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I recently went for a professional medical massage, and felt incredibly relaxed afterwards. He only did my torso and back, but the breathing feeling was so free I felt incredible. I sit all day in front of a computer, so my shoulders are usually quite tight - I felt like in heaven.

I could imagine, that the relaxed feeling would allow me much better control over my movement during a run, as well as breathing ability.

About 24h after though, I had quite some sores along the primary massaged muscle groups. Two days later I'm feeling fine again, but my upper body is as tense as always. So I'm wondering if a massage is a stress on the body that would interfere with the stress of a competition.

Is there any drawback to getting a massage before a competition? (I run, swim and bike, but I assume this could apply to any sports discipline).

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I can share my experience with a massage before the race. I am a hobby mtb racer and once I have a profi team member. I got a short massage aprox. a 1 hour before the start of the race. My legs were then ready to the race and I was feeling very well. My feeling was great after the start. I have not been glut in the first kilometers after the start. –  peter.h Nov 17 at 10:06

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I am not a massage therapist, but I have received many different types of massages and treatments over the years, so I can share my experience.

If you get a deep tissue massage - sometimes called a "swedish" massage - the muscle areas that were massaged are going to feel a little sore afterwards and the muscles themselves are going to be dehydrated somewhat. This is why after getting a deep tissue massage you are encouraged to drink plenty of water to help re-hydrate your muscles. I would definitely not recommend getting a massage like that before a competition. It will hurt your performance, not help.

If you get a relaxation massage where they use light pressure then I would say go ahead and do that before a competition if you feel it helps your movement during a run and with breathing.

Having said all of that, what I would think to be the best kind of treatment to receive before a run or any kind of competition would be some assisted stretching after you perform a light warm-up routine. Spend 10-20 minutes doing light exercise (just enough to where your heart beat is slightly elevated) then get on a table where someone can help you go through some stretching routines. That has helped me the most before any kind of competition and gets me the most loosened up.

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thx for the destinguishing between massage types - I'll look into assisted stretching. –  Rafael Cichocki Apr 2 '13 at 15:04

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