Here are four ways that massage therapy can help runners:
Fatigue and muscle pain
Whether you are starting a new running program, increasing your mileage or raising your intensity, massage therapy can be very helpful.
Typically, you will experience fatigue and muscle pain after increasing your workload. This is the body releasing toxins, such as lactic acid, into the tissue.
This can become damaged if left untreated as where there’s muscle damage, there’s less circulation. A reduction in circulation can lead to tightness, shortening and congestion of the tissue.
Increasing the blood flow and circulation
Massages can help increase blood flow and circulation. So after a massage, the improved circulation in the body triggers the immune system to start a healing response in the tissue.
After a run, the body needs to recover from the pressures that the exercise places upon it. The body releases toxins after the muscles are challenged during the run – and getting a massage is one of the fastest ways to promote recovery as it helps release the toxins from the muscle tissue. Through massage and proper hydration you can flush out the toxins from your system, helping reduce the fatigue and soreness in preparation for your next endeavour.
Increasing your flexibility can help to improve running performance and your general performance in variety of other sports.
A massage can help rebalance the musculoskeletal system. Regular runners typically experience tightness and pain in their Achilles tendon, hamstrings, knees and IT band. A massage therapist may be able to discover other underlying factors that may also be contributing to the pain. For example, a painful hamstring may be related to poor lumbar mobility. The hamstring might have over-stretched to compensate for the shortening of hip flexors.
Lastly, having a massage promotes relaxation, which has a number of benefits. It not only relaxes the muscles, it can also relax the mind, which can reduce stress and help re-energise you for the upcoming race or week at work.