LONDON OLYMPICS - PART 4
Massage after the Olympics
Olympic fever is winding down with the closing ceremony a tribute to the illustrious history of British pop, a seemingly fitting way to conclude the 2012 games.
Last week in the series LONDON OLYMPICS - Part 3 we looked at the application of massage during competition. To read this article click here.
Congratulations to all the Australian competitors for a mighty performance, bringing home 7 gold medals, 16 silver and 12 bronze.
With all the athletes having completed their events, the focus moves to massage following completion whether it be immediately after the event or some days later.
Massaging an athlete immediately after they have completed their event is more restorative. The session is aimed at improving circulation, reducing muscle tension and promoting relaxation. The increased circulation and relaxation combines to encourage the fastest recovery for the athlete through removal of waste products and decreasing fatigue.
Treatment should not be forceful therefore deep work involving techniques such as frictions should be avoided. Forceful techniques can cause further discomfort and even further trauma to soft tissue that has already been compromised due to the physical demands of the activity itself.
A general relaxation effect should be emphasised through gentle stroking combined with gentle vibrations, stretching and joint loosening.
Massage several days after competition aims to create a prolonged state of reduced muscular tension and primarily to delay the onset of muscle soreness.
During this type of massage session, treatment involves applying deeper work to the muscle tissues to assist in the maintenance of sound muscle integrity, involving good mobility and strength.
Stretching and joint loosening can be applied in the early stages to prevent long term muscle shortening.
Some athletes will not only receive a massage “recovery” treatment immediately following the event but many massage sessions in the days to follow. These additional massage sessions help support the athletes long term recovery so they are better prepared for the next competition which may be only a week away.
One of the biggest challenges for athletes is ensuring they are ready to go and “race fit” for the next event. Massage plays a pivotal role in ensuring they have no residual tension or tightness from the previous event.
There would be no doubt that all athletes that competed in the Olympic Games would have utilised massage as an important part of their preparation and performance.