Is Thai massage good for athletes?
In my mind, YES! Thai massage and athletes go together like peanut butter and chocolate.
In modern day Thailand (and even a little earlier) Thai massage is used to keep the bodies of people who use their bodies a lot healthy (much like athletes). Looking at the Thai culture, without western influences, you see farmers – laborers – merchants – cooks – seamstresses – ect. In short, people who have very physical demands on their body everyday. The passive movement and stretching compliments this active lifestyle.
Thai massage is said to have developed for Buddhist monks thousands of years ago. The monks would spend much of their day in silent meditation. Sitting in meditation for long periods was not great for their bodies. They knew that to keep the Qi (energy in the body) flowing they needed something to keep their bodies moving and healthy. Thai massage and yoga was the solution.
Benefits of Thai massage for athletes:
Passive stretching is when the person being stretched does not have to do any work. Think about it, when you stretch your leg over your head you have to reach up and pull your leg – other parts of your body are working while trying to get a stretch. When someone else is assisting with the stretch, you can get a much deeper stretch.
Increasing circulation of fluids (blood, lymph, digestion).
Breaking up adhesion in tissues.
Deep compressions and stretching will accomplish this. With repetitive motion (i.e. cycling, running, rowing, just to name a few) comes adhesions in the tissue. This is when tissues stick together and cause discomfort and trigger points.
Keeping joints healthy (increasing synovial fluid activity)
Stretching, traction and passive movement supports the joint in our body. By working adhesions and trigger points out of muscles and keeping the muscles flexibly, they can better support the joints. The same thing applies to the connective tissue of the joints (i.e. IT band).
It is really important to rest after you have worked your body really hard. Thai massage also offers relaxation and rest. Your body can drop into the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) that it needs to recuperate and restore.
Athletic injury recovery
Whether chronic or acute, Thai massage can help our bodies recover from injury. If done on a regular basis, Thai massage will help the body be able to recover from everyday aches and pains on its own. Many of my regular clients comment on how their body recovers from fatigue and slight tweeks faster. Bigger or chronic injuries also have a great chance of a speedy recovery with regular Thai massage.
Added Myofascial Release
Traditional Thai massage does not include much specific MFR (myofascial release). There is definitely an element of it from the passive stretching and counter pressure movements. I have training in MFR from a Rolfing perspective, and it flows into Thai massage very well. Athletes really benefit from MFR because it helps release the superficial soft tissue that starts sticking together from repetitive movement (going back to the bullet point about breaking up adhesions).
Yes Yes and Yes, Thai massage is great for athletes! It is a great addition to your self-care regiment so you can keep doing what you love for many years to come.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Try to do something nice for yourself everyday!