My very first client as a massage therapist was a runner who had resumed training as a New Year’s resolution and needed help with his plantar fascitis. Since then I’ve treated athletes post-competition, during training, and through injuries, but haven’t written about the relationship between exercise and massage therapy.
Massage therapy can help active people maintain flexibility and can help them feel better after strenuous activity. I’ve seen numbers as high as 60% faster recovery with massage therapy. Massage therapy can help to reduce inflammation and helps cells adapt to rigorous exercise. As well as the mechanical effects of a massage, I can also work with my clients to prevent injury by introducing exercises to correct muscle imbalances, and pointing out extra stretches that will help with their activities.
Specific athletic injuries, including sprains, sprains, tendonitis and bursitis have evidence based approaches that your massage therapist will discuss with you. Early stages will include reducing inflammation through manual lymphatic drainage and icing, moving on to preventing scar tissue formation and promoting healthy tissue remodeling using frictions and careful exercise. Long term muscle health is promoted by promoting tissue health and preventing fascial adhesions.