If you are a runner, chances are you like massages! Running utilizes a variety of different muscles in our body, mostly the quadriceps, gluteals and hamstrings. We know that when we put additional strain on our muscles, nothing feels better than a massage to increase our circulation and relieve the tightness and soreness that can be a byproduct of additional use.
These are the questions most asked by runners when contemplating getting a massage:
1)What is the best time to get a massage?
2)What type of massage is best for runners?
3)Are there common mistakes I should be aware of?
While Wikipedia lists a whopping THIRTY ONE different kinds of massage...for our purposes, we are going to focus on only two.
ACTIVE RELEASE or A.R.T.
The active release massage technique focuses on a combination of movements with specific, deep pressure to help relieve muscle adhesions and reduce scar tissue build-up. The massage therapists hands play a big role in this type of massage because they are using their hands to evaluate the texture tightness and mobility of the soft tissue. Once they find the adhesions, they use their hands to break them and increase the mobility of the muscle. A.R.T. therapy is best used for specific injury where scar tissue builds up and impacts the body's ability to heal itself. The following injuris benefit from A.R.T. : Plantar Fasciitis, hamstring injuries and shin splints.
Most people are familiar with the term Swedish Massage as this is the most popular massage modality. While Swedish Massage is many times associated with relaxation and pampering, it can also REALLY BENEFIT RUNNERS BEFORE AN EVENT.Why?
Swedish Massage uses long,flowing arm strokes using a variety of pressure. Most of the time the pressure is fairly light so it releases muscle tension and increases blood flow. This type of massage is best used in the days BEFORE a competition or as a recovery tool after hard workouts. Because the strokes are lighter and broader, they tend to allow the muscles (and the human) to relax before the event. A Swedish Massage before a race can really help your body de-stress and re energize allowing you to feel more confident and calm as the big day approaches.
There are two other types of massages that benefit runners and those are Deep Tissue and Trigger Point. We will discuss those in the upcoming blog.