Being a competitive athlete, my ability to recover from a workout is paramount. Competitive fighting, lifting weights, running and other physical activities take their toll on my body. I need to be in peak form for each one of my fights, and massage therapy has had a major positive impact on my preparation. I was highly skeptical of massage therapy at first, but I proceeded to do a little bit of research to see how it could potentially benefit me. I found out that massage therapy is a 2,000-year-old practice that has survived the test of time and is still absolutely relevant in the 21st century.
My first experience was at a Mississauga massage therapy clinic after an extremely intense workout, and my muscles were incredibly sore. Being the stubborn person I am, I wanted to see how effective this treatment was at my sorest, because I was still doubtful of the potential benefits listed online. When the licensed massage therapist started his work on my trapezius, I immediately felt a rush like my body was releasing endorphins, which are bodily hormones that act as natural painkiller.
After that first session, massages have become a staple in my training camps when it is time to increase the workload, as well as for general wellness. Below are some of the massage therapy benefits that I’ve seen over the last year or so that I’ve consistently been going to sessions.
Massage Therapy Benefits:
Muscle Relaxation: As the blood flow is increased through my body, my muscles that are generally tight, like my hamstrings and traps, relax as the inflammation reduces. The massage sessions relieve muscle fatigue and strain, and my soreness is usually alleviated. The amount of relaxation depends on the time I spend at the session and how hard I worked my muscles that week, but I can always feel a noticeable benefit after each session.
Injury Prevention and Treatment: I used to get injured A TON! It wasn’t a good training camp without me getting injured and having to figure out a way to work through it. Massage Therapy promotes neurological and cardiovascular balance, and the treatments regulate nerve conduction and microcirculation in the area of inflammation to speed up the healing process. My number of injuries has decreased significantly, and I could not be more grateful. I now get to enjoy my training and not pay for the consequences after.
Improved Recovery: Now that I have regular treatments in between training sessions and after competition, I see much less muscle fatigue and pain, and my energy levels are way up. I also feel like massages help me get a deeper, more restful sleep, which allows muscle tissue to rebuild and energy to be restored, improving my recovery even further.
Stress Relief: Constantly training, worrying about injuries, and suffering through daily soreness was often a source of stress in my life on top of my regular daily duties. Massage Therapy not only helps to alleviate the physical pain and concern I would go through, but leaves me in a more relaxed and capable state of mind. This leaves me ready to take on the challenges of each day both inside and outside of the training arena.
Across all levels of athleticism, massage therapy continues to be an often refereed and practiced form of relief for both mental and physical pain among athletes. This timeless practice has proven its benefits for me, as well as for these famous examples who have left it all on the field. Massage therapy also has many other cited benefits, such as healing indigestion, improving energy levels, and improving sleep patterns. With the life-changing effect regular massages had on me, I highly recommend seeing a registered massage therapist to give yourself that edge on your athletic or personal capabilities.