What are the benefits of massage for walkers? Where can you get massage? Can you do it yourself?
Sports massage can relieve muscle tension. After a long walk your muscles can become knotted - despite stretching. Knots can also develop in areas of old injuries and through overuse.
These knots can throw off your body balance and posture as you baby the area that is tense and sore. This may lead to poor performance or even injury. Massage can work out those knots, relieving the stress they can place on muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.
It has long been claimed that massage increases the blood flow to areas massaged and helps the body get rid of lactic acid and toxins. This has not been confirmed by research - although one study found that the athletes felt much better psychologically after massage compared to simply resting after exertion.
Regular massage is a common part of training for serious athletes. If you are training for a marathon or an Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk or International Marching League multi-day walk, you may want to begin using sports massage to work out the kinks and knots before they cause problems.
The areas that are the most stressed in endurance walking are: hamstrings, quadriceps, adductors, gastrocnemius, knees, ankles, plantar fascia, piriformis, gluteals, iliopsoas. Walkers who have back problems may benefit from a back massage. And any walker can enjoy a nice foot massage.
Finding a Sports Massage TherapistLike many walkers, I first took note of massage therapy at big walk/run events such as marathons and relays. Often the event provides a massage area, either free or a nominal charge, and you may sign up after finishing the event. This is one way of locating local therapists, who use these events as advertising.
Massage therapists are licensed or regulated in 30 states in the USA, and the laws will vary around the world. Sports massage is a specialty, although the techniques are common to most massage training.
Finding the Right Therapist
When shopping for a massage therapist, keep in mind that there are many different techniques. You may love or hate deep massage - that's OK, the therapist often has other techniques that may suit you better. Or you may want to choose a different therapist whose technique feels better to you. Be a savvy consumer and tell the therapist what you may prefer, or ask him/her to explain why the technique they use is beneficial to you.
Let Your Browser Do the Walking
You can search for a massage therapist in your area or wherever you may roam on the internet. Massage therapy associations have locator services and can help you find qualified therapists.
- Massage Therapist Locator- AMTA
- Find a Nationally Certified Practitioner- NCBTMB
- ABMP MassageFinder- You can search by type of massage therapy.
A massage therapy appointment can cost from $30 - $200 US depending on the practitioner and their skills and qualifications.
You may prefer to learn to massage yourself. You may also train a friend or family member in massage.
Classes are available at many local colleges in massage technique, often as an evening class. These courses are less formal than those for people who are getting their massage therapy license. For the price of a couple of professional massages, you can learn enough to keep yourself and your friends knot-free.
Yes, you can massage yourself. Browse the links to various techniques, including those that use a tool such as The Stick.