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 an….Osteopath

Continuing our monthly interviews, this month we had the pleasure of talking to Marianne Carpenter of Bath Spa Osteopathy.

Marianne is an award-winning Osteopath and owner of Bath Spa Osteopathy, next to Green Park Station in Bath. She also lectures and teaches anatomy at Swansea Medical School.

Q: So what exactly is osteopathy?

A: When I tell people I’m an osteopath, most people will say something like “you fix people’s back pain, right?” Well, right and wrong – I do get great results for bad backs, but in an average day, I see patients with everything from digestive problems or persistent cramps to migraine headaches and fibromyalgia. Osteopathy was originally designed as a completely alternative healthcare approach to the body in health and disease. For example, osteopathic treatment was so effective during the deadly Spanish ‘Flu epidemic in the early 1900’s that osteopaths were eventually drawn into the mainstream healthcare system in the USA as equivalent medical doctors


Q: How does it work?

A: Osteopaths use their hands to find and treat areas of restricted movement in the body.  This might be in joints, muscles, connective tissue (tendons, ligaments, scars) or even the visceral organs. These restrictions can alter your posture and the way you move, but they can also pinch nerves or blood vessels. Osteopaths believe that the body has the capacity to self-heal, but it can only do that if conditions are right. This means getting the body back into balance and freeing up any restrictions, to improve not only general flexibility but also general health.


Q: What made you become an Osteopath?

A: I used to ride horses competitively, and one day I had a nasty riding accident, which left me in a lot of pain. A friend suggested I see an osteopath. I must admit, I had no idea what they did! I went along, and in a few sessions I was completely healed – and totally hooked on this amazing approach to fix the body naturally. The next year I gained a place to study at the European School of Osteopathy in Kent, which is arguably the leading osteopathic school in the world. I graduated with a first class masters degree and worked in several practices before setting up my own clinic –  Bath Spa Osteopathy.


Q: I enjoy a regular massage. When would I need to see an Osteopath?

A: Massage is an amazing way to loosen up tight muscles and relax the overall tone and tension in the body. I regularly recommend my patients go to the Bath Massage Company because I know from personal experience the quality of the massage is excellent. However, here are 5 common signs that you might need osteopathic help:

  • If you find you’re tightening up again soon after your massage. This may indicate muscles are tight due to a nerve irritation
  • You’ve lost flexibility in one direction (for example, you can turn your neck further round to the right compared to the left). This may indicate a locked spinal joint
  • You are having regular headaches or migraines. This is often related to restricted joints in the upper neck
  • You’ve noticed one shoulder is higher than the other. This may indicate a functional scoliosis (sideways curve) developing in the spine
  • You’ve noticed tingling, pins and needles or cramps. This may indicate a restriction affecting nerve or blood flow to the area

Q: What do you do for fun when you’re not treating patients?

A: I joined the Bath Amphibians Triathlon club last year and I’m busy training for the upcoming spring races. I also teach anatomy at Swansea Medical School once a week – it’s fun and a good chance to get top tips from consultants in other disciplines.

You can find out more about Marianne through her website and socila media page:



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.