Emphasis on health, wellness and physical fitness has become increasingly mainstream across popular media. It seems as though each month brings a new superfood, yoga hybrid, or protein shake to our attention, while options for fitness classes and workout videos are virtually endless. Individuals interested in achieving optimal health are often focussed on losing weight, building strength and endurance, and nourishing their bodies with a carefully balanced diet.
However, a crucial component of any fitness routine - and one which is often overlooked - is giving back to those tired muscles and joints with regular massage therapy.
While massage therapy school does indeed provide MTs with comprehensive sports massage therapy training, their expertise is not reserved solely for professional athletes. Regardless of the intensity of the training program, any patient interested in pursuing a healthy lifestyle can benefit enormously from regular treatments.
It may be useful to explain to patients that massage therapy treatments actually help support cardiovascular performance by dilating blood vessels - which in turn promotes circulation. Fresh oxygen and nutrients are expedited to tissues while waste products and toxins are flushed away. For physically active patients interested in maintaining a regular fitness routine, optimal circulation can help reduce muscle tension and soreness, minimizing recovery time between workouts - and the potential for injuries.
Anyone who has embarked upon a brand new health regimen or committed to a challenging fitness routine knows that staying on track is often a matter of mental fortitude. Maintaining changes to diet and lifestyle over the long-term requires self-discipline and focus - attributes most patients may be surprised to learn can be assisted with regular massage therapy. Massage therapy is known to reduce stress and tension, lowering cortisol levels while increasing the presence of dopamine and serotonin. Optimally balanced hormones facilitate improved focus and concentration, helping athletes at any level take on new challenges with renewed confidence.
Graduates of massage therapy college understand that in order to get the most out of treatment, patients should schedule regular visits with a registered MT. However, many clients seek out therapy only when experiencing pain, or after sustaining a fitness-related injury. A more effective approach is to include massage therapy as an integral element of the fitness routine - a way of preventing injury while promoting optimal health from the inside out. While the occasional massage does yield temporary benefits, lost-lasting rewards are cumulative, and come about through a customized treatment plan designed with the patients’ specific needs in mind. From body-builder and marathon-runner, to weekly Pilates participant and mall-walker - RMTs apply techniques tailored to the unique physical needs of each patient, facilitating a continued commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
What do you think is the most important way massage contributes to overall fitness?