’s, Physios, Chiros and trainers. I think the broad spectrum of professionals that were in the class shows the usefulness of cupping when done correctly.

After a brief tour of the history of cupping, we went into what RockTape is selling. I want to note this class was not about Wet Cupping or cups you can slide across the body for fascia work. The “pods,” as they call them, are really made for a static application. Which brings me to my next point, how was it to take a manual class online? Well, since you asked…it was actually fine! Since these cups are not about creating drag, there is no single treatment routine that you have to memorize. You practice putting the cups on and taking them off, and the main takeaway from the class is to think of possible uses for that kind of application. This was another benefit of having many kinds of professionals in the class. Each one explained how they might adapt the “Pods” to their own work. Massage therapists might use standard cupping while PTs might focus on more proprioceptive uses.

We learned 3 suction techniques to apply these cups during the class. You can practice attaching the cups to any available part of your body on your own, other than your mid-back. So we spent a portion of the time going body part by body part and exploring what it felt like. The cups are, in general, easy to use and feel pretty good. They get the job done. It is something I could certainly use in treatment for people who like that pulling sensation.

The rest of the class was more about theories and different applications of cupping than manual massage techniques. They theorized what cupping does decompression-wise on the client. By “decompression,” I mean suctioning the skin up into the cup so that it creates lift across the skin. So we would watch a demonstration via video of that usage and have a little discussion and feedback on it. If you are not a manual therapist, this is where things get more interesting for you, as this is the portion where RockTape has tried to approach cupping as more of a modern science-based solution. They spoke about the benefits in general of decompression, ways to use the cups in more of a proprioception re-education capacity, and desensitization (for pain). These ideas are outside the scope of the traditional cupping framework and they are how RockTape moves into their rebranding as a movement company.

What did I think of the cupping class?

owner and massage therapistof Body Mechanics Massage LMT Beret Loncar
Owner Beret Loncar

I always keep in mind, as a science-informed practitioner, that I will never be 100% satisfied with all manual classes. As far as a treatment, cupping is fairly passive so it falls on the lower end of the value in the intervention spectrum. But as you can definitely apply these by yourself, there is the option to give these tools to a patient to give them a sense of autonomy. Self-treating without being dependent on a therapist is a big plus. If it gives ongoing relief the client can do it whenever they have time and gives them a mental boost to be able to help themselves.

I am also a big fan of mixed-level classes. Having many kinds of professionals in a class adds a lot of value for me. Our health and wellness system has a lot of unwellness in it, and some of that can be healed through respect, collaboration, as well as access to better information. Kudos to RockTape for going jumping through all the hoops to make this class-compliant to Massage CEU requirements. They are a pain in the ass and many companies don’t bother.

I would still love a pod that I can slide, as some people like that sensation. I get that this is not the function of their product so I am not going to get it, but it feels a little limiting. These are tools that are primarily used to treat a “feeling” by creating another feeling, so why not give me all the options!?

The teacher, Jen, certainly knew the product and her way around the body. Since I do a lot of sports massage, I got on with her sporty vibe very well. She presented the material well. She did not overly focus on or push CrossFit or herself, which I deeply appreciate. We do not take courses to give people platforms to push personal agendas.

As far as being online, this course translated very well. It was an easy, fast-moving, way to look at cupping in a number of different ways. I think some other manual courses probably do not lend well to online teaching. This class moved back and forth between lecture and demo so it was paced pretty well.

RockTape is a company with a product – they are not a research company. They don’t have millions of dollars to pour into scientific research, but they took the time and made a genuine effort to make a real case for the benefits of RockPods. They have invested in some research on the lift aspect, although it is not quantifiable and they did make an effort to find some supporting research. Because it is a product, it is a little reverse engineered, the research does not necessarily lead to an endorsement, and we know there is a great body of research that supports a move towards more active interventions. RockPods counter to that would be that their suggested uses require movement and or proprioception.

Still, they had a knowledgeable teacher speak from a place of authority and had people from different professions give various applications for the products. So I would definitely suggest attending it if you’re interested in sports therapies, we are treating humans, not data. Let’s face it, I am a manual therapist in a manual therapy class, so there is that:)

If you are interested in cupping as a modality and just want to dip a toe in, I would give this online course a go. Keep in mind you will need to take another class if you want to learn a full cupping routine. To check out some of our other CEU reviews you can look at Walt Fritz’s Myofascial release seminar.

Sports Massage Therapist Profile – Emanuel

Body Mechanics welcomes new Sports Massage Therapist Emanuel to the team! With experience in martial arts, sports, and training, Emanuel has many sources of knowledge to pull from when taking on a client! We spoke with him to get to know him a little better.

What is your background in sports? Do you train? Participate? Watch?

Emanuel – My background in sports is a diverse one. I have played football for years, was on my high school track team, and I practice several forms of martial arts. I am not competing in anything as of yet but never say never! There may be a future where I step up my training and can join another team, but for now my focus is on sports massage.

How long have you been training?

Emanuel – I’ve been training my body in one way or another since I was a teen. Practice between games, runs in the morning before school and on the weekend, with regular gym days in between. as well. Exercise is very much an important part of me. I make sure I train no less than 3 times a week keep my mind and my body sharp.

Keeping his training schedule helped keep Emanuel sane during quarintine

Can you share one experience, as a person who knows their body, that has greatly impacted  the way you approach  massage?

Emanuel – One experience I have gone through that has impacted the way I approach  sports massage therapy was being treated by a massage therapist after a pretty bad back injury. I was sparring and was tossed by my partner. I took the fall pretty bad and I knew something was wrong. I saw several doctors but there was nothing to operate on, so all they did was give me painkillers. Finally the 3rd doctor I saw recomended a massage therapist. During the assesment she saw that I was limping and that my hips were uneven and went to work on me. I was sore aftetwards but after a couple of days I was limping or feeling the same pain in my back.

From then on I saw massage therapy as something that everyone could benefit from. I think it should be normal as going to the dentist.

How did you get into sports massage? 

Emanuel – I got into sports massage because as a personal trainer I wanted to further help people. I would often see similar injuries among my clients and sometimes I’d even be there when the injury happened! I wanted to be able to give them more help than telling them to ice it. Thanks to my training I know the anatomy even better. So now when I am treating a client who is active at the gym a lot or plays sports, I am in a better position to understand their injury and how to treat it. 

What is your best uh oh story? A time you really messed something up with your body.

Emanuel – I wouldn’t say “best” but my most memorable “uh oh” story was when I broke my ankle in football practice back in High School. I thought I had just sprained it at first, so I got up to walk off and ice it. When I tried to take a step I said to myself “UH OH!” realized I couldn’t walk and had to be assisted off the field.

What sets your sports massage apart from anyone else?

Emanuel – What sets my sports massage apart is my ability to pay attention to detail and communication. I believe if I’m in tune with what the patient is experiencing they will receive the best treatment.

If you could try any sport/or amazing physical activity what would it be?

Emanuel – One sport I would love to try is Gymnastics. It takes a TON of strength, coordination and stamina to pull off those routines.

What are your favorite kinds of people to treat and why?

Emanuel – I like treating athletes and other active people, especially people training for a game or competition. They usually want a very specific muscle group or body part to be worked on and I can focus on maximizing their results. I feel extra accomplished when they are satisfied with my work.

Is there anything we do not know about you we should?

Emanuel – I’m a huge video game fan, particularly fighting games like Mortal Kombat. 

If you had a super power what would it be?

Emanuel – It’s gotta be flight! Especially in New York City; I’d never have to wait for the train again!

If you want check out more of our therapists head over to our Massage Therapist Page and check them out!

Plantar Fasciitis and Massage Therapy

Many years ago – in what seems like the Dark Ages, I was in school to become a registered massage therapist (RMT) in Ontario, Cananada and was taught a standard massage treatment for plantar fasciitis and runners. 

The massage therapy mostly focused on the foot. It involved stretching the plantar aspect of the client’s foot by cranking the toes into extension forcefully and pulling the bottom of the foot tight. Then while your client was face down and you had this position achieved, you were to take your thumbs or even an elbow and dig away at the tissue until you had eradicated all of the ‘granular’ scar tissue. 

I quite clearly remember my teacher saying that we needed to then ice the bottom of the foot immediately, as he slapped an ice pack on my friend who was a runner and triathlete. I remember her gingerly limping off post-treatment. I can’t remember how long it was before she ran again after that. Who knows?  No explaination was ever given for the method of treatment. They never explained that the purpose was to break down tissue and re-injure the site to facilitate healing. But it surely stank of that mode of treatment, and it did not make sense. 

Why do we need to hurt someone to make a massage work? 

Now let me ask you a question, a question that I will likely repeat in multiple blog posts: If you come to me, as a medical practitioner, and you complain of a black eye, and I punch you in the same eye and tell you it will facilitate healing, does that make sense? No! So why is it acceptable in massage? Certainly it applys to plantar fasciitis and massage. 

Massaging the leg for runners
Photo by Adam Ninyo

Years later, I now teach a very different method to address runner’s issues to the therapists at Body Mechanics. It is far more gentle, treats the entire lower leg as well as upper (depending on time constraints), engages the brain by moving the body, and involves a referral to PT or exercise depending on the level of experience the runner or athlete has. 

The Plantar Fasciitis Massage Treatment

When assessing, we are looking at a far wider spectrum of dysfunction than simply plantar fasciitis. Indicators that there might be an issue or impending problem include heel pain, pain in the bottom of the foot, and sometimes calf pain. Of course with any assessment, we screen to rule out red flags as well. The symptoms listed above can also correlate with a recent increase in mileage or speed work for runners, or a weight change, plyometrics or recent changes in health. If there is no connection to the assessment you’re probably going to want to refer out regardless to check for bone Spurs and tendon issues. 

For the purposes of this blog let’s focus on the lower leg. I generally combine in-prone, general massage with gentle pin and stretch. Having the patient flex and extend the ankle as well as pronate and supinate. I am looking to see a full articulation of the foot and ankle. Often you will see that those with foot pain also have poor articulation. Resistance in these areas can be added to help cue the body into moving better. Once we have warmed the area with massage and movement, adding resistance to those movements is helpful. While many massages focus on the muscles, at Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage I like to include tendon work, like “bowing,” as well. We want soft supple moving parts so practicing flexibility is helpful. 

When treating the bottom of the foot, I no longer use that awful stripping technique that requires an ice pack. Instead, I use a hot towel to warm the foot and then use a deeper gliding technique across the sole, while I have the patient flex and extend the toes, or spread them and let them fall to neutral. Here, if things are still not moving well we would add in some mobilizations between the tarsals and resisted exercises for the toes. 

As for home care, if the problem persists, we will refer you to a physical therapist and if it does not, then we would advise you to a program of foot and calf strengthening as injury prevention. As a massage therapist, I am not rehabbing you.  My job is to get you more comfortable while your body does what it does and what it was designed to do. It is adaptive. It will adapt, with or without me.

Summing up…

A warm towel? Simple exercises? No digging thumbs or elbows into the client’s foot? This is a far cry from the painful techniques that I was taught! No one is limping painfully off our tables before a run. The clinical outcomes seem just as effective and I’d say are more beneficial. If you are looking for a therapist who will not hurt you to help you, ask questions before you book. Look for someone who listens well and has a wide variety of techniques at their disposal. It would be a shame to miss your next run due to foot pain… especially if it was caused by the person trying to help you.

Check out more on plantar issues

 

Medical Massage Therapist Profile – Veronica

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage presents a profile on a face many of you already know, Veronica Sanabria! We sat down to learn more about her 16 years of massage experience and hear some stories she from before she joined Body Mechanics in 2019.

What is your clinical/career background and what drew you to medical massage?

Veronica – I was led to medical massage by a former employer. I worked with a sports medicine doctor who developed a unique practice. He incorporated multiple disciplines under one roof and blended them all to customize treatment for each individual patient. He didn’t try to address everyone’s issues one one blanket approach and I found that inspiring.

I followed that inspiration and learned many modalities of healing body work including ART (Active Release Therapy), deepened my understanding of sports massage, studied medical and pregnancy massage techniques and trigger point. 

Body Mechanics Orthopdic Massage medical massage therapist veronica
Veronica Sanabria

How long have you been practicing medical massage?

Veronica – I was originally licensed in Florida in 2000. I moved to New York and looked to expand my skill set and so I entered the  Swedish Institute of massage when I got here. I graduated and got my New York massage license in 2004. I’ve been working ever since. I worked in different settings from spas, to chiropractor clinics to health centers in Fortune 500 office buildings. I shifted my focus to medical massage 6 years ago.

Can you share one experience that has greatly impacted your massage?

Veronica – It’s difficult to choose just one client that has impacted me. I remember in Florida I had a return client who I did facials and massage for. One day she broke down crying. She told me that no one takes care of her, except me. THAT really resonated with me. She was a physical education teacher, a volunteer, and her mother’s caretaker. She kept pouring out of her cup, and it was empty. I helped her feel seen, heard and cared for. I’ll never forget that. Being able to provide physical as well as emotional healing to my clients is a gift I am so proud to be able to give.

What is your best “Uh-oh!” story? A time you really messed something up with your body, that helped inform your medical massage technique.

Veronica – Years ago I had a treated a client who was seeking a massage with very deep pressure. Before getting on the table she demaned that it to raised to its highest level so she wouldn’t have to get up from a lower height. Because the table was so high I didn’t have the right angle to use my weight to help increase pressure. So I could only rely on the muscles in my arm and fingers to do all the work. After an hour of that I felt like I pulled a muscle in my shoulder and had back pain for almost a week! I know now that I shoul’ve explained why the table needed to be lowered and worked in a way that would be best for both the client and myself. 

What are your favorite kinds of people to work on and why?

Veronica – I like people who challenge me. People who are suffering from a mystery pain or a chonric problem that they haven’t been able to adress in years. Going over their body and listening to their story using my skills to find and heal a problem they thought they would have to deal with forever gives me a real sense of accomplishment. I love weird injuries!

If you could try any sport or attend a special event what would it be?

Veronica – Soccer of hockey! I get a kick of adreline just watching either of these sports. I’d love to score the winning goal at the last second of a game.

What sets your medical massage apart from anyone else?

Veronica – What sets my work apart is my instinct. My senses engage completely while I work and I pick up on subtleties in my clients’ bodies and it informs my massage. Thanks to the doctor I worked for, I never go into a session thinking I have anything figured out or that there will be a simple fix, even if it is with a client I’ve seen many times before. I approach each appointment like it’s the first and focus on what body in front of me needs to heal as well as what the person needs.

Are there any oddball facts we do not know about you that you’d like to share?

Veronica – I love sci-fi novels and movies. Going to the movies on a hot summer day and enoying the AC and overpriced snacks is one of my favorite forms of self care.

Read up on our other massage therapists on our massage therapist profile page.

Body Mechanics’ Orthopedic Study Corner

A collection of interesting studies, new findings or new ways of looking at old practices.

Body Mechanics’ own Matt Danziger takes an inquisitive look at emerging findings in sports medicine and physiology. Normally he does this to satiate his own thirst for knowledge and drive to learn any findings that could make him a better massage therapist, so we thought we’d put his effort to some more public use and share his findings right here with our clients and friends.

Reads

Person stretching

Photo by Nigel Msipa on Unsplash



Photo by Nigel Msipa on Unsplash

Should You Do Static Stretching Before You Exercise?

Our pal Nick Ng does a nice job covering some of the back and forth on static stretching in a warm-up. The short story is: we don’t know what it does, but the idea that static stretching is either essential or harmful is probably overblown. Static stretching probably helps a bit, but if the short-term power output is of maximum importance, you shouldn’t hold stretches for more than a minute. 
Read more on Nick’s blog.

Videos

Jeff Nippard demonstrating “Good” and “Bad” postures

Perfect Posture Myths?
YouTube personality and bodybuilder Jeff Nippard is joined by two physical therapists to discuss why perfect posture isn’t worth chasing and it could be causing more harm than good.  The featured folks all display a strong bias toward strength training, but the point still stands that movement and exercise are far more important than perfect alignment. Of course, if something hurts, it’s totally reasonable to avoid and modify positions that hurt in the short term. 

What’s New in Pain?
Post-doctoral researcher and physiotherapist Tasha Stanton talks about how different things like words, vision, smells, and sounds can all influence how our bodies feel and act. . All of this stuff is incredible, but in one of her studies, a visual illusion combined with gentle traction at the knee managed to provoke increased swelling in a man with knee osteoarthritis, but by altering the illusion, the swelling went down. This seems like some (albeit limited) evidence that perceptions can alter bodily processes at the level of multiple body systems.
Click here to watch What’s New in Pain

Research

person lifting weight
Photo by John Arano on Unsplash

Getting out of Neutral
It is literally impossible to maintain a true neutral spine while squatting, deadlifting, jumping, or similar movements. There is insufficient evidence to make broad recommendations about lifting while trying to attempt a neutral spine in regard to injury risks. Most lumbar herniations can be ascribed to hereditary factors with only small changes seen in numbers based upon physical activity. Lifting in a moderately flexed position may be more efficient in terms of strength. However, these benefits should always be weighed against potential risks.
Read the full paper here

3D Model of Massage Affecting Human Tissue
The major implication from this study is that the nervous system primarily mediates the sense of release felt by both patient and the massage practitioner. There is some room in the literature for debate about changes in fluid dynamics and endocrine involvement on a broader scale, but all of those play second or third fiddle to the nervous system.
View the model and the full study

Leave your thoughts and reactions to any of these topics in the comments below!

Massage Safety Policy & Pricing Updates-Summer 2021 UPDATED

UPDATE NOV 2021

Due to the currently rising number of COVID-19 cases and the threat of the Delta variant, we will once again be asking all guests – even vaccinated ones – to remain masked even during their massages. The only exception here will be for guests partaking in the intra-oral TMJ massage service. Those guests must provide proof of vaccination and will be able to take off their masks for that portion of the treatment.

We thank you for your patience and understanding. These measures, while less comfortable and inconvenient, are for the protection of both our staff and our clients. Thank you for doing your part as our staff continues the cleaning schedule and following mask mandates, to do ours.


We always adapt with the times to provide the safest and most professional massage and yoga services possible. So while taking into concern new state policies, feedback from our guests, and what’s best for our employees, here are some changes coming to Body Mechanics this season.

Covid safety policies: We are evolving as fast as the rules allow us to but following the state mandates. Here are the Covid Safety rules for our office:

  • Masks still on in the lobby, halls and building for everyone
  • Therapists will still be wearing masks during treatment
  • You can find the full list of rules set out by Gov. Cuomo here.
  • Our waiting room is still technically closed but you can of course wait to be picked up for your therapist. Please do not bring a guest. Exceptions will be made for minors.

Intra-oral TMJ Massages are coming back for vaccinated folks! For everyone’s safety, we were offering only exterior TMJ massages since we reopened last year. Now that 10 million people have been vaccinated in New York state, we feel it’s alright to offer intra-oral once again. It will be an option for anyone getting a TMJ massage, not mandatory if you still prefer to keep your mask on. However, everyone who chooses to do intra-oral must provide proof of vaccination. They can bring it on the day of their appointment or send a picture to reception. We’ll make a note in our system, and you won’t have to provide proof more than once, and that information will not be shared with any party, ever.

Our general pricing is going to $135 on December 5th. This price includes taxes. You can see a full list of pricing on our booking page.

Please send any questions or concerns about any of the above to info@bodymechanicsnyc.com