Often times when speaking to individuals, I come to notice they do not truly understand the benefits of massage therapy incorporation as a part of a balanced training regimen. Most often, they see the modality as a luxury rather than necessity, and engage in it seldom, if at all. It is then I offer two simple analogies: What type of car would you rather be, a Ferrari or a Honda? And, regardless of car choice, would you take your car for routine maintenance services (i.e. oil change, tire rotation, brake fluid change, etc.) especially if this was the last car you’d ever possess?
Treat yourself like a Ferrari, not like a Honda!
No offense to any Honda owners, they make decent vehicles, but when you think Ferrari, you think masterpiece, if not high-performance. High-performance output requires high-performance input, in both cars and bodies. Athletes are the high-performance models of the human body. And in order to keep up with the substantial demands required of being optimally fit, athletes must stick to an impeccable diet regimen, maintain quality and consistent rest habit while adhering to regular exercise, training and conditioning programs. This also requires the need for superior health and wellness strategies to sustain optimal performance by their bodies, such strategies like incorporation of massage therapy. By having regular massages, athletes can keep their muscles healthy, improve their flexibility, reduce fatigue, maintain relaxation, improve sleep cycle, improve endurance, help prevent injuries and prepare the body and mind for optimal performance.
Massage therapy is geared toward athletes of every kind, from world-class professionals to weekend joggers. The particulars of the massage technique are specific to the athlete’s sport/exercise/fitness of choice. Focusing on areas of the body that are overused and stressed from repetitive and often aggressive movements. More than a treatment for injuries, massage produces overwhelming benefits for athletes physically, physiologically, and psychologically.
Think of Massage Therapy like Routine Maintenance for Your Body
Heavily exercised muscles tend to lose their capacity to relax. This causes chronically tight muscles, and loss of flexibility. Lack of flexibility is often linked to muscle soreness, and predisposes athletes to injuries- especially muscle pulls and tears. Blood flow through tight muscles is poor (ischemia), which also causes pain. A regular routine of massage therapy is very effective in combating these effects of heavy exercised muscles.
It’s important to note that while a massage here and there is nice, it won’t give you the same benefits as a regular massage program. Like exercise itself, your benefits are cumulative, meaning the more regularly you receive a massage, the more you’ll reap their advantages. Think of it as preventative maintenance. That being said, know that the benefits are often short-lived and part of the reason why it is a cumulative action. Normally my recommendation is once a week if possible or every other week if you’re training at a high level and often. If getting a weekly or bi-weekly massage isn’t in the budget or you don’t have time, I suggest aiming for at least once a month. When massage therapy is used as preventative maintenance or to assist in recovery, rather than as reactive modality, it can be an essential weapon in your training arsenal. Don’t wait until your car is broken to change the oil, be proactive, maintain your Ferrari in top shape!
By Peter Beitia, LMT