Sport is a healthy activity and the goal is to avoid injury and microtrauma and recover as quickly as possible to benefit from the advantages of sport and keep fit and in shape. Aches after sport may be prevented or reduced to a tolerable and comfortable level both for day-to-day life and to start exercising again as quickly as possible.

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Massage As 'Natural Medication' for Recovery

Improving performance is the natural goal of any athlete. However, performance cannot be sought at any cost and the use of products or drugs that are prohibited by anti-doping legislation to win or improve recovery can never be justified. The alternative to doping includes a certain number of measures, such as natural work on physical condition, the right sports techniques, the correct equipment and also diet and recovery methods.

Recovery plays a crucial role for all athletes, irrespective of their level or discipline. The faster and the better you recover, the bigger the boost to your physical and psychological well-being.

Stretching, cold, diet, hydration and massage are part of various complementary methods for ensuring proper recovery.

Sports Massage is a Natural form of Recovery

Sports massage after exertion, by soothing inflammation, reduces muscle 'stress' caused by effort and limits delayed aches and pains.

Massage helps to heal micro-lesions of damaged muscle fibres, by increasing cutaneous vasodilation and facilitating venous and lymphatic circulation. The purpose is thus to prevent pain and reduce swelling. Massage acts as medication without the potential side effects.

Massage takes place in a warm and comfortable room, lit by gentle and natural light to prevent any type of visual harshness. Ideally, soft ambient music may be played. The athlete lies on a wide massage table covered by a disposable sheet. The massage may be preceded by a hot shower or session in the sauna to facilitate vasodilatation.

The Aim

The goal is to purge and stimulate the circulatory and muscle system using kneading techniques, vibrations, percussion, friction and soft, non-deep massage for a minimum duration of 20 minutes using essential oils, restorative balms or talc, starting from the end of the limbs and moving to the root. Some more sensitive areas may benefit from DFM (deep friction massage) unless the muscle damage is recent, since there is a risk of aggravating the injury or causing the formation of myositis ossificans.

Complementary Technique

Lymphatic drainage, whether manual or using a machine, may be proposed as a complement to massage for athletes with circulatory failure in the lower limbs or during rehabilitation after the wearing of a plaster.

Complements to Massage

  • Applying cold in the form of localised showers or other methods can help accelerate muscle recovery.
  • Post-effort active stretching may be proposed.
  • Everyone can manage self-massage to facilitate circulation and venous return by wearing recovery socks.

In Conclusion

DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) or post-effort aches are common after exertion.

Massage plays an important role in the post-effort recovery process to limit or ease the discomfort of post-effort muscle pain for all athletes, irrespective of their level or discipline.
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