| September 24, 2021

Manual Therapy and Recovery Made a Priority

No matter what sport or athletic division you are in, the most important factors are always going to be recovery and if necessary, rehabilitation.

By Steven Fitzpatrick

Read time: 3 min.

No matter what sport or athletic division you are in, the most important factors are always going to be recovery and if necessary, rehabilitation. I am a very strong believer in mobility work, stretching, active release, SMR, you name it. However, I am also aware that sometimes no matter what I do for myself, I require an external source of recovery.

Massage Manual therapy has always been a major help in ensuring that I perform efficiently and consistently. I typically get a massage done nearly every week, or at minimum bi-weekly. It is something that everyone should be taking time for, at the very least, once per month. Frequency can depend on how often and how vigorously you train. Regardless of what level of fitness you are in, finding a proper massage therapist is a great way to ensure part of your recovery. If you are a new trainee, you will for one get very sore when using new muscles, which can create a lot of knots and adhesions in the muscle, to have them release will make sure that not only are they able to effectively recover, but effectively able to grow. Massage therapy done correctly, may help release areas so that you do not begin to compensate, because just the same as our bodies can adapt into positive growth patterns, we can also adapt into bad patterns, which, when left unchecked can turn into things such as spinal deviations.

The last thing you want to do with your invested time is to dig yourself out of bad holes. Your massage therapist, given that they have professional experience, will be able to see and feel things that you can not. As a powerlifter, certain muscles are always very tight, regardless of how often they are stretched and mobilized. My massage therapist helps to keep my chest open, my rotator cuffs fluid, and my elbows as far away from pain as possible, this includes ways to keep the surrounding muscles of the spine healthy as well. They may also suggest exercises you can do, including stretches to avoid falling back into patterns that have been fixed. In this context the last thing you want to happen is for history to repeat itself. Of course, you must decide if massage therapy is the right choice for you, and depending on your medical history, may want to consult with a medical physician before proceeding with any manual therapy.

Chiropractic treatment is my other personal go-to. I had a football injury that left my entire posterior side in pretty bad condition, the rhomboid, lat, trap, and rotator cuff muscles were damaged pretty bad, leaving a large amount of scar tissue. Unfortunately, it created a trickle effect that would stem up my neck and through my levator scapula, occipitals and SCM (all neck muscles) this left me with mild headaches for years that I kind of just learned to cope with. This played to my lack of understanding that there was a solution, chiropractic had been recommended to me through a client, and I was a huge skeptic, but I decided to give it a shot. As soon as my neck was adjusted, I felt an immediate relief I had not felt in several years. The relief happened in a mere five seconds. This solution worked for me, but again, proceed with caution and take it upon yourself to be sure it is a right call for you; find a practitioner and doctor you trust.

Hot tubs and saunas have always been a weekend ritual for me for the longest time, I would swim about a 1000 meters. The water was great for the mobility of my shoulders and was low impact, and also good for breathing and conditioning, believe it or not, you are pretty much creating intra-abdominal pressure or a valsalva maneuver while holding your breath under water, a useful tool to train these areas. I would always end those sessions with the heat, about fifteen minutes in the sauna and ten to fifteen in the hot tub, then quickly jump in the cold water. It’s a great way to give yourself some active rest and recovery.

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