More than a stretch: “Self” Myofascial Release Techniques
You’ve probably paid a ton of money for a deep tissue massage. Maybe even experienced a hybrid of a relaxation massage, or possibly an hour of pure pain. The second last deep tissue massage I went for, almost resulted in me vomiting underneath the massage table. When the therapist got to the pressure points in my neck I saw stars and nearly blacked out… Bringing me to my last and most recent deep tissue massage, which was absolutely free and located on my yoga mat- I was the masseuse. I attended and studied with people in the field, and did specialty courses with myofascial release, so working with someone who has experience with this might be a good start- however you can definitely give it a go and play around with it on your own.
Self-Myofascial release. What is that? Techniques used to release, and relax the layer of fascia (the connective tissue surrounding the muscles, blood vessels, and nerves in your body). That is essentially what we are paying for when we go for our deep tissue massage- the only difference is, with the freedom of doing this on your mat, you are able to track and notice the progress of your body opening up, gaining range of motion and mobility. You are also preventing injury by doing this on a regular basis. Insanely beneficial for those who are highly active, lifting heavy in the gym, or playing a sport. By the end of this article, I will share 3 main pressure points in the body for you to play with this week.
Using different tools like the popular foam rollers, tissue massage balls, straps, blocks etc. allows for simple and affordable access to teach and practice this self-release technique on a frequent and regular basis.
Whether you participate in a specific class or program with this incorporated into it, or take the technique into your own home practice, you will notice significant changes in what your body is able to do in terms of movement, and function.
Here are 3 exercises you can try before and after your workouts this week! Let me know how it goes
- Hamstring Self Myofascial Release: Lacrosse/Tennis or Yoga Ball
-Place your hamstring on the ball with your hips unsupported, and your hands behind you keeping a long spine.
-Pressing your weight into the ball, holding at any tender points until pressure subsides approximately 75%.
- Armpit/Chest: Lacrosse/Tennis or Yoga Ball
-The flab that folds over your tight tank top?! That’s exactly where we want to place the ball. Dig in there.
-Coming onto your stomach, crevice the ball into that space right in between your bicep and side breast. Extend your arm out and to the side.
-Looking in the opposite direction, allow your body weight to fall heavy onto the ball taking it deeper into the tissue and muscle fibers of that region.
3. Quadriceps release: Lacrosse/Tennis or Yoga Ball
– Place the ball above your knee toward the inside of your leg (thigh), take the ball up and across by rolling your body weight on it.
-Start inside the thigh targeting all three quadriceps muscles.
-Again, covering the whole surface area, feeling out any tender spots and holding until tenderness subsides. (I usually feel this toward the outside of my thigh; also known as the vastus lateralis quad muscle)
Some tightness you feel in your body may need more then just holding stretches. Getting into the fibers and tissues allows for, and creates more opportunity for muscle recovery & release. Using these balls, targets our deeper tissue because of their sizes, grip, and their sneak approach to tension.