The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Runners

By 4th September 2017 Massage, News No Comments

Massages are not only used for relaxation purposes, they are also recognised as one of the oldest forms of medical treatment. The practice of using touch as a healing method derives from techniques rooted in ancient history.

Massage plays an essential role in recovery and performance and as such is ideal for people who run. Whether you are an elite marathon runner, an amateur runner or a complete beginner, massage therapy can reduce your risk of injury and improve your overall performance.

Due to the demands of increased mileage in long distance running, muscles are put under greater stress due to the repetitive bounding nature of running. This generates more force through the muscles which can lead to tight shortened muscles, decreased joint range of movements and decreased circulation.

This in turn can lead to muscle imbalances, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and a build-up of waste products in the muscles, as well as common injuries in runners such as, runners knee, plantur fascites, Achilles tendinopathy, shin splints, iliotibial band syndrome and patellar tendonitis.

Massage is beneficial in pre and post training stages for an event as well as regular maintenance during training programmes.

Benefits of massage include:

  • Living-NorthImproved tissue elasticity by stretching the soft tissue and making it more flexible, plus breaking down scar tissue.
  • Increased microcirculation; by opening blood vessels which enables the effectiveness of oxygen transfer and delivery of nutrients such as glucose and electrolytes, which are essential in energy production. This also helps in the removal of waste products, such as lactic acid.
  • Reduces muscle soreness by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller. This can help us train longer.
  • Relaxes muscles through heat generation which can also reduce anxiety levels.
  • Increased range of movement, by making the muscles, ligaments and tendons more flexible, this will lessen the pressure on the affected joints.

Maintenance Massage:

  • Regular sessions help prevent injuries and keep us training to a high standard and can prevent burn out.

Pre-Event Massage:

  • Runners can have a deeper massage up to 2 days before an event.
  • Alternatively, a lighter more invigorating massage can be beneficial up-to and including the day of the event. This helps prepare the body both physically and mentally.

Post Event Massage:

  • Light massage and stretching can be performed straight after an event to help aid recovery.
  • Deeper massage can be given in the days following the event.

Our therapists at Newcastle Sports Injury Clinic will listen to your recount of any injuries or issues, along with your hopes and expectations of the massage therapy.

During your appointment, your therapist will palpate muscles to determine the nature and tightness of the soft tissues. Depending on which structures are tight or are causing you bother, the massage therapist will determine and discuss with you the most appropriate massage treatment which may be a general massage, specific soft tissue release or may focus on restoring function to muscles, tendons or ligaments.

Where appropriate, you will be given advice on activities to do or avoid to accelerate recovery. If required, a programme of exercises to strengthen your affected areas may be given.

If you want to know if massage is suitable for your individual needs, please contact the clinic for further information and to discuss which options available for you.