Do you cycle often? How many miles have you put in this week?! How was your CrossFit session? Your body needs to recover, and massage can help you do so faster, and better!
If physiotherapists and other recovery specialists are often part of the champions' staff, it is for good reasons. Some marathon runners who are seen limping and cramping will tell you about it. Giving yourself a few minutes of relaxation for a real massage allows you to recover fast
Massage improves venous return and helps to lift points of muscle contractions, resulting in faster recovery. The effects of a tonic massage after a race will not only reduce muscle tension, but they will also improve joint amplitude and above all (and this is probably the most important) bring a real feeling of relaxation after intense exertion.
There are two "main moments" to get a massage: before and after the exercise.
GETTING A MASSAGE BEFORE YOUR TRAINING
Doing a massage before embarking on an intensive exercise is possible and even recommended.
The rhythms of the massage will be stimulating and energetic. With this, what we want is to warm superficial tissue of the body and increase the flow of blood to the deeper muscles.
A good method is to move the joints through their ranges of motion to increase flexibility and then gently stretch the muscles.
To avoid risk of injury or pulling your muscle, the general rule of thumb from our massage therapists is to avoid applying a deep tissue massage or vigorous stretching to an athlete just before competition as it can be too abrupt of a change for the body.
For this reason, a massage will never replace a proper warm-up as that will get your heart pumping and you will mobilize even more muscle fibres at once. It's a bit like pressing locally on an area of the body, then you see a redness and you feel a gentle feeling of warmth, but it's not enough to warm up.
Pre-session / pre-training massages should therefore be used for more localized awakening after real warm-up sessions, and before competition.
It is especially after the training or competition, that the massage shows all its effectiveness and brings a real soothing effect. It will relax the muscles, which will inevitably positively affect recovery (and, in this matter, anything that accelerates this process is good to take).
GETTING A MASSAGE AFTER YOUR TRAINING
When you get used to regularly massaging your muscles after an intense workout, they will replenish faster and some studies have shown that it might even support muscle growth.
A massage may ease post-workout pain and may also decrease inflammation. Moreover, massaging your muscles can make you feel less fatigued while creating a sense of well-being because endorphins like serotonin are released. In addition, it relaxes tension and improves circulation.
While not everyone enjoys super-deep or strong massages, it is certain that even medium, or localised leg massages after a race or even during exercise (as is the case for some ultra marathons) actually reduce knots and muscle tension, and speed up the recovery process and healing of the muscles.
Greater joint mobility and flexibility, improved skin tone, and greater alertness are also on the list of potential benefits of a massage. Interested in knowing more massage benefits? Read more on our previous post!
DO I HAVE TO GO SEE A PROFESSIONAL OR CAN I DIY IT?
While massaging yourself after exercise is great and will accomplish some of the aforementioned benefits, professional massages are a wonderful and relaxing experience and do have some additional benefits.
Professionals can be more precise when dealing with trigger points, areas of stiffness, and knots that one might have a hard time reaching. And because you're relaxed instead of working to rub your own muscles, your stress hormone levels are lowered. This is good because high levels of stress hormones affect the immune system.
It is recommended to make it a good practice to do it after exercise to ensure their benefits keep compounding.
WHY DOES IT WORK?
The goal is to relax as many muscle fibres as possible. A professional massage with good pressure will therefore act more deeply on the muscle. It is necessary to proceed with kneading and localised sanding, and always in the direction of the heart. If you massage your legs, for example, you will have to move from the bottom up. In this way, the venous return is promoted and the muscles are helped to recover. A drainage effect obtained by activating the blood circulation.
Moreover, pressure on muscles and other tissues such as tendons, ligaments and fascias (fibrous and elastic membranes enveloping muscles) helps to soften tissues and speed recovery and create a deep relaxation feeling.
And remember, while our therapists work on your body, you’ll notice how it creates a perfect environment for mindfulness, thinking about the training session you just completed, and get all the positive vibes that you just generated from a great workout!
Here at Namtip we have very skilled masseuses that can help you with your body relaxation and pain relieve needs. Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any doubts about our massage therapies, and we will gladly advise you on which services are best for your situation.