Massage therapy can benefit most individuals, whether they are active or sedentary. Yet, runners benefit greatly from massage therapy and stretching. It aids in keeping the muscles and joints resilient and pliable so that the runner can maintain their level of performance. It also helps to reduce or prevent injuries from occurring. Sports massage is often the massage of choice for runners. This therapy uses a variety of techniques that help the client to perform well in their sport of choice. There are four different kinds of sports massage: pre-event, post-event, maintenance, and injury-specific.
Pre-event sports massage helps to prepare you for your run or sporting event. The goal is for the client to feel light and loose before the race. The kinds of massage that are beneficial before an event is light to medium pressure Swedish massage, Thai massage, and/or stretching. The techniques employed in these modalities help to keep the muscles pliable and removes restrictions.
Post-event massage helps you to recover from the sporting activity. It also aids in decreasing post-exercise soreness. For optimal results, you should receive the massage no more than 36 hours after the sporting event. The massage should be firmer than pre-event, but not too hard! If the pressure is too hard, then it will cause more harm than good. It will cause more injury to the muscles and will delay their recovery. Remember, the body has just undergone stress through physical activity…so be firm but gentle! Stretching is also ideal after a run.
General massage for runners and athletes helps to loosen tight muscles and improve range of motion. The massage therapist works deeper than in pre-/post-event massage. The strokes are deep enough to make a significant change in the tissue, yet doesn’t cause the client’s body to guard or tense up. A general massage may combine stretching, Swedish massage, and trigger point work. Trigger point work involves using direct pressure on nodules (or “knots) in taut bands of muscles. Depending on the level of activity, you can receive a general sports massage on a weekly or monthly basis. Because the massage is deep, you will want to give your body a break in between sessions. You may feel soreness for 24-48 hours after the massage, then it should subside. Do not receive a general sports massage the day before a race because the body may still be sore.
Injury treatment in massage therapy helps to restore function in the muscle, tendon, and/or ligaments after an injury. It is common for runners to have injuries to their IT Band, shins, hips and feet. Depending on the extent of the injury, the massage therapist may need a doctor’s note before treatment can start.
Running is a great cardiovascular activity, that can be made even more enjoyable with the proper kind of massage therapy. Understanding its benefits will help you schedule the best possible session.
Yours in Health
If you are looking for someone with massage therapy expertise, who also knows the ins and outs of chronic pain relief…look no further! I’m Ellie Dukes, Licensed Massage Therapist-specializing in prenatal and oncology massage therapy for 12 years. Visit me at Trinity Massage Haven in Blue Bell PA.