Are Your Gams Gone?

by Laura Gordon

Ever used your legs so much one day that the next day they are incredibly sore? Maybe you over did your workout, maybe as a runner you pushed yourself a little harder than usual, maybe you ran up and down the stairs or up and down a ladder moving things around or painting just a tad longer than your body is used to…like all day long!

Whatever the cause, it isn’t long (generally within 24 hours) before your legs are talking to you with every move you make whether sitting down or getting up from a chair, walking across the room or, oh dear, climbing up or down those same dang stairs!

There’s actually a name for that. It’s called Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness aka DOMS. 

The good news is that by massaging those aching legs you will be increasing blood flow into those sore muscles.  Massage will in turn start moving out metabolic wastes that are stuck between the muscles fibers.  The massage will decrease the “soreness” time.   Sadly according to recent controlled studies massage cannot actually stop DOMS but can drastically reduce the length of time you’ll be in agony.

Here are three techniques you can do for your legs before and during DOMS. If you want you can use massage oil and for increased benefit you can add essential oils (about 10 drops of rosemary, eucalyptus or peppermint). To do these massages you can either sit in a chair or sit on the floor:

Working the front (anterior), back (posterior) and both sides (lateral and medial) from upper thigh to foot begin by using both hands to squeeze and release the muscle tissue. Do this on both legs.


Working from the knee to the ankle use a rhythmic motion by rolling the calf muscle back and forth between the heels of your hands. Do this on both legs.


 Working up and down both legs pressing deeper into the muscle of the whole leg using circular movement with the heel of your hand or your fingertips.

There is a caution of which you need to be aware: if any of these moves are painful, your muscles may be very tight or you may have shin splints or some other injury. If you don’t see any improvement or if the pain is intense, discontinue self-massage and consult your massage therapist or physician.

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