A lot of the athletes that come into the clinic often present us with a variety of questions such as why do I need massage, how often should I be getting it?  And so on.  This post is going to answer some of those questions.

Why should I get massage?

Whether you are a competitive athlete, a recreational athlete or even a “weekend warrior” massage is beneficial. When we train for a sport we are pushing our bodies often to their limits in order to get better. This causes fatigue to our muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments which if we do not allow to recovery can cause damage. This damage if not taken care of is what leads to those injuries that end up sidelining you. The goal of massage is to aid in that recovery process allowing muscles to recover more quickly, take care of any nagging pains that can turn into big injuries, and prepare you for your next workout. People find that combining massage into their training programs often leaves them feeling less stiff between workouts and move more fluidly during their activity because restrictions in muscle tissue have been addressed. In early February a study out of McMaster University proved that massage aids muscle healing.

When should I have a massage?

Many athletes find that getting massage before a big event helps reduce muscle spasm, muscle tightness and fatigue, and overall allows them to perform better.  The recommended time to receive what is known as pre-event massage is usually the day before the event. It has been found that traditional massage techniques immediately before (approximately 60 minutes)  competition can cause the muscles to become too relaxed causing a decrease in power and speed.

On the other end of the spectrum is post-event massage which involves deeper techniques that relax the muscle, carrying out lactic acid and addressing any problem areas withstanding from competition. This can be done after the event and into the next 48 hours.For in between competitions, performance massage, is ideal to keep muscles and other tissues in peak condition so chance of injury is decreased.

How often should I have a massage?

This is always a difficult recommendation to provide patients, especially when an athlete objectives are to improve performance.  I will often provide examples of the regularity that I’ll often treat some of top level athletes and let the patient decide what suits their lifestyle and budget.

Many people ask Mike this question, and are often surprised to hear that during his competitive days he received massage 2-3 times per week along with chiropractic care 2-3 times per week!! This may seem like a lot to most people, but when you are training as hard as he used to, recovery is the most important staple in any serious athletes training.

People that are less serious but are still doing a lot of training would find it beneficial to be coming at least once every two weeks. Its beneficial for even those weekend warriors to be coming at least once a month, as these people often have less regimented training schedules and are more prone to sudden injury. It should be any athletes goal to be receiving massage at least once a month so that any nagging pains can be addressed, imbalances can be corrected, and injury can be prevented.