FAQ

 

Do you also offer full body therapeutic massage?

 

Yes, a full body massage is also a specialty which is offered. It combines many modalities such as Deep Swedish, Esalen, Shiatsu, Thai, Stretching, and Reiki, in an integrative form that releases muscle tension, improves circulation, releases habitual holding patterns, calms the nervous system, and promotes an overall feeling of health and well being.

What is sports massage?

 

Sports Massage is a massage modality that is focused on supporting the changes in the body due to moderate or intense sports activities.  It is focused on four main areas of attention surrounding a sports activity:  

Pre-eventIncreasing circulation and muscular energization, releasing any areas of tension, assisting feelings of well being and readiness.

Intra-eventSame as pre-event, with an additional flushing of metabolic byproducts, and possible cramp or injury maintenance.

Post-eventRelaxation of all target muscle groups, flushing of metabolic byproducts, releasing of any areas of tension, breaking up any adhesions in muscle fibers and connective tissues, general relaxation of the nervous system, joint mobilization and release of holding patterns, stretching and range of motion attention, and balancing of opposing muscle groups and areas of the body.

Specific conditions - Treatment of chronic or acute muscle conditions arising from athletic or other activities, and general conditioning of muscle groups associated with particular sports. As with all sports massage, the aim is alleviating tension and pain, facilitating healing and regeneration, and returning the body to peak performance.

With Vail Sports Massage the focus is on on post-event treatment, due to its positive effect on day after day sports activities, as well as working on specific issues that may help keep you on the hill. I also realize that mountain sports are about enjoyment and feeling good and healthy, so all sessions are guided to this end.  Please visit the services page for more info on the different treatments available.

 

How can sports massage improve my sports experience?

 

A sports massage session can help to flush out byproducts of metabolic activity, increase circulatory support for regeneration, move the muscular body in the direction of faster recovery, ease tensions produced from periods of intense muscular contractions, release muscular holding patterns associated with sports, and prevent potential injury by releasing chronic or acute muscular tension.

What can I expect during a (post-event) sports massage session?

 

After you discuss your physical needs and conditions with the practitioner, the session will then focus on the areas related to your sports/activity needs, as well as attending to the surrounding areas and integration with the whole body. 

The techniques used during the session are much like traditional massage with the

intent being; release of tension, flushing of tissues, increase of circulation, lengthening the ranges of joint motion (stretching), loosening up of muscle fibers, nervous system relaxation, and general well being. A sports massage session tends to be a bit more active in it's approach, and a bit more specific in it's application, but at times it can also be slower and more relaxing.

How can sports massage improve my athletic training and performance?

 

With faster recuperation and greater ease in the body, a person can return to their training sooner and with more vigor, thus potentially increasing their gains and advancing their achievements. The more energy we have, and the greater ease at which we move our bodies, the more we can excel in our activities.

How does sports massage differ form a spa massage?

 

spa massage can utilize many different modalities of massage, and with the right practitioner can be quite beneficial. Generally speaking, a spa massage is focused on relaxation and therapeutic enjoyment.

Sports massage is a more specific application of techniques geared toward improving body conditioning as it relates to high intensity sports activity.  It is focused on recovery, recuperation, healing, energization, as well as tension relaxation and well being.

What is the approach of sports massage regarding an injury?

In the event of an injury of any kind, be it minor or major, one should consider getting a

professional assessment before proceeding with any therapy.

The short of it:

It is inadvisable to directly massage a new injury as it can lead to further aggravation, and slower healing. However, massaging all areas surrounding an injury can be very beneficial to healing, increased circulation, nervous system balancing, and release of inhibitive muscular tension.

The long of it:

As I see it, during an injury, whether by strain or impact, the muscular body has experienced a trauma of sorts and responds with both a pain signal to protect further injury, and inflammation to surround any damaged tissues with healing fluids. Generally these two conditions are contra-indicated for direct massage therapy for at least a few days. Actually, massaging injured areas (pain, inflammation) can aggravate the condition and cause the healing to take longer.

Therefore the best approach is the well know application of RICE - rest, ice, compression, elevation.

However, in injury management, sports massage does have its application and benefit to the body. Even though an injury seems localized to a certain point in the body, many other areas are also effected. Supporting and compensating muscle groups are called upon either during the injury or after, and it is with these that we can target our approach to facilitate the healing process, bring more ease to the body and nervous system, and get you back on the hill faster.

Relieving tensions in the muscles surrounding an injury, maintaining range of motion in the limbs, stimulating the circulation of fluids (blood, lymph), relaxing and balancing the nervous and energy systems, and bringing a feeling of general well being can all greatly aid in the process of bringing you back into athletic form. Once a few days have passed and the primary injury response of the body has calmed down a bit, we can slowly start working into the injured areas.

What are metabolic byproducts (wastes)?

 

Concerning sports activity and repetitive muscular contraction, metabolic byproducts

are produced by the body during intense or prolonged physical activity in direct response to the intensity, duration, and conditions of the activity.

As the body goes through it's internal chemical changes, i.e.. consumption of oxygen, secretion of hormones, and conversion of fuel to energy... wastes are produced, that with their accumulation, begin to impair the functioning of the muscles and lead to other functional degradations. The assisted removal or transport of these wastes (post event), moves the body closer to it's health and healing balance, and helps prepare us for more activity.

What is lactic acid ?

The short of it:

Lactate is produced during periods of prolonged anaerobic activity (in states of less or no oxygen) in order to keep energy flow to the muscles. This causes an increase in cellular acidity in the muscles being worked and is felt as a familiar burning sensation.

The long of it:

Although we are talking about many steps in a complex metabolic process, basically speaking, glycogen (energy) is broken down in the presence of cellular oxygen (aerobic) into muscular energy (ATP) for contraction. In periods of prolonged muscular contraction, less cellular oxygen (anaerobic) causes a conversion along the way of glycogen into lactate in order to continue the activity in this lower oxygen state.

Therefore, lactic acid, or more correctly lactate, is a product of anaerobic muscular 

activity. This anaerobic production of lactate causes an increase in acidity in the tissues and bloodstream, which leads in part to the burning sensation felt during intense muscular activity. After a short while of diminished activity, the lactate levels and acidity return to normal.

The delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) is in part due to these anaerobically stimulated metabolic processes, and in part due to an inflammatory repair response to cellular breakdown or tissue damage (breaking down of muscle tissues).

Should I be concerned with food and nutrition surrounding athletic training

or events ?

The body runs of fuel (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, sugars), and thrives on nutrition (vitamins, minerals, enzymes, good bacteria, energy). All these substances will support the bodies ability to rejuvenate and continue with the sports activity. The better your nutrition, the better your experience and performance.

Also, water is a big part of the picture. Proper hydration will greatly aid in the body's

conditioning, performance, and recovery, for all sports activities.

Should I engage in pre-training

for my winter vacation ?

 

As we train our bodies, it constantly improves not only our strength, but also our stamina as it relates to improved and accelerated circulation, more efficient conversion of fuel to energy, increased metabolic functioning, improved nervous system function, and faster

regeneration and healing following a sports activity.

As you improve one aspect of training, you improve all the supporting physiological

functions as well. This is the essence of conditioning preparing the body to be at it's most efficient functioning for the activity level you desire. Therefore, pre-training is quite instrumental to your sports experience.

What are the effects of altitude on sports performance ?

The short of it: 

Moderate to intense sports activity is impaired at high altitude due to a reduced ability to process oxygen and an increase in dehydration. This leads to greater fatigue, faster buildup of metabolic wastes, and other symptoms of altitude reaction.

The long of it:

One of the main complications with sports activity at higher altitudes, is the body's reduced capacity to utilize oxygen. This is due to the unacclimated person's reduced ability to transport lower pressure oxygen to the cells, concurrently with the increase in blood Co2 levels.

All muscular activity in the body relies on oxygen to efficiently convert fuel (glycogen) into energy (ATP) for muscular contraction. Because of this high altitude reduction in available oxygen, the effects of prolonged muscular activity become more pronounced and lead to faster experience of fatigue, reduced performance, and faster metabolic waste accumulation due to anaerobic activity. In addition, the overall chemistry of the body is impaired by lower oxygen levels that can lead to other altitude effects like, headaches, general tiredness, nausea, dizziness, and insomnia.  

Another factor to consider is the reduced water vapor present in the air at high altitudes which can lead to greater levels of dehydration, complicating matters further.

A good rule of thumb is to drink plenty of water (hydration), try to breath long and deep rather than fast and shallow (to regulate oxygen / Co2 levels in the blood), and self-

monitor for any adverse signs of altitude effect. It usually takes a couple of days to minimally acclimate to the altitude and up to several weeks for the body systems

to fully adapt to the new parameters.

Massage can help alleviate some o f the associated effects of muscular activity at

higher altitudes by increasing circulation (and chemical rebalancing), releasing

tensions in the muscles (thereby facilitating circulation through these tissues), and

flushing out of metabolic wastes to move the body in the direction of equalization

(cleaning the system).

Have a great stay in Vail!

Vail Sports Massage 646-704-2695