Plymouth Harriers 10km Trail Run at Newnbury, Plymouth.
This event, for up to 400 entrants, involved a 10km trail run with additional shorter courses. On behalf of the university, a team of therapists attended this event to offer both pre and post event massage. Throughout the event I was surprised at how many runners had never experienced an event massage, which prompted my research into the benefits of this treatment. From this, I discovered discussion on whether the benefits of massage were valid enough for its popular use in aiding recovery (Poppendieck et al., 2016).
I found there to be limited research that was able to clearly conclude that massage can reduce injury, improve performance or encourage recovery (Weerapong et al. 2005). In a more recent review into massage and performance recovery, Poppendieck et al. (2016) also emphasised the continued lack of current clear supporting evidence on the benefits of massage on performance and injury prevention and questioned whether its popularity was justified. From looking at these two reviews I was then presented with the question as to why we were there and therefore decided to approach this topic from another non physiological perspective. Psychological effects of massage, in particular pre – event, on runners were measured in a study by Szabo et al. (2008) which found that running perceived exertion was reduced in subjects who had massage treatment prior to their event. This study on 30 female runners also found that perceived physical symptoms were reduced after 10 minutes of pre event massage and positive effects were experienced. Although this could be down to the suggested physiological responses, due to a lack of supportive evidence, it is likely to be a psychological response and therefore a reasonable argument in favour of this modality.
From the little evidence I did find on the benefits of event massage, (Poppendieck et al., 2016) revealed findings that support sports massage to be of greater advantage to untrained athletes compared with trained athletes. This information is relevant by way of event demography; a 10km event may attract more amateur runners than experienced, especially with the smaller courses available.
The event enabled me to recap on basic hygiene protocol with regards to cleaning equipment and patients before and after each treatment, especially due to the nature of the course and the mud they picked up during the competition.
Poppendieck, W., Wegmann, M., Ferrauti, A., Kellmann, M., Pfeiffer, M., & Meyer, T. (2016). Massage and Performance Recovery: A Meta-Analytical Review. Sports Medicine, 46(2), 183–204. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-015-0420-x
Szabo, A., Rendi, M., Szabó, T., Velenczei, A., & Kovács, Á. (2008). Psychological Effects of Massage on Running. Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, 2(1), 1. https://doi.org/10.5590/JSBHS.2008.02.1.01
Weerapong, P., Hume, P. A., & Kolt, G. S. (2005). Art:10.2165/00007256-200535030-00004. Sports Medicine, 35(3), 235–256. https://doi.org/0112-1642/05/0003-0235/$34.95/0