The Role of Sports Massage

deep tissue sports massageThe purpose of Sports Massage is not well understood and its use would most likely increase with a greater understanding of how how exercise impacts our muscles.

After hard training or an athletic event, taxed muscles become constricted and shortened. Micro-tearing of muscle fibers also results from extended strenuous activity leading to swelling and adhesions (like strands of spaghetti stuck together). Without proper rest and stretching between exercise, muscles become increasingly fatigued and contracted. Constrictions prevent free muscle movement and literally destroy range of motion.

During massage, circulation is stimulated and muscle tissue is stretched helping muscles recover faster and more completely. Sports massage focuses on the muscle groups most used by the athlete and incorporates stretches to maintain muscle elasticity. Over the long-term, sports massage helps athletes sustain higher levels of performance and remain free of injuries.

Rest Period

There should be a period of rest after hard training to allow muscle recovery to take place. Depending on the intensity of the physical activity, the rest period can be anywhere from a day to several weeks.   By stimulating circulation and the lymphatic system, sports massage coupled with appropriate low-level activity increases the quality and effectiveness of the rest period. Some refer to it as ‘turbo-charging.’

Warm-up and Warm-down

Neglecting to warm-up can result in injury because cold muscles are less elastic and more vulnerable to damage. A proper warm-down with ample stretches helps start the muscle recovery process, re-aligning muscle fibers and preventing tightness.

Age Factor

As we get older, our muscles become more prone to damage due to wear and tear, so stretching and proper warm-up and warm-down become more important. Since it takes muscles longer to recover as we age, a longer rest period and more regular massage is beneficial.

Pre-Event Sports Massage

Pre-event sports massage can take place from two days to two minutes before a race. Two days before, sports massage can be thorough and deep to ensure you are in optimum condition and fully recovered from any previous exercise. Shortly before an event, sports massage uses passive stretches and muscle warming techniques for maximum muscle elasticity. Some also choose to get massage the day of an athletic event with the goal of either relaxing their nerves or “firing-up” for the competition, depending on the athlete’s particular needs.

Post-Event Sports Massage

If you are like many, you may be skipping the warm-down after an athletic event, whether due to exhaustion, elation or forgetfulness. Whatever the reason, sports massage can be a reasonable substitute for a warm-down since it stretches muscle fibers and helps effectively remove metabolic waste (through increased circulation). If there is an injury, cold therapy and cross-fiber massage techniques can be used to reduce swelling and remove muscle adhesions.

In summary, sports massage helps active individuals maintain flexible, rested and healthy muscle tissue helping to improve athletic performance. If you consistently suffer from stiffness or muscle fatigue after athletic activity, consider adding sports massage to your overall routine.

By Larisa Goldin, MBA, LMP

Dreamclinic Massage Sponsors Team Group Health Competitive Cycling for the 13th Year in a Row

teamgrouphealthseattledreamclinicpartnershipDreamclinic is delighted to announce a landmark thirteen-year sponsorship with Group Health.  Every year Team Group Health strives to promote and develop the sport of competitive cycling among women in the Pacific Northwest. This sponsorship is part of Dreamclinic’s ongoing commitment to promote healthy and active living within our community.

Team Group Health is a great example of competitive spirit and an emphasis on women’s health. They’re passionate about investing time to educate and train their members, as well as the community at large about the sport of cycling.

Dreamclinic founder and CEO Larisa Goldin says:

“We’re delighted to continue our ongoing relationship with Team Group Health and are extremely proud of the team.  They have grown each year, have competed fiercely and have also been an active and positive influence in our community.  they exemplify the fact that people can be multi-dimensional and work and play hard in a healthy way.”

Dreamclinic sponsors Team Group Health to assist in the common goal to raise public awareness of the health benefits of an active lifestyle.  Did you know 1-in-3 Washington residents own a bicycle?  Cycling is already a way for many of us to have an active, healthy lifestyle.  A focus on cycling, with event sponsorship and promotion of cycle safety, is a natural part of Group Health’s long-standing commitment to the well-being of the community. Founded in 1947, Group Health Cooperative is a consumer-governed, non-profit health care system that coordinates care and coverage.

With approximately 70 members, Team Group Health is a veritable force whenever the rubber meets the road, the track and the dirt.

To learn more about Team Group Health visit:

Outdoor Adventures – Fun and Healthy


Outdoor Adventures – Fun and Healthy

In the dark, cold winter, it’s easy to stay cooped up and fall out of our exercise routines. However, the longer days and budding trees are sure signs that spring has arrived.

And, as the world starts to crawl out and bloom, take the opportunity to get some fresh air and explore your area. This doesn’t mean you have to start training for a marathon or become a mountaineer — just make a few small changes to your routine to get some extra exercise and spend some more time outdoors.

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Go on a hike: From a three-day backpacking adventure to a casual stroll, work different muscles by going on a hike. It doesn’t even have to be on a mountain –just find a trail nearby and take a friend for a few hours. Make sure to bring water bottle or two, as well as snacks and a First Aid kit. In addition to a good workout, a hike is a great opportunity for self-reflection and to have some alone time.
  • Ride your bike: When it’s too nice to drive your car and too far to walk, hop on your bike for a powerful workout and an eco-friendly mode of transportation. Enjoy the fresh spring air and tone your legs and rear-end in the process. If you’re a beginner cyclist, get a proper bike fit and avoid riding with headphones. And, most importantly, don’t forget your helmet!
  • Garden: Working in the yard is an easy way to burn calories and tone your muscles (think of all the squatting, lifting, walking, and digging!). If you don’t have a plot available in your backyard, or aren’t up for a big project, you can get a small planter box or flower bed to start. If you’re feeling more ambitious, get involved with a community garden, which is a great way to connect with people in your neighborhood and get fresh produce.
  • Meditate outdoors: If you don’t feel like working out, move your other hobbies outside, like meditation. The calming sounds of nature can help clear your mind and truly relax. It’s also a great opportunity for you to catch some extra rays and get out of your house, even if it is just on your deck.

Even if you don’t think you have the time to be regularly active this spring, try to move outside as much as possible. If you do regularly exercise, get out of the sweaty, crowded gym and take it outside! Just spending an extra hour each day outdoors will clear your mind and boost your overall wellness.


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Edmonds Tennis Champion Credits Massage with Boosting Her Performance

In early April, the USTA Women’s 55 & Over tennis team from Edmonds won the National Championships held in Arizona. Melanie Korch, a member of the team and a regular client of Dreamclinic, credits massage with boosting her performance on the court.

“Since 2008, massage at Dreamclinic has been an important part of my fitness routine,” shared Melanie. “Before or after my matches, I schedule massage therapy to relieve sore and tense muscles. Massage also helps me stay flexible and improves my range of motion.”

Congratulations to Melanie and the entire USTA Edmonds women’s team on their championship win!

Melanie USTA

Pictured L to R: Ellen Johnson, J R Thompson (Captain), Melanie Korch, Liz Smalley (Captain), Marylen Fitzgerald, Judy Ann Jennings, Nancy Burdyshaw.

Read the official USTA news release:

Athletes Discover Acupuncture Treats Injuries and Boosts Performance

Athletes of many stripes are turning to acupuncture for an effective method of injury treatment and prevention. Professional football players from the ranks of the New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers and more have embraced acupuncture to manage pain, speed injury recovery, and achieve peak physical performance in their sport. A review of research studies on the use of acupuncture in sports confirms its efficacy at increasing muscle strength and power in athletes.1

Sports acupuncture is used for injury treatment, prevention and (in combination with Chinese herbs) to improve athletic performance.2 Acupuncture taps into the body’s natural ability to heal itself. It can work in conjunction with Western medical treatment, and in cases where rest is prescribed for an injury, acupuncture reduces pain and accelerates the healing process without side effects.

sports acup Tony+Richardson+1

New York Jets fullback Tony Richardson receives acupuncture regularly between practices and before games.

Matt Callison, a licensed acupuncturist and instructor at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, has been using sports acupuncture to treat athletes for 11 years and counting. Callison says, “traditional Chinese medicine [including acupuncture, herbs and exercises] has been an extremely helpful and growing trend in athletics for quite a while. Steve Young and Jerry Rice [of the San Francisco 49ers] have been treated with sports acupuncture, and Canadian speed skater Kevin Overland received sports acupuncture to help him earn a bronze medal in the 1998 Olympics.”3

Baltimore Ravens safety Will Demps credits acupuncture with boosting his performance on the field. “In my extensive off-season workouts, I have noticed a difference in my balance and agility since receiving [acupuncture] treatments…I feel my muscles have been ‘turned on’ and are firing on all cylinders.”3

In Major League Baseball, the Seattle Mariners were the first team  to utilize acupuncture, primarily due to the influence of Japanese players such as Ichiro Suzuki and Kazuhiro Sasaki. Players opt for acupuncture to help their muscles rebound more quickly after intense training, or to support rehabilitation and speed recovery from injuries.4

Proprioception, the body’s sense of where it is in space, is a process of the muscles communicating with the nervous system. Injury interferes with the body’s proprioceptive signals and creates imbalance. Acupuncture serves to relieve stress on the musculoskeletal system5 and “is one of the quickest ways to restore muscle balance,” says Callison. “When acupuncture is used at specific sites, the muscle spindles are reset, and then that balance is reawakened.”

The practice of acupuncture views pain as an imbalance or interruption of one’s qi (life force energy). The insertion of acupuncture needles triggers the release of pain- and inflammation-fighting chemicals in the body, and restores the cyclical flow of qi, allowing the body to function at more optimal levels. A qualified acupuncturist will first conduct a thorough intake and evaluation of symptoms, then create a targeted course of treatment for maximum results.

This is an original article from Dreamclinic, Inc. Dreamclinic is a Health and Wellness company committed to sharing information about commonly experienced health conditions and how they may be impacted through the use of bodywork and other natural approaches. Dreamclinic offers massage, acupuncture, and Reiki sessions at its Greenlake and Queen Anne clinics, as well as onsite massage at workplaces around Puget Sound. Contact us to learn more about how Dreamclinic can help you, your family or your workplace experience greater health.


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Effectively Manage Diabetes with Massage and Acupuncture

In the U.S., approximately 25.8 million people are diabetic, and this number continues to rise.1 Most of us know someone with diabetes who copes with managing the disease’s symptoms and side effects on a daily basis.

There are two types of diabetes. Type I makes up 10-15% of all cases, and is a chronic autoimmune condition which causes the pancreas to stop making insulin. Type II Diabetes accounts for 85% or more of all cases. With Type II, the pancreas still produces insulin, but the body’s cells have become insulin resistant. Some Type II Diabetics are able to control or reverse the disease through diet and lifestyle changes.

Despite their fundamental differences, both Type I and II Diabetics’ primary challenge is managing elevated blood sugar levels. Over time, high blood sugars can have detrimental effects on the body including poor circulation, weight gain, stiffening of muscles and connective tissues, gum disease, and peripheral neuropathy (nerve pain).

The mental and emotional stresses of dealing with a serious medical condition often trigger anxiety and depression, compounding the physical challenges brought on by diabetes. Scientific studies demonstrate that complementary treatments such as massage, acupuncture and yoga combined with Western medicine can effectively relieve the physical, mental and emotional stressors that result from diabetes.2

In addition to improving circulation, “Massage has been shown to decrease anxiety in a variety of patient populations, including people with diabetes. These stress-reducing benefits of massage have raised the possibility that massage may be of benefit to people with diabetes by inducing the relaxation response, thereby controlling the counter-regulatory stress hormones and permitting the body to use insulin more effectively.”3

According to an ancient Chinese medical book, the Nei Jing, acupuncture has been used to treat diabetes for over 2,500 years.1 Research has confirmed peripheral-neuropathyacupuncture’s ability to normalize blood sugar levels and to treat the pain associated with peripheral neuropathy.

Exercise is commonly prescribed as an important part of a diabetes management program. Yoga movement and breathing can improve circulation and oxygenation of the body, as well as increase mind-body awareness, giving diabetics a greater sense of self-control and empowerment in coping with their disease.

This is an original article from Dreamclinic, Inc. Dreamclinic is a Health and Wellness company committed to sharing information about commonly experienced health conditions and how they may be impacted through the use of bodywork and other natural approaches. Dreamclinic offers massage, acupuncture, and Reiki sessions at its Greenlake and Queen Anne clinics, as well as onsite massage at workplaces around Puget Sound. Contact us to learn more about how Dreamclinic can help you, your family or someone you love effectively manage the effects of diabetes.



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Dreamclinic Sponsors Running Evolution Team

Dreamclinic is now a proud sponsor of the Running Evolution team!

Running Evolution is the brain child of Beth Baker. She started the company after having her son (when she found herself 70 pounds more curves). Beth coaches people to start running and keep running. Her goal is to help as many people as possible change their life through the power of exercise.

Running Evolution has an amazing community and has changed the lives of thousands of new runners. More details and information on this exciting program can be found at

To learn more about becoming a Running Evolution coach, visit