YOGA FOCUS: New tools for recovery

Even yoga instructors and practitioners can injure themselves. YogaFit founder, Beth Shaw, looks at some tools for assisting recovery.

My life of exercise sometimes leaves me feeling a little sore, depleted and, on a few occasions, injured. Knowing and listening to your body is crucial and a yoga practice gives us that gift. What happens though, when we get to the gym, the lactic acid subsides, and we overdo it without recovery? You could end up like me, currently nursing a partial Achilles tendon tear.

Fortunately, we live in an age in which a plethora of tools and technology are available that promote a more active recovery. If you find yourself injured but needing to fast-track your recovery, you may want to consider the following.


Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is any treatment that involves the use of freezing or near freezing temperatures. Doctors have long recommended using ice packs on injured and painful muscles. Blood circulation is increased after the ice pack is removed, promoting healing and pain relief. While stepping into a freezing chamber may not sound like your idea of a good time, it can really speed healing, reduce inflammation and flush out lactic acid. Cryotherapy can help with muscle pain, as well as some joint and muscle disorders, such as arthritis. It may also promote faster healing of athletic injuries and reduce pain. For a review of the research into the efficacy of cryotherapy, click here.


Compression sleeves

Leg compression sleeves benefit athletic performance, promote muscle recovery and can also help reduce swelling and prevent injury. The more oxygenated blood that the heart can supply to the muscles, the better the muscles can function. Wearing compressions sleeves create arterial dilatation, which increases the amount of blood flowing to the muscles, providing more of oxygen and nutrients. Compression leg sleeves add gentle, graduated pressure to your calves to help fight the effects of gravity. The circulation boost from compression reduces lactic acid, boosts the lymphatic system and reduces inflammation. With this increased circulation, recovery becomes faster from exercise with less discomfort. For your chance to win a pair of compression walking and running socks, check out the competition on page 31 of this issue of Network.


Red light beds and portable lights

Red light therapy is also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT). It uses low-energy light emitting diodes (LEDs) or lasers as an alternative therapy for pain relief, or to promote good cell functions. In contrast to high power lasers which can damage tissues, certain wavelengths of lasers have been reported as being effective in applications such as speeding up wound healing, reducing the symptoms of restless leg syndrome and lowering pain in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It’s an area worth doing some of your own research into, and you can find inexpensive handheld units to target pain areas.


Weighted blankets

Typically filled with small plastic pellets and ranging in weight from 2 to 8kg, weighted blankets reduce stress and tension in the body and mind. A weighted blanket is a lot like getting a firm but gentle hug. Weighted blankets reduce stress, anxiety and boosts mood through deep touch pressure stimulation.  The result is reduced cortisol, stress levels, and inflammation. If you mention YogaFit when ordering at magicweightedblanket.com you can save 10% on blankets.

When it comes to recovery, of course, light movement, yoga, stretching and meditation are also important tools. Studies have shown active rest to be a key component to flush lactic acid, speed healing, and aid circulation.


Beth Shaw

Beth is CEO and Founder of YogaFit Training Systems Worldwide Inc. which has trained more than 200,000 fitness professionals across six continents. yogafit.com