‘How many muscles in the body?’

‘One. Everything is connected’

They say that the best ideas come out of a personal need and that is certainly something I can relate to.

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Not all but many of the injuries that I come across in my Practice as a Sports & Clinical Remedial Therapist are caused by overly tight muscles. Based on this I looked for a practical, simplistic way to maintain muscle fluidity based on massage and yoga techniques that effectively loosen and lengthen muscle fibres.

 

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These days nearly everybody knows that deep tissue trigger point massages and yoga stretching, are an excellent antidote to overworked muscles. Unfortunately most of us have TMD issues: Time, Money and Discipline!

I think the human body can be very simple on one level. Take muscles for example – they are really clever. Their job is to contract and release so as to allow a movement to occur. However, if they contract more than they release overtime that muscle will shorten. This is more likely as you get older and the elastic bounce back of the muscle reduces.

Nearly all sports have a repetitive muscle action, like running and cycling, as do certain occupations like keyboard and desk work. It is not too difficult to work out which muscles are being continually used if you think about it.

 

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Running and walking tightens hip flexors (Tensor Fasciae Latae and Psoas muscles)

Injuries do not generally occur overnight but are an accumulation of weeks of contraction and imbalances. Millimetre by micro millimetre. Furthermore, tight shortened muscles can pull joints slightly off kilter so that they no longer roll efficiently this can increase the wear and tear that leads to arthritis.

In the image above the knee can be compromised by tight hip flexors, glutes and the lateral quadriceps as they all run into the Iliotibial band (ITB) band that connects at the knee joint. If any of the above mentioned muscles are shortened the ITB band can pull the knee joint off its centre.

Check this exercise for knee pain

Most of my muscle release techniques have been learned and honed over the years under great mentors such as Neil Black, Great Britain’s Athletic Director and Physiotherapist, as well as Mel Cash founder of London School of Sports & Clinical Remedial Massage.

The best and fastest results I get for loosening muscles are from a mixture of Trigger Point massage, think elbow, thumb, knuckles poking you and, what I call, yoga extension stretches.

Janet Travell and David Simons can be thanked for the discovery of trigger points in the body and the revelation that when these points are pressed for a short amount of time, 10-30 seconds, myofacial (muscle) release occurs.

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If you have never heard of trigger points they are often found in similar places to shiatsu and acupuncture points. They occur as knots within muscles ranging in size from a few millimetres to thumb size and can cause pain. You know when a trigger point is touched as there is this sweet dissipating pain that disappears and the muscle feels looser afterwards. Good massage therapists achieve this with thumbs, elbows and knuckles.

And this is precisely why I created a product to simulate the thumbs’ knuckles and elbows of a massage therapist to pinpoint and strike those hard to reach trigger points, anytime and anywhere.

For more information on Wellblocks visit www.wellblocks.com

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