So often we read about exercise technique, how to run faster, swim faster, bike… yes, faster! I too have written about these along with nutrition, sleep, and many other topics. But the one that is missing from nearly all the blogs, professional sites, e-mails, and coaches is massage therapy and Chiropractic care! We read about stretching and whether to do it pre, post, or both, but rarely do I come across anything worthwhile regarding massage therapy. I have been a client of massage therapy for many years and frankly it has been a major asset in my toolbox. I can admit verbally that I don’t stretch, not just a little, I mean at ALL! Yes, I know I need to and from time to time will jump on the bandwagon and scare my muscles into thinking I might make it a habit, but no such luck. My only saving grace is massage therapy and Chiropractic care. We’re not talking about the kind you get on vacation overlooking the tropical garden with Zen like atmosphere and can’t believe you just forked out $90.00 + for a surface experience.
I’m talking that my massage therapist needs a drink after she is done with me. A deep tissue or sports massage gets into the areas that really need work and can often leave me wondering what the heck am I paying her to punish me like that for. It’s a massage that leaves you going thank you and at the same time “this is really uncomfortable and painful”. However, the results are nothing less than stupendous! I have received massages around the world and fortunately think my options locally are as good as the best in the world. They don’t mess around and in return (assuming I consume sufficient water afterwards to flush the toxins out) I get a body back to a condition ready to take on more racing punishment. So, I think that a combination of proper stretching (taking my own RX here), massage therapy, nutrition, sleep, and hydration can transform an average athlete into a top 10% finisher on a consistent basis.
Couple of pointers:
- Ensure you are already hydrated before you begin a massage
- Ensure you drink sufficient water afterwards in order to flush the toxins just released from your tissues
- Skip the feel good massage and get a sports massage or deep tissue
- Stretch to prolong the work you just paid for and invested in
- Let your massage be your workout for that day. A good massage is as good a workout as a light workout day.
Just as debatable in some circles, Chiropractic care has its devout believers and agnostic naysayers. I was in the later circle until a few years ago when I decided to give it a try. I found for myself that while it initially worked in the beginning it quickly wore off and I found my body would revert back to its old familiar troublesome ways. However, after continuing to go twice weekly and then backing down to just once a week after my massage my body responded by staying properly aligned and functioning the way God intended it to. Believe me, for a guy like me, this is nothing short of a miracle considering the beating I give it each week.
So while Chiropractic care takes some time to shape up the body and transform the skeletal and muscular system into the proper locations, you have to remember you are training those systems to take on new memory and break long established habits. Just as you don’t expect (maybe hope) to workout twice and suddenly you’re in shape, Chiropractic care also takes time to achieve the full benefits.
I believe that without both of these treatments, I would have been on the bench due to my stupidity of not stretching and paying the consequences for such poor decisions. Fortunately for me, I have health coverage for both massage and Chiropractic care which is very rare. I believe that including it in the health benefits actually is proactive rather than reactive medical care. I am sick far less than the average bear and keep the other typical medical cost at bay.