On Monday, May 6, Kathryn Merrow interviewed me for 30 minutes for Massage Talk Radio. We had a lot of fun. She asked about how I got into massage, about my training and experience, and how I've evolved to incorporate the various things I've learned over the years into my practice. We talked about how my understanding of trigger points has changed and I was particularly happy to speak about what I've learned about pain science in recent years. I appreciated the opportunity to tell my fellow massage therapists that even though learning something new that contradicts what we've believed to be true can be uncomfortable at first, it does not have to be threatening and, in fact, when we embrace understanding how the body actually works, it's exciting and liberating.
Given the nature of our show, our acrobats are in great need of physical healing as well as spiritual healing. They perform nine to ten shows per week and need specific attention to different injuries and physical pain they endure on a daily basis. Alice was able to relieve them of this with regular massages. They were very grateful to the service she provided to them.
Alice Sanvito is a gifted massage therapist and healer. In my work as Artistic Director of Muny 1st Stage, and now as Education Director for Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, I have utilized her expert care when performers have reported muscular and movement related injuries. Examples include a serious lower back related strain and another was shoulder related. I sent both the actors to Alice.
I'm a traveling musician and was performing in the St. Louis area in the midpoint of a Midwestern tour. I had been experiencing considerable pain in my forearm for a long time and it was particularly painful the night our band came to play for a dance in Webster Groves.
At the end of the evening, Alice saw me with ice on my arm and offered to help. In a matter of minutes she went straight to the source and knew exactly what to do to relieve the pain.
I once read an article about musculoskeletal pain among professional musicians. A survey of several thousand symphony musicians revealed that approximately 80% of them suffered from either chronic or intermittent pain directly related to their profession. The highest incidence was reported among the violinists. This was not surprising since they not only hold their instrument in a position that is challenging to the muscles, but they spend more time playing than any other instrument in an orchestra. Other instruments often get breaks or play only intermittently but in most orchestral pieces, the violins play most of the time.
Musicians are small muscle athletes. Their profession requires endurance, strength, and precision. The right kind of massage can help them play with less pain and more agility.
When muscles are tight, movement is inhibited. When muscles are in pain, they become tense and there is less control. Maintaining maximum range of motion and eliminating pain allows a musician to play in comfort and can improve performance.
No doubt about it, the best job I’ve ever had has been working with Cirque du Soleil. Four times.
People are often impressed that I have worked with Cirque du Soleil. I tell them don’t be impressed that they hired me the first time. After all, the first time they didn’t know what they were getting. Be impressed that they hired me the second. And the third. And the fourth time.