Portia Resnick is a massage therapist, athletic trainer and doctoral graduate assistant in the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Department of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science.
Portia and many other experts in the sports science field contributed to the development of the AMTA/NCBTMB Sports Massage Specialty Certificate Program, including leaders in sports medicine, preventative medicine, dietetics, cardiology and biomedical science.
Learn more about Portia and her passion for sports massage and the science of athletics.
What drew you to the massage therapy profession? How long have you been practicing?
I am a certified athletic trainer who was drawn to massage therapy to learn more about manual therapy. I have been practicing for 12 years.
What education and knowledge does a massage therapist need to work in sports massage?
As a sports massage therapist, it is important to understand musculoskeletal anatomy, kinesiology and physiology as it relates to the body during exercise and sports. Knowing the way the body responds to the stresses placed upon it during exercise can help to determine the best approach.
While it isn't necessary to understand the sport, it is important to understand which muscles may be stressed during activity so that the appropriate care can be given. It is also important to understand the healing process of the body if someone is working with rehabilitation from injury or surgery.
What makes working with athletes different from working with other clients?
Athletes are looking for a way to recover from their training or competition and get to their next workout. Massage can provide that for them. They are often knowledgeable about their bodies and are sometimes superstitious about what works and what does not.
Like all clients, it is important to listen to their goals for the session and educate them as to the appropriate treatments and self-care. Many have had previous experience with massage and know what to ask for in a session.
What do you enjoy most about your current position? What are the challenges?
Currently, I am pursuing my Ph.D. at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. This is a huge change from clinical work as the emphasis is on teaching and completing my research. I really enjoy teaching anatomy and my current research dealing with recovery from exercise. The entire program has been a challenge, but the research aspect has been the greatest challenge.
Describe some of the sports massage environments in which you've worked.
I have worked with athletes of all levels, from weekend warrior to high school to college to professional. I have helped out with college teams during multi-day competitions, I have provided pre- and post-race massage to runners and triathletes, I have worked with professional and high school teams during their competitive seasons. In addition, I have seen clients privately in my practice.
How has the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) impacted your career?
AMTA has given me some great opportunities. I presented my case study at the AMTA 2015 National Convention and was given the opportunity to work on the AMTA/NCBTMB Sports Massage Specialty Certificate Program.
AMTA's support of the Massage Therapy Foundation has helped give me opportunities as well. I hope that in the future I can continue to provide education to AMTA members and help massage therapy grow as a profession.
What advice would you offer other massage therapists looking to specialize in sports massage? Why should someone consider the AMTA/NCBTMB Sports Massage Specialty Certificate Program?
Sports massage is not just working with teams or at the Olympic or professional level. Every community has active members—from local gyms or 5k races, to marathon runners and triathletes. Sports massage can, and should, be a big part of staying healthy and active.
The AMTA/NCBTMB Sports Massage Specialty Certificate Program can help provide advanced education for not only athletes, but for all clients. It can enhance our therapeutic skills and make us stand out in the health care community.
Launch Your Sports Massage Career
AMTA/NCBTMB Sports Massage Specialty Certificate Program
Gain a solid foundational overview on the science of sports massage and settings through online classes and a workshop featuring techniques. Earn the full sports massage certificate or take individual courses to help reach your career goals.
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