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Sports massage, an ally of sports practice at all levels

Sports massage is a therapeutic massage technique, which meets the specific needs of athletes.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN OBJECTIVES OF SPORTS MASSAGE? Sports massage occurs before or after the sports session, for muscle preparation and recovery . It allows to :

  • Release specific tensions linked to practicing a sporting activity

  • Prepare your body for this activity

  • Prevent Injuries

  • Improve the physical and psychological recovery of athletes

WHO PRACTICES SPORTS MASSAGE? This is a therapeutic technique , which intervenes on disorders linked to sports practice. It differs from wellness massage, which aims solely at the relaxation and relaxation of the subject. Of course, it is possible to relax with a sports massage; it is even one of its objectives when practiced after training or a competition! However, this type of massage also meets the typical needs of the athlete : limitation of aches, treatment of cramps, or even preparation of the muscles. Sports massage is practiced by professionals who have received training in sports pathologies , therefore essentially:

  • Professional sports masseurs

  • Physiotherapist masseurs , particularly in sports physiotherapy

Top athletes generally have their own masseur-physiotherapist , who provides them with regular massages during training and competitions. You can also practice self-massage to relax and limit pain. But nothing beats the massage provided by a professional, who has been trained to master very specific techniques. The main techniques used in sports massage Sports massage uses precise techniques from physiotherapy and wellness massage . Manual massage allows, thanks to manipulations such as kneading, grinding or even friction, to drain fat and stimulate blood and lymphatic circulation. Kneading is done using the heel of the hand, using uniform movements that move fat and eliminate toxins. Mechanical massage uses massage devices, with the aim of softening the muscles and making the joints more resistant. Among the most commonly used devices is the massage chair, which massages different parts of the body using vibrations. The relaxing effect is immediate! Lymphatic drainage is a gentle massage technique, the objective of which is to improve blood and lymphatic circulation. It helps detoxify the body, but also strengthens the immune system. Lymphatic drainage helps limit the feelings of heaviness and swelling that can appear in athletes. These phenomena are due to traffic imbalances. Finally, infrared massage devices have the effect of relaxing the muscles, thanks to the heat they produce. This heat diffuses deep under the skin, and also accelerates blood circulation. It is an ideal technique for relieving tension after a sports session. THE BENEFITS OF SPORTS MASSAGE The beneficial action of sports massage can be summarized in 5 points:

  • A comforting action: the massage after exercise provides a feeling of relaxation and well-being, both physical and psychological.

  • This relaxation is very appreciated by athletes, and allows them to recover better.

  • A vasodilator and vasoconstrictor effect, beneficial for circulation

  • An increase in body temperature , beneficial for muscles and circulation

  • A mechanical action , which mobilizes the tissues

  • Therapeutic benefits : for example, in the case of rehabilitation, sports massage helps to better mobilize the joints, by softening the muscles

ROLE OF MASSAGE IN SPORTS PRACTICE The benefits of sports massage are therefore numerous, and make it relevant to all aspects of sports practice. Before a competition or training , massage allows:

  • To heat and stimulate the muscles, to make them more responsive

  • Limit the risk of injury by preparing muscles and joints

  • To unblock blood and lymphatic circulation, so that this is ensured even in the event of intense effort

During the competition , the athletes' masseur-physiotherapist can intervene in the event of a problem, in particular to:

  • Reduce aches and pains

  • Relieve cramps

  • Reduce the feeling of fatigue

Finally, sports massage is very useful after exercise , because it allows:

  • To eliminate toxins that accumulate in the vessels supplying the muscles

  • To treat microlesions which give rise to aches

  • To eliminate tension in all parts of the body, to completely relax you

WHO IS SPORTS MASSAGE FOR? The ally of athletes Sports massage is the ally of high-level athletes , keen to optimize their practice and their physiology to obtain the best performance. Indeed, at a very high level, sporting performance does not depend solely on training and nutrition. By optimizing parameters such as blood circulation and muscle malleability, sports massage techniques have a positive impact on performance. For athletes, who train a lot, the benefits of massage on recovery are another great asset. Also, daily training causes a lot of tension, which can ultimately cause injuries. Massage helps prevent injuries by regularly relieving tension. Techniques beneficial for everyone Athletes are the first to be concerned by the benefits of sports massage. But it can also benefit amateur athletes , as long as their practice is regular. Indeed, anyone who practices sport regularly is faced with problems such as fatigue , aches and tension , which massage can improve. Beyond the world of sport, sports massage techniques can be used to treat other pathologies, such as those linked to office work . Indeed, people working seated at their desk can suffer from sciatic nerve pain, back pain or even wrist pain. These pains and tensions can be relieved in massage therapy using one or more of the techniques mentioned above. When should you consult? If you practice sports regularly, or if your daily posture generates tension, it is best to consult a sports massage professional for prevention . This helps prevent injuries, while improving your well-being and performance. However, most patients consult their physical therapist once injured. The massage then intervenes curatively, to improve the healing time of wounds. CONTRAINDICATIONS OF SPORTS MASSAGE As with many massage techniques, the contraindications to sports massage are:

  • Fever

  • Infections

  • Wounds

  • Skin problems

  • Heart problems

Posted by Institut Kiné Paris

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