back to balance
 Michael Gracz, MSc, Rehab


come see me today!

Michael Gracz is an MSc Rehabilitation specialist.  He received his master's degree in rehabilitation in 1979 in his native Poland.  He worked for four years in hospitals and for 10 years with the Polish Olympic Team, and was the supervising manager of the Physical Therapy and Biological Recuperation Department of the Olympia Sport Club.  During his work with the Olympic Team he visited the USSR, East Germany, Italy, North Korea, and studied different techniques of biological tecuperation used in each country.  He has lived in the United States since 1984.

Michael previously worked as a teacher and practitioner with Blue Ridge Clinical Association in the Interdisciplinary Clinic specializing in pain treatment, with Carolina Health Provider, with Blue Ridge Physical Therapy Back Center, and the Neuromuscular Center.  Currently, he works as an independent practitioner with Back to Balance, Alternative and Traditional Healing Professionals.
What type of massage should I get?

There are many different styles of massage. The most common is the Swedish massage, which is a whole-body therapeutic massage designed to relax the muscles and joints. Other popular types include deep tissue, shiatsu, hot stone, reflexology, and Thai massage. You may want to choose a specialty, like sports massage or pregnancy massage, if that suits your needs.

Sports massage therapy is geared toward athletes of every kind, from world-class professionals to weekend joggers. The particulars of the sports massage techniques are specific to the athlete's sport of choice. Focusing on areas of the body that are overused and stressed from repetitive and often aggressive movements.

Aspects of sports massage therapy are gaining popularity as useful components in a balanced training regimen. Sports massage therapy can be used as a means to enhance pre-event preparation and reduce recovery time for maximum performance during training or after an event. Athletes have discovered that specially designed sports massage promotes flexibility, reduces fatigue, improves endurance, helps prevent injuries and prepares their body and mind for optimal performance.

One of the key benefits of Sports massage therapy compared to other modalities is its ability to target muscle-tendon junctions. A 2010 study in the journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that even a 30-second massage improved hip-flexor range of motion. Another study conducted by Margaret Jones, Ph.D. of the American College of Sports Medicine, demonstrated a notable trend toward decreased muscle soreness in the athletes who received massage either before or after exercise.

For anyone participating in regular physical activity, sports massage therapy every week, or two, may be a great addition to your normal regimen. It's best to talk with your professional massage therapists to find a plan that will work best with your schedule, level of activity, and your budget.

Benefits of Sports Massage

Many benefits from sports massage have been reported based on experience and observation, some benefits are to the mind (psychological) and some are to the body (physiological). Possible side effects of sports massage are tenderness or stiffness for 1 to 2 days after the massage, but for the most part, sports massage is safe.

Some of the reported benefits include:
  • Increased blood flow
  • Increased joint range of motion
  • Increased flexibility/boost performance
  • Increased elimination of exercise waste products (lactic acid)
  • Increased sense of well-being/maintain better condition of the body
  • Decreased muscle tension
  • Decreased neurological excitability (nerves more relaxed)
  • Decreased chance of injury
  • Decreased recovery time between workouts & training
  • Decreased muscle spasms

Research studies have also shown that sports massage made subjects feel less fatigued and felt like they recovered faster after a sports massage, decreased anxiety, improved mood & well being were also noted. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) decreased by about 30% in one research study, whilst also showing that sports massage can assist in eliminating lactic acid.