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There are many variations of massage that each work to specifically alleviate certain ailments often experienced after a vigorous workout. Figuring out the various techniques and movements that best cater to your sore muscles can help make massages an essential component of your post-exercise recovery routine. One of the lesser known styles of massage therapy that’s often undervalued is providing yourself with an ice massage. This simple approach to aiding your body’s recovery process combines the natural therapeutic effects of ice with the soothing abilities of active motion upon an area of soreness or swelling. Take a look at how ice massage therapy may provide you with the relief you need, as well as the proper techniques to perform it:
Of course, ice has long been regarded as one of the quickest and easiest methods for addressing a variety of ailments, ranging from muscle pain and swelling to inflammation from exercise-related injuries. The National Institutes of Health lists swollen muscles as one of the most common sports injuries dealt with by athletes, and recommends applying ice to a body part experiencing discomfort as the fastest way to reduce swelling. Failure to adequately decrease swelling upon an initial injury can severely delay the body’s healing process, causing you to miss out on valuable exercise time.
Dr. Laurel J. Freeman, a sports massage therapist with RNR Massage Therapy, reports that in addition to being able to efficiently reduce swelling, using ice therapy techniques to treat an injury can also help decrease the possibility of tissue damage, muscle spasms, inflammation and blood clot formation. Freeman added ice is essentially the universal treatment option for immediately addressing a wide variety of injuries.
“Ice enhances the flow of nutrients into the area, aids in the removal of metabolites (waste products), increases strength and promotes healing,” Freeman said in his report titled “Ice Therapy.” “This ‘ice effect’ is not related to age, sex, or circumference of the injured area. For the greatest benefits, use ice after exercise and not before.”
According to SportsMD.com, ice massages are a variation of cryotherapy, which uses cold to alleviate sports injuries. Cryotherapy has been utilized specifically for treating injuries that involve acute inflammation, chronic pain or postsurgical swelling or discomfort. This is why ice massage has been recommended for anyone who has experienced musculoskeletal injuries, such as severe bruises, sprains or fractures, as the ice reduces sensation and blood flow while the gentle rotating movement helps mobilize the soft tissue.
“Studies find ice massages help enhance muscle and nerve cell function.”
One study published by the National Institutes of Health involved researchers trying to determine the effects ice massages can have upon post-exercise electromyography activity, which is a procedure used to determine the health and function of muscles and the nerve cells that control them. The subjects were 15 athletes, who, after performing various lower body exercises, were either assigned to ice massage therapy sessions or detuned ultrasound meetings. After analyzing the results, the researchers ultimately concluded that athletes provided with the ice massage therapy sessions had more significant improvements in electromyography activity than those in the other group, indicating that the technique was able to enhance overall muscle and nerve cell function.
There are two primary ways to go about providing your body with an ice massage. The first is making your own ice cups, using generic paper cups that can hold roughly 3-4 ounces of water. Fill the cup up at least two-thirds of the way full and freeze it until it’s completely frozen. Afterwards, peel the top of the cup off until the ice is showing and hold onto the cup from the bottom. Begin gently rubbing the ice in small circles around the injured area, and continue for no more than 10 minutes.
Another way is to put your personal massager in the freezer and wait until the spheres are completely cold. An excellent device for this method is to use the Moji Curve PRO, which is officially safe to freeze and use upon any painful or swelling injury you’re experiencing.
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Is your daily routine negatively impacted by that relentless ache in your lower back? Can you feel it throbbing for attention as you read this? You’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, around 80% of adults suffer from lower back pain at some point in their life.
Endurance athletes who take part in marathons, triathlons or century bike rides typically have fitness goals of strength and stamina. Your body needs to be strong enough to carry you long distances, and it needs to have the proper training in order to function for extended periods of time.
Before a race it’s crucial to plan a training program to prepare, and most of this will include running or cycling through intervals of faster and slower speeds, up and down hills and longer and shorter distances. It should also include cross training with strength exercises and core workouts such as Pilates for total body training.
Another factor that should be included in a pre-race program is athletic recovery and stretching. Whether you’re a new or seasoned endurance athlete, you’ll be putting your body through more intense challenges, which is sure to leave you with sore muscles from time to time, but it can also increase your risk of injury. To prevent getting hurt and having a setback, you need to take the proper precautions, which include stretching and massage.
A century bike ride will take you 100 miles, and it will certainly test your mental and physical prowess. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly an achievable one that many endurance cyclists aspire to complete.
Being able to bike 100 miles requires serious commitment, dedication, planning and training. Once you decide to take part in a century ride, you need to starting working at least eight weeks beforehand to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead. Your training program should consist of long and short rides as well as intervals of different speeds, resistance levels, terrain and hills. It’s also a good idea to cross training with weight lifting to strengthen your muscles and exercises such as Pilates that provide stretching and improve posture.
Another key component is nutrition. Your body won’t be able to last long if it is not being fueled properly. Even slight dehydration can completely zap your energy levels and cause sore musclesand cramps. If this does happen, giving your muscles a massage can help. Additionally, eating the right amount of carbohydrates and fats is needed to fuel your muscles and provide you with the nutrients to keep you going mile after mile. You’ll certainly want to pack snacks to stop and eat during your ride to replenish fuel sources, curb hunger pangs and boost energy. Remember not to pack any foods that are too heavy or hard to transport. A muffin may sound delicious, but it can be messy to eat. Also, be sure not to try any new foods in case it affects your stomach negatively and you have to stop mid-race.
Here are some tasty, helpful snack options to pack for your century ride: