In a busy world why should a runner, or any athlete, take on the time and cost of making massage a regular part of their fitness routine?
Vigorous exercise such as running miles on the pavement, swimming laps in the pool, and spending hours on the bike causes micro trauma at the cellular level that is commonly referred to as inflammation. This inflammation can cause pain and muscular dysfunction that works against performance and overall wellness.
Some triathletes use over the counter NSAID’s like aspirin to combat inflammation, however these often cause stomach problems, hight blood pressure, and inhibition of muscle growth and regeneration.
Therapeutic massage heals tissue on a cellular level and actually offers all the benefits of decreased post workout inflammation while improving muscle growth & regeneration. After receiving massage your body naturally decreases the production of cytokines (harbingers of inflammation) while facilitating the function of muscular mitochondria (powerhouse of the cell and friend to endurance athletes everywhere) to promote muscle repair. (http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/4/119/119ra13)
While massage is a good idea for many reasons both psychological and physical, it is the unique combination of anti-inflammatory and increased muscle growth that makes massage so important to athletes.