My journey to the Big Leagues

It’s been my observation over my near 18 year career, that a therapist’s personality directly correlates to the type of therapy they are drawn to do. A soft-spoken, gentle person may be drawn
to Craniosacral, Reiki or relaxation/Swedish massage. These are all wonderful therapies, but they didn’t speak to me the way neuromuscular therapy or deep tissue work did. I’m more of a
“dive in and take names later” kind of girl. I earned the name as “Crusher” in massage school from my classmates after all. Hence the deeper modalities resonating with me. This became apparent
to me once taking the neuromuscular introduction in massage therapy school. The ‘hurts here then work here’ approach seemed effective when working with frozen shoulder pain, low back and
hip discomfort. It was a great starting point as a map for pain patterns. Who would benefit the most from this work, I thought. Well athletes of course! They are always working hard, enduring
many hours of training in a week to prepare their bodies for their given sport. I knew then that I wanted to work in sports massage therapy to work specifically with athletes, perhaps even a whole
team.
I was licensed only a matter of months in early 1999 before I
signed up to take the full neuromuscular certification series. I
would go on to take various myofascial workshops, structural and
orthopedic applications as well. I was especially drawn to the
addition of massage cupping in April 2004. The certain
effectiveness when working with structure, fascia and trigger
points while adding Massage Cupping yielding relief in a
problematic areas gave me much satisfaction. Filling my massage
therapy toolbox with various modalities that would assist me when

working with athletes and getting them out of pain, enhancing
their performance and helping to keep them injury free.

It was early in the morning before sunrise as I arrived at Siesta
Key public beach parking lot. Once parked, I unloaded my table
and various equipment so that I could set up to work my first
sprint triathlon with the FSMTA sports massage team. They were
shorthanded on massage therapists for the event and I figured I
would give it a go. This was a perfect opportunity to start working
with local athletes after all. We waited as the triathletes finished
the race and made their way to the massage therapy tent. It was
exhilarating being surrounded by positive, health minded athletes
of all ages and capabilities. I wasn’t put off by the hot, sweaty
bodies coated by the fine crystal quartz sand of Siesta Key beach.
It was exciting as I got to learn about each of their stories and the
journey here. That was the beginning of what was to be five years
active with the Sarasota/Manatee chapter sports massage team. I
would work every event ranging from 5K runs, half marathons,
100 mile cycling events to Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons.
I became a familiar face to the repeat athletes. Before long, they
would wait for me to be available to work on them at these events.
These athletes began to come to the office for treatment. Clients
that I would have for years to come as I kept them healthy
working with various issues that may arise. This was definitely the
starting point giving me the experience of working with many
athletes at different levels. I went on to become the coordinator of
the sports massage team for three of those five years, until I left
to focus on my young twin children and private practice.

I often get asked how I got into sports massage and working with
professional athletes. Simply put, I was prepared when the
opportunity presented itself. I simply learned various modality skill
sets, honed my craft, and let the work speak for itself. I didn’t do
anything special beyond that. I didn’t bang down doors to drum up
business. I can’t remember the last time I paid for any advertising
as all of my business has been word of mouth.
The opportunity knocked in 2007 when the Cincinnati Reds were
looking for their go to massage therapist in the area. They heard
about me from the chiropractor I was renting office space from at
the time. They asked me to come to their spring training facility to
meet with their minor-league and major league head trainers.
After talking with them and working on the major league head
trainer, he was pleased with the work he received. Two days later,
a high profile veteran player called to get a treatment stating that
the head trainer told him to come see me. Next was Bronson
Arroyo, who I would continue to work on for several years and
was a big supporter of my work and the massage cupping therapy
I would do for him. I continued to work with Cincinnati Reds
players for three spring trainings until 2009. They were to start
their next spring training in Arizona at a new facility. Our city
wasn’t able to retain the Cincinnati Reds and it wasn’t looking
hopeful that we were going to get another team to train at our Ed
Smith spring training facility. I was definitely sad to see the Reds
leave, but it was a great experience. I got to work with players of
various positions and learn the nuances of each position.
Thoughts of working with baseball players quickly faded as the
summer of 2009 arrived. During the annual FSMTA state
convention, I would see the group that I received massage

cupping training with. Excitedly, I shared my success stories of
various clients as well as the baseball players I had been sharing
this work with. I wasn’t expecting what would happen next. . . they
asked me to come teach with them. I was thrilled to have the
opportunity to share my passion for massage cupping as it has
been the most valuable tool in my practice since its addition. I
soon started the year-long training track to become a national
educator with ACE Massage Cupping. This was a nice distraction
as early 2010 rolled around when for the three years prior, I had
been working with Reds baseball players as they arrived in the
spring to prepare for the upcoming baseball season. But spring of
2010 brought with it another surprise. The city of Sarasota had
come to an agreement with the Baltimore Orioles making it their
new spring training facility for the next 30 years. Been there done
that, got the T-shirt, I thought… that was until a catcher that I had
worked with the Cincinnati Reds had contacted me as he was
now traded to the Baltimore Orioles, as fate would have it. But
that wasn’t the only connection to the Orioles I was going to have.
The new strength and conditioning Coordinator with the Baltimore
Orioles had heard about me from a mutual client. He called and
said he had a player who wanted to be stretched and massaged
off site twice a week. I explained to him that my time would be
better spent doing the massage cupping and massage work. This
would make the stretching easier for him. Seemingly satisfied
with my response, he put Adam Jones on the phone where we
discussed what I would do for him and scheduled an appointment.
Here we are just now finishing our seventh season together. Our
work starts in the spring and continues throughout the season as I
have worked to keep him healthy and mostly injury free and on
the field ever since.

In spring training of 2014, Adam Jones said the Orioles needed a
massage therapist. My brain was rushing with how can I make
this possible? How would this work with my now teenage twins?
This could be a fun adventure for them. As an educator teaching
with ACE Massage Cupping/MediCupping, I already had students
registered for workshops from international ports. I couldn’t
possibly cancel on them. What about my private practice I had
worked 15 years to build? I declined the opportunity and did not
pursue it further. I didn’t realize it until a major-league pitcher
asked me why I wasn’t working for the Orioles…I said, “it was
offered and I turned the job down.” He said, “you turned down a
major-league job?!” I realized then that I had far exceeded the
place I originally set out to be, to work with a whole team.
It all started with the desire to work with athletes, a journey which
began with early mornings on sweaty athletes working with the
FSMTA sports massage team. A field of dreams, if you build it
they will come. I built it and they came, and the journey continues.

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