How A Sports Massage Can Help Runners

Being a type of physiotherapy treatment, Sports Massages are ideal in terms of treating injuries in runners, as well as being a form of preventive treatment that helps to improve the health of a runner’s connective tissues, muscles, range of movement, balance of muscle and quality of posture.

A type of deep tissue massage

Wendy Lee is a Sports Therapist with SportsRelief Singapore.

Said Wendy Lee Yuet Leng, 48, a sports therapist with SportsRelief Singapore, “Basically a sports massage is a type of of deep tissue massage and we are using the technique of myofascial release, which is  targeting of trigger points – to release the tight muscles in runners. This will help runners to have a better range of movements and joint mobility, and in turn, reduce their risk of injuries.”

Wendy has a Diploma in Sports Massage from ITEC College, London, United Kingdom, and her clinic is registered under the Sports Massage Association of Singapore.

Added Wendy, “When runners run, their shoes may cause strain to their muscles but they are not aware of this. So they may keep doing it. Also their technique or form may be incorrect, and this will also cause injury. Other times, runners might over-train and this also puts them at a high risk of injury. But massage will help to release and relax their muscles and give them a better range of motion.”

Can aid injured runners in their recovery 

For injured runners, Wendy also points out that sports massage can aid them in terms of their recovery. She said, “For example we had a recent case of a runner having ITB (Iliotibial band) syndrome.”

Sports Massages can help injured runners.

ITB syndrome is a common knee injury in runners, and results in pain on the outside of the knee. This is generally caused by friction of the ITB on that side of the knee.

Continued Wendy, “In this runner’s case, we focused on the ITB and and released the tension of the tendons.”

She also mentioned that PF (plantar fasciitis) is another common cause of injury in runners, and which is also treatable via sports massage. PF is a common cause of heel pain in runners, with the symptoms coming gradually and the afflicted foot feeling the most pain when taking the first few steps in the mornings out of bed.

Said Wendy, “For runners who have PF, we can help them to realise the tight tendons and calf muscles, as well as their plantar, so they can run better and with less pain.”

Some Clients have positive words to say

Some of Wendy’s clients who have previously used her sports massage services, also feel that sports massage is a good way to help them with their injuries.

Said Jaya Palsamy, who had shared her testimonial on the SportsRelief Therapy page, “I had an unforgettable injury which left me almost bedridden… I could not lift my arms or close my fingers… Walking was a burden… After several sessions with Wendy… my body became more flexible and I was able to carry or lift lightweight objects…”

Sports Massage has helped Wendy herself, in terms of staying injury free in her own running.

Added Ivan Lau, who had also shared a testimonial, “After my first marathon… my muscles were very tight and I was in need of a sports massage…(Wendy) knows where my tight muscles are and she will do her best to release these tight muscles. So I have had no serious injuries so far.”

Sports Massage can be painful

Wendy also points out that unlike doing a normal massage, which is soothing and comfortable, having a sports massage can be painful to some extent. She said, “Runners always think that sports massage hurts a lot. There is pain when we first do it, because the muscles are tense, and because we dig in quite deep for a deep tissue sports massage, it huts. But when I do it, I would go very slowly into the body, listen to their muscles and follow the flow. I don’t simply whack and hit hard from the get-go.”

She added, “Even with this technique it will still be painful, especially with the first two strokes. But after the body relaxes, we can go deeper in and the pain may decrease over time.”

And if the amount of pain gets too intense, though, Wendy does not believe in taking painkillers such as Panadol, to lessen the pain. She said, “Taking medicine to release pain can be unhealthy for the body.”

Sports Massage can be painful.

Good for runners to have Sports Massage every month

To maintain their muscles and prolong their running life, Wendy stresses that it is generally good for runners to have a sports massage about roughly every month. She said, “Runners don’t need to come in regularly unless they are injured but having massages regularly helps to relax the muscles and also puts less strain and stress on the joints and tendons. Some may not, though, because of financial limitations.”

She added, “But for injured runners who need the sports massage for their recovery, I recommend weekly sessions; after recovery though your can come back for maintenance and to prevent more injuries.”

But for those who may not be able to go for a sports massage so often, though, Wendy adds that self massage techniques is still the next best option. She explained, “Manual massage done by a sports therapist is still more effective than a foam roller – but since not many people know how to perform a sports massage, a foam roller is the next best choice.”

She added, “The foam roller can only help certain parts of the muscles but our muscles have different groups; and doing a sports massage by a therapist is more concentrated on the origin of the muscles. If we use a foam roller, we can’t go deep into those areas and relieve all of the tight knots that a therapist is able to perform. But it’s still better than not doing any type of massage at all.”

When not to have a Sports Massage

However, Wendy stressed that there are times when you should not go for a sports massage. And these are firstly, immediately after a key race and secondly, when you are sick.

She explained, “If you come just after you have completed the race, your muscles will be very tight and it would be hard for the therapist to release the lactic acid. I recommend two days after the race instead. The massage services that are available at most running race villages, I feel that they are a form of quick relief, but will offer no long term benefits.”

Wendy feels that massage services offered at most post running race villages are more of a short term relief.

Continued Wendy, “And if you have the flu or are sick, going for a sports massage could mean the act of massaging could spread the virus even more throughout the body and make it worse. This is because a sports massage would induce in blood circulation around the body.”

What to expect from a sports massage

What can runners expect if they are going for a Sports Massage for the first time?

Said Wendy, “Many runners don’t know the difference between sports massage and normal TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) massages. Runners usually come and see us when they are injured and they have tried everything else to recover yet nothing has worked.”

She added, “The first time round they will feel pain, no doubt, but after their massage is over and they get up from the table, their legs will feel light and relaxed. Then when they return to their normal running routines, they may find that their body is lighter and their speed is faster. In fact I have had a lot of feedback that sports massage really helps them to perform better than other types of massage would.”

Wendy feels that a lot of runners may not know the difference between Sports Massage and TCM Massage.

Sports Massage Charges

SportsRelief Therapy charges $95.00 for a 45-minutes sports massage session.

In addition, though, you can also buy packages of 6 massage sessions chargeable at $85.00 per session, or a package of 10 sessions, also chargeable at $85.00 per session.

To find out more about Sports Massage and make an appointment, email Wendy at SportsRelief Therapy at sportsrelief.68@gmail.com or call 6338 4838.

As well, you can also take a look at their website at http://www.sportsrelief.sg 

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