The dynamic nature of the spirit of an athlete is displayed not only in athletic excellence but in the very nature of personal striving and self-discipline. The habit of physical excretion, mental toughness and a little bit of magic sprinkled in, is what makes any of us an athlete. Holistic athletic recovery provides much needed security and success to the athletic journey.
With physical discipline, of any kind, we work through a pathway of an array of struggles or pain. Whether it be physical, emotional or mental, exercise has proven a great antidepressant from the endorphins produced in the brain alone.
The lifelong journey of discovering new levels of oneself is finding edges that force one to look deeper and overcome. We create a place to find sacred growth through sweat and pain and effort. Many athletes understand the value of these elements and what they bring to one’s life. The nature of exercise and athleticism can be one of extremism, though. In turn, athletic careers encounter much hardship due to the lack of application of holistic athletic recovery.
What does recovery encompass? Is recovery simply taking supplements or rest days? Holistic athletic recovery includes a plethora of holistic approaches, to heal the body from the tole that physical activity takes. There are countless healing modalities that play a part in bringing your body back to a state of homeostasis after it has been challenged.
Over 2400 years ago in ancient Greece, they were utilizing massage, cupping and steam rooms. Ancient Greece to this day stands as an icon for physical striving and athletic achievement. The birthplace of the Olympics, the oldest and most recognized games push the expectation of the human body and spirit to its limits. Ancient Greeks considered the spiritual ideal of the coexistence of ethics produced by physical and mental virtue of high importance. Hence the birth of the Olympics came from Ancient Greece.
Recovery applications were not seen as separate, nor were they considered a luxury. Holistic athletic recovery was very much a part of being a wise athlete. Resultingly, massage was used frequently. The knowledge of human wellness over several centuries played into the high frequency and methods used. There were over 18 different forms of massage that the Greek’s applied to their Olympic athletes.
The masseuse was so particular and aware that they adapted to the needs of each athlete based on each person's movement patterns and physical constitution.
The rule they went by was “not to harden or soften the constitution too much…the massage must not be performed so strong that all useful humors disappear, nor so weak that they retain the superfluous.”
In other words, don’t massage all the energy out of the body, weakening it…. nor should the massage be so light that it doesn’t release the inflammation or tension. Usually, they applied two massages to those who trained, one before exercise and another after. And, in cases of extreme exhaustion, another at night.
Recovery was seen as an integral part of the longevity and vivacity of the athlete. This dedication to recovery created harmony and respect for what it is to be a wise athlete. In addition, the use of hot and cold water therapy in baths and steam rooms was common for all. Steam baths were available before and after exercises for not just elite athletes, but for the health and wellness of all in Ancient Greece.
Spend any amount of time in Portland and you will feel the athletic community throughout the city. We love seeing that many embrace the benefits that massage therapy, cupping and restorative healing modalities. Also, many more are not taking care of this part of their athletic training.
The spirit of the athlete can be one of extreme devotion. There is much scheming and planning that goes into being physically astute. From meals to activity regimens, the athlete applies a myriad of ways to organize their life into discipline and achievement.
The very nature of most athletic feats is the exact opposite of recovery. This may be why recovery planning is a hard concept for the athlete archetype to embrace. Recovery remains to be one of the most vital components to longevity. Injury and natural wear and tear of non-released tension and inflammation within the muscles, tendons and joints cut an athletic lifespan way too short.
In addition, it also creates space for you to connect to the magnificent body that provides an opportunity to achieve and experience the benefits of physical and mental success.
Most athletes know to drink water, get enough rest and apply proper nutrition. Adding holistic health approaches to the recovery and maintenance of the body’s vitality is a game-changer. Post-sports massage is the vigorous milking of muscle tissue that flushes the body of toxins, increases blood flow and decreases muscle inflammation, which all leads to a longer life spent doing what you love most with minimal discomfort or pain.
Just as we tend to our mental and emotional health the state of our body plays a part in all aspects of our human experience. Our body is the vehicle in which we experience the world, how we treat our bodies should never be an afterthought. What we eat, what we think, what we do, all manifest in physical form in our human bodies. We experience pain and pleasure through these bodies and through the knowledge of holistic health we can experience more joy and less pain.
At Zama Therapeutic Massage and Spa, we have numerous packages specifically tailored to meet your unique needs. From Swedish massage to deep tissue recovery, to magnetic cupping and Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Massage. We understand to live fully in the now is to take all the knowledge of the ancients and apply it to our current health and wellness experience.