The head not only plays a central role in the ascent of a route or boulder. Mental aspects are also of great importance in the healing process after injuries, as recent studies show.

A guest post by Marc Wetter - Mental Trainer & Sports Physiotherapist

Torn ligaments, strains and sprains are the most common injuries. 400'000 athletes injure themselves every year (

The head plays an important role in the recovery process, which is often neglected. Through our feelings and thoughts, we can activate different hormonal and nervous systems. These release messenger substances, nerve signals and hormones that, for example, influence the blood circulation in the legs or arms, improve oxygen absorption and thus optimize wound healing.

Thoughtful movements are depicted in the brain as executed movements. The brain can not distinguish this (Carpenter effect). Thus, viewing a process can trigger the same activity pattern as the act itself (mirror neurons).

Mental training using the example of a boulderer with a sprained foot

From the first day after the injury, an individual relaxation training can make sense for the boulderer. New goals and information about the injury help to calm the body.

In the inflammatory phase (0 to 5 days) are pain-relieving visualizations, relaxation training, breathing exercises and ideomotor training absolutely sensible.

Mental training in combination with active rehabilitation is most effective. Progressive muscle relaxations or mindfulness training are very effective in strength training to support wound healing. Mental technique training, movements in the head with inclusion of all senses (ideomotor training) together with the sports physiotherapeutic interventions such as coordination training, taping are worth starting from the fifth day.

Similarly, fear of re-injury, motivation problems, anger and anger or a possible career end can be addressed as topics in the context of mental training. The mental training must be worked out individually, because a universal recipe does not exist. Every athlete should consciously master the techniques of mental training.

You have to know that:

  • 2017 was seen in knee-operated patients after four weeks, as the combination of physiotherapy and mental training improved thigh strength, reduced pain, and improved mobility compared to controls without mental training.The therapeutic role of motor imagery during the acute phase after knee arthroplasty.
  • There are many mental trainers. The training criterion is the quality criterion Psychological and mental training in sports, CAS ZHAW or the List of the Association Sports Psychology SASP.
  • Mental training is a self-payer benefit. Initially, a face-to-face meeting or telephone conversation is important to capture concerns and expectations.

About Marc Weather

Marc Wetter is Head of Therapies and Complementary Medicine at Center for Medicine & Sports medbase in Abtwil and trained mental trainer & sports physiotherapist.

Marc Wetter - Head of Therapies and Complementary Medicine - Medbase
Marc weather

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Credits: text Marc Wetter, cover picture Alex Puccio


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