Massage those muscles

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Massage those muscles

The calf muscles play a major role in our daily life. They provide balance as we move over the ankle or the foot and also absorb shock while we walk. They  assist in propulsion when we push the toes while walking, cycling etc. They consist of two parts: the heart-shaped gastrocnemius and the fan-shaped soleus.

Pain in the calf is either a result of injury or inflammation of these muscles. If the calf muscles are tight, it proves  problematic to the foot, knee, hip as well as the backbone. Since calf muscles are vital for our propulsion while walking or running, it is highly important to keep them in good shape. Calf massages are mostly beneficial to the athletes and provide many benefits like improved blood circulation, early recovery of sore muscles and effective pain reduction.

There are versatile calf massage techniques that can relax the calf muscles and heal the injury. Following are the most preferred calf massage techniques, and they ought to be done by a qualified professional.

Active release technique

Active Release Technique (ART) is a blend of right movements on specific tissues. It helps to relieve muscle adhesions and scar tissue build-up. Therapists use their hands to evaluate the tenderness or mobility of the tissue and then work to break the adhesions. This technique is mostly preferred to treat any injuries like shin splints, plantar fasciitis and enhance the ability of the body to heal itself. 

Trigger point techniqueThe trigger point therapy is an art topalpate your calf muscles. The trigger points in your muscles are the actual cause of pain. Massaging these points will effectively reduce the intensity of pain. Also, try the variations on this routine massage to offer a treat to your calves.

Deep tissue massage

Deep tissue massage is often confused with deep pressure massage. This massage is intense as it targets deep layers as well as the superficial muscles. Unlike trigger point therapy, deep tissue massage focuses on specific regions rather than the entire muscle. Deep tissue massage is advised to athletes who are suffering from interconnected tissues and tight spots.

If you are not comfortable going to a professional, you can also self massage your calves. Here’s how you can do it the right way:

 Step 1: Choose the calf that needs
massage and glide your hands over the calf from ankle to knee to warm it up.

 Step 2: As you move from the ankle to your knee, squeeze your calf muscles with your hands. If you find any tender areas then work more on them. Make sure to balance the pressure by using one hand under your calf and the other on top of your shin bone.

nStep 3: Roll and squeeze the muscles from ankle to knee.

 Step 4: Press the fists into your muscles while moving from the ankle to the knee.
 Step 5: Roll your fists into your calf muscles and press the muscles that are on either side of your shin. This process will relax your muscles. 

 Step 6: Breathe out deeply and repeat Step 3.

 Step 7: Drum and wiggle the entire area from ankle to knee with your hand palms. Repeat the same process for the other leg.

 Step 8: You are done now. Stand up, walk around and feel the difference with the relaxed muscles.

But before you start massaging your calf muscles right now, here a few guidelines to follow:

 Always try to moderate the frequency of massages. It is suggested by physiotherapists that a massage for few minutes every day is better than an hour once in a week. 

 Never over-massage on inflamed areas. Overdoing it on the soft or injured tissue will lead to longer recovery period.

 The tissues and muscles in our body are sensitive and complex. They react to speed, cold, pressure and heat differently. Going too fast or too hard on your muscles can seize the muscles.

 Only your hands can sense your muscles. Prefer massage with hands rather than tools. Halt after a while and check with your hands how your muscles are reacting.

 If you are suffering from an injury or some pain, always go to a professional to get your massage done. The injury might not respond well to self massage or may even get worse. 

(The author is a beauty & wellness expert, owner at Soham Wellness Clinic, Gurgaon)

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