Nov 2016 19

How I got into Sports Massage

By: Dave Wheeler

One of the questions that clients often ask me is how I got into Sports Massage in the 1st place.

At the time I was living and working in London, working at a software company at a fairly senior level. The job was quite stressful, and like a lot of people in stressful jobs, I used sport and exercise as a get-out. My sport was climbing - and I was addicted. I climbed 3 times a week indoors and as many weekends as I could escape London. 

That amount of climbing put huge strain on my shoulders, especially the rotator cuff muscles, which constantly ached from overuse. I went to several sports massage therapists for treatment, but none really hit the spot. Of course I didn't stretch as much as I should have done - stretching was boring compared to climbing.

In those days I was what used to be called an "A-type personality" and I got increasingly frustrated with massage therapists who either didn't understand the movements that I was doing, or just gave me their generic shoulder routine.

Typically, I thought, "I can do better."

So I enrolled on a training programme at the London School of Sports Massage run my Mel Cash, one of the founding fathers of sports massage. At that stage, I didn't have any intention of going into it as a trade. I did find though, that I loved sports massage - sorting through the puzzle of what what was going on in the body, and sending people away a bit better.

By the time I was in my late 40's, work had become ridiculously stressful and I threw the towel in. It was then that I simplified my life,  moved to Hitchin and my hobby became  my work.

The advantage of Hitchin for me was that it was an hour up the A1 from London - closer to the Peak District so that I could go climbing every weekend. The irony (given that it was climbing that got me into sports massage in the 1st place) is that in the 7 years since I moved away from London, I haven't been climbing. 

A couple of days ago one of my clients came into the treatment room; the first thing she said to me was, "I hate the way you're always so $@~%ing zen."  That's what doing a job that I really love has done, I guess.