Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Get a regular massage

Have you ever had that feeling when you get out of bed and need to contort your body in different positions just like a cat to get moving? All of a sudden, things start to loosen up and you are ready to go. Why do we do this? Can a muscle relax this quickly? No. What you are in fact doing is loosening up a flat band of tissue beneath the skin called fascia. It separates different layers of tissue and encloses the muscles. Muscles need to be able to slide smoothly against each other to function properly. Fascia contracts (around the muscle) when you go to sleep and needs loosening up in the morning otherwise you feel stiff. You sit down at your desk all day and go to bed to repeat the cycle day after day. 10 years later, you feel old because you are getting stiffer and more injury prone. The problem isn't age, it is the lack of maintenance work done to keep your body working at optimum levels.

A good massage helps to stretch and release the fascia much more than static stretching ever could. Stretching is even less affective when you get a build up of scar tissue in the muscle or fascia. In fact, the little bounce like stretch men do before they embark on a run doesn't stretch the muscle very much. Most likely, it stretches the fascia a bit, but mainly doesn't do much to prevent injuries.

We are generally bad at body maintenance work. If you are guilty of this, get a massage booked weeks or months in advance. Base the regularity around what you can afford. It could be weekly, monthly or every 6 months. Other benefits of massage include, better sleep, less headaches and quicker recover time between workouts. When you have a good massage, you can't believe how rubbish you felt before.


  1. Any particular type of massage you can recommend?

  2. Sports massage, ART, myofascial release. They all do the same thing. It needs to be deep because you can't stretch a muscle if the leathery tissue (fascia) surrounding it is tight. I'll be sending out some info to Alex so I'll get him to forward it onto you.