October 31, 2014 at 5:35
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Runner, cyclist or just workout a lot? If there is ONE piece of recovery kit you buy this is it…
While I love my Grid Foam Roller, if I had to choose one piece of recovery kit that I could not do without, it would be the TPTherapy.com massage ball.
It’s small so you can take it with you wherever you go in the world (and I have, from Mumbai to Majorca, Darjeeling to Devon). Yet despite it’s size, it works to relieve niggles and aches and pains from the obvious – plantar fasciitis, to piriformis, tibalis anterior niggles (what would feel like shin splints to some), calf tightness, hip pain, shoulder pain and even tight hamstrings and quads.
(The trick with calf muscles is to place the ball on a book, then your calf on the ball. For your back or even piriformis, use it against a wall. And for the hamstring, sit on the ball on the chair where you have a tight spot, then straighten and lower the leg).
You might ask, why not just use a golf ball, tennis ball or even the relatively inexpensive spiky massage balls? I’ve used them all and I swear by this. It’s just different. Trust me.
Graston therapy: the magicians wand of injury recovery?
Injured from running and nothing from sports massage, dry needle therapy, stretching or physiotherapy seems to be working? This is often the refrain of runners in particular who suffer from Achilles, plantar fasciitis or ITB issues. Well the answer could lie in these innovative therapies that are making their way over from the United States.
Active Release Techniques What it is Using a combination of stretching and massage, therapists will apply pressure with their fingers to tight tissue while moving a joint through its full range of movement. How it works Current research suggest that a large proportion of musculo-skeletal aches, pain and discomfort we experience are due to kinks and restrictions in the fascial system, often referred to as scar tissue, or adhesion. ART works to find and release these adhesions helping the body to return the body to normal function. Where can I find it? For your nearest practitioner visit activerelease.com
Astym What it is A treatment that triggers tissue regeneration and helps to smooth out scar tissue caused by injury which can inhibit range of movement. How it works A qualified Astym therapist will run special instruments along the skin, following the direction of the muscle, tendon or ligament. Bumps may be felt which are defective soft tissue, which will decrease with treatment. This should then be followed by a customised stretching and strengthening program designed to encourage your body to heal correctly. Stretching tells the new muscle fibers to line up properly, strenghtening makes the fibres stronger helping to prevent further injury. Who does it Visit astym.com
Graston Technique What it is Developed by athletes, this is soft tissue mobilisation therapy is now widely used in America where it is often used instead of sports massage. How it works Much like Astym, this therapy works to break down adhesions in fascia and scar tissue. This is important because it helps to improve range of movement, regenerates muscle fibres and helps to break down poor muscular holding patterns. According to practitioners, it works better than sports massage as the frankly, scary looking stainless instruments can feel more than the human hand can, much like a stethoscope allows the human ear to ‘hear’ more. Who does it For UK practitioners, visit grastontechnique.com
Rolfing Structural Integration What it is Perhaps a little more well known than the others, Rolfing is a bodywork therapy in which the practitioner uses their hands and forearms to unbind and stretch fascia as you moe to help release tension. How it works This works on the principle that it is helping to re-educates the mind and body to move with proper alignment. Who does ithttp://www.rolfinguk.co.uk/
Trigger-Point Therapy What it is A close cousin to sports massage, Trigger-Point Therapy relaxes tense, knotted fibers which can often radiate pain and prevent free range of movement. How it works Firm, stable pressure dissolves the knots and it is believed that trigger points are a precursor to strains and scar tissue. Stay on top of these and it works to help prevent niggles from developing into conditions such as full blown plantar fasciitis or Achilles issues. Who does it Look for massage therapists in your area who offer myofascial release. Alternatively, you can buy The Grid or related kit for the calves, thighs and more from www.triggerpointuk.com to use yourself. (Please watch out on our Timetable for our Workshop on TPTherapy for sports injury prevention).