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Should I Get Sports Massage Immediately After A Run/Marathon?

Jogging, running and marathons are becoming increasingly popular and commonplace, and we often advise and recommend our patients to:

  1. train well in advance
  2. consult our sports/running physios to ensure your running/jogging gait is on point
  3. getting regular sports massages before any races to ensure muscles are not tight/shortened and in tip top length

One of the most common questions that our patients ask us:

Can i get a sports massage immediately after a run or marathon to increase recovery?

It's a really good and common question, and the short and direct answer is not within the first two to four hours at least.

You see, when you run a marathon/race (this also applies to any sports events like cycling, sprinting, football, dance etc), your body uses its energy stores for performance, and lots of lactic acid is created as a by-product of energy use.

If you have a sports massage within two (2) hours of finishing a race, what happens is that you move that lactic acid around your muscles and body, which creates and causes a lot more cellular damage, leading to:

  • increased general inflammation
  • increased general muscle soreness

The next couple of days.

After two hours, our bodies naturally breaks down this acid (neutralizing it all naturally, returning our muscles and body to its natural pH level), and then maybe you can get a sports massage then.

what else to do to decrease post-run muscle soreness?

Some other things you can do/consider doing:

  1. Hydrate lots and combine this with gentle walks to improve circulation that accelerates the breakdown/neutralization of the lactic acid

  2. Cool/ice baths or even soaking in swimming pool. Soaking your feet up to your calves in cool water helps too, to bring down swelling and improve circulation.

  3. Stay away from heating/menthol lotions, as they can create more inflammation.

  4. Sports massage after two to four hours after a race, or the next day.

  5. Once you're eating normally and urinating as usual, you can take an anti-inflammatory that's non-steroidal eg ibuprofen to help decrease the inflammation too.

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