I’m delighted to finally get Ray Eady on the podcast. Ray came to Integration Bodywork with more than 17 years experience as a strength and conditioning coach, so he has a deep understanding of human movement, and how to help you move better. He also recently graduated from East West Healing Arts Institute, where he added strong manual therapy skills and the Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective to his tool bag.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Ray’s journey from intern to manual therapist
  • How humility made him a better coach
  • Why women are easier to coach than men
  • Why he likes the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach, and what it has to offer
  • Our new Performance Therapy offering
  • And more!



Scott Robison Ray, welcome to the Integration Bodywork Podcast. Or I guess I should say welcome to Integration Bodywork. Yeah, so you’ve been here for a month, but I wanna give people a chance to get to know you, get to know your voice personally, and get to know your background. So welcome, welcome to the show.
Ray Eady Thank you for having me, Scott.
Scott Robison So let’s kinda just dive right into it. You know you came here with a really extensive background in strength and conditioning. I’d kinda like to just walk through that. What does that mean to be … Like how did you get into being a collegiate strength coach? What does that mean? What did you learn? And sort of how does that … take us through that journey for us.
Ray Eady Sure. Well, my background is in Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology. And I was able to get into this field as an intern at Holy Cross College in western Massachusetts. I had a friend of mine who was actually a strength coach at Boston College who kind of introduced me to the profession. I had an opportunity to go out and visit him and see him train his athletes and from there kinda sparked my interest that, you know what, I wanna be a college strength and conditioning coach one day.
Ray Eady So that’s where I began my journey. And then I got my full, my first assignment at Northeaster University working with men’s and women’s basketball. And surprisingly enough, the assistant coach there at the time, his name was Frank Martin, and Frank Martin is the head coach now at the University of South Carolina and he’s got a tremendous amount of success. And from there I also worked with a colleague of mine, his name is, actually his name is Art Horne and he’s actually the Sports Performance Director for the Boston Celtics. So he and I worked together at Northeastern University.
Ray Eady So I was at Northeastern University for about a year and a half. Then I moved to Akron, Ohio, got a job at the University of Akron working with men’s basketball program. And surprisingly, the assistant coach that was there at that time was Shaka Smart. And Shaka Smart had a lot of success at VCU, Virginia Commonwealth, and he’s now the head basketball coach at the University of Texas.
Ray Eady And two of the players on the University of Akron’s men’s basketball team was LeBron James’ high school teammates who were two of the fab five. So the coach at University of Akron was also LeBron James’ coach in high school. So that was kinda cool and interesting just to be around those athletes at that time. [crosstalk 00:03:02]
Scott Robison Sure, you get a lot of stories from those guys out of what it was like playing with LeBron? Or is that not talked about very much?
Ray Eady Well, you know, interesting LeBron used to be on campus all the time playing pick up ball at the gym-
Scott Robison Sure.
Ray Eady … with our team. So I got a chance to sit on the sideline and watch him actually just play pick up basketball. And this was early in his career. This was around 2004, 2005. So it was just kinda great just to be around the people, his friends and his coaches.
Scott Robison That’s crazy to think about LeBron playing pick up with a bunch of college kids. I mean I guess he was, he was all their buddies. But it’s not what you think about I guess with a pro.
Ray Eady Yeah they were all friends. Oh yeah, you know they were all his friends, once again the coach that was the men’s basketball coach at the university was his high school coach. So they sort of had … It’s a very close knit relationship that they all have.
Scott Robison Sure.
Ray Eady From there, I got a job at the University of Wisconsin working with the women’s basketball program, working with a coach Lisa Stone. Lisa Stone is no longer with the program, she’s actually the head women’s basketball coach at St. Louis. And I’ve also worked with women’s volleyball, worked with our golf programs, men and women’s, tennis, able to work with the cheer team. And late in my tenure I was actually promoted to work with the men’s basketball program and was able to work with the program with the two teams that actually went to the Final Four in 2014 and 2015.
Scott Robison Awesome.
Ray Eady Which was a great experience. So that has been my journey. I’ve met a lot of coaches and practitioners along the way. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. But it’s a path that I greatly appreciate, fortunate.
Scott Robison Yeah. That’s awesome. You know I think … I know right a lot of guys who love the weight room who go into those Exercise Science programs, dream of following that path. So being able to make it is pretty … is a fairly remarkable achievement all by itself. What do you think was … I guess how did … What do you think it was that allowed you to be most successful there? Right. Or how were you able to have that first piece of success that drove the rest of the things that came down the line?
Ray Eady My success came from being quiet and just listening.
Scott Robison What an idea. Are you kidding?
Ray Eady It really did. Right. And exactly. You know, when I was an intern and even when I was a coach, it was just keep your mouth shut and keep your ears open and you may learn something. And it also involved just asking a lot of questions as well. So, once again I was fortunate enough to be around some great practitioners, a lot of great strength coaches. I knew strength coaches around the country. And I was just able to pick their brain on some of the things that they were doing with their athletes. And just learn.
Ray Eady That’s one thing about being a college strength and conditioning coach is just, for me, it’s just put your ego aside because there’s a lot of egos in the business, just put your ego aside and just learn. You know. Because at the end of the day it’s about what can you do to make the athletes that you work with better.
Scott Robison Right.
Ray Eady And that’s the end goal, that was always the end goal for me. So I was always gonna pick the brain of some coaches that I thought were just really good at their craft to understand hey how did you get it done. And when I was at the University of Wisconsin, the director of strength and conditioning, a coach who I worked under, his name is Erik Helland. Erik Helland used to work with the Chicago Bulls, he was with the Chicago Bulls for a long time. And he actually had a chance to work with, you know, the Chicago Bulls when they were in their heyday. The Michael Jordans and the Scottie Pippens. And just being able to sit next to him in our cubicles and just pick his brain on what his training philosophies and methodologies were was valuable.
Scott Robison Sure. So you’ve been in the game for a long time, which means you’ve had a lot of time to learn and forget, or learn and change your mind on things. What … I know it’s sort of spur of the moment, what do you think the biggest issue you changed your mind on is over the last 17 years?
Ray Eady Well, keeping thing simple. You know. I think when you’re working with athletes, right … So when you’re working with college athletes, college athletes come to a program to play their sport. They really don’t come into a program to become great weightlifters. Right.
Scott Robison Yeah, sure.
Ray Eady Weightlifting or strength and conditioning is a component of their training to make them good at what they need to do in their sport. In the beginning stages of my career, I was trying to throw everything at them. You know I was just being too complex. We gotta do this, we have to do that, we gotta do this and we gotta do that. And I was … And that’s where my ego came in. And I was basically as a coach was more so trying to demonstrate how intelligent I was, rather than just putting something together to get these young men and women just ready to be able to compete. Just keeping it simple, keeping it basic and keeping them simple. And having them get better in the basics.
Ray Eady So as I got older, I’ve learned a lot. I have a lot of tools in my toolbox, but I don’t have to use all of those tools. You understand what I’m saying?
Scott Robison I totally get that. I love that, yeah.
Ray Eady Just because I have them, I don’t have to just use all of them. You just take out the best tool that’s needed to get the job done.
Scott Robison Yeah, I hear that man.
Ray Eady So for me … And, Scott, we’ve talked about this. I’ve always said it, is keep it simple and don’t over analyze and paralyze. And have confident in your ability … And have confident in your abilities to train your athletes. You know what I mean?
Scott Robison Right yeah.
Ray Eady And understand when you make mistakes and be willing to be flexible. Be willing to say you know I may not necessarily believe in this, but you know what? This may be applicable and appropriate for this particular situation or for this particular athlete at this time.
Scott Robison Totally yeah.
Ray Eady You know what I mean.
Scott Robison I think those habits of mine are really useful for the work that we’re doing now. You know, I probably know 10 … Yeah, 10 different ways to work the hamstrings, but I don’t really need to use all 10 in every client, every session, you know.
Ray Eady Absolutely.
Scott Robison Pick one or two and move on to the next thing. I love that.
Ray Eady Absolutely.
Scott Robison What do you think the biggest misconception is the public with what a collegiate strength coach is really doing on a day-to-day basis?
Ray Eady A misconception? That’s a good question. I can tell you that strength and conditioning coaches … Well before I answer that question, strength and conditioning coaches, and I’m not just saying this because I’m a strength and conditioning coach, but you know we’re valuable. You know it’s really important for your support staff, strength and conditioning sports performance, sports medicine, sports nutritionists to really do their job. Okay because we support teams to be able to have success.
Ray Eady So I think one of the misconceptions may be that our job is just so glamorous because people only see us on TV or they see us on game day. So at the University of Wisconsin, 18,000 people attend a men’s basketball game.
Scott Robison Sure.
Ray Eady 80,000 people attend a football game. And if you’re a strength coach you’re on the sideline, you got all the tchotchke, you got the gear on, the Wisconsin gear people are looking at you and like wow, that must be a glamorous position. I wanna be a strength coach, they have all the fun because they are in athletics, they’re in sports, they’re around some of your favorite athletes, they’re around some of your famous coaches. Life must be good.
Scott Robison Right.
Ray Eady Let me tell you something.
Scott Robison Are you telling me it’s not like that?
Ray Eady Let me tell you something. It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of work. What the fans see, the preparation behind the scenes, it’s intense. And I can tell you I used to get up every morning at 4:00 to be at work at 5:00, just to start my day, to begin my day. And you stay late nights. I mean you’re up early, you’re in the weight room. You get home late. You have to travel. Practice. Game day. I can tell you after games, a basketball game or a football game, while the fans are enjoying the game and then they’re going home, support staff, strength and conditioning, sports medicine, we stay behind because we have to stay behind and do maybe some recovery and restoration work with the athletes.
Scott Robison Right.
Ray Eady We may have to stay behind and prepare for what we’re gonna do tomorrow. We may have to pack because we’re leaving to go to another city the next day. So it’s … Yeah, it’s fun, I wouldn’t … I think it’s one of the best professions in all of sports. But it’s not easy.
Ray Eady And another misconception is, you know, the accountability. Strength and conditioning coaches, we’re held accountable. We gotta … We’re asked to do a job and we gotta get it done.
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ray Eady Simple as that. And if you’re not gonna … If you can’t get it done, then you know, changes need to be met, need to be had.
Scott Robison I gotcha. Yep. What kind … I’m curious about the post game restoration work. What is that … I can sort of envision what that might be from a sports medicine standpoint because I’ve been an athlete, I’ve been in those environments before. But what does it look like from a strength and conditioning perspective?
Ray Eady Well from a strength and conditioning perspective obviously if you are … You know there’s some strength coaches that are manual therapists, specialize in soft tissue manipulation. You can do some post game recovery using some manual therapy techniques. I’ve seen some coaches do some active recovery work with their athletes, you know. I’ve seen some coaches work with sports medicine to do what’s needed to facilitate recovery and restoration.
Ray Eady So it really depends and once again it’s based off individual needs. Right. Some athletes, and it’s their choice, after a game, hey maybe they just wanna go home and sleep because sleep is a form of recovery and restoration, right?
Scott Robison Sure, totally.
Ray Eady Sometimes if you have a late game in basketball and your game ends at 10:00, you know …
Scott Robison Yep.
Ray Eady Or 10:30, the best recovery’s telling your athletes go eat and go home and go to sleep. See you tomorrow.
Scott Robison Right. Yeah and then if you’re lucky you’re in bed by midnight. Right. Or probably more like 12:30, 1:00, 2:00. Something like that.
Ray Eady Yeah. Hey, Scott, you know what? That happens 100% of the time. Yeah. You know what I mean?
Scott Robison Yeah, nevermind after … yeah, yeah. Nevermind, with college kids I’m sure there’s some after game libations and enjoyment.
Ray Eady You know that’s right. Go home, study, eat and go to sleep.
Scott Robison That’s right.
Ray Eady You know so, basically so it really depends, you know. You know with football, and I never worked on football, but I know traditionally if there’s a football game on Saturday, the Saturday game is not uncommon for a football to come in the next day, Saturday and do, you know, have a lift session.
Scott Robison Right.
Ray Eady You know what I mean? Or have a tempo run session.
Scott Robison Right.
Ray Eady You know and to watch film and what have you. So it really depends on the program, the coach with that program, the athletic trainer, what their strategy is when it comes to recovery work with their athletes.
Scott Robison Gotcha. Really just sort of briefly, you know we kinda touched on sort of what the job itself looks like. But which … And I know we just sat outside and had lunch, which is a nice benefit here of recording in August, which group of athletes do you feel like you had the most success with? Or where you feel like either you had the most success with or you most enjoyed working with? And sort of tell us more about that.
Ray Eady See, Scott, you’re about to put me on a spot because when one of my former athletes hear this and I don’t mention them or their team, they’re gonna come looking.
Scott Robison Yeah.
Ray Eady So I’m gonna have to be politically correct when I answer this question. I’m gonna be honest with you, of all the athletes that I’ve worked with from Holy Cross to University of Wisconsin, right, every athlete that I’ve worked with or every team that I’ve worked with, I have enjoyed. And I’m being honest.
Scott Robison Sure.
Ray Eady I’m not just trying to be political in saying that. I’m being honest. And like I said, I’ve been fortunate to work with some great young people, some great teams with some great coaches. But you know, we had this conversation outside and working with female athletes, collegiate athletes, I can tell you I really enjoy working with that particular population, with that particular group.
Ray Eady And people are gonna well why. Working with female athletes, in my opinion, I just felt like they were just very compliant. They were able to, they were coachable.
Scott Robison That’s kind of a loaded word. Yeah coachable maybe, there ya go, that’s probably … Speaking of being political, that’s probably a better way to say that right.
Ray Eady Yeah, yeah. You’re right. Yeah, exactly. You know very coachable. You know, competitive. Just moved well. Trained well. Wanted to get better. Good teammates. So and I’m not saying that didn’t exist working with male athletes, it did, but it was fun working with female teams.
Ray Eady I actually also, too, I’m gonna say this, when I was at University of Wisconsin I worked with the Cheer and Spirit squad.
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ray Eady Men and women. And let me tell you, there was maybe about 40 or 50 of them on that team. And I would have 40 and 50 athletes in the weight room just training.
Scott Robison Wow. I didn’t know they were so big. Yeah.
Ray Eady They’re big, you know, because they have dance, cheer, they have the guys what have you, the have an A team, a B team.
Scott Robison Got it.
Ray Eady So, those athletes and they are athletes, they were enjoyable to work with man because they love training.
Scott Robison Sure.
Ray Eady I mean we would put the program on the board and, you know what, crank the music up, let’s go. And this was like 6:00 in the morning.
Scott Robison Sure.
Ray Eady You know, maybe two or three times throughout the week and it was really fun working with them. So in my career, and I’ve worked with a lot of athletes, a lot of teams, I was fortunate enough to have some … be around some good people.
Scott Robison That’s awesome. I love it. What … So we’re gonna take a quick break here and when we come back we’re gonna talk about your, sort of why you transitioned into bodywork and your specialty there and then what sort of some of the new performance therapy offering that you’ve got going here at Integration Bodywork.
Ray Eady Okay. Sounds good.
Scott Robison Awesome. All right.
Scott Robison All right and we’re back. So, Ray, you spent 17 years developing this career, this expertise as a strength and conditioning coach. What made you decide to get pursue bodywork and get into this field of massage therapy?
Ray Eady Well first and foremost I had a colleague that was a manual therapist, he was a strength and conditioning coach and University of Wisconsin and he went to massage school and got his license and because he was licensed he was able to put his hands on his athletes.
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ray Eady So, he was able to do some soft tissue manipulation, do some recovery and restoration work with athletes in conjunction with training them. So now he was becoming, in my opinion, he was a hybrid coach.
Scott Robison Sure.
Ray Eady And that’s where I’m seeing the profession moving is us old school weight room guys are starting to venture off in other disciplines to better our craft. You know to become better coaches.
Scott Robison Yeah.
Ray Eady So you’ll have some strength coaches going back to school, you know becoming physical therapists. And you have some coaches going into manual therapy, becoming sports massage therapists. And when I saw what he did with his athletes and the response, I decided to go that route as well.
Ray Eady So I went to East West Healing Arts Institution in Madison, Wisconsin, it’s the same school that he went to and that he recommended.
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ray Eady And I started my particular journey and I’m happy that I actually made the move because there was a point in time where it was between going back to school or taking another job in Ohio. A strength and conditioning position in Ohio, actually being a director of a strength and conditioning unit.
Scott Robison Wow.
Ray Eady But I actually decided … I said to myself, “Hey, I think the industry is moving forward or moving with these hybrid coaches-
Scott Robison Sure.
Ray Eady … and it probably would make sense for me to go back, get another discipline and figure out how to merge the two, how to integrate the two.” And that’s what I did.
Scott Robison Got it. All right we’re gonna come back to that idea, but I wanna talk specifically … So East West … It was funny for me moving here to Madison four years ago because I went to an East West massage school also, but I went to East West College of the Healing Arts in Portland, Oregon. And you went to East West … what is it … East West Healing Arts Institute right here in Madison. Same name, unaffiliated. But yours really has a real East West blend, right? There’s a really heavy emphasis on traditional Chinese medicine because Dr. Zhou who owns the school is an acupuncturist.
Scott Robison I feel like, from my perspective on studying strength and conditioning which is really how I’ve developed my expertise on how the body moves, right, it’s much easier to understand how to fix it if you know how it’s supposed to work in the first place. You know the strength and conditioning world seems like a very Western oriented and grounded field. But you really are focused on that traditional Chinese medicine TuiNa approach. What is it that appeals to you about that, about what they’re doing? And kinda maybe you can describe for people like how that system works.
Ray Eady Well yeah, so East West has a Western curriculum and it has an Eastern curriculum. Obviously you have to have the Western curriculum because when you’re gonna take the licensing exam it’s gonna ask more Western type of questions and not Eastern. But one thing I appreciate about the school … First of all, Dr. Zhou is very intelligent and very good at what he does. And the instructors at the program, those that taught Western and those that taught Eastern, were very good instructors, very good manual therapists and all added something to the program that all of the students were capable of learning from.
Ray Eady What I liked about the Eastern was it allowed me to really get out of my Western thinking and to understand what other practitioners around the country are doing when it comes to manual therapy or even when it comes to training. You know.
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ray Eady And it helped me … It helped to sort of broaden my horizons. And remember I said previously in the podcast that, for me, my success has always been just be quiet and just listen, observe, evaluate. And take things that could make me be a better coach. Now understand, and I tell people this, I’m a strength and conditioning coach by trade that happens to know manual therapy. You know, so, with the Eastern curriculum it helped me to understand Chinese practitioners’ ways of understanding the body and how the body works and how the body moves and how the body responds to stress. Because their philosophy is it’s about mind, it’s about body, and it’s about spirit and how you integrate the three to create wellness. Okay.
Ray Eady And TuiNa is the modality of choice when it comes to soft tissue manipulation. But here’s the thing, if you look at TuiNa and if you look at some of the modalities used in Western practice, Scott, it’s pretty much like all the same.
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ray Eady I mean I’m not seeing a lot of differences, I’m seeing more similarities. And I will say, you know, traditional Chinese medicine and TuiNa have been around for a very long time. Traditional Chinese medicine I think 8,000 years. A lot of Western practitioners, when they think of Eastern medicine or they think of the modality, many will say, “Well, it’s not backed by research.” But if you talk to those practitioners-
Scott Robison Yeah, that’s not true.
Ray Eady … and if you talk to the instructors, they will say, “Well it is backed by research, but there is a language barrier. There’s a cultural barrier.” How many Western practitioners that actually gone on a plane and actually gone to China and talked to those practitioners about manual therapy and about Chinese medicine and what have you?
Scott Robison Right.
Ray Eady But I think if we as Western practitioners do that, we will find that we’re more on the same page than you think.
Scott Robison Yeah, I’m with you, Ray. I mean there’s so much, so many interesting pieces to that, Ray, like when you actually do tissue biopsy … Let’s talk about acupuncture real quick. Because that’s using the same meridian system that TuiNa uses, all of Chinese medicine really, right, is following it. Acupuncture needles are twisted typically or spun once they’re placed.
Ray Eady Yeah.
Scott Robison You do a tissue biopsy they see that the facial tissue is wound around the needle, right, up to about four centimeters away.
Ray Eady Sure.
Scott Robison When they look at where those meridian points are located, they’re typically located like intersections of facial planes or connective tissue structures, right, little interesting standpoints there. But also just the language piece. You know we think of … Western anatomical language is Latin and Greek. Mostly Latin, but some Greek too.
Ray Eady Yeah.
Scott Robison So it sounds like really sophisticated technical language, but really it’s just … This is just as full of imagery and metaphors as what we get out of traditional Chinese medicine, right. The hip socket is the acetabulum. What’s an acetabulum? It’s a vinegar dish. Right.
Ray Eady Oh right.
Scott Robison You know what I mean?
Ray Eady Yeah.
Scott Robison So like that language piece, you know, I think it’s hard for Western practitioners to engage with Chinese words because they’re so-
Ray Eady Yes.
Scott Robison They’re so difficult to say. And they don’t have those … We don’t have those mental hooks for those sounds like we do for Greek and Latin.
Ray Eady Yeah.
Scott Robison But yeah, I’m right with you. It’s just two different ways of talking about the same thing.
Ray Eady Absolutely. So you know, once again, my experience in learning it was eye opening. And I learned a lot. I have a lot of tools once again. More tools I’m putting into my manual therapy toolbox.
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ray Eady And, you know, I’ll use whatever is appropriate with my clients during the session.
Scott Robison Awesome. Yeah, so speaking of the session, let’s talk about the new performance therapy service that you are offering, right. Because you still have your strength and conditioning coach certification is still in place and you’ll be keeping that up for the foreseeable future. So talk to us about what that performance therapy sort of is in general and sort of more specifically what does a session look like?
Ray Eady Right. So, I kinda came up with this lingo. Well, I didn’t come up with the lingo, let’s back up.
Scott Robison Give credit where credit’s due, right.
Ray Eady I’m gonna give credit where credit is due, right. That’s another thing I’ve learned in this profession, give credit where credit is due. It’s okay to steal, just give credit where credit is due.
Scott Robison Totally.
Ray Eady You know, when it comes to performance therapy, once again, there’s a couple of coaches that once again talked about how can we … What can we do to make our athletes perform better? Move better? And be able to do so with some durability? So when I was in massage school-
Scott Robison Hang on, I’m gonna have you pause for just a second. Talk to me more about durability. What does that mean?
Ray Eady Well it’s just being able to function and do what you need to do without having some resiliency, without you know getting hurt. You know what I mean?
Scott Robison Totally.
Ray Eady So first and foremost, our number one goal in strength and conditioning people will say is performance. No it’s not performance. Our number one goal is to create a very durable and resilient athlete. Because if you’re not durable, if you’re not resilient you’re not gonna be able to perform at all.
Scott Robison Yeah.
Ray Eady So that’s first and foremost. So when I was in massage school we would always talk about body work and soft tissue manipulation. But then when I was in clinic, most of the patients I was seeing, at the end of the day they wanted to move well.
Scott Robison Right.
Ray Eady You know, they wanted to be able to walk. They wanted to be able to pick items up from the floor or reach for an item or play a sport or spend time with their grandchildren or what have you. And I had this discussion with my classmates that we just can’t think … You know being manual therapists, we just can’t look at one piece of the puzzle and think that from a treatment standpoint that if we do this that it will create that. I always felt like, you know, yeah body work is important, but what else can we include within our treatment, right, to really get our client feeling well and having some long … having some movement longevity without … and there’s some durability and being able to do things without pain?
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ray Eady So I said you know we need to be performance … not necessarily manual therapists, but performance therapists. You know integrating a combination of body work with movement, movement assessment, and with exercise. Like kinda combining or integrating all of those entities to provide a good treatment. Okay?
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ray Eady And that’s something that I did, or we were doing at the collegiate strength and conditioning level. So you know, our athletes didn’t come into the weight room and we just put big weights on them and then just train. No. It required us doing some assessments. You know looking at are there any movement dysfunction. If there is any dysfunction, how can we improve their movement capacity, their movement literacy, right.
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ray Eady Because you don’t wanna load dysfunction. I think we can all be in agreement of that. Right?
Scott Robison Totally.
Ray Eady But, you know, so how do we improve movement in an unloaded situation? How can we manipulate tissue so that our athletes can move better? And then once we do those things, then we can integrate them in an environment where we’re loading them where they can get strong. And I’m saying to myself, well if we do that with athletes, why cant’ we just do that with general pop, population?
Scott Robison Yeah. Why can’t we?
Ray Eady Why can’t we do like the body work … Why can’t we, you know, do the body work? Why can’t we do the movement assessments? Why can’t we do the corrective exercises, the movement exercises? Why can’t we integrate strength training as far as a treatment package for the clients that we work with?
Scott Robison Yep. Love it.
Ray Eady Mm-hmm (affirmative). So that’s where the whole performance therapy concept really evolved from.
Scott Robison Yeah, I love that, Ray. You know that’s something that I’ve been sort of dreaming about doing myself for a long time. If I had known what I was … Because I got started, I sort of backed into this body work thing through my involvement with the CrossFit community, you know, over the last, gosh, it’s 2018, over the last 12 years.
Ray Eady Yes.
Scott Robison You know, but seeing the, you know … especially we watch like Kelly Starrett’s MobilityWOD going from way back, Ryan DeBell is doing with the Movement Fix, our guy John Rusin …
Ray Eady Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Scott Robison You know it’s so much about doing some easy, doing some soft tissue work and then doing some exercise to solidify these new movement patterns. Because whether we like … Whether we’re using needles, our hands, or manipulation, or you know the pain pill, you know Chris Duffin’s gigantic metal rod thing that he slams on people, really this is all just a pattern eruption from what I can tell, what the research seems to say, right. So being able to then give somebody a new pattern is a real game changer.
Ray Eady Absolutely.
Scott Robison So how does this differ, exactly, from like a personal training session?
Ray Eady Can you give me a little bit more detail? I mean personal training from a strength and conditioning session or like a one-on-one session?
Scott Robison Yeah, exactly. Like a one-on-one private training session. Like maybe, or maybe let’s do it this way.
Ray Eady Sure.
Scott Robison Maybe walk us through, walk us through what a performance therapy session would look like.
Ray Eady Yeah, sure. So, a client would come in. Obviously we get information, right. We get information is what are their needs, right. And we capture that particular information and then once again, the sessions are gonna be individualized obviously based on the client’s needs. So that session could, you know, if you have someone that’s coming in and say asks me or a client is having some calves, gastroc soleus, or some achilles issues, right. And it’s really hindering their ability to play a specific sport. So, you know, we’ll do some assessment to try to figure out okay, where is the underlying issue? Right. From there, because you don’t wanna, we say this all the time, you wanna assess, you don’t wanna guess. Right.
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative), yep.
Ray Eady It gives us a starting point. And then from there, you can do your body work, right. Maybe doing your body work in the areas where the client or the athlete is feeling some tension or tightness. And then from there you can do some mobility work at the ankle. You can do some strengthening work at the anterior tib. You can do that in the nonfunctional manner where the client is actually doing it on the table, on the floor. And then you can kind of integrate that where you’re doing therapy work where they’re now more in a functional environment. Right.
Ray Eady And then you can reinforce it by having them do whatever pattern that you’re trying to clean up or whatever you’re trying to fix in a more training environment, so to speak.
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ray Eady So I mean, off the top of my head, that’s how a session would look like. Once again, it’s always gonna be individualized, but it’s always gonna include some type of assessment. It’s always gonna include some type of once again body work. It’s always gonna include some type of some mobility or stability work. It’s always gonna include some type of strength work and you’re always gonna integrate that and reinforce it.
Ray Eady Another thing that I’ve noticed in manual therapy, and, Scott, you and I talked about that, is the importance of, and I need to learn a little bit more in this area, but the important of breathing and the important of having good strong core stability.
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ray Eady And identifying what that is. So I can tell you and, Scott, you can probably speak to this as well, is that if we have a client that comes into our session and they could have plantar fasciitis, they gonna have some achilles issues, they could have some [inaudible 00:36:45] issues, shoulder issues, neck pain, right. Everybody needs good core stability, right, because we know that movement pretty much starts in the mid section, inner to the outer.
Scott Robison Absolutely.
Ray Eady So your session, you know what? We may have clients come to our session, we may do some core stability work.
Scott Robison Yeah, totally.
Ray Eady Even though they’re coming in … Even though they’re coming in and you know they may have some plantar fasciitis issues, you know what? Performance therapy is hey, you know, we’re gonna assess the strength and stability of your core. And if there’s a weakness there, there’s gonna be a leakage there in terms of how they move.
Scott Robison Oh for sure. I mean I spend a lot of time doing that with people. I mean, you know I’m … You know you’re learning the SFMA here along with me over the last few weeks, and I think you’re doing a really good job picking it up. It’s just a more specific language I think than what you were doing already on your own. But, you know, I really struck me that of those 10 top tier movements, thoracic extension and rotation is a component of four of them. Right. The only other that comes up more than once is ankle dorsiflexion.
Ray Eady Absolutely.
Scott Robison So, I’ve spent a lot of time over the last two years, really focusing on improving rib cage position and sort of what that thoracic cage is capable of. And it makes a huge difference for people’s hips and low backs and knees and you know all the neck and shoulder issues that we see.
Scott Robison The only thing I’m starting, you know, I think we’re starting to see, we talked about this a little bit too is the work that the guys at Postural Restoration is to, Bill Hartman and his crew down there at IFAST-
Ray Eady Yeah.
Scott Robison … are really focused on breath first and they talk about the infrasternal angle, right, which is just the angle between the costal cartilage, those lower abdominal ribs are attached to.
Ray Eady Yes.
Scott Robison And getting that more neutral. A lot of people have a very open angle, so they need to get that down and get their, oddly enough, get their diaphragm to relax a little bit.
Ray Eady Sure.
Scott Robison But a surprising number of folks also have it very narrow or they don’t actually get a full breath very much. When you can’t get your … Can’t breathe well or breathe efficiently, get ribcage and your pelvic floor pointed at each other, man nothing’s gonna work right, right? And this is what we’re talking about with core stability is getting those things organized and pointed in the right direction so that everything else moves efficiently.
Ray Eady Well yeah, Scott. So you and I were followers of honestly a great coach out of Boston, Mass, Mike Boyle and Dr. Janda, his work on the joint-by-joint mobility stability continuum, right.
Scott Robison Totally.
Ray Eady And you know as a manual therapist I feel like you need to have an understanding of that in order to add value to your treatments. You know so, I mean that’s just my opinion. I mean there’s a lot of good therapists out there and one thing I’ve learned is as a therapist you gotta do what you feel is comfortable, that you’re comfortable with and that is right for you, you know. But with my background in strength and conditioning and just years of working with athletes, you know I’ve seen some things, some patterns that has been repeated across a lot of athletes. So I try to say hey, with that particular group then it has to be with this particular group too, so why not sort of treat that as well?
Scott Robison Yeah, tell me … Tell me about some of those patterns. What are those things you tend to see?
Ray Eady Oh man. Definitely some ankle mobility restrictions. And you see it when … See the thing too is I used to tell … I used to teach a class at the University of Wisconsin. The class is called The Science and Practice of Resistance Training.
Scott Robison Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ray Eady And one thing I used to tell the students is when you’re working out, just look around the room and see how people move.
Scott Robison Yep. Totally.
Ray Eady See how people move. See how people train. And see how they move and train when they’re under load. Right.
Scott Robison Yep.
Ray Eady And you know some of the things I’ve seen that are consistent across the board is you have a lot of people that have some foot/ankle issues, ankle mobility issues. I’ve seen some thoracic extension/rotation issues. I’ve seen some hip issues. Hip hinge issues. Core stability issues. I mean you name it, it’s … If you look it’s staring right in front of you.
Scott Robison Yeah, totally.
Ray Eady So with the clients that we work with, or some of the clients that we work with that tend to be very physically active, we try to work in those areas that we think or that we know are known issues, or assess to see if there’s any issues and just try to correct.
Scott Robison Got it. Yeah, it’s funny, I’ve been since May when we moved over to … You know we moved into university houses, and I’ve been working out at the UW Natatorium gym and it’s a whole, I’d forgotten what it was like a little bit because I’ve been working out at a CrossFit gym for about three years prior where everybody squats below parallel, people are pressing over head. You know swinging cowbells fairly efficiently. There’s good coaching on the floor. So I just got used to oh people like me kinda know what they’re doing.
Scott Robison Oh man, it is kind of a horror show in there sometimes. People doing all kinds of crazy things. Some of them because they don’t know better, some of them because they’re college boys and they think they know what they’re doing. You mentioned the ankle dorsiflexion thing, one of the things I’ve been kinda militant about for the last five years is making sure my kids have zero drop flexible shoes to the point where we kinda pay more than I think most people are willing to pay for their kids’ shoes, but you know I was following Katy Bowman’s stuff for awhile when my kids … when my oldest son who just turned six, was really little. I was like okay, cool, I get it, that makes some sense to me. And then I took him to … Where were we? We were like some indoor playground, he’s like a year old.
Scott Robison So my oldest son walked at nine months, right, so that’s … He’s all movement all the time. And I took him to this indoor playground, he’s about a year old, and we were playing there with some kid who are probably, who were three, four months older than he was and they were wearing these like chunky, not even really that like obviously chunky just sort of by normal standards, they wear those like adidas clamshell shoes. You know what I’m talking about?
Ray Eady Okay.
Scott Robison Yeah, but they you know, like they’re little kids so a thick sole is extra thick for them. That’s like wearing … It’s like wearing a dance go for a toddler.
Ray Eady Yes. Yes.
Scott Robison Those kids were walking at 15 months like my son did when he learned to walk, right. All hip and low back, no ankle, no knee. I was like, and my kid would’ve been barefoot basically or in all leather crib shoes the whole time. I was like-
Ray Eady Oh, okay.
Scott Robison … I am always gonna spend money on my kid’s shoes because it is clear that what we put on our kids’ feet is gonna affect how they move for the rest of their lives.
Ray Eady Right. And we know that movement starts from the ground up, right.
Scott Robison Yep, totally, especially in the feet.
Ray Eady So it impacts the whole entire kinetic … And it impacts the whole entire kinetic chain from the ground up.
Scott Robison Totally.
Ray Eady Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Scott Robison So, Ray, you know you were talking about this idea for performance therapy was really driven by your experience and sort of what you had kinda hoped to see as a strength and conditioning coach. So I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that your ideal client, the people you probably are gonna get the most best results from are like recreational athletes or pro athletes. Does that sound reasonable to you?
Ray Eady Well, yeah. You know, I don’t wanna exclude people because everyone … Like what we said at the beginning, everybody wants to move well, right.
Scott Robison Sure. Yep.
Ray Eady And everybody want to move without pain. But the idea came out of being able to assist those who are fitness enthusiasts, recreational athletes, weekend warriors.
Scott Robison Sure.
Ray Eady You know people that run in marathons or what have you, play recreational in recreational sporting leagues, what have you.
Scott Robison Yep.
Ray Eady You know, so … Yeah. The idea came out of me working in that community, but I think you and I can agree that if someone just wants to move well, you know, it’s applicable for anyone.
Scott Robison Yeah, right. I mean or let’s put it another way. The performance and longevity are really more of a continuum rather than an either/or proposition.
Ray Eady Yes. Right. Right.
Scott Robison And you’re just looking at different skills, different movement, different level of movement difficulty or complexity for one group versus another. Right?
Ray Eady Absolutely. Absolutely.
Scott Robison Right. Awesome. Now that you’re kinda … You spent a lot of time in clinic, you know in school. You’ve been here, maybe filling up your schedule pretty fast, you’ve been hustling pretty hard you know for the last month or so here with Integration Body work. What do you like most about this new field that you’re in?
Ray Eady Well what I like most about it, Scott, is we’re in great positions to help people really. I mean as manual therapists, it feels good when you have a client come to you with an issue, with problem, and you’re able to work with that client or able to work with other people that are also assisting that client to help that client … to help solve a problem, to help solve and issue.
Ray Eady So one thing I like about this new profession and that’s one of the reason why I got into collegiate strength and conditioning is being able to help people. So if you’re an athlete, being able to help you to achieve some type of performance goal. But some of the clients that we come in, they’re not necessarily the athletes, but they have issues. So it’s being able to sit down, try to solve what that problem is and then provide a good treatment and have them leaving out of here saying, you know what? That helped.
Scott Robison Awesome.
Ray Eady You know what I mean?
Scott Robison Yep. Totally.
Ray Eady That’s one.
Scott Robison Yep, no I love it. That’s my favorite part too. Awesome. Yeah all right.
Scott Robison Well, good listeners out there, you can find Ray in all the places you find Integration Bodyworks. So IntegrationBodywork.com/facebook. You can go to our website ad subscribe to the famous weekly newsletter where Ray and I are throwing up bullets and dropping knowledge on you every week.
Scott Robison Ray, you’re gonna be joining me here on the podcast, co hosting a little bi and we’ll be doing some shows with the two of you here periodically, talking about topics that are … that we’re interested in or we think people wanna know about. And I’m trying to think, where also can people find us? Oh, obviously www.integrationbodywork.net, or if you’ve heard enough already and you’re ready to schedule performance therapy session, go to scheduling.integrationbodywork.net and book an appointment.

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