Massage Therapy For Runners and Athletes
Whether you run for fun, competition, or stress relief, there are ways massage therapy can significantly improve your running potential.
Reduced Muscle Pain and Fatigue
When you have started a new training program, increased the intensity of your training, or are simply just running more mileage, massage therapy can be extremely helpful. Oftentimes, the increased workload results in muscle pain and fatigue. This pain is caused by the release of body-producing toxins such as lactic acid into the tissue. When left untreated, the tissue can become damaged over time. Where there is muscle damage, there is less circulation. Reduced circulation can lead to congestion, tightness, and shortening of the tissue.
Massage promotes relaxation, which has myriad benefits. Relaxing the muscles also helps relax the mind and reduces stress, which can help re-energize you following a big race or tough workout, or even when the craziness of life combined with the demands of training start to wear on you.
Increased Circulation and Blood Flow
Massage increases circulation and blood flow. With this increased circulation, overall healing is expedited by triggering the immune system to promote a healing response in the tissue.
Following a run, the body needs to recover from the stresses placed upon it. When muscles are challenged during a run, the body releases toxins into the tissue. Massage is one of the quickest ways to promote recovery because it helps release these toxins from the tissue. In conjunction with proper hydration, toxins are flushed from the system, thus helping lessen soreness and fatigue while helping freshen your legs for your next workout.
Increasing an athlete’s range of motion can help improve performance. When we can move properly, we can run more efficiently.
A good massage helps rebalance the musculoskeletal system. Runners frequently experience pain and tightness in the IT Band, Achilles tendon, knees, and hamstrings. Many runners can pinpoint where they are experiencing pain. A good therapist will evaluate pre-existing conditions and postural errors that could be contributing to pain, as the source of pain is usually not where the pain is manifesting itself. For example, pain in the hamstring may be attributed to limited lumbar mobility. The hamstring could be over-stretched and compensating for shortening of the hip flexors. The body is like a weight and pulley system. When a muscle experiences fatigue from overuse, another muscle will kick in to try and bring balance back to the body. Oftentimes, this secondary muscle is not meant to sustain that kind of responsibility. When left untreated, it undergoes strain and, much like a domino effect, other muscles become involved and affected. A good therapist will analyze all these factors and develop an appropriate treatment plan to help break a cycle of recurring injury.
Most suitable massage for runners:
Deep tissue massage
Most runners are familiar with deep tissue massage, which is often confused with deep pressure (like when you say “go harder”). Deep tissue massage targets both the superficial and deep layers of muscles and fascia and are often quite intense due to the deliberate, focused work.
Deep tissue massages typically focus on a few specific problem areas and, unlike trigger point therapy, work the entire muscle. Because runners often have quite a few tight spots and interconnected issues, deep tissue massage is often the modality of choice during hard training segments.
Whether you are an athlete or a runner, or even a daily office worker, you deserve a relaxing massage. Reserve a session with your favorite massage therapist today.
Brilliant Massage & Skin