Using Massage Therapy to Recover from Your Workout

Monday, January 27 2020 10:50 AM
By Ellen Healy

There are many direct and indirect benefits to massage therapy, and the different levels and types of bodywork can have different goals. Not only does massage therapy feel good, but it also accomplishes profound changes in the body’s soft tissue (muscles, fascia, tendons, etc.), leading to improved range of motion, injury rehabilitation, a more balanced body, decreased pain, and better performance. Other benefits include lower blood pressure and stress levels, an enhanced immune response, increased body awareness, and a general increase in your sense of well-being.

There are many myths about massage therapy, but we’re here to help you debunk what you’ve heard.

5 Myths and Truths About Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy

1. It must hurt to be effective (aka: More pressure is always better).

Nope!

Very focused, deep work can be hugely effective. But even very soothing, light touch can have profound effects on the nervous system. So even if it isn’t deep work, you are still receiving many of the benefits of massage, including the relaxation of tight muscles, stress relief, enhanced immune system, decreased blood pressure, better circulation, etc. In some cases, there are times when gentle coaxing of the tissue is much more effective than more direct, intense work. Let your therapist know what type of work you tend to prefer, and always feel free to ask about why they are working a certain way.

2. The Massage Therapist is in charge.

Not true!

Since your body is the one receiving the work, you are always in charge of what happens to it. If you are in any way uncomfortable with what is going on, it is your right and responsibility to speak up. Ideally, the client and therapist are working together during the session. Breathing into the work (never hold your breath!), and giving feedback on pressure, the temperature of the bed, or the placement of the headrest/bolster, are all important.

3. All massages are the same.

Are all sandwiches made the same? No! Same with your massage!

Every Massage Therapist is different, and you are at a different place physically and emotionally every time you walk in the door. If you are interested in receiving massage but didn’t like a past session when you tried it, consider trying a different Massage Therapist. Or talk in more depth with the original therapist about your hopes and preferences, so they understand what you might not have liked about the first session, and so you can leave pleased having received what you came for.

4. You must have a full-body massage.

It’s your session. You get to choose!

Having a full-body session is not a requirement. If you want to focus on your back, shoulders, and neck the whole time, or just on your hands and feet---or whatever combination of areas you want---that’s fine. Be sure to make clear to the therapist what you’d like to focus on. They will likely do some additional work to integrate the focused areas into the whole body at the end of the session, but overall the time can be spent any way you’d like.

5. The Massage Therapist should only work right where it hurts.

Nope, nope, nope!

The human body is highly complex, and the muscles and connective tissues exert complicated forces on us. Often pain in one area is caused by patterns of tension or dysfunction in other areas. So your Massage Therapist will work with the painful area, but also will likely address other related areas, so as to get to the root of the problem. Always feel free to ask questions if you have them----your therapist can explain why they are working where they are and offer ideas for ways you can address the problem between massage sessions.

At some of our Genesis locations, Massage Therapy is offered to help you recover from the hard work you put in, day in and day out at the club. Call the club nearest you to see what’s offered. And stop on by any time, should you have more questions or concerns regarding Massage Therapy.

 

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