athlete, Oleg Boumier. A massage therapist friend told me that as much as I
may not think of myself as a jock, that this guy had something important to
teach and I should learn from him. This sequence of techniques prepares the body for movement. It can be used before an athletic event or exercise, but it can also be used on any chronically overused body part. For example, my writer boyfriend has had much less pain in his arms and wrists since he started using these techniques on his arms before a long computer session.
Not only was Oleg’s teaching some of the
most practical I have ever received, its value has sunk in deeper and
deeper over time. I use techniques I learned from him on myself daily. I
remember I asked him if he uses this stuff on his athletic high school aged
sons, and he said “I have to.” It’s true, it’s the kind of stuff where once you
know it you have to do it. It wouldn’t make sense not to!
biggest fear in my career is that I won’t have the stamina to do what I’ve
signed up for – that I’ll burn myself out. I’ve done it before. This technique,
though, allows me to give more massages and to exercise without getting cramps
and soreness, and to work in the garden for longer without getting tired. It
increases my physical capacity enormously.
three steps on a muscle group before moving on to the next body part. I
typically do one leg and hip, the other leg and hip, then my torso, then one
arm, shoulder and chest, the other arm shoulder and chest, then neck and head. The
whole sequence can be done over your clothes. To prove to yourself that this
actually does something, check how strong your fist feels before and after.
easy. Rub the skin of the area rapidly with your flat palm until you feel the
temperature change. The texture will change, too, but that may be harder for
you to notice if you aren’t experienced with massage. This step opens up the
tissues so the fluids can flow more easily.
muscle group, digging your fingertips in so that you can feel the surfaces of the
muscles. This step is to remind the nervous system exactly where the muscles
are. Focus on sensation.
pressure. The previous two steps will have caused the tissues to fill with
fluid. This step pushes it out, so new fluid can move in.
fingers, hold your flat palms firmly against the sides of your neck and turn
your head, so that your muscles massage themselves against your hands. Then
brush the lymph down. For the head, I just walk my fingers over my whole face and
head. I do this step last and it makes me
feel alert and energized.
strenuous to do in and of itself, so it works well as a warm-up. When you’re
done with your massage, you are ready to exercise – start running, lift
weights, or give a massage!