Massage Therapy for Runners and Athletes


Are you a Runner?
Do you want to know the secret of how professional runners track those extra kilometers with less injury and less recovery time?
Massage Therapy can help!

If you are an athlete or a runner and training an average of 2-3 times per week, introducing a monthly professional therapeutic massage into your training schedule will benefit not only your sports performance but also your overall health.

Micro-tears and running.
Hearing the word micro-tears may sound alarming to you, but it’s actually a part of the natural process that helps your muscles get stronger. After a run or a workout, some of your muscle cells can be slightly damaged—displaying what’s often referred to as “micro-tears.” This usually results in a condition known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS.

A professional massage therapist, trained in specific modalities can help reduce or even prevent DOMS by increasing much needed blood flow to the muscles which assists in bringing vital nutrients to your overworked, sore or damaged tissues. Certain massage techniques help to stretch the bundles of muscle fibers, sideways and lengthwise, in a way that stretching just can’t do.

Massage Therapy for lactic acid flushing.

Whether you’re a new runner or experienced, if you decide to boost your training volume, you can start experiencing all sorts of pain and fatigue—this discomfort is often blamed on the accumulation of lactic acid in our muscles.
Left ignored, the excess lactic acid may result in tightness, congestion, and shortening of the tissue.
A massage helps improve blood flow to these areas, flushing out this problematic lactic acid.  It’s actually one of the most efficient and quickest ways to speed up muscle recovery.
It increases the effectiveness of the circulatory system, which is in charge of nutrient delivery, oxygen transfers, and removal of waste at the cellular level.

Best Massage Techniques

Mind Map (1)

There are numerous massage techniques and modalities to use, but here few that I think arebest suited for runners and athletes. The main goal of thesetechniques is to assist with the circulation of blood and oxygen flow and maintaining range of motion.

Sports Massage/Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage, as the name implies, relies on more intense pressure compared to other massages. The pressure applied with a deep tissue massage may sometimes cause some discomfort or pain. The pain should always be within limits and never enough to make the client tense up or feel stressed. Communication with your therapist is essential and concentrating on deep breathes really helps.

DTM is designed to work deeply and effectively to remove knots and adhesions and requires a lot of focused pressure.

Myo-fascial massage.

MFR, uses sustained pressure which is applied to points of restriction (those bunched up spots), allowing the connective tissue to release. Our fascia is a complex matrix that threads itself throughout our body and surrounds our muscles, organs, nerves, bones, blood vessels, and even our cells. Everything is held together and in place by this fascia. Normally it is very flexible, but if we sustain an injury through running, it can develop inflexible, hardened areas, which respond well to this kind of massage.

Both DTM and MFR techniques are recommended when particular sections of the body are problematic. Bigger muscle groups such as hamstring, glutes, and quads respond well as they are the muscles that are always engaged when running and working out.

Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger Point Therapy is a type of massage that focuses on trigger points with the intention of releasing scar tissue and improving overall mobility. This method combines movement with deliberate deep pressure to help reduce scar tissue buildup and soothe muscle adhesions.

During a Trigger point therapy session, the massage therapist improves tissue flexibility by applying just enough pressure where it’s needed, to break up these adhesions while improving flexibility and function in the tissue.

This technique is best used for treating a specific injury, especially when the scar tissue may be impacting the body’s mobility, healing, and recovery.
More specifically, this is usually the go-to treatment method for shin splints, plantar fasciitis, calf, and lower back injuries.

Therapeutic Massage
This massage technique is perfect before or even after a race or work out because it is superficial it promotes relaxation while also reducing your stress levels.
Therapeutic massage relies on long, light, and flowing strokes of different pressure to release muscle tension and improve blood flow without applying too much pressure.
This type of massage can help reduce muscle tension, lower your stress level, and improve relaxation

When should you book your massage?

mockaroon-woMMVcqJ99c-unsplashIf you are looking to get a Deep Tissue Massage(DTM) or Trigger point therapy, the ideal time to book your massage treatment is about three days before race day.  This allows any muscle pain or soreness to subside.  You don’t want to be sore and uncomfortable from your massage before a race.

If you are looking to book a Therapeutic massage, this technique can be booked a day before or even the day of a race day or heavy work out.  This treatment method as mentioned before encourages relaxation, improve circulation, and release tension in the muscles.

In conclusion
Running and exercise are addictive and a great way to stay in shape but it can definitely take a toll on a body if it’s not properly cared for. As a Massage Therapist, I’ve helped many runners and athletes over the years improve their performance and endurance by keeping those muscles relaxed, nourished, and healthy. You’ll see and feel the difference after only 1 treatment!

I look forward to seeing you at my practice, here in The Hague.

Karen Joseph CMT


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