Enhancing performance with massage and bodywork
Massage therapy is a great way to help anybody enhance their overall performance. Whether you are an elite athlete or you just want to perform better at work, at home or in bed. The key to performance is relaxation. Every athlete and/or performer knows that they perform best when they are confident and relaxed. By being able to relax or achieve a state of "no mind" (a zen term) the individual is able to get into the "Zone". It is in this zone that people report that they achieve the best results. Ask them how they do it and they usually cannot give you an answer. It just "happens". The happening is in the persons ability to let go and allow what it is they are doing to just "do itself". When individuals are in this state they often report being very focused and clear minded.
When a person is in this state, they are in essence facilitating a process rather than trying to make the process work. Practice is when they individual is making the process work, whereas performance is reaping the benefits of all your hard work. That is acquiring the knowledge and developing the skills to be able to perform.
So how does getting a
massage help a person to achieve better performance?
When a person receives a massage their is an opportunity for the individual to increase their awareness of their body internally and "zone out" as the massage therapist works on them. Most of the time we are very outwardly centered and pay little attention to what is happening inside ourselves. When we allow the therapist to massage us we are lying on the table "passively" while they, on the other hand, are working on us "actively". It is this dynamic that allows a person receiving a massage to cultivate their intuition by creating or relating to their body in a sense of heightened awareness. As the therapist works into the deeper layers of the muscles you begin to feel the sensations and allow your mind to drift into a deeper state of relaxation.
Experiencing this relaxing state of body and mind can aid the person who wishes to enhance their performance by being able to access this state of mind. For example, when your massage therapist is working deep into the muscles and the body tenses to protect itself because it "hurts" and you concentrate on your breathe. Taking a deep inhalation and then exhaling while at the same time allowing your body to relax into it helps to coach your body to respond to this type of situation by relaxing instead of tensing up. So when you are out running and feel tight or you feel tense at work or about a potential situation, all you need to do is take a deep breath allow your body and mind to relax so that you stop the tension from building up. By doing this you elicit the relaxation response.
Once this occurs you set yourself up for better performance. In addition, massage helps to increase blood circulation in the body which in turn allows all the necessary nutrients your body needs to feed itself and heal itself. When your muscles get what they need they can better serve you when you put demands on it. By integrating breathe during massage and in the different areas of your life you will enhance your overall performance in these areas.