By opening our minds a bit and taking a broader view of fitness, we begin to see that many other actions can contribute to one's overall fitness, which includes well-being of the mind and body. With this larger view, we can begin to see how something as passive as massage therapy might play a crucial role in achieving overall fitness, even though massage therapy is not nearly as active—for the recipient, at least—as an activity like lifting weights or taking an exercise class.
The reason massage therapy can fit in so well with a person's push toward fitness is because massage can help round out the experience, balancing all those actions that can take a toll on both the body and mind, and helping to alleviate any issues that may crop up as a result of one's fitness program. For example, the man who lifts weights five days a week
In an effort to pack on more lean muscle and gain strength may benefit from regularly booking sessions with a massage therapist to help ensure he stays healthy enough to stick with this intense fitness program. Of course, the concept of "healthy enough" may be a subjective one, but in the aforementioned example, it usually means massage therapy can help to release any knots or other areas of tension within the man's muscles, which are being stressed, pushed and torn each day in effort to make them larger and stronger. Without regular massage sessions, this man may be more prone to injuries associated with such intense and frequent weight lifting.
Massage therapy can help make fitness-oriented individuals less sore, so they can feel more motivated and able to get back out there and do what they love, whether it be lifting weights or attending yoga classes. Going beyond this basic benefit, massage therapy can also help athletes and other fitness fanatics avoid overuse issues, heal faster from existing injuries and even access the kind of mental calm and focus that can boost fitness performance.
As far as the mental or emotional benefits of massage therapy, you can think of your next massage session as recovery time for not only your body, but also your mind. By reducing mental stress and tension, massage therapy can help you access this less tangible side of overall fitness.