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CrossFit Rehab and working with Mikko Salo – osteopathy by Jami Tikkanen, Thames CrossFit, UK

How do your methods work?
Defining how osteopathy works is difficult as there are as many approaches as there are practitioners. My personal approach to clients entails basic osteopathic techniques (manipulations, various soft tissue techniques and mobilisations), neural sliding, mobilisations with movement, and PNF stretching. Most of the work is done in functional positions using all 3 planes of motion and I constantly check there is an observable change after treatment.

I almost always design a self mobilisation, strengthening and stretching program for my clients. They’re spending one hour with me in a consultation, it’s the 167 remaining hours of the week that matter. I see education as an important part of my role as a therapist.

Aim of my treatments is to improve joint range of movement, to correct dysfunctional motor patterns, and to release restricted tissues, therefore increasing the efficiency of movement. My leading principle is that you always have to assess the whole individual and not just the area that hurts as the entire body is interrelated and must be treated as such.

When and why should CrossFitters use your methods?
My interest lies in increasing human performance. I would suggest CrossFitters to come and see me if they are looking to generally increase their work capacity, have recurrent “tweaks” while training or have found specific areas of weakness they want to address. I also deal with injury rehabilitation and addressing specific movement dysfunctions.

How long have you been a therapist?
4 years, I started in Chinese manual therapy/acupuncture, then sports massage and now recently completed my Master of Osteopathy degree.

Whats the most typical CrossFit related problem that people have when they come to you?
I tend to see CrossFitters having pain in their lower back, hips and shoulders. I would suggest that these are purely the symptomatic areas though and more often than not the real troublemakers are the thoracic spine, the hips and the ankles/feet.

How often should you get a therapy session?
We as CrossFitters put our bodies through so much punishment that I would personally love to see someone every week. As my main goal is to increase performance of my clients and most of them are spread around Europe, I tend to see them every 1-4 weeks (if I’m lucky) but follow them up on a regular basis to ensure that they’re making the progress they and I expect.

Don’t forget that your next therapy session is only as far as that lacrosse ball, foam roller, or office desk. You should treat yourself to a self myofascial release and/or stretching session on a daily basis.

Can your method help crossfitters perform better in CrossFit workouts?
This is my primary aim when working with CrossFit athletes. Improved biomechanics and increased neurological activation will lead to immediate performance gains, as this allows you to express your body’s potential for movement and to be more efficient in doing so.

Here’s a clip on Mikko Salo’s thoughts on improved performance after he started working on his mobility:

Anything else you would like to add?

I think education is the best thing we can do to our athletes. In this vein, I’m about to launch a one day mobility workshop for European affiliates. It is aimed for athletes and coaches, interested in enhancing their own and their client’s athletic potential by implementing effective movement preparation, mobility and stretching strategies. Various topics, such as the influence of common movement restrictions on work capacity, how to assess for these, and practical remedies for their resolution will be covered.

For those that are interested, some of these have already been scheduled and if you want to organise one at your affiliate, you can find more information at or email me directly.

Contact Jami



Mikko Salo is as the 2009 CrossFit Games champion of great interest – how have you been working specific with him?

As we live in different countries, getting to do hands-on treatment is difficult. We recently met up at the CrossFit Games European Regionals in Halmstad for 3 days of treatments in his preparation for the competition in July. For most part I’ve been working with him virtually – using online videos to do assessment and to send specific mobility drills to improve his performance. I will also be travelling to the Games with him this year.

The main areas we have been focusing on are his hip and ankle mobility, along with improving the overhead position.

What have been the greatest obstacles?
Living in different countries definitely, although this has allowed me to develop some virtual assessment tools. Ideally, for an athlete at his level, I would do hands-on work several times a week.

Biggest success?
He has seen good improvements in his lifts both in terms of positioning and increases in weights. I guess I must say improving his snatch balance PB by 20kg after one session has been the single biggest success.

Anything else you would like to add?

Be sure not to miss the CrossFit Games 2010. Europe is going to be strongly represented and I’m expecting both champions to come from our continent.