Sponsored content provided by The Jacquelyn Project.

By Marshall Dahneke

Marshall Dahneke is running the 2023 Boston Marathon for cancer relief in honor of his daughter, Jacquelyn, who passed away from breast cancer in early 2022.

His column details his personal health journey, inspires massage therapists to live a healthier life, and promotes The Jacquelyn Project to raise funds for massage-related cancer community service grants. Visit The Jacquelyn Project’s home page for an overview of the project, sponsor highlights and a donation link. 

When my fitness center closed near the start of the pandemic, an immediate concern for me was how to remain active. I reluctantly decided to start running for daily exercise. I was surprised as I began to enjoy an activity I always claimed to hate, especially as my times consistently improved. Mind you, it’s easy to run faster when you start slow.

But by fall, my progress had plateaued. I just could not seem to run any faster. I remember sitting with my brother-in-law, an All-American distance runner in college, and picking his brain to figure out how I could improve. He asked me a series of questions, then paused before pronouncing: “You need better gear.”

As a novice runner, I didn’t know there was special attire to reduce weight and wind resistance. That breakthrough running shoe technology had been introduced about five years before that immediately became controversial as world records began to fall. This breakthrough in footwear returns energy, allowing the runner to go faster and farther. (Guess what shoes I now wear at every race?) I learned that in running, the right gear will help me to perform better and last longer.

Like running, massage therapy is a form of an endurance sport. Leveraging the right tools will help a therapist to be more efficient, have greater stamina, manage and prevent injuries, and offer state-of-the-art care for clients.

The right tools not only enable me to run better, but they also help me to recover faster so I can train harder while avoiding serious injury. If I go out for a run with a nagging injury or tired legs, I don’t typically get very far and this detracts from my progress.

In addition to actual running technology, there are even more tools that safely relieve pain, accelerate recovery and help to avoid injuries altogether, including the following solutions that may assist you and many of your clients:

BellaBaci’s  Massage cupping system delivers relief to my tight muscles, sore tendons, and joints. I pair the medical-grade silicone cups with their energizing oil containing a special complex of essential oils formulated to aid muscle recovery. The hand-squeezable cups are easy to use, but they’re even more impactful in the hands of a therapist. By gently gliding the cups, the negative vacuum acts as a decompression therapy to help drain excess fluids, loosen adhesions, and lift connective tissue.

DR-HO’S Circulation Promoter is a drug-free pain relief medical device that is FDA cleared for home use. What makes this so unique is the combination of three pain-relief technologies, TENS, EMS, and NMES, into one easy-to-use device, which creates DR-HO’S proprietary AMP Technology, stimulating the leg and foot nerves and muscles to increase blood circulation and relieve pain. As I catch up on reading or TV watching, I benefit from this bio-stimulation that relaxes muscle spasms, increases circulation, and relieves my self-inflicted pain.

Dr. Hoy’s Natural Pain Relief Gel is my daily companion. I apply it before every run. I have long used topical analgesics. but since my daughter’s untimely death from cancer, I have become much more conscientious about what things I put in and on my body. Dr. Hoy’s is the cleanest, most natural formulation I have found. Better yet, it provides highly effective, long-lasting pain relief, especially when paired with Dr. Hoy’s Arnica Boost.

HawkGrips offers the best professional instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) tools featuring their signature cross-hatch design for a secure grip and exceptional feedback. In the hands of a trained therapist, HawkGrips enables both pain reduction and improved range of motion.

SpiderTech manufactures a latex-free kinesiology tape designed to reduce inflammation, support muscles, prevent injury, and enhance performance. In my experience, this tape offers remarkable pain relief. SpiderTech arms therapists with universal strips for customizable application and is the inventor of easy-to-apply, pre-cut kinesiology tape for specific body parts, enabling amateurs like me to apply and enjoy extended relief between massage sessions. This tape also serves as an absorbent base for a helpful dose of Stopain Clinical 360 Continuous Spray that doubles down on pain-relief benefits.

Winback Tecartherapy is an FDA-cleared bio-accelerator device, that generates a radio frequency energy enabling therapists to elevate muscle and fascia temperature prior to or as part of manual and exercise-based therapy. This therapy has been used for decades in Europe, including among elite athletes, and is just now being introduced by Winback in the U.S. Amplifying the therapist’s action, Winback Tecartherapy releases tension immediately, relieves pain up to 48 hours, and significantly improves the range of motion after the first session while promoting microcirculation and revascularization. Winback Tecartherapy significantly reduces rehab time by accelerating healing and providing a one-of-a-kind soothing treatment experience.

CBD Therareleaf is a complete line of professional, extra-strength pain relief topical analgesics combining 1,000 milligrams of certified organic broad-spectrum hemp extract alongside topical analgesic active ingredients. For me, CBD offers unique pain relief and health benefits. I apply this after each run. I have known and trusted the Heidenberger family for years and know they default to the highest quality ingredients that help my sore muscles and joints, bruises, strains and sprains.

Core Products International offers innovative and therapeutic products including cervical support pillows, hot-and-cold therapy packs, orthopedic supports and braces, and massage therapy solutions. I benefit from Core Product International’s patella tendon strap, their cervical pillow, the awesome hot-and-cold packs, and from the plantar fasciitis support. Each of these tools helps me to stay strong, manage or prevent an injury, and keep moving forward, faster!

Sometimes in life, we will simply need to power through a challenge to reach the other side. But learning more about running has reinforced that most often, smarter is better than harder. There are excellent technologies that allow us to do more, accomplish more, and even become more.

Don’t overlook tools! The right gear can help us perform better than we ever thought possible—in running, in massage, and in everyday life.

[Visit The Jacquelyn Project’s home page for an overview of the project, sponsor highlights, and a donation link.]

About the Author

Marshall Dahneke is the grateful husband of Michelle and proud father of six wonderful children, a lover of massage, former CEO of Performance Health, 2016 Massage Hall of Fame inductee, and aspiring endurance athlete finding his way to a better way of life.