As a triathlete, golf professional, father and owner of Elements Therapeutic Massage it is very important to me to stay active, fit and healthy and I have found that incorporating regular massage into my wellness routine has really helped. Not only does a massage feel good, but it has many health benefits as well.
Massage increases circulation and stimulates the lymph system, which is the body’s natural defense against toxins. World class cyclist travel with and use massage therapists every day because they don’t have time to sit around and rest those aching muscles, and neither do I. While I unfortunately don’t have time to incorporate massage therapy into my daily routine, I have found that making sure I regularly see a massage therapist not only relieves pain, but also shortens my recovery time after a hard workout. That lymph system stuff is no joke either, with all the germs my kids bring home it is imperative that I do everything in my power to stay as healthy as possible in order to maintain my level of activity.
We all know that drinking plenty of water is important, but it is even more important before and after getting a massage. If your muscles are properly hydrated it makes it easier for the therapist to perform the manipulations he or she needs to. Think dry sponge vs. wet sponge. The massage therapists at our studio have told me they can tell just by feel who drinks enough water and who doesn’t! The stimulation of the lymphatic system that occurs during a massage releases wastes in the body and those have to go somewhere. Drinking plenty of water helps flush those wastes out after the massage is complete. The manipulation of the muscles during a massage is also dehydrating, so drinking plenty of water after a massage is a good idea for that reason alone.
Athletes don’t look at being active as a luxury, it is a necessity to maintain not only physical, but also emotional health. As I got involved in the massage business and became a more active participant I learned to add massage to that category of necessity instead of luxury as well, and I feel much better for it.
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By Bill Van Valer