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7 benefits of Self Myofascial Release

Intro

Fascia is a dense connective tissue covering muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and other tissues and organs within the body. It is made up of collagen fibers and can be wavy and densely packed in certain areas. Fascia is continuous throughout the entire body, deep to our skin, intertwining with all of our tissues and connecting muscles to bones and bones to bones much like tendons and ligaments.  Fascia also gives our soft tissues structure and support.

When you statically stretch a muscle and feel a pull, it is the fascia stretching that you feel the most. Fascia has more sensory nerve endings than our muscle and even skin! It is a huge proprioceptor. Meaning, fascia orchestrates the movements of the body and is aware of your bodies placement in space. (IE Standing on one foot.. besides your inner ear, the proprioceptors on the bottom of your foot send signals to the rest of your body about where it is in space, enabling you to balance. This is why rehab should be done in bare feet, Turn on those Proprioceptors!!!)   A lot of sensory nerve endings, also means you feel everything that goes on in your fascia tissue layer. Many times injuries (slight sprain or strain) are injuries to our fascia because it is dehydrated, brittle, and immobile.  Keeping Fascia hydrated and supple is key!  Stretching, massaging, and working on any part of our Fascia can have a positive effect on other areas of the body since it is continuous.

Overview

Fascia

– dense connective tissue layer deep to the skin

– covers all muscles, tendons, ligaments, and organs

– full of sensory nerve endings.. sensitive to stretch, pressure, and injury

– allows tendons, muscles, and ligaments to slide smoothly against eachother

– support system in soft tissues

– it is primarily responsible for muscle elasticity and recoil

– healthy fascia can help lessen muscle fatigue and increase explosiveness

 

Q: How do we keep our Fascia Healthy?
A: Self Myofascial Release!

I suggest using Gush Balls for SMFR versus a foam roller because they are smaller and are multidirectional.  Our Fascia moves in every direction and so should our SMFR modalities.  Gush Balls are better than harder lacrosse type balls because they give and move with your tissue and body shape instead of pushing tissue away. They also travel easily in a small mesh bag.

To pick up a pair of these AMAZING Self Myofascial Release Modalities go to http://www.Gushballs.com and enter code AMELIA at checkout for 10% off!

Here’s how they can help you..

1. SMR rehydrates your tissue!

Fascia needs to be hydrated!  It can become brittle and immobile without regular movement.

– plenty of water along with self myofascial release using Gush balls

– stretch, exercise and move in multiple planes of motion

2. Break up Adhesions

– Fascia get get very sticky and get ‘stuck’

– SMFR can break up these adhesions by working out the kinks in the wavy collagen fibers

3. Suppleness

– Much like rehydration, SMFR can fluff your tissues and loosen up the collagen in densely packed immobile areas making your muscle and soft tissue more supple, springy, and mobile.

4.  Pain Relief

– Since fascia is our largest sensory organ: when SMFR allows it to glide more smoothly among other tissues, break up adhesions, and stretch the tightly knit connective tissue, you will have relief of many aches and pains. (most likely they are related to fascia)

– Most muscle or body aches are due to an injury or disruption of the continuous fascial layer!

– Working on one part of the fascia can even lead to relief in other areas of the body because it is one continuous tissue throughout the entire body!

5.  Elasticity

– Supple and hydrated fascia can assist with the stretch shortening cycle of muscle during explosive movement.  Think of it like an extra rubber band, if it is dried out and brittle; it will not help with elasticity, but if it is hydrated and highly elastic it will recoil quickly after a stretch.

6. Prevent Injuries

– Hydrated elastic fascia can prevent injuries.  The natural “springiness” of fascia along with its proprioceptive abilities can help us avoid muscle sprains and joint strains.

– Using SMFR can increase our proprioceptive abilities by waking up those nerve endings and making us more aware of fascia and our bodies movement.

7. Down Regulation after a vigorous workout

– The rhythmic movement of Gush Balls along with proper breathing techniques are a great way to finish up a workout.  It can allow your nervous system to calm down while working and stretching the tight fascial layers of your tissue leaving you relaxed and relieved.


 

Self Myofascial release does much more than what is written here.  These are some of the basic concepts and an introduction to the vast information we now have on fascial tissue layers.  Try them out for your self, I promise you will have muscle pain relief and improved mobility in no time!

To pick up a pair of these AMAZING Self Myofascial Release Modalities go to http://www.Gushballs.com and enter code AMELIA at checkout for 10% off!

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Why Interval training is better

Most of us can barely squeeze gym time into our day; so running for an hour outside is probably not happening unless you are training for an upcoming marathon.  Believe it or not there is a way to train both your aerobic and anaerobic systems simultaneously in a shorter amount of time; Interval training.  During interval training your body can reach near max heart rates, VO2max, high speed, maximal effort, and you get to rest! Talk about efficiency!

Before I get into the science of it, I would like to cite a classic study, the first of its kind.. from 1960.

A study by Christenson EH, et al. called Intermittent and Continuous Running made some great discoveries  A subject running at a fast speed, “exhaustive pace” only lasted under 5 minutes at that high speed before ‘verifying’ exhaustion, his VO2 was 5.6, Blood Lactate 150, and he covered .8 miles.  The same subject ran at the same speed intermittently.  Running for 10 seconds, with 5 seconds of rest the subject was able to last for 30 minutes, (20 minutes of work), he covered 4 miles, VO2 was 5.1, and his blood lactate was only 44.

By taking small breaks we are able to be much more efficient with our exercise.  Unlike continuous long duration aerobic exercise, interval exercise doesn’t break down muscle.  Interval training spares muscle tissue by allowing your body to replenish its self during rest.

During interval training we can train at a higher level without becoming exhausted.  During all out sprints of 10-12 seconds (like in my run cross class) we use an immediate energy system using ATP-PCr for energy.  These are intramuscular phosphates that supply energy quickly, but can only last up to about 10 seconds.  This system is used at the start of exercise or the point when additional exercise is needed; i.e. a breakaway for a goal in soccer, or the final sprint to the finish line of a 10k race.  This system is replenished quickly during rest or steady state aerobic metabolism. The other system that could be used during the 10-12 second of work is the anaerobic Lactic Acid system.  This is also a short term energy supplier and it buys time until aerobic glycolysis or rest can take place.  This system phosphorylates ADP to ATP, or in other words creates energy from stored muscle glycogen (another reason to eat carbs!!) The aerobic system does produce a small percentage of energy here through glycolysis, especially during the rest period when respiration and heart rate are high.

Interval training can increase anaerobic and aerobic systems.  (Short-term and Long-term energy systems)  It can allow you to push yourself to your limits, burn more calories, and keep muscle mass.

My Runcross class on Wednesday nights at Equinox South Beach is all sprint intervals!  Join me and see how beneficial it is firsthand!

 

Amelia Sofis M.S, ATC/L, CSCS, PES