I starting having regular sports massages when I got my knee injury 2 weeks before my first marathon, it had been recommended by a friend and I have no idea why I didn’t do this before. It would have been so beneficial to have done this from the start of my training instead of waiting until it was too late and I was already injured – who knows it could well have prevented the knee problem from happening. Not only does the sports massage help with recovery by raising blood circulation, it reduces tension and increases flexibility. I find it really helps me relax and eases my anxiety, always having a great night sleep that evening. For those of you who haven’t ever had a sports massage, it’s not all airy fairy – it’s a firm massage, deep into the muscles giving you that nice kind of pain we all know and love. I would certainly recommend finding a good sports massage therapist (Tina Clarke – http://www.tlcsportsmassage.co.uk/) for a regular massage if you are someone who does a lot of training or have an event coming up – don’t wait until you are already injured.
Typically sports massage is used to help with:
- Injury prevention
- Injury recovery
- Preparation for sports training and competition
- Recovery from sport and competition
- Maximizing performance
- Relieve deep muscular pain and muscular tension
- Relaxation and general well-being
Now, these are just a few good reasons to get a sports massage and a quick google search will give you a more in depth description of these things (using better words than I ever could).
However, I did want to touch a little bit more on the relaxation and general well-being benefit outlined above. I don’t want to keep banging on about the anxiety, I know a lot of people don’t understand it and it is very difficult to try and explain it to others – but I really do find my regular massage helps to ease the symptoms. Overthinking is one of the hardest things to address when trying to overcome anxious feelings and for the time I am having that massage my only concentration is on that massage. I am not letting my mind wander at a pace of Usain Bolt, I am (trying) to practice deep breathing which has been highlighted as something that can relieve anxiety. Along with the relaxing effect created from the massage, the human touch creates a calming effect and will assist in relaxation – which is something that does not come naturally to me. Sleeping, or lack of it tends to come hand in hand with overthinking, if you can’t turn your mind off you are certainly not going to be getting any sleep. This then leads on to lack of concentration and furthers the anxiety symptoms, the night of my massage I always get a decent night sleep which has a huge positive impact on my general well-being.
I don’t really understand why anyone who runs / trains wouldn’t have a regular massage as part of their routine.