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Product Review: James Waslaski’s 6 DVD set- Sports and Orthopedic Massage

James Waslaski is a sports and orthopedic massage therapist who has helped to treat injuries and chronic pain with everyone from the general population to elite, Olympic and professional athletes.

I heard about James Waslaski from a great Scottsdale based massage therapist, Don Miller. Don is a really smart guy and when he talks I listen. So per his recommendation I went to Mr. Waslawski’s website, read the published articles (which were informative and interesting) and decided to make a purchase. I know I could have bought just one of the DVDs and checked it out first; but, when it comes to my continuing education I don’t believe in doing things on small scale. So I purchased the entire 6 DVD set. I want all the knowledge, not just 1/6th of it!!

Honestly, if you are a massage therapist, physical therapist, athletic trainer, chiropractor, orthopedic surgeon or anyone working in the sports medicine field, these DVDs are a must have! The best part about these DVDs, which sets them apart from other DVDs of its kind, is that Mr. Waslaski doesn’t just give you some protocol to follow. He gives you his thought process! This is huge in this field because when treating people, it is important to remember that no two people are alike. Individual differences are going to create changes in your treatment protocol, and those that watch and follow a protocol based DVD are not going to be able to pick up on these difference, ultimately leaving them with a half-hearted treatment.

I feel that the review of this product is fitting given that my last blog entry was a research review centered on functional assessment and some of my feelings on proper assessment in the field of strength and conditioning. As everyone who reads this blog knows, I am an assessment junkie. It was refreshing to see that Mr. Waslaski is the same way! Most massage therapists don’t do a proper assessment and just go and “dig right in.” It was great to see Mr. Waslaski go over his process of assessment and treatment. Really focusing on assessing posture, active ROM, passive ROM and muscle strength testing. This really helps to make the treatment specific to the client’s needs, and again, a feature that those who view more protocol based DVDs are going to miss out on.

I enjoyed how Mr. Waslaski went through his treatment process and talked about various techniques of soft tissue therapy and how and when to use which ones depending on the feedback from the client and how the tissue feels (palpation assessment). This is critical as I feel that a lot of people get so wrapped up into one thing. For example they only do Neuromuscular Techniques or the only do Myofascial Release or they only do Active Release Techniques. All of these techniques are great, but they all have different places in a treatment program, and it is really up to the therapist to determine which one is the proper technique to use and when to use it. Again, it is essential to get away from protocol based work and more into interpreting what the clients’ needs are.

It was also excellent to see a massage therapist stress the importance of stretching (especially contract-relax-contract antagonist) following soft tissue work. This is really a missing link in a lot of massage therapists’ treatments of soft tissue injuries. Restoring proper length and helping to re-align collagen fibers is essential in facilitating a healing environment. While stretching is an integral part of most treatments in physical therapy, athletic training and strength and conditioning, massage therapists seem to overlook this modality. The other great thing that was stressed in these DVDs was to only stretch what needs to be stretch! To often people try and go in and stretch everything, using what I call the “shotgun approach.” IE, if you just stretch everything, one of them will work. This really comes back to having a good assessment and then being specific with the treatment. The more specific you can get, the better your treatment will be (just as in Strength and Conditioning, the more specific we can get with our assessment and program design, the more efficient we will be in helping athletes’ correct their weak links and movement impairments).

I really can’t say enough good things about this product. If you are in this field, you really need to have this product in your collection!

I’ll be back later this week with more research and training info! As always, if you have a question (or comment) for the Q&A segment, please use the ‘comment’ feature at the bottom of each blog entry.


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