The benefits of sports massage for runners

By: Margaryta Garidian

The benefits of massage therapy have been know by humans since ancient times. Roman gladiators were in fact prescribed massages before and after training. Nowadays, sports massage has become a necessary routine for many athletes in both preparation and rehabilitation.

Sports massage works on a simple principle, to manually increase blood flow to areas where it is needed or where it could be sluggish. Blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and removes waste products away from it. This allows the body to heal itself in a safe and non invasive manner.

Some of the benefits of sports massage for runners include:

  • Helps prevent injuries and speeds up recovery of injury or after a long run.
  • Stretches the tissues that could not been stretched by usual methods.
  • Reduces pain by releasing endorphins (natural pain killers).
  • Breaks down scar tissue (when muscles are injured, the body creates scar tissue to glue micro-tears).
  • Relieves trigger points or hyper irritable “knots” found in muscle and fascia, that cause pain and restrict the range of motion.

The images below show some common runner trigger points and their referral pain pattern.

When should you have a  sports massage?

  • A deep thorough sport massage should ideally take place 7-5 days before the big race.
  • Any pre-event or inter-event massages should be short and vigorous.
  • Post race massages should be recovery focused and should involve lighter  pressure and relaxing techniques.
  • Don’t forget to hydrate properly after a massage to help flush out waste products.

In conclusion, sports massage will not only make you healthier, but may help to extend your running career and achieve the maximum from it.

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