Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Deep Tissue Massage

As I walked back in the house, I handed my husband her card, uttering three little words: "I. Dare. You." On it was the name of a massage therapist who specializes in deep tissue and sports rehabilitative massage.

Just two hours prior, I was laying face up on a table, answering the cursory "first massage" questions.

"Have you had a massage before?" she inquired.

"Yes." I answered.

"I see you've requested a deep tissue massage. Have you ever had one of those before?"

"Yes." It really wasn't a lie. Seriously. At least a dozen, if not more. I thought I had anyway.

Forty-five minutes later, I was laying face down on sweaty sheets. I'd have been crying from pain, but was too exhausted. Sweat was pouring off of my body so heavily, her hands were slipping. And I started out cold, with goose-bumps. I've never sweated from the pain of a massage before.

"You're handling this better than 90% of the men I do."

"Really," I gasped, as I was trying to imagine the sanity of any man, woman or child willingly putting themselves through this. It was like childbirth. Trust me, I know. I've had four. And by now, she'd taught me how to breathe through it to help the muscle under attention stay relaxed. No matter than every OTHER muscle in my body was as tense as a nervous racehorse. I kept telling myself to "embrace the pain." A key tactic I'm going to use to get through those final 6.2 miles in Chicago.

Once finished and able to speak clearly again, I noted: "You've redefined 'deep tissue' massage for me."

"Yes, I get that a lot. Most places that offer deep tissue massage give more of a deep Swedish massage. I'm specially trained to give the therapeutic deep tissue massage, and it does go very deep," she explained.

I'm not sure really what I was thinking. But, let's hope there some benefit from all this!

IMPORTANT POST SCRIPT, Sunday, September 28, 2008. The first and second day after this massage (previous Wednesday), I noticed swelling continued and I had some bruising and extreme tenderness on my legs (among other problems directly related to this massage). This also hampered my runs for the next few days, and I ended scaling back a few runs and ultimately taking a day off as a result. I thought it was worth noting Vince's reaction at this point (I will never request "deep tissue" again):

"The woman that massaged you should never be allowed to put her hands on another human being again. If you have bruising, there was damage done to the tissue (she went hard enough to cause internal bleeding). This may not ordinarily be a problem, but your body is already trying to recover from the 20 miler, and is now forced to recover from the massage. The same benefits of deep tissue massage can be accomplished over several sessions of lighter massage, gradually working into the tissue. There are several schools of thought on this but believe me, this woman's technique was old school. There have been very few (if any) studies done to show any benefit to this type of work. There was absolutely no way for you to know this, but it makes me very upset when I hear that people are practicing this type of work on athletes. I followed a 10k a few years back with a "deep tissue" massage that landed me a torn hamstring and 2 months off. I've work with lots of therapists, and the most effective never had to go hard, they just knew the body."


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to give you my tip of the day... I have been running for a while now and started drinking something called MonaVie. It's been helping me with the aches and pains and my stamina is WAY up. Not trying to sell it to you or anything but here is the link were I get it. Read about it.


runner-grrl said...

Thanks, Sam, I'll check it out! I would do just about anything to feel better at this point :-). I'm really sore and bruised from the massage.

Jesse said...

Wow. That's a disappointing development. So sorry to hear that it turned out to be a terrible experience considering what you went through! I hope you're feeling better.

runner-grrl said...

Thanks, Jesse. I'm still not right. But, I'm glad I did it two-and-a-half weeks out from the race, and not the week of. At least I have time to recover :-)