Cyclists swear by massage therapy. They prefer it as it helps them to loosen tight spots, flush toxic chemicals, and keep their fibres smooth. It helps relax their muscles and heal sore spots after long hours on the saddle. Northeastern University has taken an initiative where physical therapy students will be waiting for racers to massage them and help them stretch out.
This will be conducted in the Pan-Mass Challenge, an initiative to raise money for cancer research, where thousands of racers will be participating. Maureen Watkins, an assistant clinical professor, says, “They work on a lot of different people, using a lot of different techniques, and just feeling comfortable with those techniques does a lot for their confidence.”
Watkins, who also coordinates the annual volunteering effort, estimates that a volunteer physiotherapist attends to approximately 24 riders. Many students are thrilled to have this experience for the first time and one such student who will be working for the first time is Mahin Rahman, a student of physical therapy.
The Pan-Mass Challenge was founded by Billy Star, an alumna of the University. The Department of Physical Therapy has been participating in this event for over 10 years. The initiative has raised over $654 million for Dana Farber Cancer Institute. The riders can choose from 12 different routes varying from 25 to 192 miles.
The volunteers provide personalised care to each rider. Their techniques are best suited according to the racer and aim at providing the best individual care to them. The volunteers have 15 minutes of time slots to deliver their best. It can range from stretching the muscles or simply working on the neck. The time is allocated to individuals based on their specific needs.
Such initiatives are extremely helpful for the racers as well as the participants in the race. It enables both parties to benefit equally from the initiative that contributes to a good cause.