Smashing your body day in day out through repetitive training is harming it in more ways than one.
Hence we need regular massages to stay pain free. Your body learns by repetition and tries to improve the actions taught. The danger here is that bad habits also get programmed into our system in this fashion.
If you sit for long hours, your body will simply get better at sitting for too long. Muscles get shorter, bones starts to shift out of their line of movement and they start falling apart; then you encounter your typical injuries, like slip disks to unusual shoulder pains etc.
It’s the same for an athlete; overuse injuries get neglected by taking painkillers or wrapping it up. In no time your body avoids using that injured area, only to use other body parts for support and pick up the slack. This is how a small shoulder injury can become serious neck pain or lead to surgery.
Did you know your body has the ability to heal itself from within?
Regular massages feel great; they remove toxins, improve circulation and your body can feel the difference. Self-myofascial release does the same to the body. Instead of once a week, or once a month, you get the chance to do it daily, or before and after activity.
Myofascial compression tools are made to suit your requirements, to support your muscle maintenance. Various rollers and massage balls are very popular, and you also have very specific ones made for professional use.
Myofascia is a dense connective tissue that connects the entire body – they are sheets made of biological fabric that run through the whole body. Similar to the cells inside an orange, they hold water within those cells.
Every single droplet is arranged, from a tiny one to section the size of a large orange. Inside the human body the fascia organises our body’s ‘watery gel sort of a substance’ in those fascial cells. This runs through the whole body and wraps around it, so you can think of the body as river.
“Flowing water is good water, still water is poison”.
The same applies to our body. When the fascial cells circulate fluids well they are better nourished, but this doesn’t always happen. Injuries prevent us from moving the limbs and fluids start to stagnate in those area. They bind together and get tight, hard and knotted up.
Continuing to perform whilst injured also makes things worse for the fascia; throwing a ball when your shoulders are in pain or running when your knee hurts, these can all be harmful to fascia as it learns these functions and gets better at them. What your body accepts it tolerates.
Self-myofascial release is intended to re-introduce fluids into the system, increase blood circulation to muscles and nerves and work the fascial layer under our skin to the deepest levels of our bones.
By using self-myofascial release tools we hope to reintroduce the smooth flow of fluids to the areas; most of the tools are cylindrical in shape with different densities and different patented surfaces.
I prefer Trigger Point Therapy tools as they are made for daily individual use, supported by industry evidence and continually evolving education.
By rolling, you obstruct blood circulation meant to go to a specific area.
Nutrient rich blood supply rushes back to start the healing process when the pressure is removed. If you find a tight or painful muscles, push your thumb into it and hold it for a few seconds – after removing it the pain will be considerably less.
When you start rolling you are going to experience new sensations! It may be painful for some, others may experience mild discomfort, however it is important to keep this in mind “Pain is response followed by the sensation to withdraw”.
In order to stay in a comfortable zone, keep the sensation in a feeling zone of ‘mild discomfort’- not too painful where you start to tear or want to stop. Keep the speed of movement slow and controlled. As you begin to get rid of all the tightness in the muscles and fascia around it, the pain you feel at first will slowly start to diminish.
Don’t expect to find relief at once, but make it a habit to use a foam roller or other tools daily and in a structured weekly programme.
Start by rolling out the lower leg by the calf and soleus area, then move on to the thighs, glutes and mid back. I use a grid foam roller daily to roll out areas like my lower leg, thighs, mid to upper back and neck, which are the areas that get tighter faster.
You can have your own programme custom made to suit your time limit and activity levels. This is also a good way to start and end the day. Worst case scenario you can roll out watching TV!
The importance of myofascial release techniques have to come to light in this age where recovery has become a key part of the exercise regime; whether it be from exercise or daily stressful habits to simply feel good and be pain free.