Here at Fightletics we offer a modality of holistic medicine called 6-Step Muscle Recovery. It is founded on six commonly used methods in a unique design for optimal results. It is not to say that it is the only way or even the best way per say but working in a simple effective manner that benefits the person and how their muscle recovers. This process is not a massage, you do have athletic attire (preferably shorts) and may have an assessment for first time clients. Assessment’s may consist of active and passive movements that may show restricted/irregular movement patterns to create a better game plan for the session. Regardless, the goal is for you to move better, feel better, and perform at an optimal level.
1. increase circulation
The first step, a very effective, and one of the most common methods to working soft tissue. Increasing the circulation into a muscle group should always be the start. To some workers it is the start, middle, and end to a session. But here it is the foundation of a six step method that will be built upon to bring optimal muscle recovery.
2. Myofascial release
After circulation being increased into an area we spend time working slowly to move and loosen the fascia that surrounds muscle fiber. Fascia is a structure that surrounds many elements of including muscle, bone, nerve, arteries, veins, and the internal organs that make us living creatures today. But during this process we are solely focused on the fascia that surrounds muscle. The word “tightness” is thrown around loosely and often but what is a common cause of tightness. Recent studies have found it to be fascia not loosening when the muscle surrounded is expanding or expanded. This second step we focus on slowly and methodically spending time working the fascia giving us even a better platform to lead into working the muscle in a more aggressive manner directly under.
3. remove knot/adhesion
The first two steps are the foundation for what is to follow for the next four. Now that we have an increased red blood cell count this gives us a plethora of benefits. Next we spend time slowly making fascia more pliable and even “creating space” for muscular tissue to be worked. Now is time to remove knots that could be restricting an optimal range of motion or breaking up adhesions that can create irregular movement patterns. This process may take more time than the other five steps but it should also have you leaving a lot differently than you first walked in. Depending on the circumstance different tools and methods are used to break up knots. The tools may include fingers, knuckles, palms, forearms, elbows, etc. but the methods of cross-fiber friction and ischemic pressure have been proven time and time again to remove these stubborn areas that can cause us so much pain.
After knots/adhesions are removed we are in a position to do three things that prove to be extremely effective in the muscle recovery process. The first being “stripping” the muscle fiber/group. By stripping we mean sinking into the layer of muscle starting at the origin and following with continuous pressure until we reach the insertion. By doing this we are breaking down the entire muscle group directly after breaking up a specific area (knot/adhesion) furthering the muscle recovery process.
5. pin & stretch
The hard part is almost over! After stripping, the next technique we use is called a “pin and stretch.” This benefits the tissue in multiple ways. The first benefit is the P&S is a form of longitudinal release, a commonly used technique for lengthening a muscle fiber. But secondly as longitudinal release works the muscle from superior-inferior we are also adding a stretch as we pin the area.
6. neuromuscular facilitation
Neuromuscular reprogramming, is the final step, but first let’s break down the terms. Neuro referring to the nervous system, muscular referring to the muscular system, and facilitation a fancy word for showing the muscle how it normally functions. Simply during the last step, we are going to activate the neuromuscular system in two ways actively and passively hence reprogramming the muscle how to lengthen. We will do this by two modalities of stretching. Static partner stretches (passive) allowing the muscle to lengthen fully but also PNF stretches (active) that activate our nervous system. This is the final step to a process that we feel is simple but yet one of the most effective ways for muscle recovery results.