How can you use massage therapy for an athlete to recover better and faster after an Ironman?

How can you use massage therapy for an athlete to recover better and f

Therapeutic treatment proposal

- Tim Laagland -

Nunes et al. (2016)1 investigated the effect of massage therapy directly after an Ironman. After twelve hours of strenuous competition, 36 athletes received seven minutes of massage therapy and 37 athletes received no massage therapy and sat in a chair for seven minutes. The result of this study stated that the group that received the seven minutes massage therapy experienced a moderate effect on pain and a large effect on perceived muscle fatigue as compared to the control group.

The difficulty of research on massage therapy is that there is a lot of difference in techniques, duration, massage appliance and timing of massage therapy. In this study, these items are described in great detail. For research purposes it is desirable to have a detailed protocol, however it can be limiting for practical use. Is it useful to give a massage treatment for only seven minutes after a twelve hour competition? How can we use this information to treat Ironman athletes better?

The goal of massage therapy in this research is to reduce pain and perceived muscle fatigue after an Ironman. The goal of a therapist is to treat athletes in a way that they will be able to perform at his best and recover faster and better after an Ironman. Massage therapy is a means to reach the goal.

Prior to the Ironman in warm temperatures as in Brasil, an athlete can prepare himself for the race with the NAQI AntiFriction Cream.This will minimize the friction in tender area’s as the neck, armpits, nipples and perineum. Second, an athlete can use the NAQI Start Oil to prepare his body for the race. The NAQI Start Oil is a transparent film oil that will keep the body warm, but will not limit the skin’s ability to lose heat through transpiration.

After an Ironman it takes up three weeks to recover for experienced athletes till three months for novice athletes. The first steps that have to be taken are hydration, filling up on protein and carbohydrates, cooling down and adjust your training. In the first couple of weeks, the muscles need to recover from the extreme stress it had to endure. In this research, only the quadriceps are investigated. In reality, all the muscles in the body – especially the muscles in the lower extremity as the hamstrings, calves and gluteal muscles - are affected. Also joint cartilage, tendons and skin have to recover. Therapeutic interventions to help the muscles recover are stretching, active recovery to increase blood flow and massage therapy. Massage therapy can decrease the tension of the muscle, increase blood flow and lymphatic flow, repair the skin and decrease pain and muscle fatigue. For these purposes, it is desirable to use massage therapy in training for and recovery after an Ironman.

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