Massage is: A Performance Enhancement Tune Up for Your Body!
A dedicated athlete spends endless hours training. They schedule practice sessions around work, school, family and other activities. They are meticulous of what they put into your bodies for fuel. Rest: a key component at times is often overlooked. That means that Sleep, yeah, lets not forget that too should be a priority to let the body properly heal.
Why then, are you not committed to receiving the regular bodywork of massage that “should” be a part of your regular element of training?
“It is amazing at how many athletes will spend hours in training, yet neglect the maintenance of a good massage routine to keep their body in a fine tuned condition.” (Gregory Babiak, Peak Form). Do we not perform regular maintenance on our vehicles to keep them running well? The body is nothing short of that vehicle. Regular maintenance is always recommended to athletes that are consistently working and at many times overworking their bodies. Micro-injuries, for example, which include small tears to the muscles and tendons, need to be tended to before they become a major problem during the big event. Neglect of care and maintenance may literally be dashing all hopes of finishing an "event" which would be a shame after all the hours of dedicated training an athlete endures. So as I like to refer to it: "If you are going to beat it up, then tune it up."
Regular maintenance is a very important part of massage, keeping those muscles in a well oiled state. But during those intense parts of the year, when the athlete is competing and into their most rigorous training, that’s when it is all that more important.
Confused? Let’s clear it up: Applying the same precautions to your body as you would your vehicle will increase the reward benefit of a more well tuned and predictable performance. Before any event, be it an ironman, a marathon, a long ride or whatever the athlete performs at…warming up the body, stretching it and getting massaged to make sure the body is prepared for what’s ahead is crucial and highly recommended to increase flexibility to achieve that "peak" performance.
Massage helps the athlete to get the “edge” over their competition.
So when should the athlete massage?
There are many thoughts on this and they vary according to individual needs and circumstances. Some experts recommend massages on a weekly basis. Others feel athletes should get a tough, deep tissue massage 3-10 before a race or big event, followed-up by another massage the day before or the morning of the race. Every athlete is different, therefore I recommend a custom designed program be worked up between the therapist coaches and the athlete. There is no black and white here.
For instance: “I personally work out an athlete intensely on select days they do not compete or train. A deep, stripping sports massage is a workout all in itself. Heading out to do further exercise after one of these sessions is not usually recommended, for it could lead to injury. I educate the client to rest after a deep sports massage for that day.” (Greg Babiak, LMT)
Many athletes cannot identify specific problems they are having; they just know they are experiencing pain, discomfort or that something is just not right. Often, athletes will complain of aches and pains, stemming from specific areas, not realizing what it is.
The athlete then describes a pain or condition and the massage therapist must then attempt to identify its root. A knowledgeable therapist, if they cannot identify the cause will refer the athlete to a qualified medical practitioner who hopefully will medically diagnose it, i.e. Physical Therapist, Doctor etc.
The idea here is to recognize these injuries or potential danger spots before they become a major injury requiring intensive rehabilitative intervention. Working with a massage therapist can help identify these areas before they become a major problem.
Let’s look at a few examples:
Runners tend to have a lot of injuries to the: ankles, shins, calves, thighs, hamstrings, lower back, shoulders and neck to name but a few.
Here is a group that can be a challenge. Their muscles can be particularly tighter than most athletes. Often complaining of the groin muscles and the inside of the thigh, in part due to their long hours of training on the bike to say the least.
Most overused areas of a swimmers body, though not limited to is the rotator cuffs, traps and neck muscles.
Triathletes / Iron men:
Here, the athlete may have most of the above problems due to their use of their entire body during training or an event.
So, if an athlete wants to push their body to the limit, then they better take care of it or it may cost them that one all important event that they trained so long and hard for.
“If you want to beat it up, then tune it up!”“
(Gregory Babiak, Peak Form Massage)
The Perfect Massage...what does it take?
A brief guide for the Therapist and Client alike.
"The healing hands of a Massage Therapist promote wellness of mind and body so often neglected."
(Gregory Babiak LMT - Peak Form Massage)
“Embrace it…your worth it!”(Gregory Babiak LMT - Peak Form Massage)
What is a “perfect massage”? In a few words, “an open mind” and being willing to accept the fact that each massage will be different in some way, small or large. As I like to refer to any situation, be willing to, “adapt, improvise and overcome”.
- Adapt: to the situation at hand. Do not get hung up on changes that occur and feel there is no way out. “Each massage is different, go with it.”
- Improvise: to what you need to make those changes. Utilize skills to make a situation work. “Change it up, try something different or new and keep positive of the experience.”
- Overcome: by implementing changes along the way, obstacles can be overtaken. Don’t get stuck on a “routine” technique, massage is not a conveyor belt. Though some facilities expect that sort of performance from their therapists. “Therapist/Client Communication is a key to achieving those common goals.”
Like many situations, massage is no different. It is, “Often repeated but rarely duplicated”. (Gregory Babiak LMT) It is like that first piece of dessert you once tasted, “Oh it is so good”. Though, each piece of the same dessert afterwards may not taste to that, oh so good experience as the first time, it’s still ok. Remember, positive thinking.
If science could consistently replicate the same great feeling with massage, then there would be countless machines out there doing it for us. No, a good massage therapist is one that listens, monitors, customizes and reassesses each session to achieve a common outcome or goal for the client.
Massage teaches us the art of touch, taking care of ourselves, of which we so often neglect. Not only does massage make us feel good but it also releases and relieves; pent-up emotions, fears, anxieties, muscular tensions, aches, pains, grief, joy, contentment and surrenders many conditioned responses to our repetitive daily lives. The list could go on and on.
Massage allows us to forge the path to “another place” where we can say; this is “all about me”. This is “my time”.
What is the right recipe? -----Communication!
Communication is by far one of the most important tools with anything. If the client and the therapist are not on the same page or thought, if they are not able to connect, then the desired results may not be fully achieved.
What does this mean? Communicate, talk to each other, and let your thoughts be known. It is a two-way ticket, not a one-way ride. Frequent reevaluation with the client during the session is essential at times.
Two points here:
- The therapist needs to be approachable and willing to listen to what the client has to say. After all, who’s getting the massage here? It is the job of the therapist to take in as much information from the client, analyze it and put it together like a puzzle to come up with a formalized plan of treatment to reach a common goal. The therapist must also be able to communicate with the client, to ask questions during a session as well to achieve these goals.
- The client must also be approachable as well as being open-minded. Be it the client’s first time experience or just one of many massages, if the client does not communicate their likes and dislikes “before, during and after” a session, direct the therapist to the actual areas the client needs addressed then who really is to blame for a not so “great or perfect” massage? Get the picture? Don’t blame the therapist if you don’t open your mouth! Speak up!
With some planning, communication, and a set of expectations, you can receive a great massage from almost any therapist, almost anywhere.
Barring, of course a few exceptions when it comes to some therapists; who just do what they want and neglect the client’s needs or how about the client who comes off the table after an hour session all oiled up only to wonders, “what did the therapist do, I feel no different.”
Benefits of massage:
The benefits of massage are enormous. (Here are but a few)
- Improve circulation: With increased circulation comes faster recovery time for sore, overworked muscle tissue and increased nutrition to those areas.
- Promote removal of waste: Aides in flushing out waste from the body through the lymph system.
- Increased release of endorphins. The prevalence of these natural painkillers is boosted every time you have a massage, light or deep pressure. This helps you manage pain and to feel good. A kind of euphoric effect.
- Facilitates relaxation: When you relax, your muscles relax, thereby helping you to feel good and to calm pain.
- Improves movement: Range of motion (ROM) and flexibility are yet another plus.
- Decrease injuries:Help to find those sore spots that may turn into something more severe when left untreated.
- Improve performance: Help to increase endurance and get the edge over others for athletes and non-athletes. Use it as an integral part of a regular exercise/training routine.
Massage is recognized as a legitimate form of therapy and continues to evolve; it is recognized as a “complimentary and alternative medicine” (CAM) form of treatment that helps to promote healing by the manipulation of soft tissues. Massage continues to grow and be accepted in the medical community every day. Massage does not boast to being a “cure”.
The therapist can’t help it if symptoms or pain goes away during the course of a client’s session(s). So if those symptoms or pains ease up or better yet, go away, just tell the therapist thank you. We want you to come back. We want you to feel well again.
"When you finally take that step to care for yourself, we will care for you."
Peak Form Massage
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