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Massages: an athlete's best friend

In view of the proliferation of high level sports and extreme activities, massages are proving a key asset for anyone doing a regular or intensive physical activity. Massages allow them to relax and improve their performances.

 

Whether an amateur or professional, try out a massage and experience their benefits.

 

Why get a massage?

Often, high level athletes have their own physical therapist to provide massages during their sports preparation. However, massages are also useful to amateur sports people as they have many benefits.

 

During exercise, the muscles are sometimes used harshly and this causes strains or micro-tears that lead to aches or cramps. Massages are renowned for relaxing the body and reducing these tensions that contract the muscles.

 

Therapeutic and comforting, they soften the muscles, relax the body and provide a unique feeling of well-being. After exercise especially, massages relax the athlete and allow their body to recover more easily. It's an effective complement to sports preparation as it favours safer resumption of training.

 

Different massage techniques

To soothe athletes' pain, there are different types of massage, including the essential sports massage as well as the Californian, Swedish or Korean massage. As for osteopathy and physiotherapy, they are instead recommended in the case of more serious muscle tears.

  • The Californian massage: this is a very sensitive massage carried out in depth in which the movements made are particularly delicate. It is characterised by gentle touches, softness and the importance of breathing. However, it can sometimes be more vigorous to relax the muscles.
  • The Korean massage: this is done on the floor, mobilising and stretching the joints. The movements done by the masseur should spread through the body to effectively release any muscle tension.
  • The sports massage: the techniques used are designed for sports people and feature gentle touches, pressure, kneading and stretching… In addition is has therapeutic effects, with the use of infrared, and preventative effects. It helps vasodilation and vasoconstriction due to its thermal action.

 

 

The sports massage is understood to be the most suitable for athletes. There are many different techniques, some requiring the use of sports massage oils which are spread from the ends to the roots of the limbs. Here are several examples of actions to do:

  • gentle rubbing: gentle, wide and light circular movements
  • stretching: tensing the skin to differing degrees with your two hands moving apart from one another
  • kneading: deep kneading done on fleshy parts
  • palpate and roll: rubbing and rolling the muscles
  • pressure: exerted with the pads of the fingers and thumb in small circles pushing on the muscle mass, particularly small muscles such as those of the neck, hands and feet …

 

Before, during or after exercise?

All three! Indeed, high level athletes often get a massage before a competition or training session, during their rest periods and after exercising. The latter is the most beneficial type of massage and amateurs should opt for this.

 

Before exercising, a massage allows you to relax and reduce your nerves during competition. It's also a way of preventing muscle pain, warming up the muscles to prepare them for exercise.

During rest periods when training, a massage eases any joint and muscle injuries. Lastly, at the end of a training session, a massage is important as it softens the muscles, regulates blood circulation, drains out toxins that have built up during exercise and allows you to recover more quickly. It's a real help for the body's recovery.

 

Don't forget that drinking enough also helps relax the muscles. A sports massage should last between 20 and 30 minutes to be truly useful and should be carried out in a calm and well-ventilated place. Don't hesitate to seek professional help if you have persistent pain!

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