Calming the nervous system

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Our primitive instinct when we get hurt is to rub the spot that’s in pain. You can expand on that instinct and break it down to a psychological level. What you’ll see is that you’re beginning to work and soothe the nerves. Massage is a whole-body approach to that very instinctual methodology.

Massage helps with both our mental and physical recovery. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a high-performance athlete, a dentist, a desk worker often hunched over, or a caregiver lifting up small human beings. In all cases, your body is exerting itself. If the actions we perform in our day-to-day lives cause pain, it can be a source of stress. Recurring pain in our bodies also tires us out. This may cause us to put off or avoid what we do for pleasure or to unwind. This can make us feel isolated and disconnected from friends and family, which can lead to more stress. It’s crucial to take care of our bodies. Address aches and pains before they become recurrent or problematic.

If you have the resources, seek out a massage therapist. Massage can be a restorative and beneficial way to de-stress the body and calm the mind. Routine visits are important, especially if you’re performing the same actions all the time. I work on our players for 30-45 minutes every day, after practices and games. A massage therapist can help assess what’s best for you.

Looking for alternatives to professional massage? Try self-massage, simple stretches on your yoga mat or a foam roller or theragun in your down time. You can even do these while watching TV.

My job forces me to stay in shape. I do yoga, work out, go for walks in nature — which really calms me down — and meditate. Because we’re on the road so much, I also stay connected with friends and family. Connecting helps me de-stress. Find a way to help your body recover from your daily stresses. Try out a mix of practices and see what works best for you.

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