My First(ish) Sports Massage

I haven’t had a sports massage, deep tissue massage, or any kind of massage where a professional massage therapist works on a specific problem area since I was ten or twelve years old.  I had been wanting to get one for quite a while, remembering how painful yet effective they had been for me in the past.  However, I had this mental block about how I only wanted to go to my old massage therapist, who is 45 minutes away and works in an ice rink.

After I developed some intense muscle tightness in my hip last week, I decided it was time to suck it up and go to someone local.  It turns out my insurance covers “osteopathic manipulative therapy,” which is a fancy way of saying “deep tissue massage.”  It would be 90% covered, but my insurance manual said I would have to get approval before going (whether that is a referral from my primary care physician, or something else, I don’t know).  Additionally, the closest place offering those services and accepting my insurance was a chiropractic clinic 20-30 minutes away.  It just seemed like a lot of hassle, so I opted to pay out of pocket to go to a local clinic.

I did some research online while lying in bed Wednesday night.  My hip was stressing me out, worrying about where to schedule a massage was stressing me out, stress leads to lack of sleep, and stress plus lack of sleep does nothing to relax muscles.  So I did my research late at night.  I looked into a few places and found one near my apartment with a record of working with professional athletes and Olympians, as well as volunteering their services at the end of local races.  I felt confident they knew what they were doing and especially knew runners.  Plus, they had online booking, so I was able to schedule myself an appointment online at midnight for a sports massage the next day after work.  Always a plus when I don’t have to make a phone call!

When I made my appointment, I described my problem in the “special instructions” section.  When I showed up the next day, the massage therapist already knew exactly why I was there and had printed off some materials about helpful stretches to send home with me.  I was already impressed.  I wasn’t expecting any sort of rehab/at-home advice.  The whole 45-minute session was very feedback-oriented as well as instructional.  He explained what he was doing and what I could do at home to help my hip.  It was never very painful, not at all like how I remembered the massages I used to get (maybe they were a different style), but obviously a massage does not need to be painful to be effective, because it helped a ton.

After the massage, I thought my hip felt about 50% better, and now, the next day, it feels 80% better.  I’m still debating whether to run today because I’m worried about “undoing” the work from yesterday, but even just walking feels so much better, so I am very very happy.

I think I’m converted to someone who likes to get massages during training!  My wallet can probably stand the $50 every month or so.

Do you like to get deep tissue or sports massages (they’re different things, right?) to aid in recovery?  If so, how often do you get them?

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3 thoughts on “My First(ish) Sports Massage

  1. I always get a deep tissue massage after my marathons (or a really rough training run) but my massage therapist left the state 😦 Otherwise, I stick to self-massage methods until those are basically ineffective, forcing me to go in. I really haven’t gotten a massage without a big race (or after falling on the ice) just because foam rolling is sufficient (and I haven’t slipped on any ice since March).

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  2. I have a friend who does sports massage and it’s amazing how much it helps. I have frequent trouble with my back and she always manages to loosen it up for me.
    It’s something that I’m definitely considering training in.

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