How ‘hands on’ therapy can help your training

The London Marathon is now over (cue sigh of relief from runners the nation over) and local running races beckon. If you have done the marathon, are training for the Bristol Half or are taking part in one of the many shorter races in Bristol this year, read on and I’ll let you know how you can make your training (and recovery) much more efficient through sports massage.

What is sports massage?
It’s a deep tissue massage commonly used before, during and after sporting events. I’d like to highlight, though, that it’s not just for sports people. The nature of sports massage means it can be beneficial to almost anyone with day-to-day pain or tension in their muscles, regardless of the cause.

How does it work?
The main difference between a sports massage and a regular massage is that it specifically targets and reduces tension in muscles and soft tissues that are affected by pain or injury. Pre-event, light, fast, stroking, vibration and percussion techniques are used to stimulate circulation and relaxation of the muscles. Post-event massage is best done within an hour or two of the event and restores the muscles to normality by similar light, long techniques to relax the muscles and flush out waste products. Rehabilitative massage is aimed at restoring function and alleviating pain through deep stretching, kneading and pressure techniques and trigger point therapy is often used to break down adhesions and aid movement.

What are the benefits?
Reported benefits are:

  • Increased circulation
  • Increased flexibility
  • Reduced pain
  • Reduced tension-both physically and mentally
  • Reduced recovery time post-event
  • Increased quality of training
  • Prevention of injury
  • Faster rehabilitation after an injury

Sports massage is especially important to runners running more than 35 miles a week.  The more you run, the more strain your muscles are under and the more help you’ll need to recover.  Incorporating sports massage into your training regime will ensure your training is efficient and will go a long way to preventing injury.

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