How Football Shaped My Massage Career


I wish I could name this blog, “Just Another Stupid Blog”, but that title was already taken. Anyway… who would care to read a blog written by me anyway? I’m just a massage therapist that started practicing in the fall of 2000, opened a massage school three years ago, and has been extremely fulfilled by passing down the knowledge of this craft to the next generation.

Truthfully, since blogging has become popular, it’s been a long time coming and something that I’ve ‘noodled’ around in my brain for a couple of years. In that time, I realized that I may have acquired a couple of fans in the 14 years of massage therapy I have practiced… some clients, some students, some colleagues. The owner of Earth-Lite Massage Tables, Tomas Nani, specifically asked me to write something about my experience working on professional athletes. So it’s time…

This past week my most loyal and frequent NFL player-client publicly announced his retirement from 11 years of playing professional football.  I realized that I felt a little sadness because not only had I been his ‘go-to’ massage therapist for ALL of those years, but that it may well be the end of an era of working on pro athletes in the NFL for me! The kind of treatment I provided can be most accurately described as ‘Can- O- Whoop-Ass’ deep tissue therapy. I used techniques such as Neuromuscular-Reeducation, Myofascial technique, trigger point therapy and stripping effleurage. I also did joint mobilization and proprioceptive neuro-facilitating stretching (PNF). The purpose was always very clear… INJURY PREVENTION

For the massage nerds out there, this is how it works… When there is restriction in the fascia of a muscle, and the muscle undergoes strain in an uncontrolled environment (such as playing a game of football) the muscle can become damaged above or below the site of restriction. AT the site of restriction the muscle is extremely strong, like re-bar or scaffolding holding strong in that area. In the treatment room (a controlled environment), massage therapists are trained to place just the right amount of strain on the muscle, not so much as to damage it, but just enough to start an unraveling response. The muscle and surrounding fascia becomes supple and more resilient to sudden shifts.

I can honestly say, and I know my pro-athlete client would agree, that during his career, we were successfully able to prevent many injuries. The injuries he did sustain were unpreventable. Never did he have a hamstring pull or groin injury, which are very common amongst football players. On a side note, have you ever seen the size of their thighs, or more specifically the imbalance between the front and back of their thighs? The ratio of muscle mass from the quadriceps to the hamstring is probably close to 4:1. How they manage to stay injury-free as much as they do is truly a mystery to me.

The most frequent question I get asked is, “Don’t you get exhausted from working on those big guys?” My answer has always been NO! I mean YES, it’s hard physical work giving 2-4 hour massages multiple times per week to men who are almost twice my size. But, there is something special about their energy vibration that offsets the output that I give. These athletes vibrate at the highest energy vibration I have ever come across. I mean, think about it. They spend their entire work day exercising, eating right to fuel their ‘machine’, and truthfully… I believe they also spend a LOT of time working on their spiritual growth. How could you be a celebrity athlete, making tons of money and keep it all ‘real’ withOUT spirituality?

Bottom line is… when I get finished with a session with one of these elite athletes, I leave with MORE energy than I came with! They are truly special in that way!

I have had the honor and experience to work on over a dozen NFL players in my career, and I can honestly say that each one was respectful, humble, and down to earth. I feel SO honored to have had the experience of being called to training camp, where it is very unusual for a woman to be invited into the ‘boy’s club’… I was asked to help with rehabilitation efforts in the training facility in Indy, and was fortunate to have had MANY other incredible experiences that I am not at liberty to discuss with this platform. However, if you REALLY want to know, meet with me in person and I will be thrilled to tell you some cool stories! Lastly, I was so humbled and honored when asked to come out to other states to give NFL player treatments during the season. What a testament to the effectiveness of the work!

I always knew this type of work was special, and not every massage therapist had the opportunity to provide the kinds of treatments that I have been blessed to do. I actually became a fan of the game of football because I wanted to see how my clients played, got hit, got injured… so I would know how to treat them the next week. But I never took the time to reflect on my experiences and pay attention to the specialness of the moments, until it became clear that there was an end to this run.

I am grateful for my strong body and hands that have enabled me to provide the kinds of treatments I have for so many years, and for the opportunities that have come my way!

On to the next chapter! Thanks for reading!!

For more information on becoming a massage therapist, contact Nicole at or by visiting


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