According to most sources, massage can reduce pain, prevent injury, promote relaxation and focus, and provide post-event recovery. I have definitely seen the benefits when my legs just feel flat out tired and sore. I wanted to do some google research of my own to see what science and medicine actually say about massage.
Now, most of the massage therapy research is tricky to conduct and there isn’t a whole lot on it. What I did find though is that if you go to http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ you can look up all sorts of stuff! Yay for google stalking! Unfortunately, I didn’t see anything specific to runners but there was lots of stuff on cancer patients and massage and those with lower back pain and massage.
Ok, so what DID I find by way of actual research then? Well, I found that a study on rabbits, yes rabbits, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise showed that “massaged muscles recovered significantly more function and strength after the four-day trial. Also, the muscles that were not massaged had more damaged muscle fibers and more white blood cells, which can indicate inflammation. The massaged muscles weighed less than the rested muscles, suggesting the massages prevented swelling.” (This article is at THIS link if you want to read the whole thing.)
Pretty good stuff right? I have decided to try to get in massages as often as I can. I know they can be costly but I actually found a place that’s cost effective AND does a great job. And no, it’s not that one place I went to before. What I thought all massage places were on the up and up?
If you haven’t ever gotten a massage, I say go for it. It’s totally worth it and I promise it’ll make your legs feel all better. Until your next marathon at least…