Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Deep Tissue Torture

I love massages. Whether it's a Swedish massage administered by a chiropractor wannabe in a Hungarian bathhouse (another story for another time), a tear-evoking reflexology massage in the Czech Republic, or a spa hot-stone massage with aromatherapy and new age music, it makes no matter.  I love them.  Of all the massages I have had though, my favorite of late is the deep tissue massage (DTM).

Pre-race and post-race massages are the BEST!
Yesterday was my fourth long-awaited DTM.  I had been anticipating this for almost three weeks since I set up the appointment.  I had high hopes that this might help nail the cause of my shin problem.  Does that seem odd to put so much faith into a massage?  I suppose it does.  However, it was when I had my hip problem last year, and after going to PT for a month or two, that I experienced my first DTM.  I had never had one before.  I came out of that hour-long session feeling beat up, bruised, and completely worked over.  I hobbled around for a day or so, and then, miraculously, I started feeling better.  I had told the massage therapist about the hip and she spent quite a bit of time working on the muscles surrounding it.  I truly believe she was the last thing I needed to set things right.  With the muscles professionally loosened, it was almost as if the PT exercises could take better hold, and my recovery proceeded at a much faster rate than previously.

So, what is DTM?  According to
Techniques that utilize deep-tissue/deep-muscle massage are administered to affect the sub-layer of musculature and fascia. These techniques require advanced training and a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology. ... It helps with chronic muscular pain and injury rehabilitation and reduces inflammation-related pain caused by arthritis and tendinitis. 
This is not your Swedish grandmother's massage.  This is NOT a relaxing experience.  It starts out pleasantly enough.  I think the practitioner tries to lull you into a false sense of comfort and security before going to work.  After all, if you are too tense, they can't get past the surface muscle to work the deeper layers beneath.  If the massage is done right, in my opinion, it can send you screaming for your mommy be slightly uncomfortable.  In my experience, the more knotted up the muscles are, the more slightly uncomfortable it will be.

Hubby is not as big of a fan of massage as I am.  I got
him a massage gift certificate a few months ago for his
birthday and he has yet to use it.  I keep eyeing it.
If it isn't used soon; it will be reclaimed.
Will yesterday's Deep Tissue Massage hold the same magic for my shin as last year's did for my hip? I don't know.  I hope it does, although only time will tell that.  Right now, I feel completely bruised on my left side - my hamstring particularly.  During massage, the therapist found that my left hamstring, quad and calf were all tight, with the hamstring being the biggest offender.  With the idea that it might not be the shin that is the true culprit, rather all these other muscles pulling on it and causing it to work harder, she dug her fingers and elbows into the knotted muscle.  The result?  I once again feel like someone worked me over with a baseball bat.  Experience tells me, though, that in a day or so that will resolve and I will be left with - what I was looking for all along - deeply relaxed and more flexible leg muscles.  

Weekly update:

I suppose I should write something about my week so far.   It's been pretty good run-wise.  I ran on Sunday for 42 minutes (70 percent of last week's effort) and did the elliptical for 42 minutes, too.  Both felt great, however I was not able to ice right away and the shin area felt inflamed most of Sunday and Monday, too.  So frustrating.

As alluded to, this week I am doing 70 percent of last week's effort.  Additionally, I will probably be taking Friday off in anticipation of the Point Bock 5 Mile Run I am participating in on Saturday.  I am so used to exercising while LG is in pre-school on Fridays that I am not even sure what I will do with myself.  A nice problem to have.

The ab fab Fab Abs Challenge is nearly at an end!  Today is the last day.  Unbelievable.  And to think I almost didn't do the exercises last night.  After the massage, I was feeling too beat up and mellow at the same time.  My husband guilted me into it, though, so I am on track for finishing today with NO MISSED DAYS.  (I'm very proud of that.) What's next?  I am not sure.  I already have two options - a plank challenge someone posted and a 100-push-up challenge, posted over at Neurosis of the Stay at Home Marathoner of 3 (Kids).  So, I don't know exactly what I will end up doing, but I do know I will do something.  I have had a lot of fun doing the Fab Abs Challenge.  I can't wait for the next one.

One week down in the No-Chocolate Challenge!  I can't believe I have gone a whole week without chocolate.  It has had its ups and downs, but all in all it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be, at least not yet.  The worst thing so far is that I seem to be hungry every night.  I wonder if my body is missing that extra 100-200 calories of chocolate that it used to have.  I guess we'll see how it goes.

Coming Soon! Bondi Band Giveaway!  Stay tuned for a review and giveaway of Bondi Bands!  More details to follow.

Happy Running!


  1. Well, even though the therapy is a little uncomfortable (in your opinion, which might be true), but the positive effects right after the therapy are highly felt by most patients. Improved range of motions, mood elevation, and relief from pain are some of the positive effects that you might feel every after the therapy.