Could you introduce yourself? What is your background as an Osteo and as a triathlete?
Virginie CLEMENT, Osteopath for 12 years, I have a practice in Paris 11th, I also work in the hospital and I am a trainer/teacher in the paramedical and osteopathic field. For 3 years I have been practicing triathlon at the Nogent Solidarité Triathlon... when you love it, you don't count it! So I extend the distances on long formats, swimrun and raid! Referee for 3 years to help my club and marshall since this year!
What is the history of PHYSIOSTEO TEAM and how did it develop?
Raphaël, a friend from osteopathy school was a volunteer during the first years of the race and then he proposed to do osteopathy on a voluntary basis. Laurence and Cyrille (the organizers) trusted him and I joined the volunteers in 2011. As time went on, I proposed myself to the recruitment and expansion of the Team to help and then to make the Team grow until it was officially created and take over from what he had initiated: the Team PhysiOsteo association was born after 8 years of volunteer work for my part!
Why did you form an association?
It was time to structure all this Team that has been working for so many years with the same enthusiasm. Through this association, I also wanted to bring together as many "expert" professionals as possible to share our knowledge of quality care in events that protect common values. And because multidisciplinarity is a guarantee of good service, it was necessary to weld the "physio" and the "osteo"!
Today, what is the composition of the PHYSIOSTEO TEAM? How many of you are there? What profiles?
For several years now, the PhysiOsteo Team has been composed of professional osteopaths and physiotherapists (mostly) and some students at the end of their studies. The team currently consists of 20 people on the TTAH (compared to 9 in 2011). The pros are teachers, athletes (marathon runners, ultra trailer, triathletes...), with specialized training related to the sport and sometimes even firefighters. They have several strings to their bow, interesting for this type of event.
Why are these professionals so motivated every year to come to Alpe d'Huez?
For the welcome and trust of the organisers, the festive atmosphere, the attraction for sport, the setting and because they are people with an associative spirit (it takes at least that for the professionals to leave their offices for a week at Alpe d'Huez!)
What are the different treatments offered by the team? What are the most common conditions or problems to be treated during the TTAH?
The team offers osteopathy and physiotherapy care before and after the races with a real global follow-up of the patient. The team deals with preparedness, emergency treatment (trauma) and recovery. But the most important thing is the global care... the triathlete does not only have muscles, each body has its own history, it is also about taking care of the emotional/stress part, digestive etc....
Triathletes sometimes come from very far away for this race, we often treat ailments due to their long car journey: low back pain, circulatory disorders, digestive disorders... The triathlete coming for a simple muscle problem will sometimes come out of his session with a complete diagnosis and advice far beyond what he expected to see even from a consultation after a race. On the finishline of the races, a team deals with recovery (massages, drainage but also visceral or cranial techniques in favour of this recovery).
With your experience, do you have any advice for registered triathletes regarding their health to face this particular event?
First of all, don't be afraid to come and see us at any time, we'll adapt! Then, to face this challenge, I think you have to be well in your body and well in your head and for that reason listen to your body and its signals! We have noticed that the person who uses his body in such races does not always take care of it so...think about it because an injury never happens by coincidence!
The overall lifestyle before the race is essential: food, hydration for the right fuel on the day and in prevention of injury when you strain your body so much... it is a long-term work and of course an accompaniment in regular manual therapy. During the year we make the necessary "adjustments" to ensure proper preparation without injury. The triathlete's body is a kind of Formula 1. Then, once at Alpe d'Huez, the preparation is already done, all you have to do is enjoy yourself in this magnificent setting and keep your mind at its highest!
How does the service work? Should I book my session?
We are located at the Palais des Sports behind the bib withdrawal room (follow the indications). In general we have the same schedule as for the bibs pick-up. A team will also be present on the finishline of the Triathlon L (we will stay longer this year!) and the Triathlon M. For further information: (Facebook or Instagram) We try to answer as soon as possible and generally announce the information and schedules every day of the week so follow us!
What tools and techniques do you use?
The essential and most effective tool is the hand, it is the best diagnostic tool! The techniques are adapted to the problem and the persons and are very complementary between practitioners. We also use oils, K-Taping, strapping, but also acupressure equipment and may be coming from pressotherapy in addition... we aim to improve again and again each year and to make discover these techniques as well.
Weleda Arnica massage oil will again be the product used by TEAM PHYSIOSTEO. How is this oil a real plus for triathletes and the team?
This is a sure value that has been with us since the beginning of the adventure! First of all, it is 100% natural and its smell remains neutral. Then we are several of us working with aromatherapy and we already use it personally. Since last year we use as well 2 additional products: Citrus and Sea Buckthorn more suitable for pre-race for example.
To give us an idea, how many triathletes pass on your care tables during the week, approximately?
In 2011 we had counted nearly 600 consultations for 9 team members and we were open 1 day less so I let you imagine today... the challenge is to count this year to get a precise appointment after the TTHA 2019 even if when we love... we do not count!
Do you have a story that impacted you over the years, the precise memory of a triathlete who had the chance to pass through your hands?
To begin with, the first day I had planned everything except to do consultations in English and Spanish so it was very funny and in the evening we were so intellectually exhausted! As a general rule, it is the emotion caused by our patients from the day before the race who come back to us with a smile telling us that the session was successful and that they had a great race. Each athlete gives us a mission for us, in some way.
Personally I had the right for my 30 years to a helicopter tour in gratitude for my good care which is not commonplace and Alpe d'Huez seen from above is so beautiful....
Then there are a ton of anecdotes for everyone just as beautiful, such as preparing a handysport to climb the 21 bends with his hands on his machine or discovering that the person you massage after his race is a personality known from another environment simply lying in his underwear and relaxed or those patients who come back year after year to offer us the first day some specialties of their region... so we live beautiful encounters in the singularity!
I have met great people through the TTAH and have also become a "triathlete".