Recovery through massage

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Sport is good for your health, and the objective is to avoid injuries and microtraumas and to recover as quickly as possible to enjoy the benefits of sport and maintain one's fitness and wellness

Post-workout muscle soreness can be avoided or lessened so that it becomes tolerable and is not an obstacle either to everyday life or to going back to the stadium as soon as possible

Massages as a "natural medicine" for recovery

Better performance is a natural goal for any athlete, however this should not be achieved at any price and most particularly the use of products or drugs prohibited by the anti-doping law is never justified for winning or better recovery. Alternatives to doping include a certain number of measures such natural fitness work, appropriate sports techniques, appropriate equipment, but also nutrition and recovery methods

Recovery plays a major role in all athletes, whatever their level or type of sports. The better and the quicker you recover, the more you will feel a physical and psychological well-being

Stretching, cold, nutrition, hydration and massages are part of the additional methods for proper recovery

Sports massaging is a manual recovery technique

By lessening the inflammation, post-workout sports massaging reduces muscular "stress" and therefore the onset of delayed pains called muscle sores.

Massaging heals the micro-injuries in the muscle fibres by increasing skin vasodilation and by facilitating blood and lymph circulation. Its purpose is therefore analgesic and anti-edematous. Massaging acts as a medicine, without the potential side effects

Technical sheet for a good recovery massage:

The massage should be made in a nice room at moderate temperature, with a soft, natural light to avoid any visual aggression. Ideally, a soft relaxing music can be played. Athletes will be installed on a wide massaging table covered with a single-use sheet. The massage may be preceded by a warm shower or a sauna session in order to promote vasodilatation.

Purpose

It aims at draining and activating the muscular blood system through kneading, vibration, percussion, friction techniques and  soft non-deep massages for at least 20 minutes with essential oils, restorative balms or talcum powder, starting at the end towards the root of the limbs. Some more sensitive areas may benefit from DTM type massages (deep transverse massage), except in case of recent muscular injury, as it may worsen the lesion or cause the formation of myositis ossificans.

Additional technique

A manual or "machine" lymphatic drainage may be proposed in addition to the massage for women athletes suffering from venous insufficiency in the lower limbs or for reathletisation after a cast

In addition to the massage

Applying cold, through local cold showers or other methods, will speed up muscle recovery

 Post-workout active stretching may be proposed

Auto-massaging to promote blood circulation and venous return is available to everyone thanks to recovery socks

Conclusion

DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) or post-workout muscle sores are common after exercise

Massages play an important role in the post-workout recovery processes in order to reduce or lessen the discomforts caused by post-workout muscle sores in all athletes, whatever their level or sport

Docteur Patrick Bacquaert

Médecin chef de l'IRBMS

 

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