A question that we often get, especially with new clients, is "When should I schedule my massage around my training?" People often feel silly for asking it, but it is a good question to ask.
Timing your massage can be fairly important and can provide good information for your therapist of how the session should be tailored. Massage has many known benefits and is utilized to help aid in recovery, manage pain and stress, and decrease tone in hypertonic muscles.
While most of the techniques that therapists use will accomplish these goals to some degree, the application of the techniques may change if you plan on training right after the session or are competing in a sport the day after. This will typically have to do with the overall tone of the session and the pressure used during the session. In general, we do not recommend that people train after their massage that day. One of the major goals of a session is to help induce a parasympathetic state, or a state of rest and digest. For many of us, we live in a state of low grade stress, whether It be from obligations in life, driving to and from work, training hard at the gym. For some of these activities, such as training in the gym, it is actually good to be in a more stressed or stimulated state. You don't want to go into the gym feeling like you're going to fall asleep. You want to go in ready to put in full effort into the session and get the most out of it. Knowing this you may be able to imagine that training after a massage may not be the best. That being said, if your therapist knows, they can make the session be a little more up beat and energizing to help make you more neurologically prepared to go and train. It's not an ideal situation, but it can be done. Now, what about if you are going to compete in a day or two in your respective sport, or if you know you have a really hard training session the next day? We encourage people to get massaged before their competitions. Going back to the stressed state vs rest and digest state, the time leading into a competition can be fairly stressful. For a lot of sports, the days leading into it are typically lower effort, greasing the groove type training to help clear fatigue and keep fitness for the sport up. Knowing that massage can help clear fatigue and promote a state of recovery, it can be a very useful tool. But again, application of the techniques is where this conversation becomes important. Anyone who has gotten a massage before knows that sometimes, especially if there is deeper more focused work, there can be soreness going into the next day.
As long as this is not too intense, it is normal and nothing to be nervous about. But if you are planning on competing the next day this wouldn't be advantageous. You wouldn’t want to have sore calves if you're going to be playing a soccer tournament over the weekend. Now we don't have to throw the baby out with the bath water. Massage can still be useful, but how we do it just has to change a bit. For most, it would probably be a better idea to have a more generalized, relaxation focused massage session to promote recovery and a less stressed state. This may help with focus, manage some pain that built up that was holding you back, or even promote better sleep going into the event itself. Massage is a great tool to help aid you in your recovery, stress management, pain management, coordinating movement, etc. Timing your massage appropriately around your training and other life events can be easily done and guided by your therapist. Never be afraid to ask what the best protocol is and how you can maximize your results. If you're interested in booking a massage, feel free to do so through our website. We greatly appreciate your support and hope to help you improve your daily performance and reach your goals!