Why is it that so many people don't believe in the benefits of massage?
My husband and I swear by our weekly (or sometimes twice weekly) bodywork; when we don't have it, we are so much more likely to have a minor to more serious injury.
Many seem to view massage as a fluffy treatment that you might partake in at a spa while on vacation. It's thought of as a luxury, something nice but not necessary, right there along mani's & pedi's (although I completely admit to partaking in those on a regular basis, too! : ).
Granted, WHO you see is a huge part of whether or not you're going to find it makes an impact or not. Personally, I've found a fantastic match with a therapist who combines Shiatsu with Deep Tissue. He's strong, and has years of experience working with athletes. Both my husband and I find that each time he works on us, we move further down the road of progression of working out old kinks, tweaks and twinges so that each subsequent session allows deeper work to be done.
Translation- more range of motion, more symmetrical movement, less likelihood of compensating; you name it, the list goes on.
If you need added benefit- have a look at modern day tribesmen for whom daily massage is a common ritual.
I won't go so far as to claim that paleolithic man gave and received massage, but if I found out that they did, I wouldn't be surprised, as it's such a natural, intuitive part of supporting and maintaining a healthy body!
Finally, since sessions are indeed sometimes quite painful, it honestly helps with mental focus, breathing through discomfort, which carries over immensely to sport.
Even if you're a skeptic, or perhaps, especially if you're a skeptic- give it a try and see if you don't find that over time you're more flexible, less injured and overall healthier.
If you don't have a referral from a friend (always a great advert!), try asking around at the local running shop, local bike club or any other venue that's nearby which caters to everything-athletic.