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The benefits of having a sports massage to improve running performance have only started to be scientifically explored. Current understanding is a sports massage returns muscle fibres back to their pre-exercise condition. Running is a repetitive exercise that shortens the muscle fibres, this can lead to tightness and reduced flexibility. If muscles do not recover they can change the biomechanics of the joints which can alter your running style. A good massage improves circulation, removes waste products, improves muscle elasticity and can reduce mental tension.
|3 of the best types of massage for runners are:|
|a) Deep Tissue Massage|
|Deep tissue massage focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. Some of the same strokes are used as classic massage therapy, but the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper and concentrated on areas of tension and pain.|
|b) Trigger Point|
|Trigger point therapy targets muscle knots and areas of referred pain in the muscle tissue. Therapists find and target knots in the muscles or areas of referred pain and use deep pressure to help loosen the adhesions.|
Trigger point therapy is often used in the treatment of IT band tightness, calf strains, and hamstring injuries.
|c) Active Release Technique|
|ART is commonly used to treat conditions related to adhesions or scar tissue in overused muscles. ART practitioners claim as adhesions build up, muscles become shorter and weaker, the motion of muscles and joints are altered, and nerves can be compressed. As a result, tissues suffer from decreased blood supply, pain, and poor mobility. The goal of ART is to restore the smooth movement of tissues and to release any trapped nerves or blood vessels. Specific conditions that can be treated with ART include headaches, back pain, shin splints, sciatica, and plantar fasciitis.|
|To find a good massage therapist ask for a recommendation from other runners or from staff at your local running shop.|
|If you can’t afford regular massages the most important massage to get is on the day of your long run.|
|References: The Four Best Types Of Massage For Runner By Jeff Gaudette; The Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre|