The Austin Bodyworker Foam Roller Video

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Post-Event Recovery Tips

By Michelle Hittner, LMT

Recovery is often the most over-looked aspect of training; however, it is one of the most important. Most often athletes tend to focus on pre-race prep (do I have my water, gels, body glide, race bib etc) and once they reach the finish line you MAYBE do a little stretching before it’s out for breakfast tacos. Recovery starts the minute you slow the pace and hit stop on your Garmin, so the sooner you take action, the faster the healing starts.

Recovery after a competition involves not only the normalization and repair of tissue, but also general relaxation and mental calming. Loosening constricted tissues will restore balance to your muscles and increase blood circulation, which enables proper transport of oxygen and nutrients to tissue cells. Increased lymphatic flow helps to eliminate waste products that cause soreness and inflammation, and will promote faster recovery time by lengthening and stretching the muscles to increase range of motion and flexibility. So basically…the sooner you are on the massage table the better!
Here are few easy tips to help you start your recovery in the event you are not able to get a massage immediately.

1) Cool down: Allow your heart rate to slow down a bit before you hop back in your car. After you cross that finish line start taking deeper breathes to start to help calm the body by taking in more oxygen.

2) Pack a yoga mat: Once you’re done with your race take a few minutes to stretch out your entire body. Your legs are not the only part of your body working. A quick top to bottom stretch routine takes less than 10 minutes and helps to lengthen your muscles. During training season, keep a mat in your gear bin in your car. This will help remind you to stretch before you head home.

3) Nutrition & Re-hydration: Immediate replacement of water, carbohydrates and proteins maximizes the effectiveness of your training and should be done with 30 minutes of completing your race. If you are new to racing there will be some trial and error as there is not a "one size fits all" rule for nutrition recovery. Be patient and if you have questions seek assistance and advice from a professional.

4) Schedule your RECOVERY MASSAGE and talk with your therapist about a maintenance program for your next race. Massage should be looked as a training tool not a luxury. Addressing tiny aches and pains as they occur will nip injuries in the bud before they develop into something that takes you out for the season.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What the heck is all the fuss about FOAM ROLLERS!?

Okay, okay. I know my clients, friends and loved ones are probably pretty sick of hearing me sing the praises of foam rollers. What the heck IS a foam roller you say? And why/how do they help? Let me try to chip away at all your questions and misconceptions.
No-they are not a cure-all for all your muscular aches and pains. No-they wont help decrease cellulite. No-they cannot combat varicose veins or spider veins. No-they are not as good as getting a session with a massage therapist. That being said though, they CAN be a huge help for those who have chronic "tightness" issues, standing on their feet all day issues, "no time to get a massage" issues, people who "like feeling good on a regular basis" issues and finally those who "like knowing how to help themselves feel better" issues. Does that clear that up? Let me continue....

Now there is no substitute for getting a great massage therapist to work out your aches, pains and injuries. But the foam roller can help space out those visits to a manageable time frame for both you and your wallet. Foam rollers perform a type of self-massage that can be compared with myofascial release. Using your body weight and gravity, foam rollers "stretch" the fascia out and can help it become more pliable and "un-stick" it to itself and the underlying tissues (muscle). This gain of movement between the layers of tissue can help improve tightness, range of motion and gain some flexibility. Two important factors in using a foam roller best are breath and taking time/slowing down while on the roller. It is going hurt when you use the roller on a tight band of muscles. For sure. If there is no discomfort/pain, there's nothing going on here--keep moving! Once you get past the initial OMG of it, you will see that when you breathe thru the tightness, the pain can and will subside. I would say you should roll on each muscle group for at LEAST one minute--at least. A huge thing that makes the foam roller so awesome is that it can be a completely passive event. You just lie on it and it does most of the work for you--depending on the muscles you are trying to work. You can watch TV (if you are so inclined), listen to the radio, hold a conversation, play with your kids and pets (not to mention they will love that you are on the floor with them) and all sorts of other fun things while you roll. Did I mention breathing? You need to BREATH slowly and steadily while you are doing all this rolling. Hold your breath and you will see how quick your muscles can tighten up or simply refuse to let go of the tension--it wont be good, let me tell you from experience! You should roll the foam roller slowly while taking deep breaths and you will find that soon, you wont be feeling the pain much anymore. And it may not hurt so much when you go to reach over and pick up those groceries any more either.
You may not know right now what a foam roller is or what it feels like to use one, but soon after owning one you will wonder how you have gone this long without one! I promise! And if you don't, I am HAPPY to show you some techniques for stretches in the office. Just bring your new foam roller in with you and I will go through and help you get the most out of your new piece of equipment!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Massage Homework?

After you have had a good massage, the last thing you want usually is to have to worry about what you should do after. But if you really want to continue to feel good and let the massage really "absorb", there are a few things you should really do and not do in our estimation.

1) PUSH THE FLUIDS. Water is optimal, but other liquids will do. Alcohol and caffeine are not great, but what can I tell you--your gonna do it anyway! We want to get all those nasty metabolic wastes out of your body instead of allowing them to hang out in your muscle tissue any more, so hence the flush of fluids. I tell clients to act as though you have a cold and need to flush yourself with good stuff to get those germs out!

2) EAT SOMETHING. I have never had anyone have a negative reaction when I give this piece of advice. In my experience of almost 6 years of massage, there seems to be a "magic window" of time-about one (1) hour-after you are off the table that you have before all those metabolic wastes (see #1) re-circulate through your system and reach your stomach. If when they get to your stomach there is not much or nothing in there--you stand a healthy chance of feeling pretty crappy really soon. Nausea, body aches and general malaise are on their way! Now I have had a few clients in the past who have had little or no issues after a massage and no meal--but I have had more clients who HAVE had symptoms and really didn't like it. Do you really want to risk it?

3) HEAT PLEASE. I am a big proponent of heat. If after your massage you feel bruise-y or sore I suggest grabbing your heating pad or getting in a nice, hot shower or bathtub of Epsom salts. I also use a homeopathic topical cream called Traumeel. Here in Austin they sell it at Whole Foods, Central Market and Peoples Pharmacy for sure. It is a little pricey, but you don't need much for it to work well. A small tube lasts me several months usually.

Also if after your massage you have questions about what was done during your session or need more information on what you can do to help yourself--don't hesitate to shoot us an email and just ask! I would say to just call the office, but we could be in session and does anyone really need a game of phone tag after a day of work?

Take care and we'll be seeing you around the office!

Monday, July 7, 2008

The power of breath

I know the topic of breathing seems to be a simple one..…we need to do it to stay alive!
Until starting a devoted yoga practice about 5 years ago, I never really paid all that much attention to my breath. With each and every yoga class, there was an underlying theme throughout: breathing.

It all begins with another seemingly simple topic: awareness. Just the act of noticing your breath is a huge deal. Really. Basic as it may be, paying attention to how you breathe throughout the day will teach you so much. Do you hold your breath when you feel stressed? Angry? Exercising? There are too many moments to count. We breathe a lot. As in all the time.
Yet most of us are not breathing fully, expansively, powerfully. And it all begins with the simple act of PAYING ATTENTION.

I vividly remember starting to take deeper, fuller breaths, and being aware of breathing into my body fully. It was one of those transitions where I thought- I wonder what I was like before? Did I always just breathe into my upper chest? I was just getting into a regular practice in Boston, and after having a particularly enjoyable session one morning, I walked out onto the busy street. I suddenly realized that I felt lighter, taller…and even HAPPIER! Imagine that. Changing your mood with your breath. My chiropractor took note of these changes and said- Hey, you look taller! What have you been doing?

I will not tell you how/where/why to breath. I just want you to start to PAY ATTENTION to HOW you breathe. Does it feel like you have no room? Are you able to take a full, deep breath without lifting your shoulders to your ears? Do you pay attention to breathing when you run, bike, swim, chase your kids, or get a massage?

I am sure that you have all had a massage therapist along the road tell you to breathe. We ask you to do this because it helps the muscle tissue to relax. Basically, it makes our job easier (we don’t have to fight with your muscles!) and your treatment more effective.

So, all that I ask is that you pay attention. I will be writing more on this topic in the future!

Written by Katrina Baker, LMT, NCTM

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Why, When, and How of Epsom Salts Baths

So, I commonly see clients after a big race or event or even a training run and they complain of their legs feeling "like lead" or "full and tight". This is usually due to a buildup of metabolic wastes and toxins that your muscles produce that, quite literally gets "stuck" in the tissue. When these wastes accumulate, they cause your legs, arms, glutes to feel heavy, lethargic, and makes doing much in the way of moving very difficult. Also, if you have been lifting and not so commited to stretching after, you may over time get this buildup too.

I catch myself continously asking if they have taken an Epsom Salt bath, and more commonly than not--they have not. Most think that something as simple or silly as a bath cannot be helpful for THEM. Or my other favorite is "I don't like baths". Well, get over yourself. If you want a good way to help yourself in an easy, passive way--try the bath.

Here's all the scientific mumbo-jumbo for what and why it can work for you that I found on the Epsom Salt Council website:

Studies show these benefits from the major components of Epsom Salt may:

*Ease stress and improves sleep and concentration
*Help muscles and nerves function properly
*Regulate activity of 325+ enzymes
*Help prevent artery hardening and blood clots
*Make insulin more effective
*Reduce inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps
*Improve oxygen use

*Flush toxins
*Improve absorption of nutrients
*Help form joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins
*Help prevent or ease migraine headaches tell clients to try an Epsom salt bath

I will add that taking an Epsom Salt Bath does cost you some down time in the tub, but you will feel so much better when you go to move around later!

There are a few notes that I would like to add to heighten your enjoyment and knowledge of this awesome event....

*Make sure you HYDRATE--this means water--before, during and after. The metabolic waste and toxins will be pulled out of the tissue, but so will valuable water that you need to replace to get the full effect and benefit.

*Epsom Salts usually come in 3 sizes at any drug, grocery or health store. Small milk carton, large milk carton and 6 pound bag. If you are a fairly active person and don't really like running to the store every time you may need to take a bath, do yourself a favor and buy the 6 pounder. I think the last time I checked it cost about $5.

*Use twice to three times what you think the instructions are telling you. I believe it reads something like "2 cups per gallon of bath water"--how many gallons is YOUR tub? Unless you are bathing in a Pyrex bathtub and know the exact amounts to use, let me help you out. For most tubs and baths so that the water covers up to your waistline--use most if not all of the small milk carton size of salts. This does mean that you use roughly half of the large milk carton size of salts if you bought that one and so on.

*Use water as hot/warm as you can handle and let it cool as you soak. BEFORE GETTING IN THE WATER, pour the salts in and stir/swish/mix the salts around until you don't feel them anymore!! DO NOT SIT ON SALT CRYSTALS, they really wont help you since they haven't dissolved into the water.

*Plan on hanging out in the tub for about 15-20 minutes to really let them soak.

That's pretty much all my wisdom when it comes to this Epsom Salt Bath topic. Let me know if you have any other questions and I will attempt to get you the correct answer!

Written by Kate Ripley LMT, CNMT, NCTM

Monday, November 12, 2007

My first blog!

Hello cyberspace!
Ummm....this feels weird, knowing what I say will be out on the net and possibly zooming around. I am going to attempt to get over it here quickly. Okay, done.
I started this blog to let the world know about me and my company, The Austin Bodyworker. We are a clinical/therapeutic massage therapy office. My husband and I moved here due to a job opportunity for him and the chance that I could open up Austin Bodyworker. We knew we wanted to get out of Boston, where we were living in the city and the daily grind had finally ground us up into stressed-out, worked-over,cranky people. We knew that if we wanted to begin having a family (i.e. babies) it really wasn't going to be in such an expensive, crowded, noisy place. We like clean air and happy people to surround ourselves with. So we moved. To Texas. Gulp. Kinda scary.
Don't let me fool you, I'm not from the east coast. I am a native Nebraska girl. Go Big Red and all of that. So I come of my love of wide-open spaces and clean air naturally. But Texas was a bit scary to think of as our new home. But after some research and a few visits, we thought it was pretty cool and so we did it! We are all finding our way in this funky, quirky city of Austin. Discovering restaurants, coffee shops, clothing stores, grocery stores, you name it. Pretty much at least once a week one of us calls or texts the other to give them the scoop on some new place we have discovered inadvertently.
So if I was to tell you in a paragraph what makes The Austin Bodyworker different than any other place you have gone for massage, where should I start? First difference that is very important is that we all have a passion for what we do, rather than just a passing fancy. I know I could (and do) get caught up talking about some injury or muscle thingy for HOURS--really, try me. I am an anatomy-nerd at heart. I believe that massage therapy is one of those careers that if you don't really love what you are doing, you are going do a sub-standard job for your clients, resent them for it and burn out pretty fast. I think to do this job correctly, you have to love to help people, talk to people and touch people. If one of those is missing, this is NOT the career path for you.
Second difference, we are constantly pushing to learn new things. One of the best things and worst things about medicine is that it is always changing and they are always learning something new about the human body and how it reacts to this or that. So as a therapist, this means I need to keep up on the newest treatments and techniques for my clients. We are constantly being hit with more and more information, from the Internet, from classes, and from journals. You can't stop absorbing information in this industry or you'll get left in the dust. And then where does that leave your clients?
My idea is with this blog is that you and I can communicate about where The Austin Bodyworker is headed. I foresee it growing and expanding exponentially in the near future. I want to see it become a standard in our industry and not just a diamond in the rough that you find here in Austin. I think sometimes this will be my forum to discuss injuries and how you can help yourself be and feel better, sometimes I will be just picking a topic to rant about, sometimes I assume it will just be me babbling! So I hope you have enjoyed this so far, and I look forward to hearing your comments and questions! Thanks!