Posted On:
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Updated On:
Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Coach Tip Tuesday: Why is Feeling Good Considered to be a Luxury??

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A man is lying face-down on a massage table and a massage therapist is massaging his shoulder.

Seven days and seven nights later….it’s Coach Tip Tuesday!!

I was chatting with someone recently, and we ended up coming around to the topic of massage.  Long story short: this person felt that massage is a luxury, something only for special occasions, perhaps best given as a gift.

This is not the first time I’ve heard this point of view, but for whatever reason, this particular conversation got me thinking.  And so while I was out on a run (watch out, friends - that’s when I come up with some STELLAR ideas - just ask the athletes I work with ;) ), it really got me thinking: WHY is massage considered to be a luxury??

I tried really hard to think back to the days when I subscribed to this line of thinking (it’s been a while ;) ), and here’s what I came up with:

We live in a world that constantly bombards us with messages about how we “need” this or that tangible consumer item (you know who you are, Baby Yoda fanatics), so therefore, we are rarely are bombarded with messages about how we “need” intangible things.  That means that we are unconsciously conditioned to believe that intangibles are not as important as tangibles.

Taking that one step further, getting a massage is usually an experience that 1) Takes time, 2) Deeply relaxes a person, and 3) Makes a person feel good - mentally and physically.  These three things feel very “extra” to most people.  But take a second, pause, and read through this paragraph again.  Taking time for oneself and feeling good feel like “extras.”  Wait, what??  Seriously??  Feeling GOOD is considered to be a LUXURY?!  WHY is this the case??

Combine all of these things with the fact that massage has a very real cost due to the human factor involved (and the therapist’s true need to make a fair living wage), and you have a recipe for something that isn’t widely valued as a true cornerstone of one’s health and wellness.

If the average person in the United States were to take an honest look at their monthly spending, I bet they would be ASTOUNDED by how much they spend on food and beverages- particularly at restaurants, bars, ice cream shops, or coffee shops.  This expense gets “justified” in many people’s minds because we need to eat and hydrate to survive, so we need to buy food and beverages, no matter where we get it, right??

I challenge this line of thinking.  If the average person eliminated just ONE restaurant meal per month in favor of self-preparation, they would “find” money to be able to spend on “intangibles” such as massage.  Massage is INCREDIBLY important, and here’s why:  The lifestyles of humans (yep, that’s all of you) and endurance athletes in particular (yep, that’s a solid majority of you) guarantee soft tissue adhesions from excessive scarring due to tissue breakdown during life and training.  On its own, the body will take 11-14 days to heal damaged tissue.  However, I guarantee that moves more than once every 11-14 days, which means that load is being placed on your bodies before you are truly ready for it on your own.  So, it’s imperative that we implement a routine of dynamic and static stretching (which helps maintain proper tissue length) and bodywork (which helps maintain proper tissue mobility) such as massage.  Supple tissues work better.  Supple tissues FEEL better.

This week, I chose to focus on one particular thing that I think could enhance the average person’s well-being and overall mobility, but there are countless examples of things that could fit this bill for people, and what fits best for everyone really will be a bit different.

The Bottom Line: We REALLY need to reconsider our thinking on things like massage being considered “luxuries” in terms of time and resources.  Feeling good is NOT a luxury.  It is, in my humble opinion, a basic human right.  So, let’s get you feeling GOOD, my friends!!


Coach Laura Henry

Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.

She can be reached at

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