The high of going all-out during a workout and the results you see make you feel amazing—the achy or tight muscles that can also result? Not so much. And while foam rolling, heating and icing, and pain relievers can all help, sometimes modern cures aren't enough.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been used for thousands of years to treat pretty much any ailment—and some of the remedies may help boost your fitness, TCM experts say. Here's the scoop on six treatments for active women.
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You can boost flexibility—key for improving range of motion so you can get the most out of your workouts—without stretching or yoga.
During gua sha, a practitioner lubricates the body with oils and then uses a round-edged instrument such as a Chinese soup spoon, a blunt bottle cap, or even an animal bone to firmly scrape the skin with repeated strokes. The treatment can be soothing or quite aggressive depending on the person performing it and intensity of the desired treatment; either way it results in small red or purple spots called “sha,” which are actually subcutaneous blemishing, bruising, or broken capillaries based on how much pressure is used, and may take several days to weeks to disappear.
While generally performed over certain energy spots or “meridians” over the entire body, gua sha can be used to treat specific areas as well. In addition to increasing flexibility, it can help relieve muscle tension and stiffness from a hard workout, says Lisa Alvarez, co-founder of Healing Foundations, an Oriental medicine practice. She adds that it also helps with other conditions caused by tight or sore muscles such as TMJ and tension headaches.