Looking back on my active, teenage years, it’s easy for me to now recognize how I managed to push through sporting event after event, but continued to neglect caring for my body.
During my whole life, I was active to the point where I would push the limit–mentally and physically–to compete or play in sports. I never liked to sit out of a game of soccer or a track meet because of an injury. My active lifestyle continued to become even more competitive, and my body quickly became tired and easily beat up; however, my mentality was to keep pushing myself physically.
It was not until my junior year of high school that I realized my body had reached its limits. I was at a track invitational in Eastern York and was warming up to do the pole vault event. The adrenaline was kicking in, so I was feeling good.
As I began my first attempt at a height, I distinctly remember a jolt of pain through my lower leg muscle, subsequently resulting in an excruciating pulled calf muscle–it was even a struggle walking to my mom on the sideline as tears rolled down my face.
All I wanted to do was continue with my attempts, but the pain was too unbearable. I had to forfeit my event and therefore was out of the meet. I felt angry, frustrated, and disappointed in myself and my body.
Following my calf injury, my mom contacted Julia Walsh, fellow Licensed Massage Therapist, to schedule a massage therapy appointment. Julia aided in my recovery tremendously! She gave stretching and foam rolling exercises to do at home, which strengthened my calf allowing me to compete again.
After I graduated from high school, I set off for college. However, I left only after one semester when I realized that family needed to be my main priority.
At the time, I started working full-time driving cars for Manheim Auto Auction. I found myself putting in too many hours per week to even keep track. My daily routine was sitting in a car all day and then go to play soccer in the evening. I would just get out on the field, with no thought of stretching prior to the games, hoping that I would not injure myself due to lack of stretching.
After playing competitive sports for many years, I knew the benefits of stretching before and after a game, but I still chose not to do it. I reasoned with myself that I was just going to feel the pain and soreness in the morning and there was nothing I could do to prevent it.
I should have known that if I wanted my body to be the best it could be, I needed to take care of it with self-care and massage. For me, being on the field was what I wanted, and I did not want to “waste time” taking care of myself.
I learned the hard way.
Lack of self-care caused me to be constantly tired with overworked muscles, which negatively affected my performance and strength on the field.
I took a year off from school to take time to figure out what I wanted to do for my career.
After talking with many people and reflecting on my strengths, it was obvious the multitude of benefits massage therapy placed in my life. I discovered it was the career path I knew I needed to take.
I was determined to reach that goal as fast as I possible.
As I studied massage, I began adapting healthy practices in my own life. I continued to play soccer, but this time my mindset shifted. I was now receiving massages and advice from teachers on how to take care of my body in order to perform at a higher level. I took their advice and allowed them to work on my stiff and achy muscles before and after games to improve my performance.
I can see now that I thought I could do whatever I wanted to my body and that I thought I was invincible. I was overworking, overusing, and tiring out my body and every muscle in it.
Self-care and massage have been a huge game-changer for my physical and mental health by preventing injury, improving movement, and helping me set physical goals and reach them.
My passion is to offer massage, especially for athletes, struggling to overcome the same barriers of neglecting their bodies to instead see how caring for our bodies will give long-term, lasting effects.
Schedule a session today with Courtney to begin feeling relief from your achy muscles!
Courtney Weaver is a graduate of Lancaster School of Massage where she cultivated a passion for using techniques to help clients experience pain relief and better range of motion. She brings a breath of fresh air to the massage therapy profession with a willingness to research, learn more, and try different techniques to best serve her clients.
At Immerse, we are ecstatic that our massage therapists also offer service to clients under the age of 18. Our policy ensures a safe and thorough practice where the under-18-year-olds wear their athletic clothing at all times with a parent/guardian always present during the session.