Massage timing: Doesn’t matter WHEN but it does matter WHEN NOT!
When should you get a massage?
Massage timing. This is one of the most frequently asked questions in my treatment room. People ask whether they should get a massage in the morning, afternoon or evening. They want to know if they should come in for a massage before they start hurting or wait until the muscle gets painful. Some ask if it’s better before or after a workout or competitions.
My answer would be simple. “You can have a massage at any time!!” and “You can have a massage every day if you want!!” How nice would it be if you could get a massage every single day but realistically it is unnecessary and maybe cost prohibitive (I’d love to if I could afford to).You can have a massage at any time!! #performbetter @pogophysio Click To Tweet
When and how often you should get one is based on the goals you would like to achieve with massage therapy.
If your goal is to relax and feel good, all you need to do is to listen to your body and pick up the phone to book the earliest appointment possible. Depending on your stress level both physically and mentally; weekly, fortnightly or monthly would be a good interval for everyone in general and any time of the day/week. It does not matter, make it when it is convenient for you.
However, if your goal is to perform better at a particular event and a particular time or to recover properly in between the races or games, the timing of getting a massage DOES matter (That is what the sports massage is all about). Generally, weekly massage should be perfectly adequate for most athletes in order to maintain their condition. If you are in a heavy training block, a few extra massages should be considered to lower injury risks as it is most likely to get injured when your workload is increased and when you are exhausted both physically and mentally from hard training.
As for pre and post event massage, general rule is for a few days before and after an event but again, everyone responds to a massage differently, some athletes like a firm massage (Not recommended to get deep tissue or too much trigger pointing) the night before, some just would like a light relaxation focused massage and others don’t like any massage done within a week or so prior to a competition. So, there is no specific answer on when is the best time to get a massage. If I have to say “Anytime that suits you”.
It is not recommended to have your first ever massage just before a competition. As mentioned, people respond to a massage in different ways and it is best to discover how it works for you during a training period.
Whilst when it comes to “when NOT to”, there are some particular times that you shouldn’t get a massage as below:
When you have acute injuries
An acute injury is a sudden, sharp, traumatic injury that causes pain. Typically the result of an impact or trauma such as a fall, strain, sprain or collision. Massage shouldn’t be performed on the injured site because it encourages circulation and can increase swelling during the body’s initial response to injury. 72 hours following an acute injury is when you should avoid getting massages.
If you have a fever or sick
Massage does boost the immune system and relieve the tension. However, when your body is already fighting off a virus due to a cold or flu, a massage can actually make things worse.
After drinking alcohol
Since alcohol expands blood vessels in the body, massage can be a strong stimulus, which may worsen the symptoms of injured or affected areas.
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