The Studio Durham House Blog | The power of massage for runners

Massage for runners

Following yesterdays London Marathon in which over 40,000 participants crossed the finishing line. We thought we would give you a rundown on the benefits of massage for runners.

As many of you could see, the few professional runners taking part have an entire team helping them succeed. Whilst their coach tends to be the one doing most of the talking– the elite also see sports psychologists, strength coaches, nutritionists, a variety of doctors, and of course, massage therapists.

Massage has long been a part of a runner’s training program. You’ve no doubt heard many of the benefits of massage: improved circulation, less muscle soreness, and a removal of exercise waste products like lactic acid.

But much of what we think is true actually isn’t. Here’s a quick example: lactic acid (or lactate) is removed from your muscles within minutes of accumulating. And it’s not actually responsible for sore muscles.

So what are the actual benefits of massage for runners? If massage doesn’t clear lactate from your muscles, how can it help your running?

The benefits of massage for runners

The major benefit of massage is that it relaxes tense muscles and removes adhesions or minor scar tissue between muscles and fascia, a fancy word for the sheath or casing that surrounds your muscles. Unneeded tension and adhesions can restrict movement and impair your range of motion, potentially leading to abnormal movement patterns that can cause overuse injuries.

Now, obviously only a small percent of yesterday marathon runners had access to a massage therapist, however, if you do enjoy a massage here are some tips below that you can either try yourself, or ask a partner or friend to do for you.

What should I do

Firstly, Massage right after a hard race or workout (or maybe even the day after if you’re still significantly sore) is counterproductive to the recovery process. And massage right before a race might leave you sore on the starting line. Realistically, applying pressure to already sore muscles will be uncomfortable, so it’s best to wait a couple of days after a race before you get your massage.

Self-massage offers many of the same benefits and you only need a few simple tools: Firstly, you could try a foam roller. These come in all shapes, sizes and can have differing levels of firmness. Try simply rolling the muscles along the muscle fascia. In addition, a massage  can go deeper and be used well for specific trigger points. But be careful: deeper pressure isn’t necessarily better. Muscles can tighten up as a defense mechanism, so stick with relatively gentle pressure.

If you do decide you would like someone else to do it. The massage team at Durham House Chiropractic have a huge amount of skills and experience to help you get over your post marathon legs. But what massage is best? Well mostly it depends on you and what you need it for.

What Are the Best Types of Massage for Runners?

There are three types of massage that are best for runners and all are used in different situations and at different times.

Deep Tissue: this is what most of us think about when we think about a “sports massage” – a massage that works the entire muscle while focusing on specific tight spots in both the deep muscle and also the superficial layers of fascia.

This type of massage is more holistic, so this is best used during periods of hard training. Since it focuses on your entire muscle, rather than a particular trouble area, it’s great when you’re training a lot but don’t have a specific injury.

Active Release Technique (A.R.T.): this massage modality has become popular in the last decade. Combining trigger point massage with movement by the therapist, this type of massage is designed to break up scar tissue and improve mobility.

A.R.T. is best used when you have a specific injury where scar tissue may be impairing the healing and recovery process. A good therapist can determine where any adhesions may be and then break them up while improving functional flexibility in the tissue.

Swedish: This is more a relaxing, typically soft-pressure massage that doesn’t go deep into the muscles. While it likely won’t help with muscle adhesions or scar tissue, a more relaxing massage still has many benefits for runners.

Before a race, a Swedish massage can help improve relaxation, muscle tension, and lower your stress levels without damaging or stressing the tissue.

If you would like to try a massage. Visit our website www.durhamhousechiropractic.co.uk and get in touch.

The Studio Durham House Blog | How do sports massage and pilates work together

Pilates at the Studio Durham House

Firstly, what is Pilates?

Pilates is a form of exercise which concentrates on strengthening the body with an emphasis on core strength. This helps to improve general fitness and overall well-being. It concentrates on posture, balance and flexibility. In Pilates the chance of injury has been found to be much lower than with other more strenuous forms of exercise.

Pilates also focuses on the mind-body connection. While doing the various exercises your mind needs to be constantly aware of your breathing and the way your body moves.

Because Pilates can be modified to provide either a gentle strength training program or a challenging workout, most people would have no problem with this form of exercise. It is suitable both for beginners and for people who already exercise regularly.

But i though Sports massage was just for sport people? 

Sports massage is a type of massage that focuses on deeper layers of tissues. It involves techniques such as kneading, skin rolling and trigger pointing which helps to improve flexibility, reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), prevent injury and break down tension.

Sports massage, in conflict with its name, is not only used for sports people. People who work in an office all day or have a job where they are lifting heavy objects or drive for long hours can also benefit from having a sports massage. It helps to relieve stress, improve posture and increase relaxation.

How do they work together?

Pilates ultimately is a workout for your muscles. You are putting your muscles under tension which will ultimately lead to some muscle soreness. However, where Pilates and massage go together is that they can both be used to elongates the muscles, improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility. A body with balanced strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured.

In addition, regular sports massage helps to break down muscular tension by increasing muscle temperature and encourage muscles to relax. This allows the length of a muscle to increase allowing an increase in movement and therefore further preventing injury.

Moreover, Pilates helps to further improve and maintain your posture by increasing the strength of your upper back and neck flexor muscles. A combination of both regular Pilates and massage will prevent tension and poor posture from returning. This can help alleviate both acute and chronic pain caused by injury, poor posture, stress, tension and weakness.

To summaries, sports massage has been found to help reduce pain by improving recovery post injury by improving strength and mobility. Combining both massage and Pilates would ensure pain is eliminated and prevented  from returning.

Try a combination of Pilates and Massage the Durham House, Farnham. 

Because Pilates can be modified to provide either a gentle strength training program or a challenging workout, most people would have no problem with this form of exercise. It is suitable both for beginners and for people who already exercise regularly.

If you’re a beginner you can start with basic exercises and then once you’ve mastered those, you can work on the more advanced moves. It’s a good idea when you’re just starting out in Pilates to go to Pilates exercise classes or have a private instructor. This way the instructor can make sure that you are doing the exercises correctly to avoid any injury.

If you would like to find out more, visit our website www.durhamhousechiropractic.co.uk or www.thestudiodurhamhouse.co.uk.

The Studio Durham House Blog | Fun Yoga Poses For Kids This Easter

Kids Easter Yoga

If you’re looking for a bit of fun with the family during the Easter Holidays. Then why not try out these Easter friendly Yoga poses.

The following kid-friendly yoga postures have been specifically sequenced to invite flow from one pose to the next. But feel free to shorten or lengthen the sequence to suit the ages and needs of your children. Make this Easter yoga experience your own.

PRETEND TO BE A CHICK OR DUCK – SQUAT POSE

Come down to a squat with your knees apart and bend your arms, pretending they are the wings of a duck. Then try waddling and quacking like a duck.

PRETEND TO BE A PUPPY – DOWNWARD-FACING DOG POSE

Step back to your hands and feet in an upside-down V shape, with your buttocks up in the air, and stretch like a puppy.

PRETEND TO BE AN EASTER HAT – TABLE TOP POSE

Come to an all-fours position with your fingers spread out and palms flat on the ground. Ensure that your back and neck are in a straight but neutral position. Your shoulders should be over your wrists, and your hips should be over your knees while the tops of your feet are flat on the ground. Pretend to be an Easter hat blowing in the breeze.

PRETEND TO BE A BABY LAMB – COW POSE

On all fours, look up, arch your back, and open your chest. Pretend to be a baby lamb munching on hay and say “baa.”

PRETEND TO BE AN EASTER BUNNY – HERO POSE WITH BUNNY BREATH

Come to rest upright on your heels with your palms resting on your knees and take four to six short breaths then a long exhale.

PRETEND TO BE A LADYBUG – CHILD’S POSE

Sit on your heels, slowly bring your forehead down to rest on the floor in front of your knees, rest your arms down alongside your body, and take a few deep breaths. Pretend to be a ladybug in the garden.

PRETEND TO BE A BABY TURTLE – EXTENDED CHILD’S POSE

Sit on your heels, slowly bring your forehead down to rest in front of your knees, place the palms of your hands flat out in front of you, and take a few deep breaths. Imagine being a baby turtle resting on a rock.

PRETEND TO BE AN EASTER LILY – FLOWER POSE

Sit on your buttocks, keeping a tall spine, then lift your bent legs while balancing on your sitting bones. Weave your arms under your legs with your palms facing up. Pretend to be a blossoming Easter lily.

PRETEND TO BE AN EASTER EGG – EGG POSE

Balance on your buttocks while hugging your knees to your chest.

PRETEND TO BE AN EASTER BASKET – BOAT POSE

Balance on your buttocks with your arms and legs straight out in front of you in a V shape. Keep a straight spine and open chest. Pretend to be holding Easter eggs on your belly as if you were an Easter basket.

PRETEND TO BE A BUTTERFLY – COBBLER’S POSE

Sit on your buttocks with a tall spine, bend your legs, place the soles of your feet together, and gently flap your legs like the wings of a colorful butterfly.

PRETEND TO BE A RAINBOW – BRIDGE POSE OR WHEEL POSE

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Rest your arms down alongside your body, with your palms flat on the ground. Tuck your chin into your chest and keep your spine straight. On an inhale, lift your buttocks to create the arches of a rainbow.

Do you have any favorite Easter books to go with your Easter yoga poses? We’d love to hear your recommendations?

The Studio Durham House Blog | The History of massage therapy

Durham House Chiropractic

A history of massage therapy.

A Form of Massage Emerges in India

Started practicing massage in approximately 3,000 BCE*, possibly earlier

Believed to be of divine origin and passed down orally through generations, Ayurveda is the traditional holistic medical system in India. Ancient seers and natural scientists developed this system based on centuries of studies, experiments and meditations.

Texts detailing Ayurvedic principles and practices were written some time between 1500 and 500 BCE. Based on these texts, Ayurveda was widely adopted throughout India and Southeast Asia.

Ayurveda views that individuals incur illnesses and diseases when they live out of harmony with their environment. To treat their conditions, individuals must restore their natural mental and physical balance by reestablishing harmony between themselves and the world around them. At that point, they can begin to heal naturally.

Based on the patient’s health imbalances, constitution and the time of year, Ayurveda recommends how to use the five senses to interact with the environment in order to create balance. Treatments in Ayurveda include diet and herbalismaromatherapy, color therapy, sound therapy and touch therapy.

A Hint of the Massage Culture Appears in Egypt and China

Started practicing massage between 3000 and 2500 BCE

The earliest written records of massage therapy were discovered in Egypt and China. Tomb paintings in Egypt depict individuals being kneaded by others. Furthermore, Egyptians are credited with creating reflexology in approximately 2500 BCE. In this system, the practitioner applies pressure to specific points or reflex zones on the feet and hands. In turn, the recipient experiences beneficial effects on the areas of the body that connect to those zones.

In China, texts documenting the medical benefits of massage therapy date back to approximately 2700 BCE. The Chinese tradition of massage therapy was developed from the combined expertise and methods of doctors in traditional Chinese medicine, practitioners of martial arts, Buddhists and Taoists who viewed touch as essential to their spiritual yoga training, and laymen who offered massages for relaxation.

Chinese massage methods originated from the principle that diseases and illnesses arise due to a deficiency or imbalance in the energy in specific pathways or meridians that represent physiological systems. Through massage and other specific bodywork techniques, energy will flow more harmoniously through these pathways, allowing the body to heal itself naturally.

Techniques include Tui Na, amno, acupuncture and acupressure, to name a few. Practitioners may complement massage treatments with herbal remedies, dietary therapy and exercise recommendations.

Monks Bring Massage Therapy to Japan

Started practicing massage in approximately 1000 BCE

Starting around 1000 BCE, Japanese monks studying Buddhism in China observed the healing methods of traditional Chinese medicine, including massage therapy. Japan soon began to import and customize Chinese massage techniques, giving rise to traditional Japanese massage or anma, which grew into Shiatsu.

The primary goal of Shiatsu is to raise the energy level in the patient. In turn, this increased energy level regulates and fortifies the functioning of the organs and stimulates natural resistance to illnesses.

Massage practitioners stimulate pressure points in the body in an effort to rebalance the patient’s energy. They use their thumbs, fingers and palms, working without needles or other instruments. Through treatment, patients can achieve balance in both their physical body and emotional well-being.

Athletes and Philosophers Introduce Massage to Greece

Started practicing massage between 800 and 700 BCE

Derived from the Eastern philosophies and practices, massage progressed into Western civilization in approximately the eighth century BCE.

Athletes in Ancient Greece employed massage to keep their bodies in peak condition prior to competitions. Physicians of the time used herbs and oils in combination with massage techniques to treat many medical conditions. Greek women recognized the benefits of these aromatic oils and used them as beauty treatments on their skin.

In the fifth century BCE, Hippocrates prescribed “friction” to treat physical injuries and instructed his physician colleagues on the benefits of rubbing to help the body heal itself. Moreover, he promoted a combination of massage, proper diet, exercise, rest, fresh air and music to restore the body to a healthy state.

“Do as the Romans Do” – Massage Spreads to Rome

Started practicing massage between 200 and 100 BCE

In Rome, during the first century BCE, Galen, a physician to many emperors, began using massage therapy to treat different types of physical injuries and diseases. Following Hippocrates’ principles, Galen believed in exercise, healthy diet, rest and massage as integral pieces in restoring and maintaining a healthy body.

While the wealthy received massages in their homes by personal physicians, many Romans were treated in public baths where trainers and doctors delivered massages. The recipients would first bathe themselves and then receive a full body massage to stimulate circulation and loosen their joints. Massages typically included oils to benefit the skin.

Highly popular in Roman culture, the public baths eventually earned a reputation as being more about excess and the pursuit of pleasure instead of as an avenue for healing. In the fourth century CE**, the Roman Emperor Constantine condemned the public baths for adding to the abuse of sex in Roman culture.

Europe Recognizes Massage’s Healing Powers

The 17th through 19th centuries CE**

Massage therapy declined in popularity and practice in the West until approximately 1600 CE. Scientific breakthroughs in medical technology and pharmacology were changing the foundation of modern medicine. Manual methods of healing faded from view.

Between 1600 and 1800, numerous physicians and scientists observed and documented the benefits of massage. However, Western techniques made few advances until the 19th century.

In the early 1800s, the Swedish physician Per Henrik Ling developed the Swedish Gymnastic Movement System. This system incorporated massage with medical gymnastics and physiology. Techniques included stroking, pressing and squeezing, and striking to manually treat physical issues.

The United States, Massage and the Wellness Boom

The 20th century through today

Through the early part of the 20th century, an increasing number of new and rediscovered massage techniques were documented and practiced. In particular, massage was used to treat World War I patients who suffered from nerve injury or shell shock.

However, massage remained out of the mainstream as a form of treatment for many years. It was perceived as a luxury reserved for the wealthy. Furthermore, its reputation endured another unsavory period with the advent of massage parlors where the practice became associated with the sex trade.

In the latter half of the 20th century, rising interest in natural healing methods revitalized massage. More and more states started to regulate the practice, and industry standards in licensing and education emerged. As a result, massage earned a place as a legitimate and respectable form of alternative and complementary medicine and because recognized in society’s wellness boom—the focus on disease prevention through maintaining wellness.

Today’s massage therapists practice a multitude of techniques originating from ancient methods. From those roots, they remain inspired by a goal cultivated centuries ago – to help others heal their physical and emotional well-being and experience a higher quality of life.

Sources: Holistic Online, Massage-Wire.com, PlanetHerbs.com, naturalhealers.com.