Behold the Power of
When was the last time you had a massage?
I’m not talking about a massage at a fancy spa where they play Enya and you feel relaxed into a sleepy stupor. I’m talking about the kind of massage where a woman with the strongest hands ever wrings out your muscles with such voracity that she has to sit on your feet so you don’t squirm out of her vice grip and then you involuntarily start crying.
If your answer is “it’s been a long time” or “never” — as it was for me — it’s time to fix that.
I had no concept of just how knotted up my calves (!), hips, butt, back, shoulders and neck were until I went to see Rachael at Chicago BodyWork a couple months ago. I was looking for a massage therapist who specialized in athletes and runners, and Yelp reviewers directed me to this place. On her website she boldly declares, “it’s not massage, it is therapy.”
I believe the term “massage” denotes a relaxing, physically pleasant experience for the body, but mostly for the mind. … The work I do should not be considered “massage” — it is bodywork. And, unlike 99% of the “massage therapy” out there, it is absolutely therapeutic. … I’m not afraid to create some physical discomfort if it effectively provides lasting relief. It’s not a torture session, but it is genuine therapy, and it works.
Whether or not it’s a torture session is open for interpretation, but she’s right, it is genuine therapy and it does work.
I had my first session on April 25 (and experienced a horrible long run a couple days later). Then, suddenly, the speed kicked in. In April, my average pace was 8:42. In May, my average pace was 8:20. It could just be a coincidence, but it made enough of a believer out of me to commit to a monthly bodywork session as part of my marathon training.
Years of running transformed my legs, in particular, into strong but incredibly constricted muscle masses, which in turn effected my circulation. And we all remember from our elementary school science classes that the circulatory system effects every other system. Better circulation means more efficient delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the entire body. For a runner, this is particularly important because it results in quicker recovery, injury prevention and overall performance improvement.
Yes, yes and yes.
There are a ton of other benefits to this type of massage — improved posture and gait, increased flexibility, lower blood pressure, to name a few — so now I simply find myself asking, “Why the heck did I wait so long to start?”
Better late than never.
So find yourself a Rachael and reap the benefits. Like so many things, the short-term pain is well worth the long-term gains. — Mags