How sports massage can improve running
What is a sports massage?
Sports massage is a manipulation of the soft tissue to promote healing. Soft tissues are the muscles, tendons and ligaments that surround just about every bone in our body, and they can be administrated and rehabilitated to increase their elasticity, stress retention and physical power. Massage proves to be particularly great for runners and this article will explore how.
A sports massage therapy has many benefits, including:
- Elongation of muscles to reduce tightness, restore joint range of motion and flexibility.
- Dilution of blood vessels, leading to improved circulation and oxygen carrying capacity of blood, and reduced blood pressure.
- Improved healing, leading to reduced muscle soreness and fatigue, removal of lactic acid accumulation, restoration of posture and higher connective tissue healing.
- Improves pulmonary functions of the cells by loosening tight respiratory muscles and improved venous blood flow
- Increases endorphins, while decreasing cortisol, norepinephrine and epinephrine levels.
- According to a study at the University of Sheffield, U.K, sports massages have a positive effect on athletic performance, flexibility, as well as the strength, spirit and endurance of the muscles.
Sports massage and running
To understand the effects of a sports massage, it’s important to understand the effects of running – running is a repetitive muscular contraction against a certain degree of force. The higher the force is, the longer are the contractions and higher the speed.
However, that can also mean shortened or tight muscles, and decreased circulation to compressed tissues.
A sports massage is an amazing thing – not just for the injured runners but
also for those looking to prevent injury and quicken the healing in case
there is one.
Benefits of sports massage for runners
A sports massage is good for just about any physical activity, but here’s a run down of the benefits that a sports massage carries for runners:
Relieves muscular soreness
A sports massage stretches the targeted muscles and blood vessels by giving them deep ministrations. This increases the blood flow towards that area, and helps relieve the soreness that comes after a strenuous physical activity.
Improves the Flow of the Circulatory System
When talking about the flow of the circulatory system, we include:
• The heart transferring fresh oxygenated blood all over the body.
• The delivery of nutrients like glucose, electrolytes at a cellular and muscular level
• The body removing metabolic and muscular waste from the cells and tissues.
A sports massage affects all of the areas mentioned by stretching the blood vessels, leading to better circulation of blood to the targeted areas. An effective circulatory system means faster healing, decreased fatigue, and quicker rejuvenation of injured muscles.
Running makes your muscular tissues hard and inelastic. A sports massage stretches the tissues in a manner not done by the usual methods of massage, i.e longitudinally and sideways. This stretching also affects the fascia, the tissue surrounding the muscles and helps to release tension, knots and build-ups by more effectively circulating the nutrients and blood to the targeted areas.
Consequently, this can help in not only undoing the aftermath of a strenuous run, but also by increasing your flexibility, your range of motion, and improving joint mobility.
Breaks down scar tissue
A healthy scar tissue formation is linear, but when left to self-repair, it ends up forming a criss-cross pattern, which causes build up and tightness in the muscular tissue. A non-linear scar tissue as an aftermath of running injuries, can damper the flexibility of the soft tissues and make them more prone to injury and pain.
A sports massage helps the linear, healthier growth of the scar tissue and help to make the tissue supple and fully functional.
Lymphatic drainage and blood pumping
The gentle, targeted strokes of a sports massage helps remove fluid through the blood and lymph vessels. This helps in:
- Reducing inflammation and swelling of the skin and muscles.
- Removing lactic acid and other waste in the muscle tissue.
- Promoting nutrient and blood circulation by opening the pores in the tissue membranes.
- Aiding recovery of injured tissue.
A sports massage stimulates the release of endorphins, also known as the human body’s natural pain killers. This can cause various psychological and physical effects including:
- Reduced pain and anxiety associated after a run.
- Relaxed muscles -the warmth that comes after a good stretch affects the muscle reception of touch, pressure, length and warmth, producing a sensation of relaxation.
Sports massages have a cumulative effect
Massages work best and last longer when supplemented with other health practices that allow training tolerance and boost immunity, such as a regular sleep schedule and varied diet.