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I am currently visiting the gym 3 times a week for about 1,5 hours to work on my upper body. My goal is to gain muscles and add a little bit of definition. On the weekends I go to the ice ring for about 2 hours of freestyle ice skating to get my cardio done.

For relaxation, removing muscle tensions and especially to get more flexible I am planning to incorporate Nuad Thai massages at least twice a month into my schedule. This type of massage focuses on stretching the muscles and seems to be a valuable addition to my normal stretching routine. Now I am wondering if it makes a difference when I do this.

It is definitely less painful when my muscles are not sore, but it also might help with regeneration of those muscles. Would it be a good idea to go to the massage on a day where I visit the gym or the ice ring or should it be on an off day? If it is during a training day, is it better to go before or after the training?

Any other input concerning Nuad Thai and the benefits or maybe even drawbacks for fitness training and stretching is also appreciated.

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Searching for "massage flexibility" on Google scholar shows a large numbers of results.

An overview of the result is that: Massage in general seems to be as good as stretching for flexibility and Thai massage seems to be at least as good as Swedish massage (the most popular type of massage practised in the US).

However, massage differs from stretching, e.g. see caring hormones massage and seems to be better for recovery.

When to do the massage is harder to find research on. My personal experience of Thai massage is that properly done, it is relaxing but also makes you a bit tired afterwards. So in terms of doing it before or after workouts, it makes more sense to do it after workouts or on recovery days.

In an ideal world, perhaps all exercise should be followed by massage but the time and cost would be prohabitive. So your plan of massage twice a month seems to be reasonable.

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I believe that a Thai massage after a workout or on an "off" day would be more beneficial than working out after a Thai massage.

I've seen a lot of people come in here (I own a Thai massage spa in Toronto) on the day before and after a lot of physical exertion - ie - a marathon - the before helps to loosen them up in preparation and the after helps relieve sore of tight muscles.

I would suggest going for a Thai massage after your 2 hours at the ice ring, after a workout or on an "off day".

Hope that help!

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