I talk a lot about muscles being in spasm and releasing them using muscle release exercise. So as I have been recently asked "What are muscle release exercises? How can we do them? What do we do?" I thought I would create a new post to explain.
When I talk about a muscle being in spasm I am talking about a low grade muscle spasm. This is one that is not painful, where the muscle cannot relax and that you may not even be aware of. However, what we find is that these muscle spasms can restrict movement and also cause pain in other areas of the body as the body tries to compensate.
Now the main muscle release exercises that I use are what are referred to as 'Muscle Energy Techniques' (or anti-spasm).
The idea is that a muscle will relax after it has been contracted for a prolonged period of time. We use what is referred to as an isometric contraction. This means that the muscle is contracting but is not being moved.
So the way to do it is:
1. Take the muscle that you want to release
2. Take the muscle in to a slight stretch (stop before you actually stretch the muscle!)
3. Apply resistance so that the muscle is contracting but not moving (this means that you are contracting the muscle as if it was going to return back to the star position)
4. Use only 20% resistance
5. Apply for 20 seconds
6. Repeat 4 times on each side
7. Repeat 4 times a day
This can be used on any muscle in the body. Check out the video to see how you can use a muscle release for the upper traps. Great for if you have been sitting at your desk all day!