The best time to get a massage?
Question: When is the best time to get a massage?
Most people would respond with: “when this or that hurts” or “when I am stressed” or something similar. And while these are excellent times to get treatment, because we don’t want these conditions to go on un-treated, they occur after the fact. After something (such as an injury, or event) has already happened.
My advice is to be more proactive than reactive by seeking massage treatments BEFORE things hurt, or before stress builds to levels that cause issues with your health and daily activities.
I would suggest that just because something doesn’t hurt (e.g. no muscle soreness) does not mean those muscles are functioning properly or are in a healthy state.
Our bodies are amazing things that adapt to stress (physical/emotional/environmental) very well, sometimes masking issues that lie under the surface. Often, it is not until the stress or injury continues for a prolonged period or becomes intense enough that our body can’t quite cope and we begin to feel pain, discomfort, and reduced ability to move freely and comfortably. This is the point at which most people decide to address the symptoms of pain, tenderness, tightness etc, and decide to get treatment.
But, if those issues were addressed prior to getting to the point of pain or dysfunction then the individual may have avoided going through experiencing symptoms and they may have had better overall function.
I continually find issues with people’s soft tissues and joints that they never knew existed prior to coming for treatment. They came in looking for help with one issue, but I end up discovering others they were unaware of. This is why I promote getting treatment before you feel pain or experience reduced range of motion.
Think of it as preventative maintenance for your body -after all, you only get one!
You take your car in for regular oil changes, tire rotations, fluid/belt checks to ensure they are all in optimal condition BEFORE you begin to see symptoms (poor gas mileage, wearing out of engine parts, noisy operation, etc).
A regular massage therapy regimen will address your muscles, tendons, ligaments fascia and joints, so that your body is best able to move as freely as possible, with the least amount of pain or stiffness. Additionally, massage will positively affect your nervous system by decreasing the sympathetic nervous system firing (fight or flight) and increasing the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). This will reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol and allow your body to relax, which in turn will also reduce levels of muscle tone or tightness, promote better sleep, support your immune function, digestion and more.
Consider being a good custodian for your body by adding regular massage therapy treatments to your health and fitness protocol and keep your physical function and ability to move optimized.
Yours in health,
Scott Burns, RMT