Horses have been apart of my life since I was 4 years old. Competing Nationally in Dressage for the last 9 years, I have come to understand the mutual need to take care of myself just as I do my horse.
To be in peak performance at time of competition takes discipline and a plan. Training is key to enhanced performance, but I have come to know and understand that rehabilitation and prevention of injury is equally as important.
As an athlete, I have put my body through so much. Rehabilitation has always been a part of being able to compete. Treating the chronic pain I had in my hips and constant pain in my back and neck was only providing me with temporary relief. It felt like I was constantly rehabbing, moving from one injury to the next, one pain to the next.
While continuing to follow my dream of riding, I also recognized my own need to help people whose stories are similar to my own. I became a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) and was immediately attracted to modalities like deep tissue massage. However, this was very demanding my own body.
I was introduced to Myofascial Release (MFR) by a fellow therapist. There was a course coming to Ottawa that seemed to align with my need for change. I was getting tired from working so hard with applying such deep pressure for my patients and having to treat the same conditions for them on a regular ongoing basis.
After one weekend, I recognized that professionally, this is what I needed to be doing.
Personally, as an athlete, it was FATE! This was exact thing my body was missing all these years as a rider. I had been forcing releases on my own body that were never sustained. Little did I know, that with less force and longer holds, I would feel so much relief.
Immediately, I started seeing another RMT here in the city whose practice was exclusively Myofascial Release. Focusing on my own patterns and my whole body, I instantly started to notice a difference with my pain. Even better, I noticed a difference with how I rode; how I sat in my saddle; how my horse listened to my aids. Everything started to improve and I started to see all the training pay off. We were winning!
I never imagined that with one course my professional practice would change. Equally, that same course offered me a whole new way to improve my overall life as an athlete. Now I get to help people go in to their pain patterns and heal from them. Now I get to listen to my own body and treat it on a daily basis. Now I get to do what I love and love what I do!
Tara Freel is an RMT with Fascial Connections Myofascial Release & Wellness Centre. Tara works extensively with women and athletes. See more about Tara here.
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