THE BENEFITS OF WARMTH

Do you find it hard to get moving and motivated on cold winter days?  Well it may not be due to just too much turkey and stuffing but also to the physics effects of thixotrophy in cold weather. 


To explain thixotrophy, think of our muscle and connective tissue as being similar to Jell-O.  Jell-O at a cool temperature is a solid, at room temperature or warmer it is a liquid. As our bodies are actually composed of about 50% water (like Jell-O), this water mixes with cell building block materials to create the various fluids in our bodies, such as the synovial fluid in the joints that make movement comfortable.   When the body is cool and stationary, the body tends to settle into a shape that bears both liquid and solid properties.  However when our bodies and tissues move around during exercise, receive a massage or are warmed in a steam room, the tissues in the body begin to 'melt' and become more liquid and less solid.  This means joints are more flexible and muscles can move more freely, making you more comfortable as you go through your day.

Here are some tips for your best fluid body:

Stretching:  Stretching is essential to maintaining muscle health, body ease and flexibility. While stretching is often encouraged before exercise to prevent injury, stretching after exercise that creates warmth will allow for a greater stretch because of the body will be more fluid.

Foam Rollers:  Many people use foam rollers as an intense but miraculous form of muscular tension release for the hips, legs and even back and neck.  If you are able to warm up with just 15 minutes of cardiovascular exercise before using a foam roller, areas of the body that were too sensitive, often soften to the 'hurts but in a good way' level and release in less time as well.

Massage:  Softening and warming the body before a massage can allow a therapist to work through tissue more easily.  Knots in the upper back and shoulders, for example, will be less sensitive and allow for therapeutic work.  When muscles release faster the therapist will have more time available to address different issues.  By arriving a little early to take advantage of SenSpa's steam rooms you can actually increase your therapist's productivity and get more out of your session.  Clients who enjoy our deep tissue or the new Gua Sha treatments may find this particularly beneficial.  If you like to use our stream rooms after your session, fear not, you can do both!

Greg Lewis  has been a massage therapist for over 10 years working in chiropractic and sports settings. His advanced trainings are in the areas of deep tissue and orthopedic massage, craniosacral therapy and he is a certified Feldenkrais instructor, working with the vision impaired population at Rose Resnick Center for the Blind in San Francisco.

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