My Muscles Ache, Now what?
My muscles ache, what do I do?
First response? Get a massage! LOL What did you expect a massage therapist to say :-) But seriously I am asked this on a usual basis what can I do till I come in to see you again?
Well, there is many options and this is not a one person fits all, so I will go over all the things I have tried in the last 6 years and you can try to see what is the best fit for you.
Stretching... Is is a great way to release sore muscles but easy does it. As research has found, you don't want to bounce. Slow stretches while breathing is important. Most people will say count to 10 but holding it and when you feel that slight uncomfortable wearing in that is a good time to take a breath and come out of the stretch. Each time you stretch you will feel yourself go little deeper into the stretch. I like to do about three sets of stretches in a row of the same stretch to see the improvement on how much I gain in the stretch. Don't try to over do it ~ this is the important part because over stretching can cause more harm than good. Nice and easy does it for happy muscles.
Relaxing bath... These are lots of great articles about how to relax those sore muscles in a bath. Some will say epsom salt baths are the way to go. Some athletes will say an ice bath is the way to go... As with many things it depends on your activities that caused you soreness.
No matter what muscle is sore some times self massage can relieve those tender spots; there is a few tools out there that can help you reach those tricky areas. We will be adding these to our website in the near future with links on where to get them for the best prices.
The next option is to apply some analgesics. There is many choices on these. Many can be found at your local massage office or chiropactor office like Biofreeze. We also carry Rock Sauce ( one I prefer at home). There are others out there like Cryoderm, Tiger Balm, and more natural items like _____, and you can also get into essential oils. Many of these can help reduce your discomfort, we love adding them to our massage cupping to enhance the product deeper into the tissues.
Last, but not least,,,
The big debate...
Hot vs. Cold HUMMM
There is many different views on the hot vs cold methods. New research comes out or should I say "talk" in the massage community about which is the best approach. The base information that one decides what is best for use is;
Cold: restricts blood flow and help to reduce swelling, which the body uses as its method to help repair and which also makes area's tight and uncomfortable. It is good in some cases but something you probably don't want hanging around for a long time. Hot to the touch skin is usually a good sign there is inflammation in the tissues.
Hot: Heat dilates blood vessels pumping more blood to the area. For some they find the muscles relax as heat is a feel good affect. Like the use of hot stones during the massage. Muscles typically relax with the flowing movement of the rocks and heat.
Using these two together (please don't try this if you have diabetes!) Some medical professionals recommend alternating hot and cold 20 minutes on 20 minutes hot/warm to help the body use its pumping action of the blood to increase healing. This is something to keep alternating for a longer amount of time to see true benefits. (the neat thing is you can feather hot and cold to help speed along a bruise to heal as your are bringing new blood and oxygen to the tissues and helping to remove the cold with this action. Just speeding up the bodies natural process.)
So hot vs cold is one of those things. To each their own. Some people love the feel of cold the others of heat. Mixing them up you get the best of both worlds. As with everything some things work better for some not so much for others. Each body is every different on how it reacts to stuff so as I always say, do what feels best for your body. YOU know your body best and your body is the boss.