NB All information in here should be treated as a friend's suggestion - ie while we believe the information to be mainly correct, you should apply common sense about following it. If it hurts, if it looks wrong for you, don't do it*.
To warm up you pump the leg from the thigh to the ankle using both hands - this pushes the blood into the leg. You then rub the leg briskly with both hands up & down the whole leg. This warms up the muscle. You then knead the leg, using the fingers in circular motion at the trouble spots - such as around the knee, up the front of the shin where you get shin splints, at the ankle, around the joints.
To cool down you pump the blood from ankle up using both hands. This releases the toxins while pushing the blood towards the heart so it can be oxygenated. You do not rub the leg as you want it to cool down instead of warm up. You then knead with both hands - give equal attention to both sides of the leg, hips, etc.
If you have a painful area you need to massage the oposite side as the opposing muscle tensing up is causing pain from over stretching the muscle which is hurting.
If you have swelling in an ankle or any other site ice it down - all the way around the ankle, not just where it hurts. Use ice on 20 minutes, off 20 minutes, on 20 minutes. Ice for first 2 days. Heat shouldn't be used as it brings more blood into the site, increasing swelling. DO NOT use sports creams for the same reason. Heat may be used after two days of icing.
For those not there. this rubbing action is similar to what the Karate teacher did on "Karate Kid". Hands straight and moving in a back and forth movement as fast as possible.
<Also - Kimmy remembers the Hokey Pokey>
To show you what a great sense of humor this guy had... he used me to demonstrate a technique. He was very serious. Had put my leg forward, leg back, then shake it all around, then turn around to face him again. Then he told everyone I just did the Hokey Pokey. Yep.. I fell for it. Hook, line, and sinker!
Of course your goal is to have a lot of dancers do this at the same time so you don't make a complete fool of yourself.
Mary Beth, The toxin you are referring to is probably lactic acid. Lactic acid is a by product of the anaerobic system, and when it accumulates to high amounts in the muscle and blood, causes muscular fatigue. It is also thought to be (but never proven) a cause of muscle soreness after exercise. Lactic acid is removed from the blood and muscle 4 different ways. Of the 4 ways, it is most commonly removed by oxidation. In this process the skeletal muscles, and other tissue to a much lesser extent, convert it back to an energy source used in the aerobic energy system. Conversion is best accomplished when using what is called the "exercise-recovery" periods as opposed to "rest-recovery" periods. This may explain why massage may help in removing lactic acid as it helps to "move" the blood back to the muscles to allow them to metabolize the acid. This also explains why you would be wiser to continue to move about after a particularly hard bout of exercise instead of remaining still.
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Last updated 8-10-02 .