Some people assume that massage therapy is mainly useful for relieving stress and muscle tension, but this isn't the case. While it can certainly be used for these purposes, it offers some surprising benefits for runners as well.
Protects Against Runner's Knee
Runner's Knee (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome) accounts for approximately 40 percent of all running-related injuries, making it the single most common injury among runners. It's characterized by the wear and tear of the cartilage underneath the patella (kneecap). While there's no way to completely prevent Runner's Knee, you can reduce your risk of succumbing to this condition by seeking massage therapy. Manipulating the cartilage and surrounding tissue will relieve pain and inflammation while helping to protect agains Runner's Knee.
Reduces Recovery Times
When you finish a long run, it's generally best to wait and allow your body to heal itself before hitting the pavement again. Depending on the intensity of your run, as well as your body type, this may take 24 hours, or it may take 72 hours. Massage, however will reduce these recovery times so you can get back to doing what you love.
The benefits of massage therapy for runners don't end there. Having a massage performed on a regular basis will also improve your flexibility, which of course is particularly beneficial for runners and other athletes. A skilled massage therapist will gently manipulate the sore, stressed tissue and muscle in your legs and body, improving flexibility while also helping to protect against overexertion injuries.
Improves Blood Flow
A fourth season why runners should seek massage therapy is because of the benefits it has on the circulatory system, delivering oxygen filled blood and nutrients to your muscles.
Improve your Performance
Not only does massage help you get back on the road faster - it may also help you run better when you're out there. Muscle fibers and motor nerves have been shown to function more effectively in runners who receive massages compared with runners who don't, which can help you run faster, longer, and with better techniques.
If you've ever ran competitively in a half-maraton or full-marathon, you are probably well aware of just how sore your body feels afterward. Rather than taking a pain reliever like acetaminophen to mask the pain, you should give massage therapy a try.
And importantly, it promotes the release of endorphins, the body'd natural painkillers which help reduce muscle soreness and help keep you in a state of calmness.