Whether you are a recreational runner or run competitively, you should consider adding massage therapy into your regular routine. Some people assume that massage therapy is only 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
According to some estimates, 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. 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 against 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 therapy, 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 reason why runners should seek massage therapy is because it improves blood flow. Poor circulation can lead to a number of health problems, including kidney and liver disease. Massage therapy works to stimulate blood flow throughout the body, allowing to reach vital organs in less time.
If you’ve ever ran competitively in a half-marathon 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 try massage therapy. A study conducted by researchers at the Flagstaff Medical Center in Arizona found massage therapy to create an “overall positive result in the patient’s ability to deal with the challenging physical and psychological aspects of their health condition [chronic pain]” (source).
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