On Saturday, I shared about my current leg issues that are impacting my running / training. After doing some reading online, talking to my trainer, and talking to my mom, I discovered that a good option might be to go for a sports massage. I've gone for a relaxing full body massage all of... three times. I think. I had a massage before getting married. I had a massage when Teagan was a baby. I had a massage a few months ago thanks to a friend (and reader of this blog- hi, Julie!!). I enjoy massages but... there is something about the frivolity of spending money on something that has no purpose aside from relaxation. Yeah, yeah... I know about releasing toxins and all that jazz. But for all practical purposes, I could live without ever getting a massage.
However, this seemed like the exact kind of situation that needed massage. The IT band being tense and causing my knee inflamation could be helped into a released state through massage. So I made an appointment with Massage Envy. They told me I would be seeing Matt. *gulp* I've never been massaged by a man who wasn't expecting something in return... well, aside from my BFF but since he's gay, there's no expectation. So I was a little nervous but the discomfort and the desire for healing far outweighed my concern.
I show up and meet Matt- firm, strong hand shake. This is a good sign! See- I've enjoyed my other massages. They've been relaxing and all that. But I always felt like the masseuse just didn't quite dig deep enough into the muscles. I probably should have been asking for deep tissue but I don't really know all about massage and technique and all that jazz. But Matt had a firm, strong handshake and I knew that he was going to beat the hell out of this IT band problem. We talked for a bit about what was going on with my knee and leg and about my training. We decided he would just do a legs massage and then, at the end, we could see if I wanted anything else done.
If you want the short version- the end result is that he spent an entire hour on my left leg.
He started with my foot. He found a couple of fibrous type spots and worked them out. Up to the ankle and he worked out some more stuff there. The shin. All little spots that easily released. Then he got to that knee. He poked around a bit and found a couple of spots that he worked on.
Then he warned me that he was going to push up from knee to hip along the IT band and that it might hurt. I braced myself while trying to stay relaxed. He ran his forearm along the IT band and... it didn't hurt. Huh. Weird.
So he started poking around along my hip and HOLY HELL WHAT IS THAT IT HURTS WHAT ARE YOU DOING???? That yelling was all inward... outwardly, I think I laughed and then said it hurt.
There were times I thought I was going to pass out from the pain. But I knew the pain was necessary to get the muscle to release. He apologized for how much it was hurting and said that the tensor fasciae latae was extremely tight. He poked and pushed and pressed and proded. I could feel that he was making progress.
Yes, it hurt. But it would hurt less after a few passes. I am writing this on Monday evening. My hip will most likely be pretty bruised by Tuesday morning. It's swollen and there are some red streaks now. It sounds horrible but it really truly did help, I swear! He also talked to me about the importance of stretching. This was his advice not as a massage therapist... but as the stepson of a marathoner who has run Boston 13 times! He grew up surrounded by running and knew a lot. He talked shoes and stride and pace and all sorts of things with me. Previous massages were very quiet so I could focus on being relaxed... this massage was quite chatty so I could be distracted from the pain.
No pain, no gain, right? Pain is weakness leaving the body, right?
So here's the game plan going forward... More stretching. Strengthening that hip muscle. More water. More use of the foam roller and maybe a tennis ball. And maybe a couple more massages to work out the rest of whatever tight muscles I've got!