Body M.O.T complete, it’s time to loosen those tight muscles on the massage table
While the jubilee celebrations were in full swing, I swapped a lie-in and a glass of Pimms for a sports massage. I headed over to the TenPilates studio in Notting Hill to meet Evelyn, a sports masseur who’s worked in Physiotherapy, Chiropractic and Osteopathy clinics throughout the UK and Australia for the last nine years.
Until then, my only experiences of massage had been spa-based; an hour of indulgent relaxation in a dimly lit room to a panpipe-based soundtrack. This was a little different. A sports massage seems to push that pleasure/pain boundary to its limits. Evelyn had an uncanny knack of discovering a tight muscle, then digging a thumb, elbow or the heel of her hand right into the very epicentre of pain. As she said herself; ‘if you want a relaxing massage, don’t book in to see me!’ She worked my entire back, shoulders and neck, locating every niggle, ache and pain and working away at it as I gritted my teeth.
Then she moved onto my hips and legs. Again, she honed in on every tight muscle, and went to town on it - even long-dormant injuries I’d forgotten ever existed (I’m talking to you, left ankle). This was even more painful, but just as the pain got too much to bear, she would soothe a different muscle for some brief respite. She explained that where the muscles had got tight, scar tissue had built up, limiting blood flow so my body couldn’t repair itself. By digging away at them (and creating a burning sensation deep in the muscle) she was encouraging my body to heal itself.
Legs sufficiently pummelled, she worked my chest, arms and neck before finishing with a scalp massage. As she said, it’s best to end with that so it’s the last thing people remember about being on the massage table - rather than feeling like you’ve gone ten rounds with James DeGale.
I may have felt like the victim of a brutal attack at various points during the massage itself, and certain muscles were definitely tender the next day, but two days later, areas I'm usually conscious feel achey or tight, now feel relaxed and my whole body more comfortable. Next up: an introduction to the reformer. Gulp.
Read my journey to running fit:
Blog one: Can I get back to running - and bikini ready?
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