Muscle Memory, Trigger Point Self Massage, and My Work

It’ll be helpful to read this page before this page continuing about the topic of muscle memory. If you don’t read the entire page, then read at least the beginning part of the three states of a muscle during rest (a short part of a long page).

Muscle Memory = The Longer A Muscle Is In A Certain State, The More The Muscle Wants To Stay In (And Go Back To) That State

The Good Part Of Muscle Memory
Let’s say your muscles are healthy and they’re in a normal resting state during rest (from the page I suggested you to read). This means that the muscles are not contracted or flaccid during rest (again from that same page).

When you exercise, which when done properly is very good for you, your muscles work by contracting/tightening. Muscles build more strength by contracting/tightening. When you’re done with your exercise, your muscles can be tighter than when you started. This is normal.

The good part of muscle memory is that, because of muscle memory, your muscles will want to go back to the state that they were in (healthy and normal in a resting state) before you began exercising.

If the muscle is normal and healthy in a resting state, then you can repeatedly tighten/contract muscles and the muscles can repeatedly let go of that extra tension and return to normal. When they return to normal, they’re healthy and ready for the next work assignment that you give them.
Hooray for muscle memory! Well, maybe not totally hooray …… as you will read.
Muscle Memory = The Longer A Muscle Is In A Certain State, The More The Muscle Wants To Stay In (And Go Back To) That State

The Bad Part Of Muscle Memory
I’ll take the example of a person with tight hamstring muscles. The hamstring muscles are the muscles in the back of your upper legs. As you bend forward to touch your toes, it’s mainly the hamstring muscles that you’re stretching.

Let’s say a person begins a yoga class and they can’t touch their toes when they bend forward. By the end of the class, they can bend forward a little more but they still can’t touch their toes. Their hamstrings have loosened/lengthened some. Their hamstrings are not as contracted/tight/shortened as when they began the class.

What happens the next day? Do they keep all of the extra lengthening that they had at the end of the class? No. If the hamstrings are used to being very tight, then their hamstring muscles will essentially go back to the tighter/shorter state that they were in to prior to the one yoga class.
This is the bad part of muscle memory. If the muscles are very habitually tight and you do something to loosen the muscles once, they will then essentially go back to what they’ve been used to doing (being very tight).

If you were to go to one yoga class a month to loosen your tight hamstring muscles, then you’d probably get no progress whatsoever. If you were to go to three yoga classes a week for six months, then you’d find that your hamstring muscles are longer (more normal in a resting state) than before you began the yoga classes six months ago.

It’s by repeatedly (hopefully often) and effectively challenging the muscles to lengthen/relax/let go of tension that the muscle memory can be gradually, over time, changed from being tight and shortened to having a normal length (non-contracted) during rest.

Briefly, there are three main ways to do something to help muscles relax/lengthen. Massage/self massage, stretching, and using heat (taking baths, using a Jacuzzi, a sauna or even using an electric heating pad or a microwave-able heating pad).

You Can Change Muscle Memory Over Time; Both For The Good And For The Bad
Muscle Memory Changing For The Good
The person who starts going to yoga classes with tight hamstring muscles and cannot come close to touching their toes when they bend forward may be able to touch their toes at any time after months and months of classes. The muscle memory of being very tight can change to a muscle memory of being normal in a resting state. The longer and the tighter the muscle has been, usually the longer it will take to change the muscle memory.

If a person has massage once a month, they may feel noticeably looser after the massage, but most of that extra looseness will probably fade away. If the person were to have a good massage two or three times a week for months, then their muscles would be noticeably looser/longer/more relaxed. Their muscle memory would be changing toward being much more normal rather than tightened/contracted.

Muscle Memory Changing For The Bad
Muscle memory can also change over time for the bad (getting tighter). In the usual aging process the usual resting state of the muscle gets tighter as we age. In general, people are not as flexible in their seventies as they were in their twenties. Why? Every time you move your body you tighten your muscles to move (unless gravity is helping you move like when you fall or when your arm goes down). You tighten your muscles thousands and thousands of times a day. When you tighten your muscles thousands of times per day your muscles will gradually become a little more tighter and a little more tighter over the decades of your life. Then you’re left with muscles that are tighter in your seventies than they were when you were in your twenties.

If your hamstring muscles have a very long memory/habit of being tight/contracted/shortened, then your hamstring muscles will be very slow in lengthening and letting you easily touch your toes when you bend forward. Because of muscle memory, your tight hamstring muscles will want to go back to their habitual state of tension during rest state. Gradually over time you can change the resting state of muscles for the good (looser) and for the bad (tighter).

Why I So Highly Recommend Trigger Point Self Massage
1. You can overdo it with trigger point self massage where you end up hurting/irritating your body more than helping your body. Read this very important page before doing any trigger point self massage. I highly recommend that you get coached repeatedly on doing trigger point self massage so that you’ll do only good for yourself.

2. Trigger point self massage is a highly effective way to directly lengthen the tightest part of the muscles. The trigger points are the places in the muscle that hold the strongest negative muscle memory. Click here to learn about trigger point therapy.

3. You can repeatedly do trigger point massage on yourself every week. If you go to a massage therapist once a month for sixty minutes then you’re receiving massage therapy for 60 minutes of every 40,320 minutes of your life. (There are 10,080 minutes in a week).

4. If you repeatedly directly stretch the tightest fibers in a muscle with trigger point self massage many, many times a month, then this is similar to going to many yoga classes every month – you’ll get results. If you go to just one yoga class a month, then not much will change.

5. Trigger point self massage can be done in little amounts. You don’t need to have a half hour or an hour at a time. In five minutes you can help an area of your body. Doing this repeatedly and often enough will give you noticeable positive results in changing your muscle memory from tight/contracted muscle memory to normal, healthy muscle memory.

You And I Working Together
To change tight areas to normal takes repeated therapy. No one goes to one yoga class and is loose forever. No one has one massage and is loose forever.

I can do very focused trigger point therapy for you. I can teach you how to do effective and safe trigger point self massage. This teaching does not happen in one session; just as learning tennis or golf doesn’t happen in one session. You’ll need to learn trigger point self massage for each of the different parts of your body. The learning gets easier as I teach you more about trigger point self massage. Together we can use the 10,080 minutes every week to change your muscles from tight to normal, healthy and stronger.

You can end up being the primary, and a very effective, therapist for yourself for the rest of your life. The benefit of your trigger point self massage is having healthy muscles that are in a normal resting state ready to do the daily activities and exercise that you want to do. Trigger point therapy and trigger point self massage doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have perfectly healthy muscles, though it gives you a much greater opportunity to have healthy, happy muscles ready to move your body throughout your life.

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