Kaiser Permanente Training Tips

Benefits of Pre and Post Marathon Massages

Katie Hyzl, Master of Arts (Environmental Leadership, Naropa University), Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Yoga Teacher; Kaiser Permanente Centers for Complementary Medicine

Pre-event massage can be an excellent way to help prime your body to be able to perform better, for longer and with less injury. The intent and application of pre-event massage may differ dramatically from the typical notions of ‘massage.’ Pre-event massage is delivered minutes before the athlete begins their event. It is area-specific, highly invigorating and works to activate muscles, joints and the Central Nervous System. The therapist works quickly to find and release unnecessary muscle spasms and contractions, which will help the muscle perform with more ease and less fatigue. Tell your therapist where you tend to fatigue first on your runs and be sure to have them work this area. Joint Range of Motion is a technique often utilized by sports massage therapists to ensure freedom and ease of movement during the event.

Post-event massage helps facilitate relaxation and rehabilitation and works aids in the restoration of your tissues. Techniques employed here are slower and deeper; your therapist will work to calm down the Central Nervous System and to activate Parasympathetic function. In other words, post-event massage helps the athlete move from fight-or flight into rest and digest mode and taps into the body’s self-healing capabilities. During your post-event massage, your therapist will work to address any specific injuries you have accrued during your run and to help reduced DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) by flushing out metabolic waste and brining in fresh nutrients. An emerging body of research shows that not only does massage aid in physical recovery, but it aids psychological recovery as well.

The body responds to consistent input. If you incorporate regular massage throughout your marathon training, your body will respond more efficiently to pre and post event massage.

Adapted from the MTIC curriculum Sports Massage module

At the Kaiser Permanente Center for Complementary Medicine, our mission is to provide personalized complementary care with an emphasis on preventive measures, pain reduction, and patient education. We have five locations in the Denver/Boulder metro area dedicated to the treatment methods of chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage. Learn more at http://www.kpccm.org/ or visit us in the Kaiser Permanente booths at the 2017 Kaiser Permanente Colfax Marathon where you can meet some of our providers as well as receive a free, 10-minute massage.

Some content adapted from and provided by other resources – Credited accordingly above.