How a sports/deep tissue massage can aid better running

Are you training for the Bath Half Marathon, (which is just a few weeks away in March), or maybe you’re training for another running event, whatever event you should be looking to incorporate massage into your regime.

We get many enquiries at The Bath Massage Co from runners asking about Sports massage and how it can help them; massage and running go hand in hand, and here’s why…

It is very likely that massage helps improve flexibility and reduces risk of injury, as well as delivering a whole host of other benefits too.

Running requires sustained, repetitive muscle contractions. The greater these contractions are, the greater the force generated is, and the more muscle fibers are required to shorten. These sustained, repetitive muscular contractions translate into speed, power, and distance allowing us to run further and faster. However, this can also translate to shortened, tight muscles, joint range of motion losses, and decreased circulation to compressed tissues.
Massage works to elongate the muscles, relieve muscle tightness, restore joint range of motion, and improve circulation.

Massage improves the effectiveness of the circulatory system.  This system is responsible for oxygen transfer, nutrient delivery, and waste removal at the cellular level. Our circulatory system delivers blood enriched with oxygen and nutrients, like glucose and electrolytes, to muscle tissue. It then picks up and removes muscle metabolic by-products and waste.

Furthermore, the circulatory system impacts all the other systems of the body too. Therefore, increasing the effectiveness of the circulatory system directly or indirectly impacts our entire body. Better circulation means better delivery of nutrients and oxygen to surrounding cells and tissues.

Therapeutic massage can elicit very specific physiological responses, such as, increased blood circulation, increased diameter of blood vessels, and decreased blood pressure. These effects are significant for everyone, but are of particular importance to a runner looking for ways to recover faster, prevent injuries, and improve performance.
Other Benefits include:

  1. Dilates blood vessels which promotes circulation and lowers blood pressure
  2. Assists venous blood flow
  3. Promotes rapid removal of metabolic waste products
  4. Improves the oxygen carrying capacity of red blood cell
  5. Improves pulmonary function by loosening tight respiratory muscles
  6. Reduces muscle soreness and fatigue
  7. Increases/restores joint range of motion
  8. Reduces cortisol levels and norepinephrine and epinephrine levels
  9. Restores posture and gait
  10. Improves connective tissue healing

It is important to note that the effects of massage are cumulative. This means that the effects and benefits increase with sequential, repetitive massages. Receiving one massage prior to a race will not reap the same benefits as a regular program of massage therapy throughout your training. Massage therapy also works best as a preventative program. Once an athlete sustains an actual injury, seeking medical attention comes first. After a proper diagnosis and treatment, massage therapy may become part of the recovery process.

When should you have a sports massage?
Massage treatment plans are very individual and we always create one for your individual needs. The most important goal is to set a regular schedule for your massages whether it is once a week, once a month, or every two months. Pre-race massages should be scheduled ideally 3-5 days before the race and, likewise, post-pace massages should be scheduled 3-5 days after a race when muscles are no longer sore to the touch.
Massage is a great training reward to look forward too! And, last but not least, between massages, drink lots of water, stretch after your runs, foam roll often, and eat clean healthy foods to extend the life of your massages.

So, if you’re in training and are interested in massage get in touch and we will help you with a massage plan for your forthcoming event.

The Bath Massage Company will be supporting Mentoring Plus at this years Bath Half Marathon event and providing runners complimentary post event massage.

Meet a…..Runner

Every month we are going to be blogging about some amazing and inspiring people from all walks of life and introducing you to some interesting therapies, inspiring companies and sharing some incredible individuals stories.

This month we have been chatting to Bristol based runner and Mum, Jen Forster. BMC owner, Polly, met Jen through This Mum Runs which is a community of women on a mission to be happier and healthier. Together they have battled through all elements, the heatwave of 2018, then the beast from the east, and now regularly run together with other females in Bristol. Here Jen tells us a little bit about what made her become a runner and what inspires her…..

Jen on completing the TMR Run60 programme.

Q: Jen, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

A: I live and work in Bristol, living in the Windmill Hill area of the city, it’s a great area to live in with a lovely community, fantastic park and loads of local shops. I work at We The Curious (which used to be At-Bristol Science Centre), so walk in to work most days; my daughter Zoe goes to school just nearby too, so we get our mileage in as a family!

Q: How did you get involved with This Mum Runs (TMR)?

A: I was looking at my Facebook feed last year and saw some photos of some of my friends who had finished the Bristol 10K – they looked so happy, and I felt so proud of them and thought “I wish I could do that” and then thought “hang on, I CAN do that”! But, I couldn’t actually run any distance at all, so a friend recommended TMR and the Run30 course. I signed up in June 2019 and completed Run30, before then signing up and completing Run60 before Christmas.

Q: How did you feel before your very first run?

A: I felt both nervous and excited, more excited I think! It was great, meeting lots of other women in exactly the same position of me, and learning all about who we’d progress through the programme. I felt so chuffed after my first session!

Q: Running can be hard work. How do find the time and motivation to run especially with children?

A: It is hard work to find the time – as a working parent with a child in school, finding time can be a challenge, but I’m starting to find a pattern. I tend to run twice a week (three times if I can), normally an evening run (which requires my husband to be back in time for bedtime) and then an early morning run on the weekend, when my husband and daughter are still in bed! The motivation totally comes from the friends that I’ve made during my running, as I often run with them – it’s the best tonic, having a chat with friends and being active at the same time.

Q; How has running changed you and your perspective about running or runners?

A: I’m really surprised how much it has changed me, and how much I’ve enjoyed the journey into becoming a runner. I’m learning loads of new things about myself all of the time (such as how running can affect or lift my mood, running and treating injuries), and what levels I push myself to. It’s also changed my body shape a bit, my legs feel stronger, and my tummy feels more trim, which is a welcome bonus!

I’ve always admired people that could run, and make it look enjoyable and easy – I’m not sure I’m one of those, but I’m proud to say that I’m a runner now! I’ve signed up for a few 10K events this year (including the Bristol 10K, which is where it all started for me), which I definitely wouldn’t have done last year!

Q: What is the best thing about TMR?

A: It’s impossible to say just one thing, but the people, the community and the support is AMAZING!

Q: Who or what are you’re inspirations?

A: My friends who I run with, and the amazing ladies of the TMR community inspire me every day – it’s so refreshing to see a positive and welcoming environment where achievements of every level are celebrated – whether it’s a half marathon, someone’s first run since having children, or something else entirely, it’s super inspirational.

Q: What are your running goals for 2019?

A: Well I’ve signed up for the Bristol 10K, as well as a few others, so I think I’ll be started a little collection of running numbers and medals hopefully! My aim for my first 10K is just to finish it, but I daresay that a few races in, I’ll probably be trying to beat my time. Running is addictive, in a really great way, and I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved in the last year. I’m looking forward to the next step of my running journey in 2019!

Jen and Polly after a misty morning run


Meet our therapist – Jo Greenwood

Q1. How long have you been a member of the team at the Bath Massage company?

I’ve been working at the Bath Massage Company for over 18 months now. I started out doing Saturdays but it’s since grown and I now practice Wednesdays through to Saturdays.

Q2. What did you do before you joined the company?

I was a career civil servant – so very different! I left in 2013 when my daughter was one, and decided to retrain, initially in talking therapies before finding my true home with the physical therapy of massage.


Q3. What treatments and therapies do you specialise in?

I qualified in Holistic Massage Level 4 at the Bristol College of Massage and Bodywork, and I’m a member of the Massage Training Institute (MTI). I love doing lovely slow, relaxing, deep tissue work, especially tackling clients’ tight shoulders and necks. I’ve done further training in myofascial techniques which I often incorporate if I feel the client would benefit from it.

I’m privileged to work with a lot of pregnant clients too and was fortunate to train with Susan Yates of the renowned Wellmother organisation. You’ll often find me using the gym ball in those sessions!

Q4. As a pregnancy massage therapist, what advice do you often find yourself giving clients?

To stay active throughout their pregnancies balanced with plenty of rest, especially if sleep is harder to come by in the latter stages of pregnancy. To let gravity take its course and relax after a day spent on their feet, by kneeling down and leaning onto a gym ball, sofa or chair. Their partners can also help by applying a little pressure to the sacral area of their lower backs which helps relieves tightness and aches in the lower back and hips – very welcome! Also, to quite literally rest with their feet up, which helps prevent swelling (oedema), especially in the ankles.
Most importantly, to listen to the advice of the medical professionals (and others), but to trust the wisdom of their own bodies too.

Q5. Do you have a favourite essential oil or blend, and why?

It’s got to be Rose Geranium – it’s uplifting and balancing and has that lovely, relaxing spa smell to it!

Q6. How do you relax and rejuvenate when you are not working?

I usually attend a yoga class on a Monday morning which I find really sets me up for the week. I go along to Huw Griffiths’ Mindfulness sessions in Larkhall when I can, and have attended a couple of Huw’s woodland sessions – always uplifting and life affirming. We’ve also taken over an allotment recently, and I find just being in that space relaxing. And on a Sunday, which is often the only full day I have with my partner and our 6 year old daughter, we love to go for a walk – Bradford-on-Avon to Avoncliff with a stop at the Cross Guns is a favourite of ours! Like a lot of Bath folk, we love Cornwall and it’s become a family tradition to head there at Easter for a break. I’m also lucky enough to have been brought up by the sea, and we regularly head back down to Dorset to visit friends and family – time spent at the coast is always rejuvenating!

Q7. What kind gestures do you appreciate the most?

Simple things – a smile, an acknowledgment, a door being held open, a text from a friend – the usual I guess! Brendan, my partner, always brings me a cup of tea in the mornings, which is always appreciated! I especially love spontaneous cuddles with my daughter, Hebe, and being presented with her artwork. If she and Brendan have been shopping, I often receive flowers at her request. I’m lucky that both Brendan and Hebe are two of the kindest people I know!

Q8. Where in the world could you see yourself living other than where you are now?

If my partner had his way, we’d be living where I grew up – on the south coast of Dorset in the Weymouth and Portland area, ideally with a couple of dogs and a house with a view of the sea! But I have to say, I feel very at home in Bath, and couldn’t see myself living permanently anywhere else. Mind you, a holiday home in Cornwall would be very welcome!

If you’d like to meet Jo for a treatment she currently is available Wednesday to Saturday  – to make an appointment please contact us.

Meet our therapist – Kasia Gigon

Q1. How long have you been a member of the team at the Bath Massage company?
I have been member of the team for almost 2 years now.

Q2. What did you do before you joined the company?
I am a mum to my 10 year old boy, Jakub and worked for the Thermae Bath Spa before joining the Bath Massage Company.

Q3. What treatments and therapies do you specialise in?
I specialise in sports massage and deep tissue therapy, and also offer relaxing massages such as Swedish, Hot Stone and have just started offering Warm Bamboo treatments.

Q4. Do you have a favourite essential oil or blend and why
love essential oils. My favourite is Rose Geranium because it is comforting, balances mood and at the same time it gives an energy boost. It also smells like heaven to me.

Q5. As a specialist in sports massage, what do you think is unique about your treatments?
I take a very considered approach in all treatments I provide. Listening to the clients needs and making sure that we are aiming for the same results is very important to me and the treatments I provide. As a sports massage therapist, I do not always agree with the ‘no pain, no gain’ rule – many people relate a sports massage with an unpleasant painful treatment but how I approach treatments is to always consider the individuals and their relevant needs.

Q6. How do you relax and rejuvenate when you are not working?
After long day at work, soaking in a hot bath and snuggling in bed with a good book, magazine, or watching a funny sitcom is what I need. However I love to be active and running is a favourite activity of mine so if my workday starts a bit later I’ll squeeze in a run first thing. My family is everything for me and free time usually means family time. As a family we love spending time on the beach or exploring new and old places. Even if we’re on sand, an old footpath, on our bikes – a few minutes outdoors, enjoying fresh air is just wonderful. 

Q7. What Is special about the place you grew up?
I grew up in Poland, in a region called Lower Silesia which is famous for its many castles and palaces (more than 100) which have so much history behind them and some very unique architecture to see. The breath-taking views of the beautiful Sudetes mountains are also very special and as someone who loves to be active, I spent much of my time in the mountains – hiking in the summer, skiing and cross-country skiing in the winter – it’s definitely worth a visit!

Q8. Where in the world is your favourite place to visit?
Croatia – it is the perfect combination of beach life with soaring mountains and breath-taking scenery. So far, I’ve managed to visit two of beautiful islands this country has to offer… only 1242 left!

If you’d like to meet Kasia for a treatment she currently is available Monday to Friday – to make an appointment with Kasia please contact us.

Meet our therapist – Mel Williamson









Q1. You’ve recently joined the Bath Massage company, what brought you to join the team?
It was a stroke of luck. I’ve just moved back to Bath and was looking for jobs in massage therapy,
but more specifically therapeutic, deep tissue, and pregnancy massage. I searched online for
massage companies in Bath and the first one that came up was the Bath Massage Company. I
went onto the website and loved everything I read, so I wrote to Polly on the off chance she was
looking for a new therapist and my timing couldn’t have been more perfect. What stood out to me
over other massage companies was the emphasis on focusing on the client as an individual, and
not just treating each client the same or following a set routine. It’s hard to find that.

Q2. What did you do before you joined the company?
I owned my own company for 6 years. I started as a Health Coach, helping people address their
diet and lifestyle, and then I trained in Massage Therapy and Reflexology.

Q3. What treatments and therapies do you specialise in?
I specialise in therapeutic massage which tends to be deep tissue, reflexology and pre- and postnatal
massage and reflexology. I have completed lots of CPD courses but I keep coming back to
the same treatments. I believe that being committed to two or three therapies can be more
effective than practising too many.

Q4. Do you have a favourite essential oil or blend and why?
I like to use a good quality eucalyptus oil as a lovely inhalation when the client first lies down, and
then when they turn over. On pregnant clients I substitute eucalyptus for cypress. Massage can
make you so congested and yet it is so important to breathe! I personally love the citrus scents…
grapefruit, lemon, and tangerine are favourites, as I find them very happy. Another favourite is
rosemary which really helps to clear my mind, and if I’m feeling really unbalanced I burn

Q5. As a reflexologist, what do you think complements your treatments?
As a reflexologist I think it is really important to love and understand feet. I especially love it when I
give a full body massage and pick up on areas that are tight or out of balance, and then continue to
work these areas on the reflex points on the feet to further help the issue. I completed a course in
Spinal Reflexology two years ago which focused on just working the spinal reflex on the foot. Each
nerve between the vertebrae connects to an organ in the body. So for example, if the thyroid gland
is out of balance, working C7 on the foot can really help. I have found it the most effective way to
treat clients so far.

Q6. How do you relax and rejuvenate when you are not working?
I walk everywhere and that is my therapy and exercise. Music tends to be my go-to when I’m
starting to feel low, I love playlists with happy folk music…it just makes everything instantly feel ok.

Q7. What kind gestures do you appreciate the most?
The simple ones. A bunch of wild flowers, a beautiful card, a smile. Of course the kindest gesture a
client can give is a referral!

Q8. Where in the world would you like to travel to next?
New Zealand…I get the impression they are big on health and wellness and all things natural,
which is just up my street. But not for a long time. I have no travel bug left in me for the moment!
I’m focusing on growing some roots for now.

If you’d like to meet Mel for a treatment she currently is available Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturdays – to make an appointment with Mel please contact us.

Meet our therapist – Polly Chadwick

Q1. You founded the Bath Massage Company in 2010. How has it changed since you first welcomed your first client?

When I look back to when I first started my business I really can’t believe how much it’s changed and grown. When I set up the business back in 2010 I had a vague dream that one day I would like to have other therapists working with me and be able to provide many different treatments to cater for everyone’s massage needs. Over the past 8 years I have been so fortunate to have met some amazing therapists and bring some of them into the business; we are now a team of 4 and between us offer a great selection of treatments including specialist pregnancy massage and Reflexology, Sports massage, Hot Stones and Warm Bamboo treatments to name a few. I am very lucky to have Kasia, Jo and Mel who are all excellent therapists and with them my business has been able to grow and become what it is today.       

Q2. What did you do before you started the company?

My background is Fashion and Beauty PR, I was working in the Middle East for 2 years prior to moving to Bath for a French/Arabic advertising agency where I worked with Luxury brands in the PR department. Prior to that I was in London working for various PR agencies. My degree was actually in fashion design and that was what I really wanted to do, unfortunately when I graduated the fashion industry was moving out of the UK and into Europe and jobs in design were few and far between which is why I ended up in the PR world of fashion.  

Q3. Are there any exciting plans for the bath massage company in 2019?

2018 saw quite a few new things happen with Mel starting in the team and new therapies such as Reflexology, Hot Stone massage and Warm Bamboo being added to our menu, and a new location in Bristol opening.  I’m working on some new plans for 2019 at the moment but it’s a bit early to reveal them ….you’ll have to watch this space!

Q4. What do you think makes a good therapist?

There are a few factors that make a good therapist, the first without a doubt is a good listener. That may seem odd as we use our hands to work, but actually listening to our clients is so important so that we can tailor the treatment and the type of massage work we do with them to reflect how they are feeling at the time. A client may come in and want deep pressure work but the next time want lighter more relaxing work so a therapist needs to be able to gauge what the client wants, and needs. We do not do a one massage fits all, we always aim to give a bespoke and individual treatment for everyone we see.

I think flexibility also is a very important trait to have. You never quite know what issues/aliments a client will arrive with and depending on how the consultation goes we may need to adapt the massage we decide do with them or bring in additional skills, being as flexible as possible makes sure that the client leaves feeling like they have had a great focused session and that we have gone the extra mile to cater for what they needed.

It goes without saying that a therapist needs to have excellent technique, but I also think what makes a good therapist stand apart is one who is always developing and learning. We all go on various courses and learn new skills every year to add to our skill set – one of the best compliments I have had is from a client who has been coming to see me for about 6 years who said “every time I see you it feels like you do different techniques and movements on me, no 2 massages every feel the same”.         

Q5. What treatments and therapies do you specialise in?

I specialise in all things maternity. I teach Hypnobirthing courses and Baby Massage courses as well as pregnancy massage. Both Jo & Mel also specialise in pregnancy massage and Mel in Reflexology, together this is our Bump, Birth and Baby offering. I love seeing clients from their pregnancies, through to the births and then meeting their babies afterwards in the baby massage classes is such an amazing journey that I always feel privileged to be part of.

Q6. Do you have a favourite essential oil or blend and why?

Without a doubt it Rose Oil, its always been my favourite oil. I’ve used it personally for years and then when I started massage I incorporated it into my treatments. For me it evokes memories of wonderful childhood summers playing in my Nana’s rose garden in Cornwall. Its very uplifting and a great hormone balancer

Q7. How do you relax and rejuvenate when you are not working?

Having an 11 month old baby doesn’t leave much time for relaxation to be honest, but since I’ve had my baby girl I’ve joined an amazing running club in Bristol called This Mums Runs,  – this is my head space time 3 times a week and it not only helps me feel like I’m getting fitter it actually helps me unwind and relax; the nights I run I have the best nights sleep!

Q8. What are you most grateful for?

Gosh this is a hard one to answer as there are so many things I’m grateful for. I’m grateful I have an amazing, beautiful baby daughter who makes me laugh so much and I just feel so blessed every day when I look at her. I’m truly grateful I found my soulmate who became my husband and together we have created a family life that is filled with love and fun and we have so many wonderful family and friends around us. And of course I am grateful that I have a successful business with amazing people that work with me, I absolutely love what I do and wouldn’t swap it for anything. I wake up most days and thank the universe for what I have, I do believe in thanking the universe for the abundance it offers and never to take anything for granted.    

If you’d like to meet Polly for a treatment or learn more about her Hypnobirthing and baby massage courses please contact us.