In a study done in 2013 over 1.3 million students were sent to the ER because of sports related injuries, "Far too many kids are arriving in emergency rooms for injuries that are predictable and preventable," Carr says.
Using data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the report focused on pediatric sports injuries related to 14 common sports activities, including football, cheerleading, soccer and basketball. More than 46.5 million children played team sports in 2011, says the report. It finds that in 2012, 12% of all ER visits (163,670) involved a concussion, the equivalent of one every three minutes. Nearly half (47%) were in kids ages 12 to 15.
Nor do the figures highlight the significant number of overuse injuries, "about 25% of which end up being serious," he says. Overuse injuries to tendons, bones and joints can result from playing the same sport and performing the same movements too often, too hard or at too young an age with inadequate recovery time.
Research reported earlier this year by Jayanthi and colleagues found that young athletes who played a single sport for more hours a week than years they were old — such as a 10-year-old who played 11 or more hours of soccer — were 70% more likely to experience serious overuse injuries.
Letting the body rest, adding preventive and strengthening exercises, and following proper technique are among injury prevention strategies recommended in the new report. It also says athletes should be encouraged to speak up about injuries, coaches should be supported in injury-prevention decisions, and parents and young athletes should become better educated about sports safety."
Kids these days are under tremendous pressure to do something, anything, that helps them get a scholarship into college, and one of the ways to do that is sports. Parents are having the kids start organized sports younger and younger, and I am not talking about the old neighborhood football, basketball or soccer game, I am talking about team sports, with at least weekly practices. Now, sure, kids are a lot more resilient in some ways to injuries but they are still growing, which puts it's own strain on the body. Add that in with repetitive actions such as you do in sports drills, 3-6 days a week practicing, lack of sleep because they still have to do homework, rushed meals and general stress from trying to meet parental expectations and you have a recipe for injury, anxiety disorders, depression and a whole lot of other things.
Kids, can and do, get stressed and injured and quite often they will be more reluctant to talk about either because they don't want to let their teammates or parents down. One way to help prevent injuries and decrease stress is by getting your kid massages, I have personally worked on several student athletes and they love the results. Students, or anyone really, can remain fully clothed and of course I always have an adult in the treatment room with me so to make sure everyone is comfortable. Working on student athletes, or even a non athlete who is just stressed, helps them in so many ways. I have worked out tight shoulders from baseball players, sore legs and glutes of swimmers and helped a student who has high anxiety get some much needed sleep and grounding. Just because they are young, doesn't mean they are bulletproof or immune to injury.
Sports like gymnastics have a high amount of impact that the muscles have to absorb, golf is very repetitive and puts strain on whichever side you swing with, swimmers practice insane amounts and quite often have very tight muscles that need to be worked out. I had one young lady who at the age of 16 was already looking at shoulder surgery because she'd been a competitive swimmer since a very early age and her body was starting to fall apart because of it. Professional athletes get routine massages and various forms of physical therapy to keep them in peak condition and they still get injured. A young student athlete is carrying a full school load on top of doing all the required practices and games so they are doing double duty while usually not getting anywhere near the same amount of monitoring of their physical well being. Very often they don't get any actual "rest days" which are crucial to letting muscles heal and rebuild in between large amounts of effort, and without proper healing from micro tears, worse injuries will happen.
As a parent of a student athlete, it is often hard to find time to fit yet another thing into their's and your busy schedule but a monthly massage, at a minimum should be seen as a crucial part of helping them maintain their ability to compete. It is important that you find a therapist that does sports type massage and has a good knowledge of how the muscles are used for different sports so they can customize the session to fit the needs of your student athlete.
An hour a month can prevent months of downtime, rehab and pain from an injury, not to mention hospital bills. Do it for your student athlete and yourself. You'll both feel a lot better in the end.
(You can book targeted treatments with me starting at $55 for an hour. If you add hot stones, which helps me get to the root of the muscular issues even faster, the treatments start at $65. Book here.
When I was in massage school, I think one of the most remarkable things that happened, other than feeling knots actually melt away under my hands, was the amount of emotions that were released on the table during our hands on parts of our classes. I didn't really understand the concept of the mind-body connection until then. Quite often people who have suffered a large amount of trauma in their lives are the same people that are called to help others and in the safe, supportive environment of a massage school program many, many past traumas were released and let go. Now this isn't exactly normal in your every day massage session, but it is a testament to the power of touch.
What is normal in your every day massage session is clients walking out in what I like to call "massage coma", smiling, relaxed, slightly out of it due to all the feel good chemicals that the session has released in their brain, feeling "lighter", like they're "floating". All these sensations are the exact opposite of what we tend to feel on a daily basis. We feel stressed, tired, in pain, tight, sore, cranky. How can massage do so much for us and why is it still, in many cases, considered a luxury, not a part of a healthy regimen to prevent illness?
Massage has been shown to decrease cortisol levels up to 58% "A review of more than a dozen studies concluded that massage therapy helps relieve depression and anxiety by affecting the body’s biochemistry. Researchers at the University of Miami School of Medicine reviewed studies that measured the stress hormone cortisol in participants before and immediately after massage and found that the therapy lowered levels by up to 53 percent. Massage also increased serotonin and dopamine, which are both neurotransmitters that help reduce depression." It also decreases blood pressure in as little as ten minutes, "Research has shown that hypertensive patients who received three 10-minute back massages a week had a reduction in blood pressure, compared to patients who tried to increase relaxation without massage. " Cortisol, being one of the main chemicals that is released when we are stressed and anxious, just as a reminder.
One of the ways to help people in the midst of a panic attack is to touch them, which can help ground them in the moment and get their minds off the anxiety their brain chemistry is subjecting them to. Now think about what an hour of touch can do to help ground and center a person. Humans need touch to survive. Now let's think about how much better we would feel if we did that on a consistent basis. There have been several studies showing that infants that do not receive enough touch do not thrive, just because we're all grown up, know how to walk, talk and feed ourselves, doesn't mean our brains and bodies work that much differently than they did when we were infants. We still need to be touched, and if we aren't getting enough healthy touch in our lives it affects us on multiple levels.
There is now study after study showing massage promotes healthy minds and healthy bodies, so why do we continue to view it as a luxury and something that is just a fun thing to do now and again? There are several reasons for this, one big one is that massage is an ancient healing system that, like so many others, was disparaged by Western Medicine for many, many years as "woo woo" and "primitive." Then we have the Puritanical issues about our bodies and touch which has, finally, been changing, thankfully. Plus massage got linked to prostitution, which is why we have licensing laws now. On top of all that was our societal taught disconnect between body and mind, due in large part to our lack of scientific understanding of how the body and mind all fits together. Even though the benefits of massage have long been accepted in other parts of the world, here in the US we need proof, and now we have it.
Where does all this take us? It needs to take us to where instead of seeing the cost for a massage as something that is a treat, see it as important as your yearly check ups, as any medication you are taking, as eating healthier foods or exercising. Massage can keep you from getting sick. That alone pays for itself in decreased sick time away from work or family. The $40-60 you pay for a massage is what many people pay for a gym membership, that quite often they never fully use. The benefits of massage are just as important and you don't have to sweat or even lift a single weight, all you have to do is book an appointment, relax and let go. Heck these days $50.00 is the same as a lot of co-pays to see a Doctor for 15 mins, you get a lot more time with a massage therapist for that money and it will do a lot more good for you.
Most of us would love to take more vacations, so we should consider a massage a monthly or even twice a month mini-vacation for yourself. Your body and mind will thank you.
Book Now with me to feel a million times better.
Walking is good for you, we all know that, but did you know what you walk on can make a difference in your health as well? Walking on uneven surfaces has been shown to do a lot more for you than walking on concrete. There are a lot of reasons for that, one of which is our feet are as sensitive as our hands, shoes and man made surfaces rob our brain of a whole lot of input which has an affect on a lot of different things in our body.
We go to China, as it seems we tend to do a lot these days, for a study carried out by the Oregon Research Institute. "Cobblestone-like walking paths are common in China. The activity is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine and relates to some of the principles of reflexology, in that the uneven surface of the cobblestones stimulate and regulate "acupoints" located on the soles of the feet. These acupoints are purportedly linked to all organs and tissues of the body. Although there is considerable anecdotal evidence indicating the health benefits of cobblestone walking, (e.g., pain relief, sleep enhancement, improved physical and mental well-being), until recently no controlled studies have been undertaken to scientifically evaluate its benefits and efficacy.
"We visited China and noticed that adults of all ages spent about 30 minutes each day walking, standing, and sometimes dancing on these beautifully laid paths of river stones in the parks and gardens of large cities. They did this for their health every day of the week. We used manufactured mats that replicated these cobblestone paths and developed a special protocol so that participants gradually got used to walking on the uneven surface of the mats," reported Fisher. Participants in the study, which was funded by the National Institute on Aging (Grant AG20470), were divided into an experimental group -- the cobblestone mat walkers -- and a control group which took part in conventional walking activities for one hour, three times per week for 16 weeks. At the end of the study, mat walkers were found to have better scores on measures of balance, physical function, and blood pressure than those in the conventional walking group."
So, yet again, something that humans have done for millenia, is actually healthier than things that humans have created in the last hundred years or so. Funny how that works. Treadmills are great, I use one when the weather is hellish in Arizona, they get you moving, but you get a lot more out of running or walking on natural surfaces. Now I am not saying go run around barefoot if you aren't used to it, but get minimalist shoes, they sell those now, and go walk on grass, rocks. up and down hills. You will get a lot more out of it.
Take walking in beach sand for example, it burns more calories, gets you to work on strength and balance and reduces stress. Don't live by a beach? Find a sand volleyball court, a lot of parks where I live have them. Walk or run back and forth in the sand. Don't want to do it barefoot? Where minimalist shoes.
Most of us ran around barefoot as kids, you can still do that and it's darn good for you too. If you are into working out, as we all should be, train barefoot or in minimalist shoes, there's a whole slew of reasons why it's better for your body. Here's a very comprehensive article on that topic.
Our bodies work best when we aren't screwing with what they were designed to do, I have found that over and over again working on people. Doing things barefoot or in minimalist shoes is good for your brain, your body and your soul. Take a walk in a park, on grass, instead of in a gym. You'll get a lot more out of it. Take it from me.
Kat is a LMT in AZ with close to a half decade of experience. She likes to talk to ppl about their health, make them feel better and get them to realize they have so much power to control their own health. Snarky yet informative, that's Kat in a nutshell. She's also available for personalized, targeted therapeutic massages, please see the scheduling page if you live in the Phoenix AZ area.