Running, although an excellent way to exercise and stay in shape, can cause muscle breakdown and soreness. Massage can help repair muscles as well as decrease pain. Here are four massage techniques that are great for runners:
Swedish massage is the most common and well-known massage technique. This technique uses long, flowing strokes with varying pressure to release tension, increase blood flow and relieve stress and muscle tension without damaging the muscle. It’s also a great way to relax before or after a big race.
Deep Tissue Massage:
Usually confused with deep pressure, Deep Tissue Massage targets both the superficial and deep layers of muscles in a focused area. Working the targeted muscle, this is technique is commonly used during training since running can cause tight spots in specific muscles.
Trigger Point Therapy:
This modality involves applying concentrated finger pressure to “trigger points” (painful irritated areas in muscles) to break cycles of spasm and pain. It appears that most muscular pains have a trigger point that causes the muscle to go into spasms. The Massage therapist will place pressure on that trigger point so that the muscle can relax and the pain can be lessened. Pressure is generally applied with fingers, knuckles, and elbows. This technique is excellent in treating pain in the IT band, calf and hamstrings.
Soft Tissue Release:
Using either deep or light pressure, Soft Tissue Release manipulates muscle and fascia making it a fantastic style of massage for runners. This technique will have the client doing active and passive stretches to work the entire muscle group.
A few last tips:
- Drink lots of water before and after your massage. This helps with soreness and is important to all runners.
- Schedule your massage on or the day before your rest day. This will allow your body to rest, heal and maximize the benefits of your massage.
Finally, be safe. Look and feel your best out there.