6 Reasons You Should Have A Sports Massage

2 Sep

Another half marathon completed today; Kenilworth Half Marathon. It was a good race and I really enjoyed it. The route was supposed to be undulating but it certainly didn’t feel that way at mile 12 with the last hill to conquer!

Above: I was quite happy after finishing! Usain Bolt would have been proud.

I was pleased with my time today especially considering the way I was feeling at the start of the race. Riding my horse doesn’t compliment my running at all. Riding requires me to be supple with loose and open hips. Running tightens my hips and my back is held stiff with little movement. I had, had a really intense riding lesson the day before the race which had left me very stiff and sore.

I felt so sore before the race I had to take some ibuprofen (not recommended before a run. It is advised that it is only taken after running when fully hydrated and urinating normally. Besides hyponatremia, it is said to cause kidney failure, especially if dehydrated. You may not notice symptoms, but minor damage could have been done to the body.) I was feeling so immobile though I had to take it or possibly sacrifice the race. I honestly don’t think I’d have got around without it. One thing that really would have benefited me though, and something I know I am in desperate need of is a sports massage.

I know a lot of people who run and don’t consider a sports massage as a necessity at all. Well it is.

A Sports massage is reported to have many beneficial effects in all athletes, whether you are a runner or a swimmer. Sports massage can be used pre-performance, post-performance, during training or for rehabilitation. Runners of all levels can benefit from sports massage. If you are looking for a way to improve your performance, then a sports massage is essential and highly beneficial.

What is Sports Massage?

Sports massage is a systematic manipulation of the soft tissues of the body that focuses on muscles relevant to a particular sport.

Here are 6 reasons you should have a Sports Massage

1. Decrease your chance of injury or pain

Many different movements and techniques are used in sports massage. Examples of these techniques include; Swedish style massage, effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading), compression, friction, tapotement (rhythmic striking), vibration, gliding, stretching, percussion and trigger points. These movements and techniques are used to try to help the body achieve maximum performance and physical conditioning with a decreased chance of injury or pain and a quicker recovery.

2. Reduces and alleviates tight and painful muscles

The stroking movements in massage suck fluid through blood vessels and lymph vessels. By increasing pressure in front of the stroke, a vacuum is created behind. This is especially important in tight or damaged muscle tissues, as a tight muscle will squeeze blood out like a sponge, depriving the tissues of vital nutrients and energy to repair.

3. Reduce lactic acid build up

Deep massage enables fluids and nutrients to pass through the muscles. This helps remove waste products such as lactic acid and encourages your muscles to take up oxygen and nutrients, which aid recovery.

4. Can you touch your toes? 

Massage can stretch tissues that could not be stretched by the usual methods. The bundles of muscle fibres (fasciculi) are stretched sideways as well as longitudinally. Massage can also stretch the sheath or fascia that surrounds the muscle, so releasing any tension or pressure build-up within.

5. Reducing running pain (not completely!) 

Tension and waste products in muscles can often cause pain. Massage helps reduce this in many ways, including releasing endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.

6. Relaxing both muscles and the rest of the body

Muscles relax through the heat generated, circulation and stretching. Mechanoreceptors in the muscle, senses: touch, pressure, tissue length and warmth. When they are stimulated there is a reflex relaxation of the muscles.


Some of the benefits are to the mind (psychological) and some are to the body (physiological). Possible side effects of sports massage are tenderness or stiffness for 1 to 2 days after the sports massage.

Sports massage can be useful for aiding recovery after a running event such as a marathon, immediately after, or a day or two after. The best results are obtained when the massage is performed regularly i.e. weekly. Be careful though not to have a deep massage the day before a big running race. This might make you tired and lethargic or if the massage was firm you may have soreness that could hinder performance.

748 Miles Completed… 1,264 mils to go (4 month left!!)

One Response to “6 Reasons You Should Have A Sports Massage”

  1. Karen September 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    Well Sarah i am impressed with your knowledge of the benefits of sports massage…..now go and GET ONE!!!!!!!!!!

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