Inside the World Athletics Center- Interview with Therapist Jerod Carnahan

Written by Roger White on . Posted in Blog

So far in my interview series, I’ve been able to hear from therapists who work major events like the world championships and Olympics, and work major meets, like the Diamond League meets. In this interview, I was able to spend some time asking World Athletics Center therapist Jerod Carnahan questions about the daily Performance Therapy athletes receive. I was curious what types of things take place during treatments daily, and sometimes more than once a day, as you will see!

For those who don’t know about the WAC, it’s located in Phoenix, Arizona and provides training and coaching for athletes and coaches education. It’s a great opportunity for athletes to bridge their collegiate and professional careers to allow development to compete at the highest level, being coached by some of track’s best coaches. Part of their program involves internships and apprenticeships.

This post is about Performance Therapy (also called track side therapy).  For an overview of Performance Therapy, you can also check out this from WAC coach Stuart McMillan to get a better idea of what the theme of this interview is about.

Part 1:

http://www.mcmillanspeed.com/2012/06/functional-movement-can-be-defined-as.html

Part 2:

http://www.mcmillanspeed.com/2013/01/on-performance-therapy.html

 Now, on to the interview!

Jerod, you came to work at WAC doing massage and other manual therapies.  What made you decide to come to WAC?Jerod

I got into massage to work with athletes – that’s what I’ve wanted to do for some time. I heard about the opportunity to work with WAC from a former massage instructor of mine Patrick Ward who knew some coaches from WAC, and heard that they were looking for some new therapists that would like to come out and volunteer and I jumped at the opportunity. It then led to an internship.

One of the unique advantages WAC offers is the amount of therapy athletes receive.  Some call it track-side therapy, or as Stu McMillan calls it, Performance Therapy. Can you explain how this process worked at WAC?

The athletes at WAC have the opportunity to receive Performance Therapy pre-, during- and post-practice, as well as getting deeper tissue massages – or as the athletes like to call it ‘a flush’ post-track practice or lifting session. The amount and duration of therapy is very athlete-driven depending on their needs and what their workouts consist of day-to-day. However, any therapy provided during the athlete’s practice usually is no longer then 10-15 minutes so that he or she doesn’t cool down too much. The athlete’s practice can also be altered depending on what is found during the therapy session or through the athlete’s feedback

In your process of doing checks, do you prefer to start from the feet working up? Head down? Or pelvis outwards?

I usually start my sessions with the athlete standing, doing a standing posterior pelvic and sacral test. Once I have assessed how the pelvis is sitting, I then start the athlete face down and check the leg length by checking the medial malleoli to see if what I found in the first test translates to the table. I then start my soft tissue work based on what I found in my tests.

Are there any things that are overlooked in therapy for track and field athletes?

Not that I have noticed. However I have only been with WAC for 9 months and this is my first taste of the Track & Field environment. The only thing I have really noticed is that at some track meets there aren’t always great areas to set up a table or have good warm-up areas!

Jerod it’s interesting you mention this! In a prior interview, Holley DeShaw mentioned something similar in commenting on some odd places she has done treatments!

koreans with jerodAt WAC, you worked with athletes in various events.  Can you talk about some of the athlete-therapist communications that take place?

If it is a new athlete that I haven’t worked with before, then I will talk to them about what their event is, how long they have been doing it, and what their history is with therapy. Once I have a good understanding of what their body goes through on a daily basis I can better understand how to treat them. If I am working with an athlete on a consistent basis I will always ask them how they’re feeling compared to the day before or the week before depending on how long it’s been since I’ve seen them. Then I will ask them what they have that day so that we can make a more specific treatment plan.

I’ve seen photos of you working and you are literally on the side of the track. How do you measure the effectiveness of a treatment?

I measure the effectiveness by first the athlete’s feedback from when they get off the table until they are done for the day. I also see the effectiveness from watching the athlete and seeing how their body is moving.  I also, of course, rely a lot on Dan Pfaff and Stu McMillian’s feedback to see how the athletes are performing.  Neither one of them is scared to let me know if I haven’t done enough!

What advice would you give to a therapist who might start doing performance therapy at event sites?

I would find a team or school that will be willing to let you come out and volunteer and give your time to learn from them. Find a mentor that you that is willing to give you their time if possible.

For a therapist coming to WAC to go through the training and experience you have, what advice would you give them? What things should they expect that they might not expect before getting there? 

Expect to be ‘thrown into the deep end’ – meaning be ready to work and answer questions. Know your anatomy and kinesiology, and constantly read whatever you can get your hands on. Be willing to give up your free time – it’s definitely worth it to get to work with some of the greatest coaches and therapists you’ll find anywhere.

Also don’t hesitate to ask any questions about therapy or coaching. Everyone at WAC is always happy to answer any questions. The best advice I could give to anyone coming to WAC is just to try to be better then you were yesterday.

Where can people find more information on you and the WAC?

The website is www.WorldAthleticsCenter.com. There is also a Facebook page :https://www.facebook.com/worldathleticscenter and a Twitter account @Worldathleticsc. I also have a Twitter account @jcarnahanlmt

Jerod, thanks so much for taking time to share your experiences at the World Athletics Center. It was great to hear about some of the behind the scenes things with therapists who work with athletes on a daily basis. Keep up the great work!

 

 

 

Intreview with Sports Massage Legend Andy Miller

Written by Roger White on . Posted in Blog

Andy and David RudishaI have the incredible pleasure of catching up with a legend of sports massage, Andy Miller. For years Andy has worked in track and field with some f the top athletes in the world. I was able to catch Andy for a quick a minute to ask him about some of the ins and outs of his work. 

Hi Andy, Thanks for taking time to answer a few questions.  You have worked in track and field, along with other sports for a long time, going back to the 70s.  What makes a therapist sought out and what makes you different from all the other massage therapists out there? 

Andy using the FAT Tool on a runner

Andy using the FAT Tool on a runner

 

 

The most important I think is quick results. I am sought out because I combine deep tissue release and joint mobilization.  Since I have been using the FAT Tools (Fascial Abrasion Technique), my treatments have become less painful and more effective.

I have read one of your first influence came from your college athletic trainer, Barry Francis Ryan.  Who have been some of your other therapy influences over time? 

The two biggest influences on my life have been Dr. F. Garrett Moscos, who introduced me to A/K(Applied Kinesiology) muscle testing and joint mobilization, and Dr. Mark Scappaticci, who introduced me to A.R.T.(Active Release Technique) and also the inventor of the FAT Tools.

In your experience, what are the biggest mistakes therapists make, and what might be wastes of time in therapy, especially when on the road as you are often?

The biggest mistake might be taking too long with treatments prior to races, since the longer you work the tissue the more energy you take out of the tissue.

With all your massage work, what therapy techniques are most effective, and how do you measure effectiveness?  How has your therapy sessions evolved over time, or have they remained the same?

For me the most effective soft tissue release is accomplished by using the FAT Tools.  They are revolutionizing myofascial release and improving patient comfort levels.  I used to use my fingers, hands, forearms, elbows, and knuckles. They were effective but very painful to my clients.

Where can you find FAT tools at?

They can purchased at www.FAT-ToolsUSA.com.

On your blog you posted this note:

image (1)“New York Diamond League Meeting

New York was a blur, Thursday was hectic, between canceled and delayed flights athletes were coming in until 11:30pm for treatments. Friday was a repeat of Thursday with the addition of a FAT Tool Work Shop Friday morning, with the addition of the rain the temperature dropped into the 50’s.  I didn’t finish working until 11:30pm at night.  The weather Saturday started out wet and in the 50’s again, not ideal weather for a track meet.  I got on the 10:00am bus to the warm up area at the track to work the meet, and then finished my last flush out at 10:00pm. I think I worked on at least 60 different athletes.  I caught the 7:30pm bus to the airport, and got home at 7:00 NYC time, I unpacked and repacked and am ready to go back to the airport tomorrow to fly up to Eugene at 9:00am.”

With such a busy schedule like this, how much time do you actually get to spend on each athlete?

My treatment sessions are usually 30 minutes.  The first treatment sessions tend to be longer sometimes over an hour, but by the fourth treatment almost everyone can be finished in 30 minutes.

What assessments and or evaluations do you do prior to treatments, and how does this guide your treatment?

I like to feel for tissue tension and inflammation in the tissue.  My fingers are my guide.

Do the techniques you use in the session vary depending on when race day is, how would they be modified on the day of a race, and also post-race?  How might sessions be varied in these situations, or are they similar?

Yes, I can do deeper treatments the further out the competition is.  On competition day I primarily stretch and joint mobilization.  I will then do the soft tissue work on them after they finish their competition.

You do a lot of your work in hotel rooms.  When you work at these bigger meets and championship events, what determines if you treat athletes in the room or at the track?

I work in hotel rooms because that is where my table is.  The meets usually have their own therapists so I am an elective option.  At major championships the host usually provides tented areas where the therapists from the different countries’ therapist set up their tables.

I know what I feel like after doing 6 hours of treatments at a race.  Working so much, traveling, and now teaching FAT Tool workshops, what advice would you give to therapists themselves who are traveling and doing hours of work daily?

Try and get 6-8 hours of sleep whenever possible, drink lots of water, ice yourself where needed, and find another therapist you like and trade out work on each other.

Andy Miller clientsYou have a Hall of Fame client list, current and past made up of both sprinters and distance runners.  Working with these athletes in championship events, how would you treat them between rounds, if at all?

Usually with a light flush between rounds, and then just spot work.

I read when you travel you have your suitcase, table and computer.  Other than cream, what might be some things you travel with that someone might not be expect?

I carry a leather ditty bag given to me by Susantheka Jayeshenga from Sri Lanka that has my FAT Tools, Stop Pain, band aides, gloves, and  Ibuprofen.  I work with the bare essentials.

When working with athletes, is there a common request you find?

Since most of the athletes or their managers know and my reputation, they tend to let me do what I do best.  Such is the level of their trust in my skills.

Are there any events you will working in the next few months we might be able to find you at, either working or teaching?

I have just agreed to work with the Arizona Cardinals football team, so you’ll find me at all their practices in Glendale, AZ.

Andy, thank you so much for your time and openness.  It’s been really interesting to hear the behind the scenes stories and how your practice has evolved since you started.  I know I see you on Twitter @andysccs posting photos and quick notes of your travels.  You also have a website www.andysscs.com where you post your workshop schedule.  You can also purchase the FAT Tools at www.FAT-ToolsUSA.com..  This is where I bought mine at and I love it.  I can’t recommend this enough.

It’s been a tremendous pleasure to be able to ask you these questions. I now there will be massage therapists out there reading this who will have learned something as a result.  Thank you.

 

Interview with Sports Massage Expert Kiplimö Chemirmir

Written by Roger White on . Posted in Blog, Videos

Kip treating Leo Manzano

Kiplimo Chemirmir is one of the busiest sports massage therapists.  Kip has just traveled all over the southwestern states doing work on runners.   Kip spent many years racing professionally and turned up some impressive times.  He still races often, and I have even seen him running a marathon himself, and then doing massage on runners after!  He’s full of energy, enthusiasm, and an incredible passion running.

Hi Kip, Thanks for taking time to answer a few questions.  It’s an honor to have the opportunity to ask you about your unique life as a sports massage therapist! You are well known in the Austin, Texas and in most of the country, for your sports massage.  What makes a therapist sought out and what makes you different from all the other massage therapists out there?

What I do is what makes me different, for it was not learned or made in US, and no one does it around the world also. It’s often aggressive and its only done to athletes. It took me a long visit to China and Thailand to study the art of making a champion through massaging, stretching and other various exercises which are very intense in nature, so I could add to my Kenyan massage technique.

I was compelled to design Kenthaichi technique so it can serve more than injury but preventing it also. For the most glaring thing I found after all many years as an elite athlete: Runners, out of all the athletes, lacked the most in terms of education in the areas of fitness/performance training, well-being, patience to heal, nutritional support, supplementation usage, and lifestyle choices. In the end I came to realize the athlete has gotten faster and stronger.

My role with the in the fitness and therapy world is to bridge the gap between the lifestyle and the sport. I want to build the ultimate runner deep in the road and track: agile, fast, powerful, skilled, resistant to injuries, swift to recover from the clobbering they get from intense or training in the heat, and most important undisturbed by fatigue. I also want to build the ultimate warrior outside of the ring they sweat and bleed upon: lean, muscular, balanced, symmetrical, healthful, and educated with wisdom of a true warrior that is molded in Kenthaichi. Finally, I plan to build a fortress around the athlete: a tight-knit support system of understanding friends, the pain and their training. How to treat the family , themselves and friends when injured. Strengthen them to not only understands the battle inside training and competition, but also the lengthy journey to get there. When we speak therapy, it’s more than for the body, but for the mind too, because the most stubborn injury is the one that hides in shadows behind ones mind. I do all hide because like being part of someone village that helps them win. for I believe all that we are should stand as a humble warrior when in defeat or in victory. Helping them stay fit and healthy helps us therapists too become great role models.

So you have created a blending of therapy styles from around the world.  Who have been some of your therapy influences over time? 

Yes, I call it Kenthaichi, which stands for Kenya, Thailand and China. I created Kentaichi for the best so they can have the best that they seek. I call it the best because even my both teachers did not have the knowledge I ended up with.

My teacher from China for teaching me all the secrets, and his friend from Thailand Master Chan The Steel Elbow. My Chinese teacher, all that I am was the fire he wanted to bring in this world, if it wasn’t for him, I’d still be another Kenyan runner like those I hail from the same tribe with. I’m forever thankful because of them. ‘’I did not mention my Chinese teachers name, because no one calls him by his name. I only called him Shifu.”

Can you explain how your therapy techniques have evolved over time?

Every once in a while as therapist you will meet a client who has an injury you have no idea what it is. They’ll come complaining they’ve had it for months or years, visited doctors and chiropractors but nothing seems to work. To treat them I compel myself into a meditation and feel what the client feels, asking myself if I was the one who had their injury, how would I want it to be treated, and the answer has never failed me. With time and two more visits I have been blessed with the ability to defy chronic problems. Everyone who comes to see me, also comes with something to teach me so I can help others after them. I use this state of mind for it’s from the belief of warriors I hail from, that we must never fail from helping someone. This belief gives me a reason to know this is not business but a purpose.

During your sessions, the athlete is very active. They are being stretched and massaged often. I doubt anyone has ever fallen asleep during a treatment on your table!  I’ve seen you do deep tissue work briefly, and then stretch, and repeat this throughout the body.  Can you explain this concept?

Hahaha No one has ever fallen asleep, maybe when I’m using my left hand alone, which is the soothing one and the right one is the healing one, which does it like it’s a surgery session. Kenthaichi’s sole purpose is to reach the depths of everything that moves the body, from the mind, bones, joints, muscles, heart rate, lungs, and breath control. When one exercises and is massaged at the same time it’s the best chance to manipulate the tightness, flush the lactic acids, for in the end it’s not healing we would have achieved but also what creates an athlete which is, Flexibility, Endurance, Strength and Speed. If an athlete can endure a two to four hour sessions, then he or she will be able to endure anything that others find item hard.

In your experience, what are the biggest mistakes therapists make, and what might be wastes of time in therapy? 

Things I really find to be of no use is taking a clients money, just to tell them their problem, spend an hour with them doing nothing but rubbing, and talking then finish with cracking them. Not everyone needs adjustments and cracking. Patients need help fixing them. When a client comes to see you for a month with the same problem, yet they have been seeing you 2 to 3times a week. That’s like robbing them.

Other mistakes is telling a client they need a surgery, also this kind of treatment is not necessary for everyone who is hurting and wants to go back to their sport.  Therapists need to find ways of connecting and helping them heal. Take time for it’s all we have, go beyond your time to help someone have time to do what they love. Surgery isn’t always a good thing. I’ve had friends I used to run, race and also friends and clients who have had surgery, many of them took the knife with the hopes of getting back better. When that thought is rooted in the mind, and the surgery has come to pass, the athlete will expect to train and run faster than before, but the body is imbalanced because of the tightness that the surgery left behind. The other side of the body begins to feel the toll. The body is meant to feel the pain, and when it does, we should teach them pull back and do other things like strength training, flexibility, swimming, aqua jogging, Cryotherapy, Ice Bath, stretching, and yoga so everything can connect and heal, because the body has the ability to heal itself when helped. If you are an athlete have a therapist who understands athletes and works with them. Being told to take some time off is just completely wrong for me, an active body is not something that can be switched off like that, it can be put to other things that the athlete has been ignoring to feed it with.

Speaking of feeding, diet is very important. There are foods that help the body heal, and also herbs and gels that the patient should be using at home. The patients also need to be taught to take care of themselves so when they come to see us, improvement comes swift.  A good and great therapist is someone who help and heal, not talk and take.

With all your massage work, what therapy techniques are most effective, and how do you measure effectiveness? 

For me I’m a great believer of flexibility and strength. It is what gave our ancestors longevity and a happy life. I always do all I can do make sure my clients have achieved that when they come to see me and when they go home that they stretch and roll, because I will know next time when they come to see me, and also they will tell me about their improvement and gain of confidence.

You do many treatments in your house, or on the road.  How much time do you actually get to spend on each athlete?  Do you ever do multiple sessions on an athlete daily?

Short sessions are 1 hour, but for elite runners we can go up to 3 or 4 hours, but that will only be twice in a month. For the elite yes I’ll do multiple sessions daily. When they have three workouts in a day, especially Tuesday and Thursday, three sessions will be needed, but they will not be very intense. For the elite it will be because I feel for them and I want to help them heal in a week, but I only do that to someone who seems really frustrated, broken and tired of what they’re going through. If I see them twice for 1 hour each for a day, by sunset their sad feelings will be gone, and next day they will start experiencing better feelings, so if we repeat that again after two days they will be feeling much better by the weekend.

Do you do any assessments and or evaluations do you do prior to treatments, and how does this guide your treatment? 

For me, only plantar fascia is the one that acts like anti chest and needs more exorcism time..jk! It’s the only injury that challenges me the most, but anything else if they can endure the first session, the next one, which must be soon after, will be able to change the course of the injury and not more than two weeks we will be talking or working on something else. I believe in myself, so I just pour my heart and soul into what’s meant to be fixed and plan won’t be needed that much. Because I will also need the client to believe in me, believe what we are doing is going to work, and what they are going to do at home will help. This has never failed us.

A Youtube video was posted where you had Leo Manzano connected to a tire and resistance bands.  (Link to video)  What is this doing?  Where did you come up with this concept?  Are there ideal times to use this and bad times to use this?

 

 

Wow, this will require me to write a book to explain it all, but I’ll try to brush it to the basics. I learned it Kenya, but perfected it when I came to America. First it’s like doing hill repeats at altitude. It helps with the blood flow. It strengthens the back, especially those with scoliosis and hip problems. It lengthens the strides and helps the foot land softly while running. It aligns the posture and helps the runner be and feel swift. It also helps a runner to not land on the ground but push the ground. It boosts stamina and swinging of hands. Among other things, because of it I was able to run 3:52 mile and 28 minutes for 10k with ease. The longest to do it is not more than an hour. Closer to races one can use it for no more than 30 minutes, and it’s great for warm up before the race. That pain one feels burning the chest will not be felt.

Do the techniques you use in the session vary depending on when race day is?  How would your treatments be modified on the day of a race, and also post-race? 

The last massage is always on Thursday if the race is on Saturday or Sunday, if another one will be needed it has to be the light massage, but only if we have been doing this in training so it doesn’t affect the results. It has to be part of training and not treatment. The closer to the race the stretching will be reduced and also the intensity of the massage. The athlete’s hands must be massaged every day on the week prior to the race. But the full body massage must not be more than 3 times in a week. After a race of course, the massage is need and it has to be deep, then next day also, then we’ll go a week or so without another.

How would you treat runners between rounds, if at all? 

Between rounds I often do light massage and lots of shaking. Whole body vibrating machine is perfect for that. The athletes to hop on it for 10 minutes then 7 minutes in an ice bath, followed by soaking in hot water with Epsom salt, then a 30 minute massage, which we’ll use arnica oil and arnica gel, then repeat the hot and cold water soaking, then compression boots, then finish with a 10 minutes on the vibrating machine. It’s very fun. If cryotherapy can be used instead of an ice bath it will work like magic!

What might be some things you travel with that someone might not be expect?

Kip's travel suppliesMy bags are always full like that of a clown, but the stuff I have inside are exercise stuff like the ab roller, weights, and resistance bands, among other things that athletes are scared of.  Nail clippers, hand sanitizer and hand lotion are actually closer to me than my wallet!

When working with athletes, is there a common request you find?

To be honest most know that I’m not like other therapists who only work on the area they’ve been asked. If the athlete says their hamstring is bothering them, then it begins from their back even up to the neck. If it’s the knee, then the glutes are going to wish they were somewhere else, because the weakness begins from there to the hip, then down the IT band, and boom to the knee. We are not like machines that when broken, it’s only in one area that requires fixing. I like to work on the entire body, so I can alter the problem but also how the mind thinks of the pain.

Most athletes, after I work on them, want to take me with them. They say I should go to their state and they’ll find me a place to stay and office to work in. Some have even hid my passports so I can stay a little longer with them. It’s also crazy sometimes when an elite runner asks me for an autograph. That’s why I don’t ask them for theirs because I don’t have a place to put them, I prefer taking picture of them and says so and so got Kip’d, and they seem to like it. Some who haven’t got Kip’d will do their best to come to me when I’m a their state. It’s always a wonderful feeling to do what I do, for it brings me a great honor.
Are there any events you will working in the next few months we might be able to find you at?

Kip doing a massage after he ran a race earlier that day.

Kip doing a massage after he ran a race earlier that day.

I will be in Dallas on December and Houston marathon next year, plus plenty of track races. I often avoid going to races because everyone will want to be massaged by me after a marathon or track race. It’s rare to see a therapist who stretches and passionately works on someone after a race till they’re limping from the beating they got in the race goes away. When others see this, or told by someone I just worked on, I’ll have an army of runners waiting for me to work on them, and it’s really hard to fit them all. Some have even waited for 5 hours to see me. I find it hard sometimes for me to be around runners. Even when running with them one will ask how to avoid a certain pain in their body or do to go faster. This life is the coolest.

Kip, you are absolutely incredible! Thank you so much for your time and openness.  It’s been really interesting to hear the behind the scenes stories.  I know I see you on Facebook with Kiprunning Sports Massage 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kiprunning-Sports-Massage/204295312931160 

and on  Twitter @therunimal posting inspiring quotes.  Is there a website people can find more information on you? 

 I only have a blog where I write my wisdom, thoughts and few things about me. http://kiplimochemirmir.wordpress.com.   If one wants to reach me, here is my email kiprunningsportmassage@gmail.com and phone is (972) 693 5181

It’s been a tremendous pleasure to be able to ask you these questions. I now there will be massage therapists out there reading this who will have learned something as a result.  Thank you for your time!

Hakuna matata my friend, it’s always wonderful to hear from you.

Thanks for all you do, never change that spirit.

 

Water based recovery techniques

Written by Roger White on . Posted in Blog, Videos

For runners and athletes of any sports, there comes a time when the body feels sluggish, “trashed,” and legs feel dead.  One popular method for improving recovery from these conditions involves water, sometimes called hydrotherapy.  Likely you’ve heard about this, but now the question becomes:

  • Hot, cold, or both?
  • For how long?
  • Standing or sitting?
  • When is it best to use water therapy?
AIS Halson

Dr. Shona Halson inside AIS hydrotherapy facilities

Australian Institute of Sport Head of Recovery, Shona Halson, is one of the leading researchers in water therapy for performance, publishing numerous papers on the subject.  Her research has asked the right questions in determining how best to optimize water therapy in a recovery program for athletes.  She presented the answers to the questions above at the 2013 Aspetar Conference in Qatar.  Her presentation can be seen in this video below.  You can find her on Twitter at @ShonaHalson.

Runners Massage Studio - 2013