Heavy weight lifting, contact sports, sitting in an office cubicle all day… all lead to stiff muscles, painful joints and an unhappy me.
Using the right recovery technique is key whether you want to build muscle, gain strength, or heal an injury.
There are many many types of therapy. Recently I have explored these three.
A healing therapy based on traditional Chinese medicine. The practice involves placing tiny needles in various places around the body. I have found there are two methods. Placing the needles in parts of the body that are associated with energy flow and secondly, placing needles into the area that is cause pain or tightness.
These methods lead to increased blood flow in the area, and allow tight muscles to release and relax.
In my experience, I visited Division Chiropractic and Acupuncture in Chicago, IL.
Michelle is a licensed acupuncturist and made me feel completely comfortable. During my treatment, she placed tiny needles along my upper traps, along my spine and rhomboids, lower back, upper IT band, wrist, as well as calf / Achilles tendon. Nothing was uber painful, maybe the needle in my calf was the ONLY one I felt, of probably 12-16 ( if not more ) needles.
After placement, she left me to relax in my lavender scented room. Soothing music played and soon I began to relax. I would guess, I was on the table for 30-40 minutes. Michelle checked on me half way through.
I was completely relaxed, and almost feel asleep.
I definitely felt immediate results, ( call it placebo effect or not ). But I did definitely feel ‘looser’. Three sessions were recommended to heal any nagging issues. I definitely recommend trying acupuncture therapy if you have any actual injuries, as this would expedite healing.
Immediately after my acupuncture session, I had my first cupping sessions as well! Cupping is the heating or pumping of glass cups to create suction on certain areas of the body. I can only best describe cupping as, where a massage would be compressing the skin / muscle, cupping is pulling skin, and muscle tissue apart. This was the most pleasant therapy technique I’ve ever experienced. Actually better than the typical massage. Massage can be painful, as I have usually gotten one, when I am already sore. The glass heated cups were soothing, and the vacuum or suction that was the result is very difficult to describe for me, but I could literally feel a release.
The red / purplish discoloration was a result of my cupping session. These look like bruises but they were not painful or limiting. When weight lifting, we are tearing our muscle. There is NO way to create more muscle fibers, ONLY making the ones we are both with bigger and thicker… hence the appearance of being more muscular or building muscle. These micro-tears often cause bleeding deep in the muscle. The vacuum formed by cupping draws up the old stagnant blood trapped in the area, and brings it to the surface of the skin. Mine lasted and faded throughout the next 3 days after my treatment.
Similar to placing ice on and injured body part, or an ice bath to sooth aching muscles, Cryotherapy is becoming a more popular options for athletes and people who are active. This is more of a whole body or localized recovery method.
Wearing only socks, gloves, undergarments, ( and maybe a hat ) you enter a body sized chamber or room. Nitrogen is used to hit the body with extremely low temperatures for a short period of time. -300 degrees I believe for less than 5 minutes.
The cold temperatures helps bring blood to all the vital organs in the body and immediately exiting the chamber will bring the blood flow back to muscles and limbs to aid in recovery. Cryotherapy is best used to treat muscle ache, chronic pain, arthritis, anti aging by tighten the skin and also releases endorphin.
Visit Advanced Cryotherapy and Fitness for more info.