So you’ve got aching muscles. And by having them, you’ve joined, unfortunately, a not very exclusive club.
DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, can strike any athlete of any level. So if you’ve just got back to exercise and in the following 72 hours or so can barely sit on the toilet seat without letting out a high pitched wail, you’re far from alone.
That’s why massage is so important. Stretching and massaging the muscles before and after exercise is an important part of any exercise routine.
That’s where self-massage comes in. For whatever reason, be it time or cost, having a sports massage from a professional isn’t always ideal or even convenient, so being able to effectively massage your own muscles is a god send.
How do they work?
Self-massage works by triggering ‘trigger points’. Trigger points are tiny patches of contracted muscle fibres that can be exceptionally painful and lead to further problems due to over use. Self-massage can hurt because the muscles are in a state of tension where they don’t want to be – they’re angry and they’re letting you know about it.
If left untreated trigger point issues can cause other muscles to take the strain of the initially affected area and as such can cause unnecessary strains and ligament damage that could have otherwise been prevented.
Each muscle is made up of millions of fibres. A trigger point beds its roots in one, or a few muscle fibres being in a constant state of contraction due to a high stress environment (such as a kitchen – or marathon training). This constant state of contraction means that metabolic waste (lactic acid) is constantly pooling around the muscle as it cannot be flushed out by the body due to low circulation.
This lack of circulation can cause other muscles to develop the same ailments and before long a trigger point has accumulated in the muscle. Over time, if not treated, the trigger point can escalate to the point of muscle dysfunction.
At this stage, the danger of injury is most apparent as the body will naturally try to assist the dysfunctional muscle by applying others to help take the strain. And so, muscles whose normal job title is something completely different will find themselves straining to help a dysfunctional one.
And that’s why tools that allow you to correct these dysfunctions are vitally important to anyone who exercises regularly.
By stimulating oxygen flow to the injured party, self-massage allows the lactic acid build-up to be withdrawn from the affected area and releases some of the tension accumulated.
But what can we use to do it? For the purposes of this blog, we’ll let you know which body parts each of the following products can be used on so we can recommend something that can relieve what ails ya.
The Elite Trigger Point Massage Stick
The Elite Trigger Point Massage Stick is the perfect tool for self-massage, featuring four independent rollers you can easily pinpoint specific muscles to ease stress and pressure.
This effective self-care tool is compact, light and easy to transport, you need never be far away from the therapeutic boost of a nice relaxing massage.
The independent massage rollers manipulate the muscle fascia to provide effective self-massage while easing the joint related pressure in your fingers, hands, wrist and elbow.
This complete therapeutic tool is suitable for use on:
Quadriceps and Hamstrings
Calves and Achilles
Neck, Shoulders and Arm
Fitness Mad Massage Ball
The new Pinpoint Trigger Ball from Fitness Mad allows you to give your muscles a precise acupressure massage.
It helps to release tight smaller muscle groups and “flush out” toxins which can build-up in the muscles.
The blunt spikes provide acupressure release for your feet, hands, shoulders, upper back, forearm, outer leg, glutes or hips.
Ideal for use against a wall to target trigger points and tight muscles in the back, or any time your muscles feel tight! It may be small but it is mighty!
Spiky Massage Balls
Spiky Massage Balls are the perfect tool for trigger point massage, relaxation exercises, hand therapy, reflexology and more.
Both pvc phthalate and latex free, these massage balls are used by firmly applying in a circular motion to the desired area, which improves circulation, stimulates muscle reflexes to ease tension and provides overall relaxation to the body.
Individual sizes are specifically designed to target different areas of the body. The large 10cm blue is for use on the back, the 8cm yellow for the arms and lower legs and the 6cm orange for massaging the hands and feet.
These can be purchased individually or as part of a set for instant massage therapy.
The Peanut Massage Ball
The Peanut Massage Ball is a versatile self-massage tool for regeneration and mobilisation of muscles and fascia. It massages the deeper-lying muscle groups and hard to reach areas.
It’s the perfect, versatile tool for full body massage and relieving muscle tension as it can be used on a table, against a wall, on the floor or simply with your own hand.
Long-term use can also help reduce fascial ashesions and scar tissue.
The space between the two balls allows a targeted and effective massage – particularly around the spine – improving the flexibility and performance of the muscles.
Fitness Mad Foot Roller
Fitness Mad Foot Roller helps to relieve foot, heel and plantar fasciitis pain.
It eases the tight and tired muscles of the feet before or after exercise to ensure you can compete without any disadvantages or if not competing, at least get the most from your work out.
It’s also simple to use, simply roll back and forth under your foot whilst seated or standing for an effective self-massage.
Suitable for any fitness enthusiast or athletes including; runners, hikers, cyclists, marathoners, or anyone looking to maintain good foot health for better performance!
Conveniently, it can even be used whilst watching TV, working at a desk or relaxing.
If you’re interested in hearing more about self-massage, check out our Guide to Foam Rollers Blog!