Article by the Drummond Team
Sometimes the best way to think about our bodies is to use a car analogy. A car drives many, many, miles to take you places. Your car is required to have a full MOT on it once a year to make sure its not going to break down on you. It also requires regular servicing to ensure good working condition. The more miles you drive with your car, the more servicing it needs. When it comes to sport, and in particular running, our bodies are the same. The more load and miles you put into your body, the more its going to need to recover. There are many ways we can do this, and massage is one of those methods.
Why should a runner have massage?
Running is a repetitive movement of continual loading into your muscles and joints with every step that you take. The forces that go into your body create a tiny bit of force called microdamage of which our bodies are generally able to repair. However, the more loading that you add, the more work your body has to do to repair it. This ongoing process creates an accumulation of microdamage that the body will struggle to deal with efficiently if it doesn’t have appropriate recovery. This is how overuse running injuries happen (or the basics of it). Massage can help you to recover and reduce the impact of this injury process so that your body can deal with the loading more efficiently.
What are the benefits of massage?
- Improves blood flow
- Enhances muscle activation
- Reduces swelling
- Reduces pain
- Improves joint movement
- Improves the removal of waste products
- Enhances recovery
- Improves muscle range of motion/reduces tightness
Can’t I just stretch/foam roll instead?
Foam rolling and stretching are a great way to keep on top of your muscles in-between training. The more you do this yourself, the more you will be in tune with what your body needs. However, if you are doing a lot of loading – such as training for a marathon- having a massage, even just once a month will help to get into your muscles a little bit deeper and more efficiently than you can do with a foam roller.
How often should I be getting a massage:
This depends on how much running/sport you are doing. If you are training for a big event, you may want to consider having a massage every 2-3 weeks. If it’s just regular training, 4-6 weeks might be sufficient enough for you. Try out a time frame and then adjust accordingly with how you feel in between.
What kind of massage?
There are many types of massage out there. Swedish, deep tissue, and sports massage are going to be a bit more firm, whereas your aromatherapy and spa massages are going to be more relaxing. Depending on what you prefer will help you decide. Most sports people benefit from the deep tissue massages, but any type will give you some benefit.
Interested in a career in Sports Massage? Have a look at our courses here