Massage vs. Myofascial Release
What are your thoughts on Myfascial Release techniques (which you can perform) vs. massages for your clients. I saw an interesting article (see link) discussing the benefits of massages, but can they be over rated for your clients who train on a consistent basis.
I like the idea of teaching people to know their own body. Myofascial release allows clients to relieve their muscular discomfort before it escalates. It can teach clients about their body, their stressors, their sensitivities, and stimulate their innate ability to self-care. Foam rollers are a great tool. Teaching myofascial release with foam rollers is a must.
Massage often times is not self induced, but has its place in self-care.
MELT is a process of 'Assess, MELT, reassess', and a person who can self-assess well will know which MELT technique to use for optimal results. In the article, people talk about massage after a workout to reduce muscle soreness. MELT is applicable after cardiovascular exercises, but is even more valuable before a strength workout because it attempts to rebalance the body and create better alignment.
I know that there are wonderful massage therapists who are very knowledgeable, and a massage by any one of them would be a great benefit. But cost is clearly a factor, and so the fact that not all massage therapists are created equal.
I personally much rather apply MELT techniques to myself based on how my body feels.
I recommend massage when the client cannot access the area successfully on their own. And I refer them to massage therapists who are very good at myo-release techniques along with massage.
I would also like to remind everyone that there is a need for recovery after massage and myo-release. Usually this time is fairly short (≈12 hours). But if there is tenderness or soreness (or pain) after the treatment, you should allow time for this to subside. That means no activity above light to moderate intensity until there is substantial reduction in the discomfort. And if an activity causes discomfort after a massage or myo-release session, the activity should be postponed until later if at all possible. The actual purpose of myo-release, massage, or exercise is to be better after recovery. So, we really are doing these things for the recovery benefit, not the actual activity itself. Improper recovery results in reduced improvement at best and injury at worst.