Tuesday, October 28, 2008

10 Reasons Why You Should Get Massage

The key to getting massage is not to wait until (A) you're injured or (B) you've just done a strenuous activity around the house or on the playing field. MASSAGE should be part of your WELLNESS Program. In other words don't treat it like a luxury but as a necessity to GOOD HEALTH...need a few more reasons why you should do it in the first place?


1. Breaks up scar tissue that may have built up in your muscles.

2. Improves blood flow to your muscles.

3. Loosens muscles that have contracted (shortened) with continued use.

4. Allows more oxygen to move into your muscles.

5. Improves the flow of lymphatic fluid, which aids in healing.

6. Reduces the chance of injury, through proper stretching, functional exercise and
deep tissue massage.

7. Improves range of motion and muscle flexibility, resulting in improved power
and performance.

8. Shortens recovery time from strenuous exercise and work.

9. Maximizes the supply of nutrients and oxygen through increased circulation.

10. Enhances elimination of lactic-acid build up (a by-product of exercise).

For more information on massage treatments go to www.therapeutictouchnj.com

Self Help for the Hip Flexors

In my line of work, I see alot of hip flexor issues...too tight, too weak and each condition plays havoc on the functionality of the lower body.

The hip flexors are some of the most used muscles in the body. Whether walking up stairs or bending to tie a shoe, the hip flexors are responsible for the forward flexion of the body. Hip flexion of course is the movement in which the angle between the thigh and the trunk decreases.

The major muscles of hip flexion include the psoas major, the iliacus together called the iliopsoas and also include the rectus femoris of the quadriceps, the gracilis and the sartorius which are also located in the medial aspect of the anterior compartment of the thigh. Also, defined as secondary hip flexor muscles are the pectineus, adductor longus and adductor brevis of the medial thigh and the TFL (tensor fascia latae) of the lateral hip.

Often my clients will have weak hip flexors in relationship to the quadriceps and abdominal muscles. The hip flexors are often neglected during strength training regardless of the vitally important role they play in athletics. Due to this weakness, the pelvis rotates forward, often putting too much pressure and strain on the lower back (lumbar) region and increases the potential for low back pain.

To improve hip flexion and to increase power from the lower body, focus should be placed on specific exercises that will increase flexion in the axial/lower body so that strength and flexibility can be improved. Here are some suggestions;

Self-Care Techniques

1. Camel-Cat Pose
2. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
3. Pigeon Pose
4. Groin Stretch
5. Single Leg Windshield Wiper
6. Scorpion
7. Piriformis Stretch
8. Downward Dog

1. Walking Lunge with twist
2. Drop Lunge (lords)
3. Russian Hamstring
4. Knee Tucks on exercise ball
5. Mountain Climbers
6. Gate Swings

These are just a few of my favorites and should get you started on the right path to stronger hip flexors, improved posture and a healthier back as well. Enjoy and until next time.

Peace and Health to you.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why Stretching Can Be a Great Tool for a Pain Free Life

The key to life is movement, the key to movement is flexibility without pain.

Stretching is highly underrated...if you want to be healthy long term add some good ol' fashion stretching to your workout. Poor flexibility inhibits your ability to build muscle and makes you more susceptible to injuries especially in your low back region. Here are just a few more reasons why we should all take a few more minutes each day and STRETCH...

Stretching Can...

  • Increases and maintains complete range of motion in the joints.
  • Relieves muscle soreness. Light exercise promotes a better supply of blood and oxygen to the muscles than rest and should be pursued unless the severity of the injury to a muscle or muscles precludes further activity.
  • Helps improve our capacity for activity. Stretched muscles require less energy for completion of movements.
  • Assists in decreasing unnecessary neuromusculuar tension, promoting general body relaxation and reducing emotional stress.
  • Relieves muscle-joint stiffness associated with the aging process.
  • Increases musculotendinous extensibility of a muscle, it can be stretched 1.6 times it's resting length before it tears.
  • Elongates the fascia. The fascial system is the binding that supports the muscle system. Elasticity varies between individuals and is a major reason some individuals experience slower progress in obtaining flexibility.
  • Helps prevent joint sprains, muscle strains or tears including preventing re-injury to previous joint and muscle trauma.
  • Major part of the pre-activity warm-up, helps in increasing tissue temperature by increased metabolic rate.
  • Part of the cool-down process to increase blood flow to the fatigued areas of the body, eliminates toxic waste products from cells, reduces soreness, muscle relaxation and additional flexibility improvement.
  • Helps provide greater potentials of physical and athletic skills.
  • Reduces tension that may contribute to pain, spasm and cramping.
  • Plays an important adjunct role in recovery during the rehabilitation process.
I hope that after you read this , you are compelled to make flexibility and stretching key components in your daily activities...it only takes a few moments to improve your overall well-being. Until next time...Stretch it Out!