Mike running through lava field in Waikoloa Hawaii with Human Powered Racing race kit on.

The Importance of Massage Therapy

This article was first published at Arbutus Physiotherapy and Health Centre.

When you think of Massage Therapy, Think like a PRO:

Prevention of injury
Recovery from training
Optimization of performance

For many, massage is thought of as a luxury. What I have come to realize over my years as an elite athlete and now a weekend warrior is that getting in for regular massage is actually a necessity.

If you want to perform at your best you need to recover from the stress that you put your body through and keep all of “its parts” working optimally. This recovery and optimization happens in many ways; diet, sleep, periodization, visualization etc. But one of the simplest and most often over looked forms of recovery is regular massage.

When training for a big event it’s a great idea to schedule regular treatments with an RMT (Registered Massage Therapist) in advance, just as you would schedule a workout in your training.

While many athletes tend to invest in all of the external technologies that will make them faster (power meters, aero wheels, aero helmets, the lightest running shoes etc.) there is a tendency to overlook the one thing that ultimately is the deciding factor on how you perform on race day; YOUR body!

If you have to choose between aero wheels and a healthy, finely tuned body on race day, the choice should be pretty obvious. Getting to the start line healthy and confident should always be goal #1.

Visiting a quality RMT is not always the relaxing experience that most people envision when they hear the word “massage”. Quite often it can be a somewhat uncomfortable to downright painful 45 to 90 minutes as muscles and fascia are released and worked free of tightness and knots.

Sometimes you can walk out of a session with an RMT feeling as though you just had a workout. This is normal. One of the roles of the RMT is to make sure that everything in the body is moving as it should and that the body is as efficient as possible. This is not always an easy process and sometimes requires deep tissue work on the part of the therapist. This can (sometimes) be downright painful.

The benefits however, far out weigh the temporary discomfort and in the end will make you a better athlete.