Monday, 4 November 2013

Trigger Point Therapy : Eugene Teoh

By Team Principal Eugene.
Remember when I put up a short write up about the importance of a stretching program to be incorporated into every runners’ training regimen here? I spoke briefly about using a foam roller to iron out the kinks and tight knots in the muscle groups and this posting expands a little more about that.

I met up with Chloe, who is the owner of Get Active Studio & Gym located in Mont Kiara over lunch just the other day and she dropped a complimentary set of Get Active house brand foam roller and massage stick on my lap. She knew about my struggles with ITB issues and a highly strung hamstring and we spoke in length about that and some other fitness programs over lunch. The foam roller that I have been using is made of foam and is not high density, therefore is compressible and more suitable for maintenance. Knowing that, Chloe suggested I try using a massage stick and a higher density roller to break up the knots that’s causing my pain in my ITB. 
Get Active self massage therapy tools
I share an excerpt from the accompanying information booklet by Get Active that came with the therapy tools.
“These are two tools that you can use as a way to reduce trigger points. Trigger points can be defined as hypersensitive areas of a muscle which is theorized to be either dysfunctional from a contractive and flexibility perspective. Trigger points inevitable develop whether or not you exercise, creating a need to restore functionality through the use of this modality. The massage stick and/or foam roller can be used at any point of time (pre, during and/or post-exercise) and especially on recovery days. The “no pain, no gain” saying applies to self massage, just be sure there is no bruising after the treatment. Perform the foam roller/massage stick exercises for a minimum of 1 min for each exercise”
In some articles about foam rollers, you will read about myofascial release. Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that provides support and protection for most structures within the human body, including muscle. This soft tissue can become restricted due to overuse, trauma and inactivity, often resulting in pain, muscle tension, and corresponding diminished blood flow. Myofascial trigger point therapy is a soft tissue therapy for the treatment of skeletal muscle immobility and pain. The tissue is loaded with a constant force until release occurs. The therapy relaxes contracted muscles, improves blood and lymphatic circulation, and stimulates the stretch reflex in muscles. 
A comparison between my mini foam roller and the higher density larger sized GA roller
The larger sized roller made of polyurethane provides me better coverage when in use and I find that I am able to massage bigger muscle groups in my lower back and trapezius/shoulder blades when rolling my back. Also when I’m rolling my quadriceps and larger muscle groups, I find that a bigger roller keeps in place better and does not move out of position so much, compared to my original mini foam roller. The GA roller size is a pretty standard 15.5” length and 4.5” diameter and upon carrying it in your hands you will notice the build quality from its weight.
How to massage your calves and gastrocnemius muscles
The stiffer and denser build of the GA roller also provides deeper penetration and allows for better tissue stimulation. This is especially important when your muscle groups and fascia tissue are tight and inflexible and require extra stimulus to break the knots and hotspots. Less firm rollers made of foam are better suited for maintenance programs and for continuous usage during periods of no pain or problems.
I use the roller to target all my large muscle groups, especially on my legs. Normally I start off with my hamstrings and work around them on all sides, then I hit my Illiotibial Band (the thick band of fascia that runs on the lateral side of the hip down to the knee) before I turn over and work on the quadriceps from the groin down to the knee. Working downwards, I continue with my calves and gastrocnemius muscle group before I finish off my legs by rolling the shin and tibialis anterior group. My self-massage program finishes off with rolling my lower back and working on a wide general coverage of my upper back and neck.
How to work the Illiotibial Band
Now, the massage stick is a tool that personally I have never tried before. Chloe recommended I use this as a complimentary tool to the GA roller. What it does is it helps to manipulate the harder to reach areas and also muscle striations that you may miss by using a block roller. First time I used it on my ITB, I was sold! Here I was, thinking that I was hitting my ITB very well using the roller, but in fact I was able to work on different spots of my ITB and giving more stimulus to the more sensitive spots by using the massage stick and directing the pressure at more specific areas. Why was I not told about this before?
Now I fully understand what it means by these 2 tools should complement each other as a complete rehabilitation/recovery/maintenance program. The way the massage stick is designed is that it has individual revolving bands made of PVC/Nylon that move independently as it comes into contact with your muscle group/body. By moving the massage stick up and down and driving the angle of the stick around to target specific areas, you find that it has a kneading effect on your muscles and it gives the outcome similar to deep tissue massage. The massage stick comes in a 16” length size and will easily fit into a cabin-sized luggage bag, making it very convenient to carry on travel for races and events.

Both the Get Active roller and massage stick comes with a 1 year warranty against breakage or manufacturing defects. Considering the fact that us runners, cyclists and triathletes think nothing of spending RM400 for a pair of shoes, RM200 for a pair of tri pants and RM100 for a carbon bottle cage, we should invest in a set of foam rollers and massage stick that would outlast any of the items mentioned above. A set of therapy tools gives each and every one of us longer injury-free years for continuous indulgence in the sports that we have so much passion in.
The Get Active roller and massage stick retails for RM120/= each. Should you buy them in a set, you get a special package price of RM200/= complete set. They come with an information booklet by Get Active that gives you the lowdown on the therapy tools as well as diagrammatic instructions on how to best utilize the roller and massage stick.

Of course, I’m keeping the best news for last. :)

For the month of November 2013, just head on over to Get Active Studio and Gym located at Mont Kiara (Full contact details at the bottom) and get 15% off their retail price when you purchase the roller and/or massage stick. Just tell them that it was Team 2ndskin that recommended you to come over and enjoy the discount. It pays to be a Team 2ndskin blog reader, no? ;)

Get Active Sdn Bhd
The Base, 10-1 & 2, Jalan Solaris 5
Solaris Mont Kiara
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-62037671

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