Do you ever find it hard to bring your arms up overhead? If so, a tight latissimus dorsi muscle might have something to do with it. Here’s a little self-release for the lats!
Contract-relax (CR) stretching is a helpful tool for lengthening stubbornly tight muscles. We isometrically contract a muscle against resistance and then relax and proceed with a stretch. It involves a neurological reflex called the Golgi Tendon Reflex. This protective reflex prevents tendon tears by automatically triggering the muscle to relax after a very strong contraction. We take advantage of this reflex in CR stretching. Due to the use of this reflex we get more of a stretch than otherwise possible with regular stretching. I like to use this technique with clients in multiple tight areas including neck, hamstrings and pecs.
Around the knee in 60 seconds! This self massage technique helps you understand just a few of the muscles surrounding the knee joint. I like to do this one to bring awareness and ease to the knee joint, especially after standing, working or driving for an extended time!
Pain is just the messenger...so when I get pain at my medial elbow, I know that my body is trying to telling me—“Emily, you’ve been overworking that hand and wrist girlfriend!” Overworked forearm flexors can cause pain at the tendon attachment on the medial elbow and can also lead to nerve compression, wrist pain, and weakened grip! Always listen to the pain—because it’s often trying to tell you reflect on past behaviors!
Here’s a little self-massage technique for all of you with tight hamstrings. I use a therapy ball, but you can use a tennis ball or Yamuna rolling ball as well. Start up at the origin of the hamstrings, in the tissue distal to the ischial tuberosity and move downwards, spending more time on the areas of the muscle that feel the most tight and sensation-rich!
Did you catch Empower Massage Therapy on News Center Maine this past week?! If you missed it, check out the link below to view this informative segment!
Got tight hip flexors? If so, it’s worth considering that the hip flexor group includes a diverse cast of characters. The muscles in this group have various attachment sites and fiber directions, which affect how they move the joint. While they all produce hip flexion, they affect the joint in slightly different ways. So if you’re trying to stretch your tight hip flexors, try playing around with adding other movements like external rotation of the hip, knee flexion, and posterior pelvic tilt of the pelvis.
This self-massage technique is a good one for those who favor one hip. Your gluteus medius muscle helps to depress the pelvis on the standing leg side, which means it may be hyper-contracted on the side that bears more of your weight. If this technique feels like a necessary one for you, try to also build awareness around equalizing your body weight in both feet as you stand and walk.
Have you been walking in bad shoes, on hard surfaces, have arch problems or recently intensified your workout routine? If so, you might be prone to shin splints and pain through the anterior compartment of your lower leg! Due to the fascial connections between the lower leg muscles and periosteum of the shin bones, this pain can feel very deep and intense! Always make sure to ice first if there’s inflammation in the area. Once that’s subsided, try this quick and easy self-massage technique!
Here’s a little self-release technique for the pec major, aimed at increasing shoulder mobility and decreasing tension. The basic routine is: range of motion, release with movement, repeat range of motion. You can apply this to many joints in the body using either your hand or a self-release tool. Enjoy and hope you feel some increased mobility!
Empowerment beyond the massage table...
As a bodyworker and teacher, I love helping to educate people about their bodies. I think our relationship to our bodies is vitally important to our mental health. This blog features a few tools, articles, and fun facts to help you empower your body :) -Emily