Good Vibrations: The Importance of Myofascial Release

Good Vibrations: The Importance of Myofascial Release

Unless you have been living under a rock I’m sure you will have heard of the term myofascial release. But how much do you really know about what you are doing when you use a foam roller at the end of your workout? Before we unpick the bones of myofascial release (MFR), first let’s remind ourselves what all the fuss is about fascia. Historically, fascia was an overlooked structure, previously seen as the thing that was in the way of getting a good view of the muscles in the body. But now we have a greater understanding and respect for the clear, cling-film like coating of the entire muscular system. Characteristics of Fascia      Has a tensile strength similar to steel Responds instantaneously to external and internal stimuli In conjunction with muscles, it provides multi-directional tensioning throughout the body AKA “The Sling-Systems” Plays a key role in functional core stability Provides fluidity to motion Stores cellular memory Elicits pain Transfers kinetic energy, load and force through the entire musculo-skeletal system Now for the science… E=mc2 John F.Barnes (international expert on MFR), bases his principles of MFR on Einstein’s famous formula E=mc2. Interestingly, he relates the meaning of the formula to understanding the dysfunctions associated with the myofascial system the principles behind treating them. The formula illustrates that solidity is only an illusion and that everything is energy; different frequencies of vibrational energy, to some degree or another. Barnes advocates that trauma (and I would add to that; inefficient posture and motion) can significantly change the force vectors passing through the body. This can disrupt the ability of energy to flow...
USA Diving Decked Out in RockTape for Rio

USA Diving Decked Out in RockTape for Rio

“No one needs to spend time telling me to start using RockTape over other kinesiology tape. I have been a believer and steadfast user for over 5 years. I estimate that I have used, both in my clinic and on the road with USA Diving, over 600 rolls of RockTape. And each and every one of these rolls have allowed my clients and athletes to move easier, recover faster and stay in the game longer. As I travel the world as the Head Athletic Trainer and Physical Therapist with United States Diving I come into contact with many International Medical Staff as they take care of their own athletes. Many of these Physios, Chiropractors or Physicians use “the other Kinesiology tape” and have for many years. I’m never pushy with my pitch, but I ask them why they use their particular tape. And I see their athletes in this tape and I see how poorly it holds up in the water. How they are having to replace it after each practice and sometimes remove it during competition as it is falling off. So I let them use some RockTape. Many times they have me put it on their athletes and then they go off and jump off the 10 meter platform, hit the water at 35 miles per hour and they come back and are “sold.” I carry numerous rolls of RockTape in my medical kit and I always hand it out to these new believers. They are so thankful for it and ask me how to order it. During athletic participation at the World Championships and even more...
Mobility: When is Enough Enough?

Mobility: When is Enough Enough?

Mobility is a big trend right now in fitness, and for good reason. If you can’t move, you can’t train very well, either. You could spend the rest of your life reading all the books and articles and watching all the videos online about mobility. But when is enough really enough? Is the guy in the “Enter the Pain Cave” t-shirt who spends 45 minutes before and after every workout screaming as he tortures himself with his foam roller doing it right? Is that what you should be doing, too? Let’s try to demystify some of this stuff! To quote Alex Steffen, “More is not better. Better is better,” and that is particularly true of mobility work. It’s unlikely that foam rolling and other types of compression mobility really deform tissue much. Even though we use terms like “releasing tissue,” it’s more of a metaphor than what is really happening. Likewise, when we “stretch out,” there is probably very little real stretching actually happening. One study showed that it takes over 9000 Newtons of force (about 2040 pounds!) to deform our pal, the iliotibial band, by one percent. 1%! It takes about half as much force to change the plantar fascia on the bottom of your foot by the same amount, too. (1) That’s a crazy amount of force and there’s no way that’s happening with mobility techniques. Instead, what’s probably happening is that when you mobilize, you help these tissues slide and glide over one another. There’s also definitely a neurological effect. Mobilizing, rolling and applying pressure to the body with other implements will activate certain types of...
RockBlades®: RockTape Introduces the Latest in IASTM Technology

RockBlades®: RockTape Introduces the Latest in IASTM Technology

New IASTM system coupled with revolutionary, evidence-informed IASTM methodology Coming soon, a revolutionary Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation (IASTM) system, RockBlades. RockBlades comprise two precision-engineered and manufactured soft-tissue instruments: a surgical-grade stainless steel “Mallet” and thermo-plastic polymide “Mullet,” accompanied by a 100% natural RockRub emollient, and sanitizing wipes to form a complete, turn-key IASTM system. Honed from surgical-grade stainless steel, the Mallet is the ultimate in-clinic tool. Hand-polished treatment surfaces, combined with a perfectly balanced and weighted core make tissue scanning and treatment a breeze. Matte-finished dimples—four on each side—combined with a patented “brass knuckle” style handle enables practitioners to hold the tool six different ways. Every side is unique, both in shape and edge radius. The “Mullet” is a lightweight tool designed to be portable, allowing practitioners to deliver superior soft-tissue manipulation wherever their patients may be. The Mullet is crafted from an incredibly durable thermo-plastic polyamide—the same material used in high-performance automotive and aerospace applications. The Mullet features four distinct edges, providing comprehensive treatment capabilities and its quirks include a functioning bottle opener. Every detail of RockBlades—each edge, angle and contour – was carefully cultivated and refined over the course of two years. “I’m proud to introduce this premium set of tools to our network of RockTape Medical Professionals,” says RockTape CEO Greg van den Dries. “Our tools are set to revolutionize the way our Med Pros deliver a continuum of care to a wide range of patients.” In addition to the two tools, every set of RockBlades includes a newly reformulated RockRub emollient and a pack of sanitizing wipes. Additional rub and wipes will be available...
A Day in a Box with Steph “The Hammer” Hammerman

A Day in a Box with Steph “The Hammer” Hammerman

Steph “the Hammer” Hammerman recently visited us up at RockTape HQ, so naturally we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to watch her train with Neal Maddox and Chris Hinshaw at CrossFit X-treme Athletics. For those of you who haven’t heard of Steph’s story, check out this CNN interview. We weren’t sure what would happen—filming without a script, a plan, or expectations—when we joined her at CrossFit X-treme Athletics with Coach and CrossFit Games Competitor Neal Maddox and famed endurance coach Chris Hinshaw. We arrived a bit late so we thought we missed the magic. A TrueFormâ„¢ Treadmill was already set up under a pull-up rig with a Ring Thing® hoisted above. Just as we were about to pack it up and cut our losses, Steph casually walks over to the rig and Neal helped her in—using the rings to anchor the harness. We were skeptical about this entire setup. It looked fragile, awkward… we definitely weren’t prepared for this.   With a huge smile on her face, she started running.   Typically, Steph uses her crutches to support herself while running. It’s inspiring, but you can see the struggle. This puts a lot of pressure on her arms and less on her legs. In this moment, she is still supporting herself with the railings, but the power output from her legs is obviously increasing—Chris gives updates on her speed and confirms her mile time has improved. Interestingly, one of the most inspiring moments was watching Steph ask Neal for a little more assistance. With just that bit of extra support from Neal, she was able to let go of the railings and experience something entirely new. She walked...

Running with Rocktape

I’ve got to admit, it’s a bit strange writing an informative blog post. I’m used to sticking on updates about how training’s going (or not going!) and what’s been happening as I raise money for my charity. But this is a little different today so you’re going to have to bear with me as I scratch around for a decent introduction. This post is, essentially, about the benefits of Rocktape, and how I feel it has helped me get to where I am now. But to write that, I’d better fill you in on ‘where I am now’! I’m 20 and I’ve always felt a bit of a need to keep fit, since I was a young child – probably down to the fact my mum always made sure to keep up a routine of gym work and healthy eating herself. Naturally, when I was very young, it was a case of everywhere mum went I went – there’s a picture of me pretending to use the sit up machine aged 5! At about 14/15 I enjoyed running a mile or two, but only to keep in shape for riding (we’ve always had horses and I’m now a riding instructor). I don’t think I really considered ever being a ‘proper’ runner. But then, two years ago, I went for a run and got lost (anyone who reads my blog will know what a diabolical sense of direction I have). I’m never one for stopping during a run so I just kept running….and running until eventually I managed to work my way back to where I started. When I had...
In Pain? How to Assemble a Winning Team for Your Rehab

In Pain? How to Assemble a Winning Team for Your Rehab

“You wake up in the middle of the night and your shoulder is screaming as you lie on it. In the morning, you can barely bend over to put your Stance socks on after that heavy squat session yesterday. Box jumps and double-unders are impossible because of your heel pain. You’ve rolled, smashed, broke out the bands, taped, and enlisted a “super-friend”. Nothing works. What gives? Is this the life of a CrossFitter?” To read the article from RockTape Instructor and Chiropractor Rob Crowley in full 0n the Breaking Muscle website click...
Kinesiology tape shown to help acute low back pain

Kinesiology tape shown to help acute low back pain

Acute low back pain is very common, and a condition that affects a large proportion of the population at some stage throughout their life. Kinesiology tape has been shown to be an effective early intervention in a recent study from Turkey. In this study, 109 subjects with acute low back pain were allocated into two groups. Both groups received the same intervention consisting of information regarding lumbar pain, correct lifting techniques and advice re sleeping positions. They were also given reassurance about the benign nature of their pain, and advice re keeping active within pain limits. Both groups were allowed to take paracetamol as required. The intervention group also had kinesiology tape applied to their low backs in a star, or “zapper” formation. (See our website for a video on how the “zapper” is applied). The tape was applied three times, and left in place for four days each time. This gave a total taped duration of 12 days. The researchers measured pain on a VAS, determining a priori that their MCID (minimal clinically important difference) would be a reduction in this score of 3.5cm. They also utilised the Oswestry score as a measure of disability, and also the number of paracetamol tablets consumed. The study found that the VAS had reduced by the pre-determined 3.5cm by day six in the taped group, compared with day twelve in the control group. The Oswestry score was significantly reduced in the taped group at twelve days when compared with the control group, and it was still better four weeks later but this was not quite at a statistically significant level. The...
Equine Taping with Helen Barker

Equine Taping with Helen Barker

Helen is a fully qualified Equine Physiotherapist and sit on the committee for IAAT (The International Association of Animal Therapists). Helen provides some insights into the world of equine taping… As with any human athlete, horses also require help every now and again for support with their muscoskeletal system. I use tape in several ways to maximise the horse’s athletic potential in different disciplines and decrease the recovery time during injury. The main reasons I find for taping are; Proprioception – asking the horse to use muscles that are perhaps atrophied or contracted Haematoma – as a lymphatic drainage to reduce the swelling Pain – to lift the fascia and allow blood flow to the pain site Support – for tendon, ligament issues Using tape alongside physiotherapy, I am able to best judge the suitability of each application for maximum rehabilitation of the horse.  E.g. A rotated pelvis  would require taping along the Semitendinosus for proprioception to encourage the opposite hind limb to step under and help rebalance, or where I have manipulated the pelvis back, keep the pelvis level. Where a trauma has occurred, perhaps a kick in the field, I am able to alleviate stiffness through stretches but with the use of tape I am able to treat any Haematoma that has occurred by encouraging the drainage back to the lymph glands. The tape lasts (dependant on weather, rugs, clipping etc) between 3-5 days and I always leave the client with spare tape pre cut and instructions on how to reapply. Kinesiology taping is a simple and affective form of treatment that most owners can use to...
Skiing with Heroes

Skiing with Heroes

By Rachael Dickens Medical Lead for Skiing with Heroes Last week 26 wounded veterans, who had all seen service in Iraq or Afghanistan went to Switzerland where they spent a week with the charity Skiing with Heroes. They were joined by two wounded veterans from Canada who were with us via Soldier On! A Canadian charity wanting to copy our success and take the idea back to Canada. Skiing with Heroes aims to support wounded veterans back into education/employment and ultimately back into civilian life. It takes a group of wounded veterans and after a ski week gives every single person a mentor for a year. It also funds the first ever Pain Management Clinic for veterans in association with King Edward VII Hospital in London. During the ski week the veterans are assisted by a medical support team of 7. These medic volunteers including two osteopaths and one physiotherapist have once again been tape sponsored by RockTape. During the week the physio osteo team used the tape supplied on over 60 treatments. The veterans without one exception had never had this tape used on them before. Most likely reason is that they receive their treatments from the NHS and not from private clinics. The physio is an army physio and loves RockTape but doesn’t get to use is as the army buy different (ie cheaper) kinesiotape. (We let him have all the tape that we had left over so our soldiers can benefit when he gets back to his own command) Why do we prefer RockTape? Because amputees have heavy prosthetics and this causes a huge strain on...
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