Massages for Runners and when to get them
For all runners, whatever your level whatever your goals massage is an essential component of every runners conditioning and recovery routine. Massage has long been a part of a runner’s training program. You’ve no doubt heard many of the benefits of massage as improved circulation and less muscle soreness but that is not all.
Of course there are many different massages, but what would be the most effective for runners. Well, it depends. Several factors come into play, your body, the goals you have set for yourself, your routines and your preference.
Here is a short explanation of some of the options
This kind really works into the soft tissue, targeting a specific area in order to either prevent injury or improve for it to be effective for runners. It will also help for your overall physical function, flexibility and performance and may help in reducing the event of injury. This is not only beneficial for athletes but also for those that have a physically demanding jobs.
When to get it: It can be used in various ways either before or after an event but also when a specific issue needs to be addressed, with a spot treatment or as regular maintenance. If it is the calf that needs to be treated, this will be the only spot the practitioner will focus on. So, it is in this sense different from a Californian Massage as set out below.
Deep Tissue MassageA deep tissue massage can be just as intensive as a sports massage, and also works specific tight spots and not only in the deep muscle but also on the superficial layers of fascia. This technique more broadly addresses superficial tissue, muscles, and fascia, but with sufficient pressure to mend stiff muscles and address tight knots that can disrupt circulation, cause inflammation, and limit range of motion.
When to get it: This would be recommended especially during periods of hard training as it focuses on an entire muscle and not only a specific trouble area. It’s nice to have especially, when you are training hard and not suffering from any injury. As this is heavily intense it should not be practiced days before or after a running event and in general a monthly treatment would be enough.
This is a Massage which is gentler and more focuses on the overall wellbeing and reducing stress levels. Its aim is to create relaxation and wellbeing. This technique sculptures and envelopes the body. The relaxing effect is felt through the flow of rhythmic movements, light strokes, kneading and stretches, followed by long graceful movements which harmonise and strengthen the body and the mind.
When to get it: Californian massage is one of the best massages to get on a regular basis. It is intensive enough to manage your ongoing recovery needs, but won’t add further muscle strain. It can be employed in the days before an event or as a recovery a couple of days after the event.
If you are a regular runner (or regularly do any other physical sport), a good routine is to go for biweekly or monthly massages which will support your ability to perform, recover, and ward off injury.
It is interesting to see today how even major corporate businesses are now acknowledging the importance of sleep and how this also leads to better productivity. At the insurance company Aetna, (50 000 employees), employees that sleep for 20 nights for seven hours or more are given $25 a night, up $500 a year. Their wellness program also includes, yoga, meditation and mindfulness. Here you can read or listen to more about this initiative: Paid to Sleep
The best way to get a good night’s sleep
There are of course several tips on how to get the best night sleep and it may vary depending on your specific condition. The ancient Vedic practice, Ayurveda, that was initiated more than 5000 years ago in India has become very popular today within the wellness industry. There are many facets to this Vedic practice, where it would be advised to include mindfulness in life, a well-balanced food regime with various kinds of healing herbs, and Ayurveda massage for healthy sleep. Moreover, this practice emphasis the importance of taking things easy, slowing down the pace, and giving ourselves some tender loving care regularly.
In general, we often hear today that it is very important to get a good night’s sleep, at least 8 hours uninterrupted sleep per night, although this may vary for individuals. The amount and quality of the sleep you get really has an impact on your emotional and physical health. Healthy sleeping allows the body and the mind to finish processing what has gone on during the day and also assists with the healing on a cellular level. It is of outmost importance to not neglect your sleep.
If your sleep patterns are not ideal, there are ways to improve those but you need to plan ahead. Here are a couple of suggestions of how to improve your sleep patterns.
1. Daily exercise
This does not have to be a high impact exercise but all kinds of exercise are known to have positive effects on sleep. However, intensive exercise should be avoided very close to your bedtime as it may increase your adrenaline levels and thereby make it difficult to sleep.
2. Eating habits before going to bed
Have an early light meal, at least two hours before you are going to bed, and ideally without any alcoholic beverages or beverages with caffeine. You may have a nice warm cup of organic tea before you go to bed. Choose a blend that is calming and puts you in the right mood for bedtime.
3. Turn off laptops, cellular phones and other electronic devices
This is not anything new. Several studies show the effect of too much stimulation before bed having a negative effect on your sleep and especially the blue light that is emitted from the screens. Preparing for bedtime should really be a slowing down process, where your body has already started to unwind and is therefore more receptive to falling asleep. A relaxing bedtime routine allows you to separate sleep time from stress, excitement, anxiety which may make it more difficult to fall asleep. Reading a book could be part of a good bedtime routine.
4. Bed Time
Try to put in place good bedtime habits. It is said that the best time to sleep is by 10 pm. The deepest and most regenerative sleep is between 10 pm and 2 am. Afterwards, the sleep is more superficial. If you are not used to this try going to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual for a couple of nights, and then do it again and over again until you hit the magic hour for your bedtime.
5. Once in Bed
Make sure that the room is cool, around 18 degrees. Keep the room dark and free from any noise that may be disturbing. Make sure that you are comfortable. This may for example be having a warm cosy pair of socks on, or a pillow between your legs and knees to ease any pressure off the hips. You know what gets you comfortable. Do not neglect the quality of your mattress, which does definitely also have an effect on your sleep.
“Getting a good night’s sleep is an effortless technique to create longevity and health. Deep rest during the night helps you fight stress, maintain a healthy weight, and keeps your energy levels high. Timing your sleep is like timing an investment in the stock market – it doesn’t matter how much you invest, it matters when you invest.”
Kulreet Chaudhary, M.D.
Welcome to our Massage and Relax blog. We will aim at providing you with monthly topics of interest in relation to wellbeing and massage. We will also post articles and other information in relation to subjects requested by our clients. This month of May we start off with neck and shoulder care between massage appointments. Enjoy your reading !