Outside of the essentials, there are a few things that I would hate to live without—spicy potato chips, Rafael Nadal, dogs, and a good massage (and maybe sleeves with thumbholes).
A good massage is hard to beat. Most endurance athletes will tell you that it often takes a team to work out the kinks in our bodies to keep us moving forward. From healing my unhappy hamstrings and tight IT Bands to a soothing stress reliever, massage has been an integral part of my running experience, and I can’t imagine training for a race without regular massages.
Today’s interview with Portland massage practitioner, Clare Katner from East Bridge Wellness, completes my “healthy running” series. My first blog post checked in with an acupuncturist to find out why having your body full of needles is a good thing for runners, while my second post in the series explored why that downward dog can make us stronger and more efficient runners.
Now it’s time to turn to massage and find out why a good practitioner is an important part of a runner’s team to benefit both the body and the mind.
What is the benefit of massage for runners?
Massage has many benefits, but for runners it can be extremely helpful to increase recovery time between runs (or races), treat injuries, and aid in the removal of lactic acid, as well as increase muscle length to normalize balance.
What types of massage are best for runners?
During training or before a big race, I typically recommend sports massage style with vigorous movements. Following a big race or long run, a less intense massage can be very therapeutic and send inflammation-reducing signals to muscle cells to help with recovery. Ashiatsu therapy is for true deep pressure enthusiasts without the sharpness of an elbow.
How does massage therapy help prevent and treat running injuries?
Massage can significantly reduce adhesions and scar tissue due to old or new injuries, as well as stabilize tendons and ligaments to increase blood flow to specific areas. When you deeply massage a group of muscles it increases flexibility and lengthens the muscles, which is the key to the longevity of a runner.
How often should runners get a massage?
Everyone has different needs (and budgets), but for recovery and to maintain overall balance, getting a massage once a month can be helpful (maybe more if you have a race coming up). For treating running injuries, it really depends on the type of injury, but weekly massages for at least a few weeks may be necessary.
What in-home tools can you recommend between massage visits?
Tennis balls are one of my favorite ways to self-treat trigger points and are great for treating tight areas, such as hamstrings and gluteus (foam rollers work great, too). I also recommend Epsom salt baths and magnesium sprays to my massage patients.
Is massage therapy covered by insurance?
It depends on the type of health benefits you have and the willingness of a provider to bill. In Portland, large group plans like OHSU and Intel often have these benefits under complimentary care or physical therapy. I’ve found that most massage therapists don’t bill insurance. My massage practice, East Bridge Wellness, specializes in medical massage and billing. We also work with insurance cases related to auto injures and can work with all auto insurance companies.
Can you share a little bit about yourself?
I started practicing massage 20 years ago right out of college with an Education degree. I started my training in England and when I moved to the U.S., I began to teach and work with massage patients from very diverse backgrounds, as well as competitive athletes with a focus on runners and cyclists.
For those located in Portland, what is the best way to contact you?
You can connect with me online at East Bridge Wellness or reach me at 503-314-9297 to schedule an appointment or speak to one of our massage therapists if you have any questions.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share?
Massage is one of those techniques that can transform people not only physically, but also mentally. The massage sessions at East Bridge Wellness are tailored to work an athletes mind for peak performance. We don’t just focus on the problem; we facilitate a focus on the most positive outcome to allow the athlete to continue to do what they love for many years to come.
Has massage complimented your running? Please share your experience. For those who are located in Portland, I can’t say enough about East Bridge Wellness – Clare and the other massage practitioners at the Center are top notch and keep me running up mountains.