There is more than just exercise that is associated with recovery. A hard day warrants a long rest. A special occasion of celebration, with party food and alcohol, is sensibly followed with plenty of water, and hopefully a sleep in to allow extra hours for the mind to replenish and the detoxifying organs to neutralise the alcohol… There is ebb and flow with a myriad of things of nature, and in our social and professional lives. Recovery is even geared into our psyche, hence why we place head to pillows collectively and repair for 7-10 hours.
For now, in the context of muscle recovery after stress such as exercise, recovery models which aid the healing process and get us back to being optimal – are the big 4!
Number 1. Cold Water Immersion. CWE has been given much awareness from people such as Paul Chek, Stig Severinsen, Wim Hof and our very own, Australian Nam Baldwin. I have experienced the teachings of Paul and Stig, and soon I’ll learn from Nam. Wim’s teachings has a stronger correlation to cold and ice exposure, yet all gentleman demonstrate breathing techniques and breath holds, which still are administered in many situations, to buffer or regulate and match the body to the environment.
If you choose to expose yourself to this contrast therapy, start easy! Try a temperature regulated shower and wet the limbs first, then the the torso which is a graduation. A client of mine once completely doused herself in a cold shower and it was lucky she did not faint! I
remarked that the cold will constrict blood vessels, whereas heat or warmth will dilate. What happened for her, was that the blood left her periphery and headed straight for the organs and gut. I will share more on contrast therapies / exposure on the next blog.
Understanding the effects of treatments such as cold water immersion and active recovery on inflammation within skeletal muscle after exercise is important. Cold water immersion is a
widespread practice among various sports, and a growing body of evidence suggests that this strategy may affect muscle recovery from strenuous exercise. Repair of skeletal muscle tissue following injury is complex.
That brings us to Number 2. Massage! In 2018, Frontiers in Physiology, a leading research organisation in the field published a meta-analysis study* (multiple studies addressing the same subject / question) was performed evaluating the impact of recovery techniques on delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), perceived fatigue, muscle damage, and inflammatory markers after physical exercise. We have all felt this right! I also check in with new clients after their initial session, as this can be the same for Remedial Therapy. The muscle fibres ‘micro-tear’ which is a by-product rather than an intention from my perspective when I treat, allow for blood, oxygen and water to nourish these once hypoxic or adhered tissue, thus generating a healing response and building the muscles back more resilient. The study found – Active recovery, massage, compression garments, immersion, contrast water therapy, and cryotherapy
induced a small to large decrease (−2.26 < g < −0.40) in the magnitude of DOMS, while there was no change for the other methods. Massage was found to be the most powerful
technique for recovering from DOMS and fatigue. In terms of muscle damage and inflammatory markers, we observed an overall moderate decrease in creatine kinase [SMD (95% CI) = −0.37
(−0.58 to −0.16), I2 = 40.15%] and overall small decreases in interleukin-6 [SMD (95% CI) = −0.36 (−0.60 to −0.12), I2 = 0%] and C-reactive protein [SMD (95% CI) = −0.38 (−0.59 to−0.14), I2 =
39%]. All molecules and active properties that constitute muscle growth and repair.
In summary – the most powerful techniques for reducing inflammation were massage and cold exposure. I have many clients that book, immediately after an event, at the conclusion of a training cycle, whether weekly or biweekly, or on a Monday post weekend shenanigans, or and ultimately conducive in nature, as a resilience method to prepare their bodies or life! Optimal Balance and Optimal Recovery are now modern day needs. Wellness is the precursor to Fitness, and this can be evident when our bodies are dictated by time constraints or an unawareness of what is needed for our health. Please seek a Remedial Therapist or allied practitioner and learn or share your
personal insights. Numbers 3 and 4 next blog!