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Unlocking Peak Performance: Danielle Chow-Leong's Unique Approach to Massage Therapy

Written by: Tomas Morgan

High-performance sports have many layers, from players to coaches to trainers everyone has a hand in what an organization puts on the field. Danielle Chow-Leong stands out as a massage practitioner who has taken an unconventional path, transitioning from a typical practice to specializing in high-performance athletes. Her journey began with an unexpected and odd client – marking the inception of her venture into the realm of treating those pushing their physical limits.

One of the distinctive aspects of Danielle's approach is her emphasis on customization. She engages clients, athletes or not, in a dialogue about their past experiences with treatments. Adding a personal twist to enhance performance, she tailors sessions based on individual needs, offering variations in intensity and time. For Danielle, it's not about creating dependence; instead, she aims for athletes to reach a point where they confidently say, "No, Danielle, I'm okay today."

Addressing the frequency of treatments, Danielle believes it varies with the athlete and the purpose. Whether it's for relaxation or high performance, the goal is to support the body's natural healing abilities. Unlike some therapists, Danielle rejects the idea of athletes being reliant on constant sessions.

When it comes to clients, she recognizes that interactions can either drain or uplift a therapist. Surprisingly, Danielle has evolved to appreciate silence, understanding that an athlete's state of mind might lead to a quiet session.

Regarding sports preference, Danielle expresses no favouritism, acknowledging the uniqueness of each sport and player. Every athlete, she notes, requires distinct treatment tailored to their position and physical demands.

Danielle's career choices are guided by three non-negotiables: no dressing up for work, no 9-5 schedule, and no vacation request forms. This freedom allows her to collaborate extensively with Athletics Canada, proudly representing Team Canada at the international level.

Despite the glamour of representing one's country, Danielle remains humble. She attributes her position to being in the right place at the right time, emphasizing the gratitude she feels for the opportunities she's been given.

On the topic of gender inequality in sports, Danielle, in conversation with Dave, highlights the financial struggles in track and field, especially for women. While media coverage for female sports has grown, she questions its quality, pondering whether it's based on the athletes' appearances rather than their athletic achievements.

As the conversation delves into the gender balance in the industry, Danielle notes the female dominance but acknowledges the need for athletes, especially women, to voice their preferences for service providers.

In wrapping up the discussion, Danielle emphasizes the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) in her field, asserting that without it, a therapist won't be as effective. She sees herself not just as a practitioner of physical techniques (IQ) but as a calming presence attuned to an athlete's emotional state.

Her advice for maintaining optimal physical health is refreshingly simple: keep moving. Whether it's walking, hiking, or participating in sports, movement is the key. As for athletes' diets, she dispels the myth of an all-green diet, stating that many athletes are simply gifted with good genes.

To the next generation, she advocates for seeking health professionals early on, engaging in diverse sports, and normalizing all movements to foster a well-rounded physical condition. In her world, the body's ability to move is paramount, and embracing a variety of activities is the secret to unlocking one's full potential.

To hear more of Danielle's story, listen/watch episode #206 on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or YouTube

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