Jo Jennings has joined our team at Ealing Fitness Clinic and brings her wealth of experience as an ex-international, Commonwealth & Olympic athlete and is now working within the clinic as a sports massage therapist.
Whether you are training hard for an upcoming sports event, you’d like to complete your first ever 5k without injuries or need help with recovery after your race, Jo will be happy to see you at our upstairs Treatment Room for a massage therapy session. Read on to learn more about Jo and her athletic career as well as her therapy methods.
Sports Massage Therapy and Performance Mentoring – what does that really mean? Well in the last two years working in Ealing as a therapist, I’ve realised that people like to talk!
Talk about their relevant aches and pains for sure, but also about their various goals and aspirations, be they sporting or generally in career or life; their wishes to be fitter or to lose a little weight, or just have a better quality of life, less stiffness and pain, more flexibility and energy. I have several ‘athlete’ clients – although I do class anyone who is involved in exercise and has a specific goal in mind as an athlete – who I assist with their specific preparations at high-level competitions. But a lot of the time, my clients just like to come in for a sports massage and a bit of a chat.
I changed my career just over two years ago after pretty much a lifetime in Athletics. Most specifically as an international High Jumper – I made my England senior debut at aged 15, competed at the Olympic Games in 1988 and 1992, and topped off my career winning a Commonwealth Silver medal in 1998. I’m proud of the length of my international career – 16 years – even though it was peppered with injuries, largely because of not having a body robust enough to deal with the demands of competing at such a high level. The result, after many, many hours spent on physio and massage therapists’ treatment tables, is a wealth of knowledge and personal experience, put together now with my Sports Massage courses and qualifications.
Combining massage treatment with mentoring, or more simply put talking to clients while we work, is an extremely powerful form of therapy. Many of my clients from around Europe (especially Scandinavia) say that when suffering from common ailments or feelings of tiredness or stress, individuals book in to see their local massage or holistic therapist before calling their doctor. I feel the relaxed atmosphere created in a massage studio (albeit treatment can at times be uncomfortable) creates a non-confrontational environment for people to open up about thoughts, feelings, fears and wishes – laying on a massage couch, not sitting opposite, looking eye-to-eye, helps with the process. For those who run regularly with friends, much the same can happen – all sorts of deep feelings can be discussed and problems solved!
A sports massage is really a more precise form of therapy than a relaxing ‘spa’ type massage – treatment will seek to address specific areas of tightness, tension, muscle knots or fatigue in a gradual but firm way. At times sessions can be uncomfortable, but clients are very much involved in feeding back to ensure that the treatment is appropriate for their specific requirements and expectations – there is never any judgement on an individual’s level of pain tolerance! Sports massage can break down tight or ‘knotty’ areas, and generally assists the body to help heal itself by relaxing tense or over-worked muscles. Stretching and strengthening tips and exercises can be prescribed (I believe both are essential, especially as we all get older) as well as some applicable, easy lifestyle tips – which links back into the mentoring.
I thoroughly enjoy my work, meeting new people and I am especially happy to work with the great team at Ealing Fitness Clinic – there is a vast wealth of expertise and support available here for clients either recovering from specific injuries or issues, or for people looking to improve their fitness, flexibility or to stay more active. The evidence of being physically active in helping people lead a healthier and happier life is strong, but we all need a little helping hand or two, now and again.
Massage Therapist and Performance Mentor