Thursday, July 10, 2008

Knitters are Athletes

It has been awhile - trying to get a handle on this retirement gig.

As the Beijing Olympics approach I am reminded about how my massage therapist views knitters(besides obsessed!).

I met Mimi Polvino when I took a class titled "Self Care for Knitters" at Hilltop Yarns quite a few years ago. I was taken by her holistic approach to the human body.

She has worked on athletes from Philadelphia Eagle football players to Pacific Norhtwest Ballet dancers and everyone in-between.

She views knitters as athletes because of how we use our bodies - repetitive motion in pursuit of our *sport*. Most of us, when we knit, are endurance athletes. Yes, we all may know that we *should* get up every 15-30 minutes to stretch our bodies but we rarely do so. I know you all do it - marathon knitting!

Greg used to worry about me and my body abuse with my knitting. I used to have bad wrist pain. Being a computer programmer, avid knitter and gardener took its toll on my body.

Since I have been seeing Mimi regularly, I don't have wrist pain anymore.

As I said before, I love her holistic approach. She is fascinated by the human body. One of her hobbies is to learn about anatomy(besides running and staying in incredible physical condition). She is like a sponge when it comes to learning more about biomechanics and how all the pieces of the body work together.

I make once a month appointments(because she is only in Seattle for a few days each month so you have to schedule in advance) with her because there is usually something that crops up by the time the next month rolls around. I went in to see her yesterday with this annoying ankle pain. I have been walking about 4 miles a day and I had to take a number of days off because I felt I needed to baby the darn thing. She evaluated my body and said have this shoulder thing going on which is affecting your opposite hip which is pulling this on your leg and pulling this in your calf. She worked my various parts, pulled on my ankle and all my body pieces re-aligned and my ankle is happy, once again. Yesterday I had residual soreness but today I worked out and my ankle is happy as a clam.

There are some clients of hers that don't *get* this approach. They say "Oh but 'X' part of my body hurts. Why are you working way over here?". People have to learn there is much more to a productive massage. You have to get to the source!

I am fascinated by this approach. I find it hard to find a massage therapist that can do this. Most figure you come in for relaxation only. Sure I love the relaxation aspect but I love the pain relief as well.

For months, Mimi and her partner discussed moving from Seattle to Bend, Oregon. I was in denial. Then she told me it was firm. The house was up for sale. I was devastated. My first thoughts were "I can't live without you! I have to be able to knit and spin!". I'm a marathoner!

Luckily she comes back to Seattle once a month to maintain her clients here. I am relieved because I know without my bodywork with her, I could not maintain the healthy mechanics of my body. Greg was asking about this expense recently and this is not something I'm willing to give up. I'm an athlete for goodness sakes! :)

Note: Greg was not saying this in any kind of negative way - it was more of just an overall evaluation of our living expenses. We ARE on a fixed income now and must make good decisions - especially the way the stock market is performing!

For all you fellow Knitting Athletes out there, don't forget to take care of your body! Maintenance is the key!

Don't forget to get up a couple times an hour to stretch your body/neck, arms, hands, etc!


YarnSnob said...

oh I wish I lived closer...she could tend to my left wrist. yes...we must take a break from our knitting and s-t-r-e-t-c-h whenever we can, I keep telling myself.

bizyhands said...

Oh, it's nice to hear you are taking care of your body. You know me, and I can't stress more the importance of physical maintenance. A good massage is not a luxury if it helps you pursue the things you love. Fight hard to keep it in your budget.

Yarn Hungry Hog said...

I have been reading your blog for sometime now and never left a message.
This time, here's a message. What happened to you? On a summer break from blogging? You decided to go with Mimi to Bend ~ couldn't live without her? hahahaha! Retirement is soooo good, you forgot about the rest of the working world? the poor working people?
Anyhoot, I love your website. Keep knitting!