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…
I try get one once a month. The guy who runs our Training Group (who is also an elite Masters Runner) gets a massage once a week.
Massages are indeed HEAVEN! I wish they fit better into my budget but yes, they make a load of difference.
I need a message stat! I am all sorts of tight! Marathon training is hard on your body! Although message goes from being relaxing to a bit painful…. But afterwards its like ahhhhh!
I totally agree!!! I use to get really bad knots in my neck and back from sitting at a computer all day and that was able to help me get rid of them! I am always looking for coupons for deals! Oh I could really use one right now with all this stress!!!
mmm, I can't wait until PT is over so I can afford my massage ninja lady. she's a beast.
If you have a Massage Envy in your area, give them a try. You can do a membership with them and get 1 hr massages monthly for $39.99. If you miss one month, you can get two the next month or give it to a friend. You can also put the membership on hold if you don't want to pay every month. I have only mentioned this to the husband 76950757 times. My bday is next month, got my fingers crossed that he has got the message!
I would like to be in the rabbit's shoes getting massages in the name of research!
Happy to hear that you are going to make friends with my BFF as well.
I try to go once every 3 months when all the lactic acid is really built up….LOL! At least once a quarter if not more.
I was so, so anti-massage. And then I went to a sports massage therapist and I was in heaven! I wish I hadn't been so stubborn.
Awesome find on the research! I've only ever done deep tissue massage a few times, but I too am a believer. Thanks for this reminder to a) not feel guilty about it and b) how good it is for us!
One of the many great reasons to live here in the Philippines! $23 for a 1.5 hour massage at a fancy spa, less than $10 for a not-so-fancy place (I usually get foot massages at the not-so-fancy ones). And the expected 10% tip is awesome. We tip the equivalent of $3 and we are considered high rollers. Woot!
If you are ever interested in coming to my side of town for a massage let me know. I go to a mom and pop place and the owner is awesome at massages. His hands actually vibrate into your muscles. It sounds creepy but it does wonders!
My massage guy is painful but so worth it. He has found kinks and sore trigger spots I never knew existed…