Stop Cooking Yourself!
I know it feels sooooo good to have a HOT shower when you're sore...
...but to get well you really have to stop cooking yourself and here's the science behind why.
Reason one: You are going to take longer to get well. A major focus at Wellness at Work is to shorten your injury recovery and rehab times. Even better we can help you avoid injuries in the first place that's fantastic, and this article is about both, keeping you out of injury clinics, and helping you to get well faster!
Since 1997 we have treated patients on a "no change no charge treatment plan, that means our treatments have to work or we have to refund all our fees in full! So we continuously have to find and develop techniques that are 'very' effective and one of the most useful techniques we use is a modality called Fascial Kinetics which works with your Myofascia.
Reason Two: Myofascia is involved in 85% of body pain and you are annoying it! Myofascia (or fascia) is implicated in around 85% of 'all' musculoskeletal pain and today myofascial dysfunction is recognised as one of the most common causes of musculo-skeletal pain encountered in medicine. By understanding more about fascia and how it works, you'll understand why certain injuries happen, and keep happening, so it will be easier for you to avoid the same old mistakes, get the best out of your body, and stop re injuring yourself.
Fascia is important stuff. If you've ever wondered what stops a weightlifters muscles from bursting when they lift those huge weights or why your muscles form the shapes they do its fascia. Fascia is a gel so it can be liquid like jelly on the stove, or hard like jelly left in the refrigerator three weeks ago, now so hard you can't get a knife into it!
This property makes Fascia really useful stuff so your body uses it for lots of jobs. It forms the tough outer skin of the muscle, (the muscle sheath) it strengthens bone and is the glue that glues muscle tendon and ligament to bone. Plus it's the slimy stuff that lets muscles slide past each other when you're using them, it's in your blood, your knees, all over you!
Now once fascia binds with collagen fascia forms a remarkably strong protective and structural web throughout your body that is twice as strong as steel. It's used around 'all' your organs as Kevlar amour. By itself can withstand up to 2000psi or 141kg/m2 of pressure so it's easily strong enough to crush bone (bones are less than half the strength of steel) and it's used to bind scars together.
If you've ever had "shin splints" that's because you started running without loosening up the fascia and it ripped chunks of bone out of your legs where the muscles attach using hook like attachments called Sharpies fibers. Shin splints take so long to heal because they are fascia and bone injuries.
Because it does so many jobs by learning to work with fascia you can rehab faster, raise your sporting efficiency dramatically do more work for less effort and or have more energy for fun things, plus you will reduce the chances of getting new injuries.
Reason Three: You are showering yourself to a standstill.
As we said earlier fascia is a gel and gels have two interesting properties. The first is called, "thixotropy" which means that gels become more liquid when agitated or shaken, and then set when allowed to stand. With Fascia the same thing happens. When you "warm up" before you exercise, you 'shake' the gel and through an "isothermal" (same temperature) process, the heat is dispersed and liquefies the fascia so all your muscles slide and move easily. It's also why it can be hard to stand back up after lunch, while you sat, you set.
Also when you heat a gel it goes liquid. So, you can heat up and liquefy your gel artificially by using something like a heat pack a hot shower or spa and many treatment plans that have no knowledge of fascia and how it works recommend this. Bikram hot yoga is one of these methods which is why it's so addictive. You hurt as soon as you cool down so you 'have' to go back again and again that's because Fascia has way more nerve fibres than muscle so the more you injure 'cook it and cool it' the more it hurts. From a myofascial viewpoint that's a mistake! A BIG mistake!
When you heat a gel in this way it must eventually cool down the more you heat or agitate gels, the harder they set. After a really hard day's work you can be super stiff at the start of the next day. To avoid this stretch as you warm down let your fascia go back to a relaxed state gently.
Reason Four: You are fooling yourself.
When a smoker has a cigarette as the addictive drugs enter their system several things occur to make them feel temporarily good, however around half an hour later they start to get withdrawal symptoms, and the only thing sure way to get rid of this bad feeling is to have another cigarette. The same thing applies when to you when you use heat to relieve pain. When you use hot water, like a smoker needing more cigarettes, you will need hotter and hotter showers or need to apply heat packs for longer and longer periods to get any relief. Then when your fascia cools down and resets, you blame it on what you're doing at the time like um, work!
Let's be clear, if you are having hot showers and then feeling terrible a few hours later, YOU DID IT TO YOURSELF! If you hadn't had that hot shower this morning or last night your fascia wouldn't be glued up and you wouldn't feel so stiff and sore now!
Think about making jelly then keep heating and resetting it for a few days, weeks, months, years. How hot will it have to be before it will go liquid again, if you're already doing the hot shower thing you already know, really damn hot and every time you sit still for about half an hour because fascia set's in under 20 minutes at normal body temperature, it's a mission to get that rock hard fascia moving again.
There is a way out of this cycle. Stop having hot showers. If you turn up injured at our clinic we insist you follow this advice or we won't start treatment. Now let's go through the why not list. Got to have it hot to get clean, well actually no! Heat just opens the pores wider and lets the dirt further in and when the skin cools it's trapped underneath, cold or warm is best for washing skin. Need it to warm up in the winter, get over it, you're a creature and you're body was never designed to be put in hot water, for showering, warm is ok, even pleasant warm, just not hot.
All I ask is for you to try this out for three weeks, nearly two decades of success with thousands of case histories tell me you will find this is one of the best things you've ever done for your overall health.
Managing Director Wellness at Work Ltd.
Blog Post by Chris Toal
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