Massage Is Good for Cyclists and Other Humans

Back in May I blogged about a massage in One Fine Day: Free Massage, Bike to Work Day, Deadpool 2.  I still have some free passes left so I returned today.  And boy did I need it!  It may be obvious to those of us who have had massage, not everyone has had a massage.  So here’s a little post about massage that you might enjoy, whether you ride a bike or not.  The ending is uh, joyful.

There’s Some Debate, but Some Benefits Are Scientifically Proven

bike massage

An orthopedist I saw recently claimed there were no documented benefits to massage.  He was a friendly type, retired for 10 years, who volunteers once a month at the community clinic.  I’m sorry to inform him he’s sadly out of date.  Aside from the subjective things like feeling damn good, providing stress relief and overall the ability to be better able to move one’s body, there are numerous positive benefits from massage.  Google “massage and cycling” and a number of articles come up.  A British blog Willow Chiropractic, has this to say:

When a massage therapist glides their hands across your muscles, blood vessels open and waste can be flushed out. This helps reduce tenderness after a hard ride or workout. Researchers in Chicago … [asked] volunteers to train their quads and hamstrings until failure, much like someone would during a gruelling ride. Then half of them received a sports massage. The researchers tested the subjects in two key areas: soreness and blood flow.

The findings showed that the group that received the massage had an increased blood flow and were free of soreness 90 minutes after exercise, whereas the group that received no treatment were still hobbling the next day.

Shane A.Phillips, PhD, of the University of Illinois, Chicago explains that “the increase in blood flow speeds recovery from the muscle by providing more nutrition to the tissue and also by improving the removal of waste products.”

Waste products?  That must be from all the pudding.  So that’s just one study, but for me, the proof is in the experience.  Because if the proof is in the pudding, I see no pudding.  Where, pray tell, does one acquire a sample of said puddingy goodness?  Seriously though, riding home, I was super relaxed and my slow speed showed it.  But more importantly, I immediately I noticed that my legs didn’t feel tight or restricted as usual.  That was the goal and though it won’t last, I swear to return to foam rolling and monthly massage until my passes run out and then I will just have to find the funds for it.

img_20180912_192833341830140317.jpg is where I got my rubdown.

More Reasons to Get a Massage

What?  You’re still here?  You haven’t rushed out to get a massage?  OK, so you need more convincing.  Here are some other reasons to get a massage from no less an authority than the Mayo Clinic:

“While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:

  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain
  • Produces feelings of being cared for”

To that list I would add:

  • help those poor students have someone to practice on (joking kinda)
  • meet your next romantic partner (totally kidding!  [really])
  • help you get a better night’s sleep
  • more awareness of your posture, muscles, tension, etc.
  • your whole body gets moisturized from the massage lotion
  • a nap possibly
  • positive body image

My massage table in a curtained off area.

There are various types of massage, and there are risks too.  Be sure and check with your doctor first if you have any conditions that might be contraindications.

A word about culture:  A number of followers of this blog may live in societies that frown upon Western values including massage.  I am not suggesting anyone violate their cultural norms.  That said, human touch is as old as humanity, and I believe it has a healing effect.  The conditions of having it done professionally as opposed to a member of one’s family or a spouse are up to what’s appropriate for the individual.


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