Many athletes use massage therapy. Many give rave reviews as to why they seek massage as part of their regimes in preparing for sporting events.
But does massage actually help athletes and, in particular, can massage benefit marathon runners?
Yes, in short! Here’s how:
If you’re a marathon runner, you will recognise the ways that long distance running puts strain on your muscles and joints. You will be familiar with muscle soreness, aches and possibly even pains. You will know about the need to give your muscles and surrounding tissues recovery time.
Massage- studies have shown- can offer incredible benefits for all of the above.
Every marathon runner will experience some level of soreness. Many experience DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness,) where your body may feel strained, tight or sensitive a couple of days after running. Massage has been proven to reduce the intensity of this discomfort. It is a therapy that is designed to soothe the body, relax the mind, and ease muscle tension.
Therapists will be able to recognise where your muscles have become ‘tight’ after long or intensive training sessions, and they will be able to ‘stretch out’ your muscles and surrounding tissues. Tight soft tissue limits motion, which is why you may feel stiff after running. You are likely to find that loosening these tight sensations, with massage, feels deeply restorative and refreshing. Our massage Angels, here at the Orange Grove, are well qualified in order to advise and deliver a sports massage that is just right for you!
Many runners also seek massage in preparation for a big run as it can lessen inflammation. This is because it is linked to a significant reduction in levels of the hormone ‘cortisol,’ which is often known as the ‘stress hormone.’ Cortisol is linked to causing inflammation- so by lowering these levels, the redness and swelling should be less severe. Lowering stress hormones means that hormones such as serotonin become higher, in a counter balance effect. This is excellent news for runners, not just to aid inflammation, but also to boost the quality of rest and good sleep that a runner will need in the lead up to sporting events, as serotonin works to induce deeper sleep for many people.
Additionally, reports show that massaged limbs helps muscle cells to build ‘mitochondria.’ ‘Mitochondria’ produce glucose within cells, which amazingly promotes muscle repair! The treatment of a massage also improves tissue permeability: this means oxygen and nutrients can reach the cells more quickly, promoting recovery and rest! Therefore, massage will help to promote the healing that the body seeks after physical exertion.
It’s important that sports massage is regular if you want it to have an impact. For long distance runners, the general advice given is that fortnightly sports massage can boost all of these benefits. An increase to once a week during peak time of training can further be advantageous, at a time where your muscles will be experiencing higher levels of work out. It is best to discuss what would be best for you with our qualified therapists.
Finally, if you are a marathon runner, or even training for your first long distance run, come along to the Orange Grove and reap the benefits of a warmly therapeutic massage- we’d love to support you!