Ice Bath or Massage Therapy You Choose?

Ice Bath or Massage Therapy You Choose?

You have worked too hard, or worked out too hard, your muscles are sore, what do you do next? A long, hot bath is something you may look forward to in order to relax tight muscles, relieve stress and pain or is a cold shower?

Not all fitness experts race to jump into a hot bath or hot tub to sore their achy joints. Some experts such as Marty Jaramillo, CEO of the I.C.E. Sports Health Group, recommends taking an ice cold bath in order to numb really sore muscles. Soreness happens when lactic acid and other wastes collect in your muscles through your blood vessels. Cold water temperatures constrict blood vessels as opposed to dilating them to reduce pain. Taking a cold bath can be challenging, but try to use the coldest temperature you can tolerate. You can even add a bag or two of ice into the tub if desired.

Initially, a cold compress or cold bath will help numb your back and relieve pain. Days after your injury or workout, you may choose a hot bath for your muscle aches; the heat will penetrate and relax muscles, reducing the risk for spasms. A hot bath also reduces stress levels all over your body. You may not realize it but when you have muscle soreness in one area, the surrounding areas may tense up from working harder to compensate for the sore, weak muscle groups. The bath can relax the muscles and prepare them for stretching and your next workout.
When you exercise, your blood vessels open wider and stay that way for at least an hour afterward. Soreness occurs when waste products like lactic acid settle in your muscles through these dilated vessels. Colder temps constrict vessels, limiting the amount of waste product that accumulates, explains Jaramillo.

Cool the Pain

  • If you’re feeling brave, fill your tub halfway with cold water and add a bucket of ice cubes.
  • Gradually submerge your body into the water to your waist.
  • Don’t submerge your chest; the extreme temperature could cause injury.
  • Work up to soaking for 30 seconds to one minute

When does the warm or hot bath come in? After a therapeutic massage.  Here is an excerpt from “How Massage Heals Sore Muscles”

They found that massage reduced the production of compounds called cytokines, which play a critical role in inflammation. Massage also stimulated mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses inside cells that convert glucose into the energy essential for cell function and repair. “The bottom line is that there appears to be a suppression of pathways in inflammation and an increase in mitochondrial biogenesis,” helping the muscle adapt to the demands of increased exercise, said the senior author, Dr. Mark A. Tarnopolsky.

Dr. Tarnopolsky suggests that, in the long run, a professional massage may even be a better bargain than a pill. “If someone says “This is free and it might make you feel better, but it may slow down your recovery, do you still want it?” he asked. “Or would you rather spend the 50 bucks for a post-exercise massage that also might enhance your recovery?” read full article on

warm bath after massage helpsI often recommend taking a Hot Epsom salt Bath after a massage because of several factors. One I have moved a lot of metabolic waste as I manipulated the muscle tissues. Drinking water will help flush these toxins out as well.

This all helps to relieve pain. In your bathtub, you can add certain ingredients that may also help relax muscles. Consider adding sea salts or Epsom salts to your bath – this will help reduce swelling and calm your central nervous system. You may also want to use essential oils that can help relax you and help sore muscle groups such as eucalyptus, bergamot and lavender. These ingredients are often used in massage therapy as well.

Having a massage, especially a deep tissue massage, is a form of passive exercise, as hard as that may be to believe, and you need to take care of yourself as if you have just exercised.  You don’t want to ruin that relaxed high you’re on right now, do you?

Why is stretching part of massage therapy?

Why is stretching part of massage therapy?

Most everyone knows stretching is an integral part of an exercise routine. But did you know that it is crucial at many other times including when you are not exercising? It is the process of gradually applying gentle force to lengthen and lubricate muscles and joints.

Stretching can be done by anyone no matter their current physical condition or age. It is a remarkable way to improve health without wear and tear, yet contributes to overall wellness.

Why should you stretch, and when should you do it?

Stretching improves flexibility, which allows you to move your joints through their full range of motion. Flexibility is a key element of fitness; it can enhance physical performance and relieve muscle tension and stiffness. You should stretch after a warm-up and/or when cooling down after a workout, since it is easier and safer to stretch a warm muscle than a cold one. Warm-ups bring blood to the muscles and make injuries from stretching less likely. There is considerable variation in baseline flexibility between individuals.

One shouldn’t try to make big gains in flexibility in a short period of time. Stretching should be done gradually over a long period of time and then maintained to prevent slipping back towards inflexibility. Some people will enthusiastically embark on a stretching program, but then quit two weeks later because they haven’t seen any benefit. Be patient and consistent. It takes a long time.  It is very important to relax during the stretching routine. It should not be a rushed event. The “I’ve got to hurry up and do this so I can go” attitude is counterproductive. This is a time to slow your breathing and count to 30 with each stretch.

Stretching Tips

• Stretch at least three times a week to maintain flexibility.

• A session should last 10 to 20 minutes, with each static stretch held at least 20 seconds (working up to 30 seconds) and usually repeated about four times.

• Stretch before exercising or playing a sport to improve performance and perhaps prevent injury.

• Besides a general stretch of major muscle groups, stretch the specific muscles required for your sport or activity.

• Do not stretch until it hurts. If there’s any pain, stop.

• Don’t bounce. Stretching should be gradual and relaxed.

• Focus on the muscle groups you want to stretch.

• Try to stretch opposing muscles in both your arms and legs. Include static stretches plus PNF or active-isolated stretching.

• Don’t hold your breath during a stretch.

• Stretch after exercising to prevent muscles from tightening up.

Proper stretching should not be overlooked as an integral part of every fitness and health regimen. Unfortunately, most people either don’t stretch at all, stretch too little or stretch improperly. Few people understand that there are many types of stretches from which to choose.

How will you benefit from Sports Massage?

How will you benefit from Sports Massage?

Since many athletes are now beginning to notice the many benefits of massage therapy, more and more athletic massage therapists are becoming available. In fact, they can be found in the locker rooms of almost any professional sports event for just that very reason.

Sports massage is a form of massage typically used before, during and after sporting events. It is effective for releasing muscle tension and restoring balance to the muscular-skeletal system. Benefits include:

  • Improving circulation and lymphatic flow
  • Assisting in the removal of metabolic waste
  • Improving muscle flexibility, range and freedom of joint movement
  • Reducing stress and tension in the body’s soft tissues
  • Relaxing tired and aching muscles
  • Breaking down scar tissue
  • Improving posture and general body awareness
  • Assisting in mental preparation for sporting participation

For most athletes, enjoying less muscle stiffness and improving relaxation and well-being is reason enough to enjoy regular massage. But as research continues to grow on the real physical benefits of massage, more and more athletes will be taking advantage of this ‘feel-good’ training method.

Recently, researchers at McMaster University reported that deep massage after an intense workout actually causes muscles to enlarge and grow new mitochondria. Mitochondira, the powerhouses of our cells, are responsible for converting nutrients into useful energy.

For this study, the researchers had men to exercise to exhaustion on stationary bicycles. After the workout, the men had a Swedish-style deep-tissue massage on one leg for 10 minutes. Muscle biopsies were taken from one quadriceps muscle before and after the workout, and from both muscles immediately after a 10 minute massage of one leg, and again two and a half hours later. The deep-tissue massage increased the size and number of new mitochondria more than exercising without massage. Increasing mitochondria can improve endurance performance by increasing the rate that muscles can utilize oxygen.

The pressure of massage may also improve blood flow during the massage and increase muscle temperature. Massage reduces heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels. Most people report a feeling of pure relaxation, reduced anxiety, and improved mood as a result. Athletes may indeed find an edge in these psychological benefits.

By having a deep tissue massage at least once per week, athletes can keep their muscles healthy, improve their flexibility, maintain relaxation and have a better sleep cycle. Contact Ivy King, RMT today for your consultation.

Will Reflexology help me?

Will Reflexology help me?

Reflexology can help replenish the whole body by encouraging it to naturally restore its own health balance. Most people can benefit from treatment; therefore reflexology can be considered ideal for:

  • Back pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Migraine
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Infertility
  • Sleep disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Digestive disorders
  • Stress-related conditions
  • Reflexologists do not claim to cure, diagnose or prescribe.

Reflexology treats ‘the whole person’ and not just any current symptoms you may be experiencing. Many people report an enhanced sense of overall well-being as well as an improvement in their condition. After having completed a course of reflexology treatments for a specific condition, many people find it beneficial to continue with regular treatments in order to maintain health and well-being.

Book your appointment soon!

Running shoes and sports injuries: Do the shoes help or hurt?

Running shoes and sports injuries: Do the shoes help or hurt?

Do your research before deciding where to spend your hard earned dollars on running shoes.  A new Danish study contradicts the long-held beliefs about running shoe related damage.

Running Shoes may not be a factor in reducing sports injuries


The belief that foot pronation, or rolling inward of the ankles, increases the risk of injury in novice runners and requires correction with special shoes is being challenged by biomechanics experts.

Running shoe sales pitches tailor shoes to people based on providing “stability” shoes that offer support to the feet of people who “pronate,” tipping the ankle toward the inside of the step.

“What you can see if you don’t have the right shoe, if you will, is down the road is some injuries that can plague folks that are pronators, which is the vast majority of us,” said Bryan Smith, a manager at Running Room in Toronto.

The sales strategy has been used for 30 years. An estimated 73 per cent of cross-country runners say compatibility between foot posture and shoe design is the key factor when choosing a running shoe, Danish researchers reported in a recent issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.  read full article on

Apparently this debate has been going on for some time as these articles suggest:

The painful truth about trainers: Are running shoes a waste of money? by MailOnline
Custom running shoes might not prevent injuries by Reuters
Running shoes: Solution or the problem? by The Science of Sport

Choose your shoe for comfort or maybe trying running barefoot.

Dr. Gruber agrees. “I always recommend that runners run the way that is most natural and comfortable for them,” she says. “Each runner runs a certain way for a reason, likely because of the way they were physically built. Unless there is some indication that you should change things, such as repeated injury, do not mess with that plan.”  read full article on

Trust your instincts and do not get oversold.  Your body will let you know what works for you based upon the pain and progress you make.  Get to know your body and understand how your muscle, joints and skeleton systems interact to avoid sports injuries.  The choice is yours.

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