Local Events and Happenings

The faster athlete.

What doesn’t say “happy first day of summer” more than a balmy day? It’s nearing the evening in northeastern Pennsylvania now and the thermometer will not inch below 90 degrees. It’s the ideal day for relaxing on the porch with ice cream. A cold stone massage (as opposed to a hot stone massage). Or just relaxing and cool off.

Or if you’re like some of many racers, you can always run up for a hill for 3.1 miles. Yes, that’s a hill climb that extends 3.1 miles throughout scenic Hawk Mountain and finishes at their visitor’s center. I was asked to bring along my massage equipment to help out those happy but sore and tired runners. Thank goodness the race was a weekend before this mini heat wave!

Dressed as if I wore ready to run myself (but not ready to run a hill, hills are still my challenge!), this was my first athletic event where I’ve performed chair massage. I also provided music to create a relaxing atmosphere to wind down. The responses were positive and happy just as I’d expected them to be. It only made me realize why there wasn’t an on-site massage therapist at most 5k races or athletic events in the vender circle. An on-site massage therapist, especially one trained in sports massage technique to perform table massage, can help educate runners and the public on the physiological and emotional benefits of sports massage.  Athletes put stress on their muscles through training and competition that injury is inevitable without caution and preventive care.

FYI (because curious minds can be curious enough): Yes, you might be a sweat fest and the idea of hopping on a chair that had another sweaty person on it might not seem too appealing but keep in mind that this is why I sterilize my massage equipment between sessions. I also carry anti-bacterial soap and wipes for my hands between sessions for this reason. Unless in the rare instance where someone is contagious, you would be in the clear to hop on a massage chair or table after your next athletic event.

Massage therapy and performing self-massage techniques can be a form of preventive care to prevent injury, keep muscles flexible to give you your best performance yet. Here’s why:

  • Stress relief – Double endorphin rush! Massage releases endorphins by activating your parasympatetic system to release muscle tension and helps to lower blood pressure and heart rate. This can be especially beneficial for athletes with a history of heart disease. The best rule of thumb is to start slowly, work up to your max. pace and then wind down during the end of the season.
  • Improved circulation – Massage returns oxygen to the muscles making muscles more flexible and pliable as opposed to stiff as the latter is more susceptible to injury. Always remember to stretch before hand.
  • Immunity boost – Athletic events such as running can diminish the amount of amino acids in the body. It is crucial to replenish these and options like massage therapy (whether it’s table massage or chair massage) can help minimize that effect. A healthy immunity means less days off for you – and who likes days off spent all sickly?
  • It’s a detox – This is what I kept telling a few curious runners who hopped on my chair this weekend. The body is diminished of toxins and lactic acid during an event or hard workout kicking the metabolism up a few notches. Massage is the frosting on the cake when it comes to this detox which is why it’s paramount to make sure that you drink plenty of water before and after receiving a massage.

So there you have it! All the more reasons to not turn down a massage at your next athletic event. To schedule me among the vendors at your next local 5k event, you may contact me at theprojectzen@gmail.com to discuss rates and all of that jazz.

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