Sports Massage for Runners
Sports massage in Glasgow
Do you want to find out more about getting a sports massage for runners in Glasgow? This tells you what you need to know
Running is a fantastic way to stay in shape, have fun and relieve stress. But running can also put a lot of stress on your body, especially if you don’t take care of your muscles and joints. That’s why sports massage can be a smart choice for you, even if you’re not a professional or competitive runner.
Sports massage is a type of massage therapy that is specially made for people who do physical activities, like running. It can help you avoid injuries, recover faster, run better and feel less pain. Sports massage can also make you feel more relaxed, refreshed and energized.
But what is sports massage for runners and how can it help you as a runner?
Table of Contents
Why Runners need sports massage
According to research and expert opinions, sports massage can help runners in several ways, such as:
Improved muscle recovery: Running places significant stress on the muscles, leading to micro-tears and the accumulation of metabolic waste products. Sports massage for runners can help reduce muscle soreness and increase blood and lymphatic circulation, promoting the delivery of oxygen and nutrients involved in repair¹ ².
Injury prevention: Regular sports massages can help to identify potential areas of tension or weakness within the musculoskeletal complex. Addressing these early on can assist in preventing the development of an injury and also assist with improving muscle mechanics².
Enhanced performance: Improved muscle repair can have an effect on better running efficiency, increased stride length, and improved running economy. And that then translates to better race times and overall performance² ³.
What is sports massage and how can it help you as a runner?
Sports massage is a massage method that uses pressure and movement to work on the soft tissues of your body, such as muscles, tendons and ligaments. This can help improve blood flow, remove waste products, reduce swelling and restore balance. Sports massage can also target trigger points, which are areas of tightness or knots in your muscles that can cause pain or problems.
Common sports massage techniques
Some of the common sports massage techniques used by me in Glasgow are:
Deep Tissue & Remedial Massage: This are generally deeper or firmer massage techniques working to get to the problem quickly. They may be uncomfortable, but they should never be unbearable. sports massage
Myofascial Therapy: This is a technique that involves applying gentle pressure and stretching to the fascia, which is a thin layer of connective tissue that surrounds and supports the muscles and organs. find out more about Myofascial therapy and myofascial release
Medical acupuncture: This is a form of therapy that involves inserting fine needles into specific points on the body to stimulate nerve endings and release endorphins, which are natural painkillers.
Dry needling: This is similar to medical acupuncture, but it targets trigger points, which are knots or bands of muscle fibres that cause pain and stiffness.
Gait analysis: This is a method of assessing how a runner moves and runs. It can involve using video cameras, sensors, or treadmills to measure various aspects of running biomechanics, such as foot strike, stride length, cadence, and posture.
Massage guns: These are handheld devices that deliver rapid pulses of pressure to the muscles, creating a percussive effect that stimulates blood flow and relaxes tightness. While I do have a massage gun, I find it only gives short-term relief and is best used for self-treatment.
The benefits of sports massage for runners are:
- Improves Flexibility;
It can improve your flexibility and range of motion, which can help you run more efficiently and avoid injuries. Running requires a lot of movement and coordination from your muscles and joints, especially in your lower body.
If your muscles are tight or restricted, you may not be able to run with optimal form and technique, which can lead to poor performance and increased risk of injury.
Sports massage can help you improve your flexibility and range of motion by stretching and lengthening your muscles, increasing your joint mobility and lubrication, and improving your muscle elasticity and pliability.
- Reduces Muscle soreness;
It can reduce muscle soreness and stiffness, which can help you recover faster and feel more comfortable after a run. Running can cause micro-tears in your muscle fibers, which can lead to inflammation, swelling and pain. This is normal and part of the adaptation process, but it can also affect your recovery and comfort.
Sports massage can help you reduce muscle soreness and stiffness by increasing blood circulation, removing waste products, reducing inflammation and swelling, and stimulating the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood enhancers.
- Preventing and treating common running injuries;
It can prevent or treat common running issues, such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome and runner’s knee.
Running can put a lot of stress on your bones, tendons and ligaments, especially in your lower legs and feet. This can result in overuse injuries or conditions that can affect your running performance and quality of life. Sports massage can help you prevent or treat common running issues by addressing the underlying causes, such as muscle imbalances, tightness or weakness, poor alignment or biomechanics, or inadequate footwear or training.
Sports massage can also help you heal faster by reducing pain, inflammation and scar tissue formation, and enhancing tissue repair and regeneration.
- Improved immune system;
It can enhance your immune system⁴, which can help you stay healthy and fight off infections and illnesses. Running can boost your immune system by increasing your white blood cell count⁴, improving your lymphatic drainage⁴, and enhancing your natural killer cell activity⁴.
However, running can also suppress your immune system if you overtrain, under-recover, or expose yourself to extreme conditions or environments⁴. This can make you more susceptible to infections and illnesses⁴, such as colds, flu or respiratory infections⁴.
Sports massage can help you enhance your immune system by stimulating the production of antibodies⁴ and cytokines⁴ , improving the function of your thymus gland and spleen, and reducing the levels of cortisol and adrenaline, which are stress hormones that can impair your immune response.
- Reduced Blood Pressure; It can lower your blood pressure and heart rate, which can help you relax and sleep better. Running can improve your cardiovascular health by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and improving your blood flow and oxygen delivery.
However, running can also elevate your blood pressure and heart rate if you run too hard, too fast or too long. This can increase your cardiovascular risk factors and affect your recovery
and sleep quality.
Sports massage can lower your blood pressure and heart rate by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and digestion functions. This can help you relax mentally
and physically, reduce stress and anxiety levels, and improve your sleep quality and quantity.
When Should Runners Get a Sports Massage?
Sports massage can be done for different purposes. This means the timing of a sports massage for runners will depend on your goals and needs. Here are some examples that you may identify with:
- Recovery sports massage:
This is done after a run to help you recover from the effort. I will use techniques such as deep tissue massage, compression, friction and stretching to reduce soreness and inflammation,
“break down” scar tissue and adhesions, and restore normal muscle function.
This can help speed up healing and prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which is the pain and stiffness that you may feel 24 to 72 hours after a run.
- Remedial sports massage for runners:
This is done between runs to help you maintain your muscle health and avoid injuries. At Pain and Performance in Glasgow I use techniques such as trigger point therapy, myofascial release and deep tissue massage to target specific areas of tension or pain, release tight fascia and improve muscle balance.
This can help keep your muscles flexible and strong, correct any postural or biomechanical issues, and prevent chronic or overuse injuries.
- Rehabilitation sports massage:
This is done when you have an injury or condition that affects your running performance and quality of life. A well trained sports massage therapist can use techniques such as mobilization, manipulation and exercise to help you heal faster, reduce pain, inflammation and scar tissue formation, and enhance tissue repair and regeneration.
This can help you restore your normal function, range of motion and strength, and return to running as soon as possible
- Maintenance sports massage:
This is done regularly to help you improve your running performance and well-being. A sports massage may use techniques such as effleurage, petrissage and tapotement to stimulate blood flow, loosen up tight spots and increase your range of motion.
This can help prevent injuries and improve performance by making your muscles more responsive and efficient.
- Event sports massage:
This is done before, during or after an event to help you prepare for, cope with or celebrate the challenge. A sports massage therapist can use techniques such as vibration, percussion and shaking to activate your nervous system, increase your alertness and arousal, and prepare your body for peak performance. This can help boost your confidence and motivation, reduce anxiety and stress, and enhance your mental focus.
A sports massage for runners can also use techniques such as stroking, kneading and rocking to relax your nervous system, calm your emotions and reward your body for its hard work. This can help ease your pain and fatigue, improve your mood and well-being, and promote recovery and regeneration.
Sports massage is not only for elite runners or professional athletes. Anyone who runs regularly can benefit from sports massage, whether you’re training for a race or just running for fun. Sports massage can help you enjoy running more and achieve your personal goals.
If you’re interested in trying sports massage for yourself, you’ll need to find a qualified and experienced sports massage therapist. At Pain and performance in Glasgow I will assess your needs, tailor the session to your goals and needs, and provide you with advice on how to improve your running performance and well-being.
Don’t wait any longer – book your sports massage session today and see how it can enhance your running! You’ll be glad you did!
references used and further reading
¹: Benefits of Sports Massage – What Sports Massage Can and Can’t Do https://www.runnersworld.com/health-injuries/a32792134/sports-massage-for-runners/
²: Everything you need to know about getting a sports massage https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/health/a44034342/sports-massage/
³: 10 Amazing Benefits of Sports Massage for Runners https://athlecare.com/10-amazing-benefits-of-sports-massage-for-runners/
⁴: The Power of Sports Massage for Runners https://www.adjustmassage.co.uk/blog/unlocking-performance-and-recovery-the-power-of-sports-massage-for-runners
: The effect of post-exercise cryotherapy on recovery characteristics: A systematic review
and meta-analysis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4637917/
: The effects of slow-stroke back massage on anxiety
and shoulder pain in elderly stroke patients https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3018656/