One Cup, Six Continents, a Multitude of Uses

By Stacie Nevelus, Massage Consultant to 

“Yeah David” the onlookers would yell in languages he didn’t even understand, but that’s not where this adventure begins. This adventure begins in Sarasota, FL where David visits me weekly for therapeutic and sports massage.  My job is to keep him ready for high performance and injury free.  This makes for a difficult task as he sets out around the world to accomplish his feats of speed.  The adventure, Around the World In Under 30 Minutes.  This entails running 6 one mile races in 6 weeks in 6 continents in under 30 minutes.   My challenge was to bring David the therapeutic and recovery effects of massage as he jet sets around the globe.  How would I do that when I’m here in Sarasota, FL and he is abroad?  That answer became apparently easy.  As a practioner and educator of Massage Cupping Therapy, I would instruct David on the many uses of a single silicone cup.  He would use this cup in the shower with soap before and after his events and training.  The true testament would be how his body felt when he got back and on my table.  David set out on a feat of speed Around the World in Under 30 Minutes with one cup, 6 continents and a multitude of uses.  This would be my contribution to this running endeavor of speed.


Pre-race massage usually consists of some gentle rocking and/or shaking to loosen up the muscle and get some blood flow to the tissue.  What I would ask David to do pre-event is done in the shower.  The tool I had David use is a Russian-made bell shaped silicone cup that measures 3 inches at the opening.  While in the shower before each event or training, David would lather up the areas of focus with soap.  For David, this would consist of the gluteal area and the legs.  Taking the bell shaped silicone cup in hand, gently squeeze and release once on the lathered skin and begin gliding.  This creates a vacuum that lifts the tissue and penetrates deep into the muscle as it glides over the soapy skin.  Starting in the gluteal area, begin working in a circular motion.  The cup can be moved in any direction or parked for a few minutes over a particularly tight area.  For a runner, it is usually the piriformis and the gluteus minimus.  Then follow with the same suction glides over the thigh then lower leg and finishing with strokes towards the groin area.  The purpose of doing Massage Cupping before the event is to bring blood flow to the muscle tissue.  With this method, you can feel it warming the tissue as it brings the oxygenated blood into the tissue.  This blood flow is evident by the pink hue found in the skin.  This is particularly important prior to a one mile event.  When running at such speed, it is vital that the muscle be properly warmed up.  Using the silicone cup prior to such speed will effectively warm the muscle and prevent it from seizing up during the race.

After an event of this speed, the tissue is flooded with lactic acid, and very fatigued.  I find that using Massage Cupping with the silicone cup post event will effectively flush this out.  This simple process will clear out old debris and lactic acid that occurred during the race.  This allows for quicker recovery and the ability to get back to training sooner by decreasing the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).  Once again, in the shower, repeating the same area and stokes to achieve the flushing of the muscle tissue.  With the function of the vacuum effect created by the cup, water is pulled from the cellular level into the muscle tissue helps to hydrate the tissue.  It is because of this that it is important to drink healthy amounts of water.  This is the same as in any post event recovery.


As six weeks had passed, I am sure for David the flying, car rides, remote locations and time zones made for one great adventure!  David was successful in completing his 6 miles in 6 weeks in 6 continents in under 30 minutes . . . injury free!  Once back in Sarasota and on the massage table, I was amazed at how well his body held up.  David truly went the distance.  With one cup, six continents and a cup with a multitude of uses.  I know what will be in his travel bag when traveling far from home.  For David will be traveling the miles while going the mile.  I can’t wait for what adventure lies ahead . . . to be continued!

You can find out more information on Stacie Nevelus and her work at

Sports Massage

The end of January took us at to Gainesville, Florida and the University of Florida for the Jimmy Carnes Indoor Invitational. It was a special weekend as I had the opportunity to try out my new New Balance spikes with my new orthotic and race against many college runners. Stacie Nevelus, the Massage Consultant, traveled up to “gator land” as well for the event. We were glad that she came along and we took advantage of her services for a pre-race and post-race massage. Please check out our informative sports massage video below:

I ran a smooth 4:46 for my first race in 2010. It felt good to race indoors again (last time was 2007) and confirm that my training for The Indoor Nationals in March and for our July event, “Around The World In Less Than 30 Minutes,” is right on schedule. Please check out Stacie at for more information on her cupping massage therapies.

Why is proper massage therapy important for athletes over 30 years of age?

First, I would like to address proper massage.  What is a proper massage?  I am not talking about a day at the spa, though I like to indulge myself.  A proper massage would be performed by a licensed massage therapist you trust.  One who has proper training and continued education as well as experience with athletes.  It is also important that the massage therapist have experience with various sport injuries. 
Secondly, I would like to address what happens to our bodies after 30 years of age, having one of these bodies myself.  I will keep it simple, as there are many physiological changes as we age.  Simply put, we lose flexibility and become stiffer.  We tend to get tired more easily.  It takes us longer to recover; we do not bounce back as quickly.  Due to this, we injure more easily and take longer to heal. 
Now, let us get to the heart of it.  Why is massage therapy important for athletes? 

I have the opportunity to work on a starting baseball pitcher in MLB who had never had a surgery or debilitating injury that took him out of the game.  What was his secret?  In addition to stretching during season, he diligently receives massage therapy after most games he pitches.  He is just 31 years of age, so time will continue to tell if the formula works for him.  My theory is that continued massage will serve him well.  Compared to many of his colleagues the same age or younger, who were not receiving massage as part of their recovery regimen; many had received surgeries that take a considerable time to recover from, hence taking them out of the game or even their career.  In contrast to this, I have also worked on an outfielder who has been in the game for nearly 20 years, placing him in the over 30 years of age category, and hardly ever stretches or receives massage therapy.  Unfortunately, he has received many surgeries and debilitating injuries taking him out of the game and enduring long recoveries.  Receiving massage therapy is sounding better already!
Massage therapy is a great addition to the athlete over 30 years of age.  Though the benefits of massage are plenty, for the 30+ athletes, I would narrow it down to the two top reasons I have seen in my 9 years experience.  Massage therapy for athletes over 30 years of age is important for optimal recovery and prevention of injury
For optimal recovery time, massage therapy should be performed if not immediately then 24-48 hours after intense training or performance event.  Massage promotes waste (lactic acid) out of the muscle tissue, which will also decrease muscle cramping.  Having massage will decrease delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).  In essence, massage helps to repair damaged tissue and help to resume training quicker. 
Massage therapy for the over 30 athlete is necessary in prevention of injury.  Regular massage from a therapist you trust with proper training and experience can help to identify areas of tension before injury occurs.  You can work with the therapist to help address issues that arise during training and to help avoid chronic strain in typically trained areas.  Essentially increasing flexibility, this leads to less stiffness and less injury.  Stretching is also a great way to recovery and prevents injury.  A skilled massage therapist can address these same areas on a deeper level in a more specific way. 
Massage therapy is not only important to the over 30 athlete, it is essential.  It is all about quality of life.  Whatever the athletic arena you are in be it running, tennis, golf or even baseball, massage will help you recover quicker and help prevent injury overall.  I see so many over 30 years of age athletes that have not been receiving massage therapy as part of their regimen.  They come to me with an injury, nearly ready to give up their sport.  If it is muscle, which it typically is, they can be back at the sport they enjoy even better than before.  Making them a believer, that massage therapy is an important part and not just a day at the spa.