The PMC Podcast

The Body Episode

June 04, 2020 Kristin Sundin Brandt and Bill Alfano Season 1 Episode 7
The PMC Podcast
The Body Episode
Chapters
The PMC Podcast
The Body Episode
Jun 04, 2020 Season 1 Episode 7
Kristin Sundin Brandt and Bill Alfano

As athletes and cyclists, we too often focus on putting in the miles on the bike, only thinking about our fitness off the bicycle when things start to hurt. On this episode, we welcome Jen Connell, PT, DPT of Bay State Physical Therapy and Bob Vinson, a massage therapist who has volunteered for over 30 years at Mass Maritime in Bourne, to talk about the importance of pre-habilitation and massage to help athletes leading up to, and recovering from long rides and races.

Support the show (https://donate.pmc.org/)

Show Notes Transcript

As athletes and cyclists, we too often focus on putting in the miles on the bike, only thinking about our fitness off the bicycle when things start to hurt. On this episode, we welcome Jen Connell, PT, DPT of Bay State Physical Therapy and Bob Vinson, a massage therapist who has volunteered for over 30 years at Mass Maritime in Bourne, to talk about the importance of pre-habilitation and massage to help athletes leading up to, and recovering from long rides and races.

Support the show (https://donate.pmc.org/)

Announcer :

This is The PMC Podcast with Kristin Brandt, and Bill Alfano, the Pan-Mass Challenge raising money for life saving cancer research and treatment that Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Now here's Kristin Brandt and Bill Alfano.

Kristin Brandt :

This is The PMC Podcast. I am Kristin Brandt here with my co host, Bill Alfano. Hello, Bill.

Bill Alfano :

I'm just gonna go straight. Hello, Kristin. I'm not going to do like

Kristin Brandt :

I like how you dressed up for me today.

Bill Alfano :

I keep a couple extra ones in this room. So depending on who's on the call, that's what I put on.

Kristin Brandt :

What are we talking about today?

Bill Alfano :

It's The Body Episode Kristin. We have two really special guests. The first one is Jen Connell. She's the clinic manager, physical therapist over at Bay State Physical Therapy. And then this guy, Bob Vinson, who I'm just going to say he's a 30 year massage crew volunteer, and we'll let people hear who he really is. And his story. Yeah, I mean just two really incredible people committed to the PMC talking about massage as part of training prehab stretching, which is your favorite thing, favorite. And just talking about what to do leading up to, you know, a big event big athletic event like the PMC, during as well as after it's a it's a really worthwhile episode for athletes.

Kristin Brandt :

Of course now all I can imagine is that guy from the 70s in that like muscle, remember, he had the one piece muscle suit that showed all the muscles or body episode. This is the body episode. All right, let's take a break and come back with our interviews. We are here with Jen Connell from Bay State Physical Therapy in Kingston. Thank you for joining us today, Jen.

Jen Connell :

Yes, thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Kristin Brandt :

So we're going to be talking about prehab and athletes But before we get into that, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and about Bay State Physical Therapy?

Jen Connell :

Sure. Yes. So I am a physical therapist. I graduated from Quinnipiac University, and I was lucky enough, I got a job right out of college with Bay State. So I work down on the south shore of Massachusetts, I'm in the Kingston clinic. I've been with the company for about seven years, and I've been in clinic manager at the Kingston clinic for the last three years. So I am very fortunate to say I love what I do as a PT, I get to work with great people every single day. I love making the connections with my patients that I do. There's really there's no greater feeling than watching someone achieve their goals and helping them get there after all their hard work. So it's really, really cool. And I love that Bay State got to be a part of the Pan-Mass Challenge as well, because I think there's definitely a common goal there. You know, both healthcare providers and goal of the Pan-Mass Challenge is really a greater cause and us to help other people so it's been really Really cool to be a part of this.

Kristin Brandt :

That's awesome. And I assume Bay State Physical Therapy does all types of physical therapy, but do you have specialties things that you work on specifically?

Jen Connell :

Yeah, so fortunately, all therapists are really trained in variety of body parts and we can really all treat everything I do treat a lot of Orthopedic cases. I also trade a lot of Pediatrics cases in Kingston. We have some pts that specialize in aquatic therapy, we have some pts that do more of a stipular, so like concussions or dizziness, that type of thing. But for the most part, we all each have a good variety of a bunch of different issues, which is cool to see.

Kristin Brandt :

Right? And you have volunteered at some of the rest stops helping with massage. What has been your experience with the PMC kind of what's your history?

Jen Connell :

Yeah, so it's been awesome to be a part of the Pan-Mass. So basically, it's been a sponsor with the PMC for the past few years. This is our third year doing it. Last year was our first year with riders and we got to raise some money there and more our bigger stance with the Pan-Mass is that we support the rest stops and the medical tents along the way so Bay State last year between clinical and our marketing team we had about 30 volunteers throughout the rest stops in the water stop so I was at the Dighton-Rehoboth stop which is also the lunch stop so it is a one of the busier stops obviously cuz most of riders are stopping which was awesome. It was I mean we were on the go from the time we got there till the time we left and it was just a really incredible thing to experience it was very uplifting. It was you know a day just filled with positivity and hope and I think my favorite part was honestly getting to interact with the all the different riders you know, everyone has a story to tell everyone has some kind of connection. And just watching the effects that it has on them was really, really cool. So we were stationed at the medical tent at Dighton-Rehoboth and like I said, that was my first year volunteering. So we really provided anything that the riders needed. We did stretching, we did a little bit massage. We did some taping and we kind of just helped trouble shoot any issues they were having and just support them along the way.

Bill Alfano :

First of all, thank you for volunteering as a person. But the Bay State story is crazy Kristin so I get a phone call a couple years back from this woman, Erin Doherty. And she's like, Hey, I'm with Bay State Physical Therapy and we'd love to get involved with the Pan-Mass Challenge and maybe sponsor maybe send you some people I am I have no idea what that means. You know, and so I don't recall right I reach out to BJ who heads up all over medical and I'm like, BJ Do you need and she's like, yeah, we would love physical therapists along the route especially at these you know, big time or stops lunch stops. You know, we have massage in places but we don't have PT in many places, even if it is stretching massage. You know, Jen said, You know, sometimes just to kind of troubleshoot what's going on. This thing turns into I think the first year it was 25 pts a number of locations a pretty good sized cash commitment and From that point, it's really just gotten even bigger. And they you know, they sponsor the medical tents that are involved in the winter cycle. And then you know, they do have all the spots during PMC weekend. And the reason I bring that up isn't really as a sponsor stroke as much as it sounds like it. It's really just incredible because they saw the Pan-Mass Audience as I think a group of people who, you know, need PT, right. And then once they got involved in it, they really, really got involved in it. And it's, it's, it's really remarkable. So Jen, I'll give you all the Thanks for Bay State Physical Therapy. Yeah, you guys hit it out of the park on every level sponsorship, rider, Volunteer,

Kristin Brandt :

if I can add to that I Jen, I'm a fifth year rider. So last year, I knew about the massage, obviously at the end of day one. But day two, I was having a rough time I was my shoulder was really bothering me and so I hit every single medical tents on Cape Cod. And they were fantastic. You know, they I definitely smelled like my grandfather by the end. You know, I would sit down there was immediately somebody was there helping me with my pain points a client because I was like, right there, you know? So if I can just add a personal thanks, because, honestly is what's great to hear. It's why I got to the end on day two because I definitely was having that much pain, which I think brings us to why we're talking today.

Bill Alfano :

That's a wrap. Thank you

Kristin Brandt :

kind of prehab and preparing for events like this because I do think that one of the reasons I was having some pain on day two was I was not I'll confess year four I'm like, Yeah, no problem. I've done this before. I may not have planned as much as I should have. So what is what is that prehab and what is the role it plays for athletes getting ready for an event like the PMC?

Jen Connell :

Yeah, absolutely. So I think exactly what you said, I think a lot of riders, especially especially new riders, their big focus is let's get the miles and miles miles miles got to get the distance. Obviously, that's hugely important because you do want to be able to get to the end. But I think building a strong base, so which is really what the prehab is. prehab is really just a kind of a fancy term for strength and conditioning. And yes, you want to get the miles in, but you want to make sure you're working the body as a whole. So giving yourself a good base, a good strength program is really important. Physical Therapy in general can can really help add to that the biggest role I would say of a PT is to really provide an individualized program for someone. So I think the key there is the individualized part. We want to really tailor a program to help that individual. So it helps just finding areas of weakness or finding areas or restrictions that may either potentially lead to an injury injury or you know, just maybe limit your goal that you want to reach. And it's a good way just to get that strength going. prehab usually involves some cross training, it usually involves some strengthening and conditioning. I think you know, right now, unfortunately, we're uncertain times and not everyone has access to the gyms that they're used to. But I think a really important thing to learn and this is something that we can help you with is knowing that there's a lot of exercises to do that you don't need fancy equipment to do, you can kind of be doing at home you can do just with your own bodyweight Bay State, it's also going to be putting, Bay State it's going to be putting therapy bands in the rider registration bags that I believe are going out in July. That is right well, it's also just like an added benefit. There's so many exercises you can do with a resistance band and it's just seems really low key and low tech and it is but that's that's the beauty of it too, that you can really build yourself a good program.

Kristin Brandt :

Do you think that there is a lot of pressure or a lot of I mean, I'm all for the gym. I let you know good gym is great, but do you You think sometimes we forget that the easiest way to work on our strength is to just use this what God gave us, right our own bodyweight that we don't actually have to be lots of big.

Jen Connell :

Yeah, I know what you think. And I think you know, no fault of anyone's, I just think a lot of people don't know how to do that. So they're at least they're used to having, you know, a gym equipment that will show you exactly what to do. And there's so many exercises that you can do without any equipment at all. A lot of usually the injuries I see for a long distance riders are either some neck and shoulder, kind of like you touched upon Kristen, and also some knee issues. So really giving yourself a good program of postural exercises, which involve like your upper back and your shoulders as hip strengthening some core strengthening exercises. And there's like I said, there's a variety that can be done right in your own home, too.

Bill Alfano :

Yeah, is there so prehab again, with the term I'm hearing it's everything from strength and stretching all the way to surgery is Is that right? Does that cover? Like the whole area of what prehab? could be for people?

Jen Connell :

Yeah. So I mean, obviously, our goal is usually to prevent surgery for you. But sometimes I didn't have it will happen, I say, right. This stronger you go into a surgery, the better your outcome is going to be. So it's definitely a new and evolving area where people are coming to us as pts prior to surgery, and they're basically looking to get into the best shape they can, you know, giving their circumstances so that the recovery on the other end of it is a little bit easier for them. Yeah, total knees, I would say are probably our one of our bigger areas where we prehab and I think a huge part of the prehab where Yes, it's obviously extremely beneficial to get the strengthening to give you a better outcome. But surgery can also be really scary. Sure, and just building that relationship with someone before you go in and knowing that person is going to be with you on the other end of it really cuts down on a lot of stress levels and it's good from a PT standpoint to you kind of already built that rapport. So when you do have to go in and do the you know, the things that maybe aren't so pleasant post-surgery, right? You already

Kristin Brandt :

hate that woman. painful thing. Yeah,

Bill Alfano :

it is funny. I think my mom hated and loved her PT at the same time.

Jen Connell :

We get that often.

Kristin Brandt :

You also see maybe a growth in understanding that prehab can help prevent or at least delay surgery that, you know, using your own muscles to strengthen can like keep things in place that maybe weren't.

Jen Connell :

Absolutely, yeah, I mean, I think a big part of the prehab is that exactly we said the preventative care so there are so many things that can be prevented surgery wise with a good strength, not everything but you can prevent some surgeries with a good strength and conditioning program and it's more so you know, a lot of times you just have some muscle imbalance. And just really working to kind of balance you out from a strength standpoint, can help stabilize can help give more motion and a lot of times if you can get your pain under control, which is what is a big part of it then that can hopefully prevent something down the line from you.

Kristin Brandt :

Um, can we talk about stretching too? Because so I'm a cyclist? My husband's a cyclist. We know lots of cyclists. We're very not stretchy. Yes. When I stretch, nobody likes to stretch. Nobody likes to do I stretch before?

Jen Connell :

That's a big question. It's a very debated question and it still is this day. It's a great question. The answer?

Bill Alfano :

Right, this is like groundbreaking right now. The answer is

Kristin Brandt :

I'm like barbara walters.

Jen Connell :

Yes. So I see both standpoints on it. I usually say that with a little bit of a warm up. I think stretching is good to do on both ends both before and after, usually don't want to go into a stretch cold. So if you have a little bit warm up, you can do more of a dynamic stretch. And then after you get off the bike, you know hamstrings are usually a big one calf so usually a really big one. The other thing after long distance ride, a lot of people have neck tightness and neck soreness, so just stretching the upper traps are also usually a good thing. There's two

Bill Alfano :

people are missing out on visuals between the two of you during this whole interview. So two parts of her body that hurt when she rides it's

Kristin Brandt :

hurts, right? I mean,

Bill Alfano :

I don't want to get off of stretching or stretching, but this question.

Kristin Brandt :

Yeah. I feel

Bill Alfano :

like we have that going on. Right?

Jen Connell :

Yeah, I just got off a telehealth call right before this. So yeah, so with everything going on with unfortunately COVID-19 changing things for everyone. We were very fortunate that Bay State was on top of it from the very beginning and we got telehealth push through within the first weeks that the state shut down. So we were really fortunate for that and it was really great for our patients. So telehealth basically is using a video platform just like this and we use it to connect with our patients. So we're able to do initial evaluations on telehealth we're also able to just walk patients through different exercises. And it's, I've had an unbelievable, great experience from it. I've had a lot of great feedback from patients with telehealth. So I think a lot of it is one we can continue care during the pandemic, and two a lot of patients, especially the elderly population who really aren't comfortable traveling right now or, you know, being in contact with anyone. It's their biggest source of communication with the healthcare world in for you know, in the world in general. So, I've had a lot of really grateful patients, just loving the experience of telehealth, so it is definitely an option for anyone that's not 100% sure that they're comfortable venturing out just yet.

Bill Alfano :

I was gonna ask that question. So you are able to take new new patients? Yes.

Jen Connell :

Yeah. So we are Yeah, we are seeing patients in clinic and it's slowly starting to increase which is awesome. I mean, we are taking an abundance of caution right now. So as health care provider, following all CDC guidelines, were masking up or screening patients so we're we're treating in a very safe environment.

Bill Alfano :

Sure, I actually was referring to the telehealth component, you could see a new patient that way also we can doesn't have to just be an existing person that you've worked on already.

Jen Connell :

Yeah no, we've I've done two or three initial emails over telehealth. It's the patients, like I said, They're, they're just so grateful for the opportunity to do it, that they're very, very happy with it. So it's been very exciting for us.

Kristin Brandt :

I was gonna say, I have a friend who shattered her elbow right before this all happened, by the way, just standing in her kitchen. So if you think you can do it on your bike, you can do it just standing in your kitchen.

Bill Alfano :

Thanks?

Kristin Brandt :

No, I was, you know, anyway, the point is, she took her first she said, I was like, Oh, I have to get off because I have my physical therapy appointment in a minute. You know, and, and it definitely, I think, for her and it's not an age thing or a risk thing. It just was. She didn't have to drive anywhere. Right, right. She didn't have to even work that into her schedule. She's like, I'm gonna do it right now.

Jen Connell :

Oh, the convenience factor is huge. I've had telehealth with me and they They're like, Oh, I don't care when you go back to clinic.

Kristin Brandt :

I was gonna say, do you see tele health being something that Bay State continues to incorporate that? You don't go back?

Jen Connell :

Yeah, I mean, I think it's a great opportunity. And unfortunately, we just have no idea what the future holds within the next couple months. So we'll definitely be continuing to incorporate it. And like I said, Well, you know, we'll kind of continue to do it as long as the need is there and longest patients want it but like I said, I've had a lot of patients continue to request the telehealth. So

Kristin Brandt :

my understanding is that most health insurance are covering telehealth now. And that was a big change right from even just two months ago.

Jen Connell :

Yes. So the governor did mandate that insurance covers telehealth. However, we have gotten a variety of answers with that. So for the most part, it's covered. We are just encouraging our patients to call their their health insurance company

Bill Alfano :

or call governor Baker directly ay 617

Kristin Brandt :

they'll be like I heard on the PMC Podcast

Bill Alfano :

jen said Well, yeah, but we've heard I mean, we heard with Dana-Farber. Kristin, I spoke to some people there about how the uptick in obviously telehealth is astronomical. And they It's same same reaction though, you know, from the doctors to the therapists. People are finding it, it's it's working people are getting the treatment they need, they're getting the procedures they need. So it's good that people aren't just cold halt on all the work on and then having to pick it up hopefully three, four or five months later.

Jen Connell :

Yeah, and like I said, and unfortunately with the times, you know, life doesn't stop although changed a lot and it's allowed us just to help people through things that are still going on even though a pandemic is also happening. So

Bill Alfano :

I could not imagine a person coming through PT, you know what, say it's a five month process and being two to three months in and working so hard and also this Hitting, and if they had to have just stopped at the thought of having to start over for something out of their control, it would be devastating, I think mentally. So the fact that it can continue through telehealth is, it's got to be awesome, even just for the mental side of people.

Jen Connell :

Yeah, it's and I think that's a big part of it, like you said, is that there's the mental aspect, just having that communication even, you know, unfortunately, even some doctors offices are closing down or were closed down. Just having that connection with the healthcare world's anyone in the healthcare world, I think puts people at ease. And fortunately, we've been able to do that for them. So it's been it's been really successful for us.

Kristin Brandt :

So what's the first step? If a rider feels like they do need some support, they got some achy things they've got, you know, they want to start thinking about how to prepare, you know, they're getting out riding now. And they're realizing that something's not clicking. What's working, or is clicking more to the point?

Bill Alfano :

Yeah, yeah.

Kristin Brandt :

What's the first step?

Jen Connell :

Yeah. So it's a great question. The first well, so Bay State has some clinics throughout Massachusetts, and we're branching into it Rhode Island and New Hampshire, offering free screening to any Pan-Mass Challenge rider. So I definitely encourage people to take advantage of that. Sometimes it's just a matter of just getting a little advice, you know, pointing someone in the right direction. But it is a matter of getting a little bit of more formal PT, we can also help guide you in that direction as well. And we can set you up with some formal physical therapy appointments, whether it be in clinic or, you know, using our online telehealth as an option to

Bill Alfano :

say no, no, there's nothing that a therapist loves more than a really vague example or a generalization. So if I was to ask you, is there one thing that you seem to see over and over with cyclists that as a therapist, if you can shake every cyclist to get them to do one thing differently or right before or right after? Is there such a thing?

Jen Connell :

That's tough? That's a tough one.

Bill Alfano :

Of course it is. It is.

Jen Connell :

Thank you for that one. Yeah. I think it's, it's Everyone has different things going on. And I think that's, you know, the true the real importance of PT is Being able to kind of identify everyone's different limitations, right. I would say overall, I have seen the most upper body issues, I think riders and I, you know, I would as well think, you know, I got to get those like strong I got to get the miles in. But when you're on the bike, you don't realize how much upper body strength you need. So I think that's been a big key. I think it's more, it's more so it's just overlooked in the beginning. So they're not realizing the issue until they're a little bit further into that training. And they're starting to feel those anxieties

Kristin Brandt :

Rider are super skinny at the top and super strong on the bottom.

Jen Connell :

exactly what it is.

Kristin Brandt :

Yeah, absolutely. That core and that and that upper body and that's when I mean, I know I know that in part my shoulder pain is because I don't do enough to stenghten those muscles.

Jen Connell :

There's tons you can do.

Kristin Brandt :

Alright, well, if people want to find out more about Bay State physical therapy, they can go to the PMC website there will be as you said, we've got got some new tools coming out. There's gonna be gift in our gift bags. So excited. About that

Jen Connell :

awesome

Bill Alfano :

and Jen ruined the surprise

Jen Connell :

Sorry,

Kristin Brandt :

I know I just got an email. It's like you're gonna get this, this, this and other goodies are calm. There you go. Bam. But I want to thank you so much for coming on. And thank you thank your whole team for everything that you do for riders because I again, you got me to Provincetown last year.

Jen Connell :

Awesome. No, we're happy to hear that we're very grateful to be part of the Pan-Mass and and Bay State really looks forward to be able to support the riders and the cause the whole way.

Bill Alfano :

Thank you, Jen.

Kristin Brandt :

Absolutely. Thank you.

Sundin Sports Marketing (sponsor) :

The PMC Podcast is supported by Sundin Sports Marketing, putting your ideas into action at Sundin sports.com.

Kristin Brandt :

All right, we're joined by Bob Vinson who has been volunteering on the PMC massage crew for Over 30 years, let me say, as a rider, thank you so much for your service because it really is fundamental on day one to get that massage.

Bob Vinson :

You're welcome.

Kristin Brandt :

All right. Well, before we talk about your PMC story and also massage in general, why don't you give us a little bit of your background.

Bob Vinson :

I have been doing muscular therapy for the past 30 years now. And I do a special kind of work called structural integration, I focus on the fascia more than the muscle. But prior to that, what brought me to the PMC was I was teaching at the Muscular therapy Institute, and we got a call from Meredith and said, Oh, we need some body workers here and she explained with Cindy what they were doing. My first experience going there was I brought six students and two faculty. And there were five pts. OTS, using foam pads on the ground. And we brought our tables after about five hours in the Sun outside out. No, no shade. That's about five hours of that. Meredith said to me, your people are still working. In fact, they're dancing. And my people are all exhausted and dead. I said, Well, it's sports massage. It's how we learn. It's a rhythm we use. So that began the, you know, the work with PMC. Like I say it's gone for 30. But prior to that, in the 60s, I was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. Wow. 1967 to 69 to 70. And then after that, I worked in the mental health and retardation field, in the state of Massachusetts for the state and then I was the executive director of Merrimack Valley Goodwill Industries for five years. Then I had a back injury. And I was suggested I get surgery. And my sister in law at the time, talked me out of it, and said, Go see this body worker, a friend of mine, she can help you. I saw her friend Julie, twice a week for six weeks. I never got that surgery. Wow. I'm yeah, I have issues back now and then, but that I just changed my whole idea of what I wanted to do with my life and then went into bodywork.

Kristin Brandt :

Because we start by saying, I feel like I haven't done much in my life yet now I feel good. So let's talk about that because you're really not talking about massage, you're using the term bodywork, which I think is really interesting. I will admit, I've always come to massage from the standpoint of a luxury right like a thing I do when I go on vacation and I go to the spa, but what is the role of massage and bodywork for athletes,

Bob Vinson :

I try to promote it in the sense of pre event. before a race you do a certain type of body work. You have inter event like between for you at the end of day one before day two, you come in and probably your shoulders are bothering you. Your neck is bothering you. You'll have some discomfort, but the body with the person working with you may decide to work on your quads and your hamstrings first, and then work on the front of your shoulders, not the back where the pain is. Because where the pain is, it ain't sometimes that's very true even though you're we've worked so many times with with a bicyclist, and they're hunched over the, you know, the handlebars and bending down bending low, they're shortening the front line. So I work is like open that up and let the person breathe better move better. And then the shoulders can relax, drop them down. So on the table, we only have 15 minutes. There's a lot to do in 15 minutes. But over the over the years, we have patterns that we've learned to do, and we can get it all done, we can get a lot done in that time.

Bill Alfano :

Tell me a little bit about the pre event.

Bob Vinson :

Okay, the pre event in the size focus is generally a little deeper than anything else you'd get, say post event or inter event. It's deeper work and is to create range of motion and whatever muscle groups that they're going to be using in their event bicyclist certainly the legs and the hips. swimmers the shoulders. So you focus on a different area. But you get deeper and you do a lot of stretching, helping the person assisted stretching not something that they're going to do on their own but they're doing it with you. So they're resisting the movement the prevent massage generally for people I work with, it's at least an hour of deep work. ending with the stretching, that's very the post event would be lighter, gentler work and even more stretching, but not as deeply as you would on the pre event. Pre event is getting you ready getting you charged up getting the blood into the muscles in a systemic way that is work through the body looking at the use of the muscles, but also the blood flow itself and

Bill Alfano :

you had a magic wand and can make every PMC rider have a pre event massage. At least one at least one yes. When when would when Is there a perfect timing for that is it the day before the week before?

Bob Vinson :

Not the day before for your event massage, you want to give it I would say one to two weeks prior to the event is best. Absolutely. If you waited if you did a month ahead of time, you're going to get back into habit. So one to two weeks ahead of time would be perfect

Kristin Brandt :

when you have when you're selecting a masseuse, right like you have someone and and the cool thing is the PMC website does have a whole list of all the muscle this muscle, the body workers and masseuses that that volunteer. Are you looking for people that specialize in working with athletes that kind of know what our concerns are versus like are there different specialties with massage?

Bob Vinson :

Yes, there are there are some people that do just relaxing massage. Okay, and again, that's great. I do one of those

Kristin Brandt :

on board.

Bob Vinson :

Yes, me too. I lucky I can do trades with people. And I have two or three different people that I trade with. That's a great sign. It's a really deep myofascial work elbows in knuckles open it up you know, a lot of times it's okay but we're gonna put you to sleep for the next 45 minutes and just relax and let it go. So there's a big difference between you know the basic massage let's say someone going to a school could be set 500 700 the program was 1200 hours the program of training so we learned to do the gentle soft work but also the very deep work to some schools focus on the relaxing massage and that's great. So I would check before I went to someone what kind of work do you do? Right? What is my what can my expectation be?

Kristin Brandt :

And there's a difference you know, again, and I'll admit you know, my my massage experience has been you know, you're on vacation somewhere and you go to the spa at the hotel and you might get a relaxing massage, but is there something when you're talking about using massage as training to having a relationship where you're where you're working with the same person through the course so you're doing the pre massage with them, you're doing the post massage with them, you're working with them on your training plan so they know what's happening.

Bob Vinson :

That's the best that's the ideal would be to have someone that you develop a relationship emotionally as well as physically.

Kristin Brandt :

It's really intimate if you think about it, like you're gonna take all my clothes off. Here I am, but,

Bob Vinson :

but it is it's important to have those boundaries and allow someone to let go and sometimes letting go could be very physical. Sometimes it could be more emotional involved. A little bit of a yell. And I have some people that I say let it go, just you're working my elbows going down the hamstrings. It's like Okay, can you feel that? Yes.

Bill Alfano :

How big is the massage crew currently? How big how many massage therapists were part of the 2019 PMC

Bob Vinson :

we had more than 150.

Bill Alfano :

Wow. How many massages was that? Roughly

Bob Vinson :

3000.

Bill Alfano :

That is incredible. That is

Kristin Brandt :

say so. You know, I've done I've done the massages. It's no longer a bunch people. kneeling on the ground, you guys have a really tight system of coming in. You've got all the tables set up. I did notice that some so I think was last year I lucked into a table that had two people, which is magic, and I think was one of them a student. I don't know, I was like doing actually,

Bob Vinson :

when you had to usually win your head to two people. One was a student, the Northeastern University PT program. Maureen brings a large group of students there as part of their wellness, you know, class, she thinks it's a great experience. And so they double up. But if I'm by myself on my table, and I needed a break, I could go to that double table and say, Can you spot me in my table? Boom, it happens. So I can take my lunch, I can take my break. So that's it. That's a benefit to having the extra

Bill Alfano :

guy that takes a lot of breaks though, Bob, when you gave your bio. I bet you they'll teach you better. I wanted to talk a little and I know it's so interesting to me, Kristin and I have talked about it offline. As well as the oncology massages that are provided during PMC weekend. But in general, can you talk a little bit about that?

Bob Vinson :

Yes, there are two people I want to put out their names. Now Nancy Newton, and Cindy Gillan have organized this program as part of the PMC. We have probably, I think, more than 20 practitioners this year, and that and those of people who are survivors, or people who are actually still in active treatment, and you need to work very gently and know where's where to stay away from depending on what the cancer was, what kind of treatment they had, Nancy and Cindy have a wonderful crew. And they have their own special areas that came in the door. We isolated them so they could and they could have people come right directly to them if they weren't sure they could come and ask a question. I'm having this type of treatment, can I get this type of massage, sometimes my work that the deep work would be not really a good idea at all for some of these people who are in, in treatment. So I need to know that but these women, they do great training in that area. And that's you won't find that in many other events where you'll find people dedicated to that work.

Bill Alfano :

That really is incredible.

Kristin Brandt :

And if you say back to the volunteer to the students also, I assume and you know, you talked about like there's some specialties with oncology massage there is this must be a really great way for the students to see a whole variation on, on how athletes ache and how you know what I'm saying because they can do so much of it. What works for one may not work for another athlete how to talk to different time, if you're seeing different athletes every 15 minutes. You got a lot of personalities coming through?

Bob Vinson :

Well, we have early in the day when we get once we get organized and get set up. We do some orientation sessions. Gordon Pilotte that's one of the guys one of the teachers and he'll demonstrate these techniques. If you have this coming up, this is what you can do over a period of you know, five to 10 minutes how to handle that and we We do that with all the therapists, even people who've been there. Like I have it's been 30 years, it's still something to learn. There's a lot to learn from other people's experience. And people come from different schools and some of those teachers will demonstrate something that they've learned to the whole group.

Kristin Brandt :

So it sounds like you guys have a whole community that's building up you know, I know as riders, I feel like PMC. So much is about the community. But it almost sounds like that you have a community within a community of the of the body workers as you connect to each other each year.

Bob Vinson :

Absolutely. And for some of us, it continues during the year, still making contact, and still checking in I've had, since the pandemic have started, I've had three or four people contact me about starting back and they've all been people that I've met through the PMC.

Bill Alfano :

Yeah, that is a resource on the site. We'll make sure we put a link in the show notes if people want to check out our amazing PMC massage therapist, body worker, volunteers, so we'll make sure we include that well.

Bob Vinson :

Thank you.

Bill Alfano :

I wonder Do you have an estimate of how many PMC riders you've given massages to?

Bob Vinson :

Let's say, if we do for an hour, I put in 6-8 hours 32 times 30 that's been over 1000

Bill Alfano :

Wow. I have a feel you have a lot of repeat customers though.

Bob Vinson :

Oh, I, I, I have built my practice through the PMC. And again, I started I graduated 91 from the muscular therapy Institute. I was working the PMC that year was my first year. I have one client. I know I've had her for 28 years. I've been seeing her I talked to her this morning. Tell her we were doing this, but I probably have a third of my practice has come through the PMC over the years. easily

Kristin Brandt :

That's a good transition, I think to the third phase of the massage because we talked about pre we talked about mid and now posts right like right there over how does massage change? How does body work change when it's someone who's coming off of Big, have a big ride or a race

Bob Vinson :

again, you don't start back deeply you you start back with the gentle they moderate pressure, and just and work slowly. And again ask the question, what does this feel like? What moves something say How does that feel? You need to have a relationship with this person back and forth. It happens even I want to go back to the massage the PMC. You only have 15 minutes, right? So much needs to get covered. And we always talk to the incoming people say, first thing to do is introduce yourself. Hi, I'm Bob, then find out what their name is. Second, I tell them, ask them. How many PMCs Have you ridden? It could be anywhere from one, you know, to 40 and then why do you ride? Well, he asked that question. You have now a relationship with this person? Yeah, they're not just a body on the table getting some rub down. You have a relationship you have shared something. It works for so many people. You develop over a period of time, it develops into a fair relationship with them outside of the PMC.

Bill Alfano :

So over 1000, PMC massages you yourself do a story or two maybe hilarious, maybe tragic, anything that just you think about when you think of your experience at the PMC Bob and the massage crew.

Bob Vinson :

One of the stories I love, just telling the past three years, three years ago, I wrote it was my 70 years old, I decided to ride the two day and my friend Gordon, joined me Gordon Pilotte and at the end of the first day, I mean, I trained pretty well we, Gordon, I was got our massages, he was sitting out in the field, getting sun and I said, Yeah, he said, this is boring. I said, Yeah. So we went in and decided after doing 110 miles that we're going to go back to work. So I get on my get my table, there's a table there for me. And I started working. And as things were slowing down, woman came to my my table, and I asked her the same question. Questions. You know, I didn't say I had ridden today. I did not say that I assessed her. She This was my first PMC, said, Well, congratulations. How do you feel? He says, just, I'm tired. And I'm achy. But I feel great. And I said, Why do you ride because my mother was a survivor and I went to the Dana Farber and I want to do more. So we work a little bit the bell, but the Two Minute Warning comes up. They said two minutes, and she says, I wish I could stay longer. And I just whispered to her, your wish has been granted. And I kept working. So one of the people who rang the bell over everything, okay, because he thought something was wrong. I said, everything's fine. And we just worked for another 10 minutes. She was tearful. She says, You're not in trouble, are you? I said, No. I can't, I didn't have any. This is my job or that. I just felt a connection. And I can say that happens probably every every year. There are people that you connect that way with that you hear their story and the body works important but it's also connected to the Story, why they're there? what's motivating them? And what do they want to want from you? Sometimes somebody will say I want just my legs worked on. I need to honor that even though I think your shoulders really need it.

Kristin Brandt :

I believe you should always trust the expert. The expert tells me that my legs hurt, but my shoulders need it. You just do you man like,

Bill Alfano :

Bob, I gotta tell you, I've been with the PMC now over eight years and is awesome to get to meet you. I wish it was in person. But man, you are an inspirational wonderful guy. I can't thank you enough for your commitment to the PMC and your service to the country. Man, we have a special guy in massage. It's crazy.

Bob Vinson :

Well, thank you. I hope my goal right now is two years from now. I'll be 75 I want to ride it one more time. If I get my flat tire fixed.

Kristin Brandt :

Well, Bob, thank you so much to to reinforce what Bill said thank you for your service, as a rider, thank you for your massages. We will Have a list up on the PMC website of all the massage the body workers who volunteer and we definitely recommend you go check them out and find someone local that you can work with.

Bill Alfano :

Bob, thank you very much.

Kristin Brandt :

Thank you, Bill. Thank you Kristin. All right, we're back. One thing we didn't talk about that I think a lot of us who are working from home are suffering from bad ergonomics. Yes, we work in our kitchen and how badly I need a massage.

Bill Alfano :

Both I'm with I'm with you on both things.

Kristin Brandt :

Everything is creaky. Now I as I said during the interview, I too often I will admit, think of massage as more of a luxury like everything you do, because you're on a cruise, you're on vacation, you're you know. And my first year the PMC I did go to one of the the volunteers she was in Natick, I really started to think about it more as part of my training, you know, part of my, my training and my recovery. So it was great to talk to them.

Bill Alfano :

Yeah, they were great

Kristin Brandt :

with that we're gonna wrap up this episode for show notes, links, to the masseuses, to information about prehab. And post massage. You can visit pmc.org slash podcast.

Bill Alfano :

Yeah. And if you liked the episode, we asked you to share it with at least three friends. Leave us a comment. Post it on social media, you can find it. Obviously you found it already, but you can find it and share it from anywhere you get your podcasts. And remember, there's a lot riding on us.

Kristin Brandt :

There is a lot riding on us. Thanks for listening.