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?