Our bodies are amazing; every organ, muscle, tendon, bone, and so on, work in unison. If one part of the body is out of alignment, then it can trigger a range of discomforts, ranging from stiffness, soreness and even cause bones to be pulled out of alignment (sciatica-spasms). Stretching and massaging can help, but also an easy-to-do technique called energy balancing technique.
When you massage or stretch a muscle you not only want to get rid of the acid build-up (happening after a workout or stress). You also want to wake the muscle up, so that it can “let go” of the tightness / stress. If you struggle to release tightness, then place your fingers on either side of the muscle, where it attaches to the moving and non-moving bones. Gently juggle / rub the ends of the muscles in order to “wake it up.” An overworked / strained muscle not only becomes stiff and painful, but it can also interfere with circulation and the lymphatic system. This turns off the muscle’s strength and causes minute tearing of the fibres. Unlike muscles, fibres (which connect the muscles to the bones), cannot stretch and contract. Thus, when muscles are overworked / tight, the fibres tear, to help protect the muscle. In turn, the tearing causes stiffness and pain.
Massaging the area can help tremendously, but take care not to put too much pressure on the area, as this can cause more damage. It is always good to massage an irritated area for a short period, then leave it to “settle” and rather come back later. Therefore, make sure to always go to a well-qualified masseuse or be careful when doing it at home. If a massage doesn’t work, then the spindle cell mechanism and the Golgi tendon apparatus might just do the trick.
The spindle cell mechanism is located in the belly of the muscle and senses the relative length of muscle fibres, which then sends the information into the nervous system. By firmly pressing toward the muscle’s ends with your thumbs, begin in the centre of the muscle and stretch it. This stretches the spindle cell receptors and they send a message to the brain – “muscle is too long.” The brain replies by sending more nerve impulses to the muscle, causing it to tighten / become shorter. This method can also be used in reverse in order to release a cramp / spasm; simply press together in the direction of the muscle fibres, in order to shorten the belly of the muscle.
The Golgi tendon apparatus is located in the tendons at either end of a muscle. Receptors occur along the origin and insertion of the muscle. To have an affect on the muscle’s tone, simply place your fingers along the origin as well as the insertion of the muscle. Press firmly back and forth along the direction of the muscle fibres. If the muscle has been strained and too much tension has been put on the tendons, the Golgi apparatus will have sent a message to the brain to warn it of the danger of tearing tendons. The brain, in turn, will turn off the energy to that particular muscle in order to avoid injury. It can happen that the tendons have pulled slightly away from the bone and, by using this technique, it can help the tendon to reattach again properly. Once this is done, then the muscle can resume its normal function again and, in turn, the “apparatus” has been reset.
Our bodies are amazing and if we take care of it, it can heal completely. Harmony and balance are key to having optimum functioning of the body as a whole. Just like a car, our bodies need a “service,” whether it is a regular massage, relaxing in a warm bath or stretching properly (add to that warming-up properly before exercising as well), it needs to be taken well care of. More often than not, we take our ability to use our limbs, eyes, ears, and so on, for granted. Yet when we are injured / hurt, we quickly realize the importance of not only being careful, but also to listen to our bodies and taking care of it.