Oh boy, rest day, my favorite! (NOT!!) Like me, I’m sure there are a few other folks that would rather substitute your “recovery” to either lift more, WOD, sit and watch a movie, eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, etc. However, it was not until the last few months that I started to realize my body needed to rest in order for me to perform at my highest capacity. When I finally started a lifting program, almost three years after starting CrossFit, I noticed my body hurt a lot more than the typical post-WOD hurt. I am not someone who will just take some pain medicine and rest for a week or so. When my body is in pain, I normally get deep tissue massages and apply heat packs. But other than those remedies, here is what I have found that also works for me:
Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt is a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. Magnesium regulates over 325 enzymes in your body, reduces inflammation, helps to maintain muscle and nerve functioning, and prevents artery hardening. Sulfate improves the absorptions of nutrients and helps your body remove toxins. Epsom salt baths help to ease muscle strains, back pain, and aching extremities. It also relaxes the central nervous system and relieves stress. It’s very cheap and can be found at grocery stores and pharmacies. So if you can fit in your bathtub, get in with some of this stuff!
I do my best to cover up all the marks, but I know a few of your have seen the results of cupping on my body. Cupping is an ancient Chinese method developed to “open the Meridians of the body.” Okay, I know this sounds crazy, but it works. So when the cups are applied, suction is created over the muscle and fascia (the connective tissue covering your muscles). This vacuum effect helps to release fascia that can be stuck to your muscles, brings blood flow to the area where blood stasis as developed, and allows your body to rid the toxins that have built up. There are so many other benefits and too many to name here. I have also gotten it done on my shin about 5 weeks or so after one of those awesome box jump fails. It broke down the scar tissue and relieved the pain I was still experiencing.
Active Release Technique (A.R.T.)
ART can be performed by chiropractors and massage therapists. Ligaments, they connect bone to bone, and tendons, they connect muscle to bone, have very poor blood flow. When your ligaments and tendons become inflamed, injured, or torn, the healing process takes FOREVER because your body cannot bring all the necessary nutrients to that area via the blood. So, in a nutshell, A.R.T. helps to break down scar tissue by pulling and pressing on these areas and moving your body in a controlled fashion. This helps to increase blood flow to the area, thus increasing healing time.