My Take on Body Maintenance:
If your facebook feed is like mine, you probably get bombarded with foam rolling techniques, stretches, massage strokes, massage tools etc.
But what is actually better for you? Stretching, foam rolling, remedial massage, dry needling, massage gun?
Here is my take on each of those techniques used in practice and at home.
To start I would like to clarify that I am only expressing my point of view and sharing my experience.
Let’s kill the party before it starts: Most of us (including me before I studied anatomy) believed that by stretching you are actually elongating the muscle, this is not true and this would actually be very painful.
Here is a good definition that I have found for stretching:
– Muscles gain the force to move bones by a cumulative shrinking and lengthening effect. One shrinking cell cannot budge a bone, but hundreds of cells can bunch up a bit of tissue, and large areas of bunching tissue exerts enough force to move a bone along a joint. Stretching works the same way, in reverse. The current length of the entire muscle depends on the number of stretched fibers – a rise in the quantity of stretched fibers increases the amount a muscle can stretch.
There are 2 types of stretching; static stretches and dynamic stretches.
Dynamic stretches are your warm up stretches, using movement and range of motion like high knees, butt kick etc.
Static stretches are holding a position for 30 seconds or more and should only be done after the effort. When you perform static stretches, it actually reduces the power of the muscle and can increase the risk of injuries if done before exercising.
Also a 10 second strecth won’t do anything for you, I like to recommend 45sec to a minute for stretches.
When you feel tightness in a muscle, therefore the need for stretching it, this usually happens after you have worked the muscle. The tightness comes from microscopic trauma that will repair on its own. This is how the muscles work, and trying to pull them and make it longer won’t change the experience of the muscle being tight.
Stretching advice: no less that 30 secondes, NO pain
Some evidence shows that foam rolling after effort will help, but there is still debate on why this works! Usually foam rolling is very beneficial after exercising when you start feeling soreness (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, DOMS). The pain sensation is reduced for a little while.
The explanation which I find to be most accurate is that when you foam roll, you change the input signal. You are usually calm and feel relaxed and that combination will encourage the muscle to relax – so it is more neurological than physiological. That is why it is important to take it easy on the foam roller. Remember you can’t break down scar tissue, or get rid of a knot.
Foam rolling technique advice: 90 seconds per muscle, it won’t be pleasant but shouldn’t be painful.
This is my job, so yes massage is best 5 times a week!!!
Seriously though, it is great for you to find a good regular Myotherapist or Remedial Massage Therapist (RMT) for a few reasons.
- Whether you are preparing for an event or just for healthy lifestyle, a Myotherapist or a RMT will get to know how your body works and reacts, we are all different.
- They will help you to correct where required, assess your aches and niggles.
- They will provide you with educated guidance if further help may be necessary.
Advice on Myotherapy/ Remedial Massage Therapy: A few initial visits to start (depending on your condition) then regular (monthly/bi-monthly catch-ups to stay in top form)
Some people like it some don’t. Some people don’t react to it while others can have strong reactions (muscle twitching, cold sweat, needle buzzing etc.)
The use of needles really depends on the patient. In my experience I have had some great success but it isn’t always the fix.
Advice on Dry Needling: If you have never tried it and are not scared of needles, give it a try.
My favourite toy at the moment! I can finally treat myself 🙂 (even though to be most effective I really should let someone else do it)
It is a great addition to my practice. I am not using it excessively on patients but have found using the Gun post training/race event etc. really helps to reduce DOMS.
Advice on Massage Gun: Try it and you will love it!
Yours in keeping you fit, healthy and moving, come and see me in Noosaville soon!