Can sports massage help you be a better runner? The answer most likely would be yes. Sports massage isn’t for everybody, but most people can at least enjoy the benefits of a relaxing massage. Massage therapy has been helping athletes for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks used massage for their athletes before and after exercise. Many professional sports teams have a massage therapist on staff to help with the athletes. Runners commonly use massage therapy to improve recovery time, increase performance and to prevent injuries.
Massage therapy has been shown to improve local blood and lymph circulation. Improved circulation can aid to bring oxygen and nutrients while removing carbon dioxide from the area around the cells of the body. Improved circulation can help heal tissues quicker thereby reducing recovery time with athletes.
A massage can help improve performance by improving function of the muscles, loosening tight connective tissues and increasing efficiency of movement. Muscles work best when they can contract and relax efficiently. When a muscle is tight or over contracted it won’t contract well. Massage therapy can help decrease muscle tension and allow it to be more efficient in its ability to contract and relax.
Connective tissues around muscles can get dense and tight and massage may help them move somewhat easier. When the muscle is not too tight and has the ability to contract and relax well it will then be more efficient muscle function and create more efficient patterns of movement. All of these factors together will help prevent injuries to the athlete.