Soft tissue massage is one of the oldest forms of healing in the world but can sometimes be overlooked as advances in modern medicine occur. Despite this, soft tissue massage has also made some advances in its research, techniques and practice. Massage is best described as “the physical action performed on the connective tissues of the body such as muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia”. These techniques range in depth, pressure and duration depending on the goals of treatment and the time period during which massage is carried out
, e.g. immediately pre and post event or in the weeks leading up to an event. So what are the proposed benefits of massage and in particular how will it be of help to all you brave marathon runners currently training for DCM ’16?
The benefits of massage are thought to be both physiological and psychological, working not only on your body but your mind also. Over the last number o
f years massage has been considered as
beneficial to patients with chronic pain syndromes, patients with high levels of str
ess and anxiety disorders, older adults with cognitive impairments, patients with muscle and joint disorders and athletes and sportspeople for recovery during and after performance. Some of the research however is lacking and more investigation is needed but it is safe to say that musculoskeletal therapists around the world use some form of massage and soft tissue therapies on a daily basis as part of their treatment programmes with patients and sports people.
The proposed psychological benefits of massage in preparation for a long endurance event such as a marathon include a decrease in anxiety levels and nerves felt immediately before competing and can also help to refocus and invigorate the athlete for the event ahead. A massage on the day of an event has been recommended to be light in pressure and fast in tempo to gently aid warm up of the soft tissues and not to leave the athlete with sore or dead muscles. A pre-event massage however, should never be used as a substitute for a full, proper warm up and should only be used in conjunction with your normal warm up routine.
The proposed physiological benefits of massage mentioned in the research include increased blood flow and improved circulation to the tissues, decreased lactic acid levels and muscle soreness and identification and relaxation of tight, contracted muscle fibres and trigger points. Massage can be used in conjunction with active recovery techniques in between sports events and during training programmes to aid with all of the above and help to increase performance.
At Athboy Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic all our therapists our qualified in Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Trigger Point Therapy and Dry needling. Call us today to make your appointment to let us help you achieve your goals in the Dublin City Marathon 2016.
Copyright © Athboy Physio and Sports Clinic 2016
References and Recommended Reading:
Goats, G C. “Massage–The Scientific Basis Of An Ancient Art: Part 1. The Techniques.”. British Journal of Sports Medicine 28.3 (1994): 149-152. Web.
Kargarfard, Mehdi et al. “Efficacy Of Massage On Muscle Soreness, Perceived Recovery, Physiological Restoration And Physical Performance In Male Bodybuilders”. Journal of Sports Sciences 34.10 (2015): 959-965. Web.
Best, Thomas M et al. “Effectiveness Of Sports Massage For Recovery Of Skeletal Muscle From Strenuous Exercise”. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine 18.5 (2008): 446-460. Web.
Castro-Sánchez, Adelaida María et al. “Benefits Of Massage-Myofascial Release Therapy On Pain, Anxiety, Quality Of Sleep, Depression, And Quality Of Life In Patients With Fibromyalgia”. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011 (2011): 1-9. Web.
Harris, Melodee and Kathy C Richards. “The Physiological And Psychological Effects Of Slow-Stroke Back Massage And Hand Massage On Relaxation In Older People”. Journal of Clinical Nursing 19.7-8 (2010): 917-926. Web.