Massage; rolfing, a form of deep-tissue massage that was developed in the 1950s; active release technique, a form of body work involving active movements of the limbs under treatment; and chiropractic are all parts of Tollakson’s weekly routine. According to Sage Rountree, author of “The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery,” there is no evidence that bodywork enhances the normal recovery processes such as muscle damage repair. However, it can help reverse some of the negative, cumulative effects of training, such as the formation of adhesions that may lead to overuse injuries.
Rountree notes that there is not much scientific support for most of the things that athletes do for recovery, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth doing.
“I think pretty much anything you do ritualistically will help you,” she said. “It’s not just about the science behind it and what it may be doing for you physiologically. A whole lot of it is that, psychologically, you are now putting a value on your recovery. If you do one of these things, you are probably going to wind up doing more of them. And the more you do, the more they work together to help you recover.”