As a regular runner, I am no stranger to the world of sports recovery. I go for a 4-mile run a few mornings per week and usually do one longer run on the weekends, so I’m constantly stretching and foam rolling on my living room rug. I also used to get an hour-long deep-tissue massage about once a month at this great place in my neighborhood that charges $45 for 60 minutes. After all, it’s no secret that massage is a go-to recovery technique for athletes, including runners.
Some research suggests that after strenuous exercise, massage may help alleviate delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, and improve muscle performance. Other research shows that massage seems to be useful for reducing perceived fatigue post-workout. If you talk to any pro or college-level athlete about their recovery routines, they’ll likely say that regular massages are part of their overall plan. I personally feel like my muscles are looser, more relaxed, and just feel better overall when I get regular massages. (Like all recovery techniques, though, it’s hard to say what will definitely make a difference from person to person, and some of the benefits may be simply due to placebo effect—which still counts for something.)
After a recent trip to Thailand, I added a new type of massage to my recovery routine: Thai massage.
I was lucky enough to be invited on a two-week trip sponsored by the Thailand Tourism Board, during which I got nine massages (it’s a hard job, I know). Each massage helped my jet-lagged, sore body feel much better. I felt looser, freer, and seriously stretched out, and my only regret was not trying Thai massage sooner.