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IT Band Knee Pain In Runners

A common knee pain in runners occurs on the outside of the knee. This is probably IT Band Syndrome.

The IT Band (or Iliotibial Band) is tissue that runs along the outside of the leg to just below the knee joint. The IT band helps to stabilize the knee. This can become irritated basically from overuse.

The overuses that can cause IT Band pain can be from several factors:

1. Overtraining. Some runners when they are training for a specific race, may increase their training (mileage or intensity) without allowing for enough rest in between hard work-outs.

2. Increasing mileage too quickly. This is usually seen in beginning runners. The rule of thumb is to not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%. More than that can cause injury.

3. Increasing mileage too much, too soon after a layoff. Go back into your training gradually.

But, like Runner's Knee, this can be treated if caught early. First of all, cut down on your mileage. You also may want to avoid major hills, as this will aggravate it.

When you are finished with your run, make sure you ice. You don't need to go out and buy some fancy ice pack. Ice wrapped in a washcloth does a great job.

Another thing you can do to alleviate the pain is to do some leg lift exercises. This will help to strengthen your hips. Also, if you want, visit a massage therapist for some deep massage. (Something I like to do after long runs is to use a leg roller. It can be a little painful at first, but really helps!)

Doing hip exercises and keeping your outer hip muscles strong will help reduce your chance of getting IT Band injuries.

Also, while you are nursing your IT Band, ibuprofen can help the pain and keep any inflammation down. And, don't forget to make sure that you aren't putting too many miles on your shoes. Remember that the rule of thumb is 300-400 miles on a pair of shoes.

You have to be patient with IT Band pain. It will probably take longer to heal than Runner's Knee. Just remember to cut back on your mileage and ice, ice, ice.

As with all running - the important thing is to listen to your body. If it's telling you to cut back for a few days - it's alright. To me, it's better to cut a run short than to risk not being able to run.


Toning Your Muscles Electrically

In a world where we know body image is less about other people's perception and more about your perception, electronic muscle stimulators can have a positive effect to supplement a good diet and regular physical activity. Using tiny electric pulses, an electronic muscle stimulator (EMS) tones and firms your muscles giving them that sculpted look you desire.

Electronic muscle stimulators are not a new technology. Professional athletes looking for a competitive edge and body builders looking for that extra sharpness to their physique have been using them for years. However, an EMS device can be of practical use to everyday people who want to keep up a fit form simply from the comfort of their living room or home gym. In particular, people who are physically disabled, in physiotherapy or who just need results to appear quickly can benefit greatly from what an EMS has to offer.

Electronic muscle stimulators do just what their name suggests: they use electrical pulses to stimulate muscles into flexing many times in a small span of time. While an average workout might be able to flex an individual muscle a couple of dozen times in a half hour workout, an EMS can flex that same muscle a few hundred times in the same time span. Moreover, an EMS is capable of targeting very specific muscles and muscles groups that can be difficult to exercise especially without costly workout equipment. The abdominals, for instance, are extremely stubborn muscles that do not always firm up evenly with regular exercises such as sit-ups. An EMS can ensure the abs get a well rounded and thorough workout without complicated positions or expensive specialized exercise machines.

Electronic muscle stimulators are not a cheat or a new fangled quick-fix. They were developed over forty years ago in England for enhanced athletic performance as well as for everyday functions in beauty salons, health spas, hospitals, and physiotherapy clinics. Their use has been permitted by the International Olympic Committee for athletes since the early seventies. Through an array of soft rubber pads, gentle electronic impulses stimulate muscle groups into relaxing and contracting. Most electronic muscle stimulators come with a chart or a guide to the optimal placement of the pads to work out specific muscle groups.

Electronic muscle stimulators are safe for most users. The only people who ought to avoid an EMS are usually not meant to undertake any sort of intensive exercise program anyways such as pregnant women, those with a pace maker or internal metal plates or pins, or those with diabetes or abnormal blood pressure. On the other hand, an EMS can be ideal for a woman who was recently pregnant and wants to quickly reduce the appearance of being pregnant. Since the benefits of using an EMS are usually quicker to appear and easier to achieve than they are through traditional conventional exercises and since an EMS is lightweight, portable, and can be used just about anywhere, it is ideal for recent mothers.

Electronic muscle stimulators are especially useful for injured people who want to speed their healing by reducing the blood flow to the traumatized area and reducing swelling and soreness. In conjunction with regular physiotherapy, electronic muscle stimulators can help to speed the healing process by strengthening weak muscles without putting any strain on joints or requiring an excess of movement as an EMS is effective even when one is in a prone position. More often than not, improvement is visible after even one session. Like any exercise, frequent use is needed to maintain form and tone of the muscles, but frequent exercise has never been easier or more convenient.


Massage Therapy Training - What Does it Take?

Massage therapy is growing in popularity because of the many health benefits that it contains. However, we the realization of the benefits is not something that is recent. As a matter of fact, massage therapy has been used for approximately 2,400 years. It was actually Hippocrates who noted that friction has certain health benefits. In modern times, massage therapy is being used for treating tired muscles, reducing stress, taking care of painful ailments, and even in physical therapy as a tool to rehabilitate after an injury.

The massage therapist massages the soft tissues of the body in order to improve circulation. This improvement in circulation removes waste from the muscles. Anytime there is any sort of waste product in the muscle, the muscle doesn't work properly. Administering massage therapy does take a special type of training, which is not hard to acquire.

The training

There are almost 2,000 massage therapy programs within the United States today. They exist within post secondary schools and in colleges. There are many career centers that offer massage therapy courses. Students can acquire financial aid to take the classes or they can pay out of their pocket. The cost of the class is usually not as much as your traditional college course. This is because massage therapy programs do not last as long. There are some programs which last as little as 10 months to a year. The focus is just on massage therapy and the curriculum that is required to prepare for it.

The curriculum includes learning anatomy, the organs and tissues, and the physiology of the body. Massage therapists also learn business ethics and they study body mechanics and motion.

Learning massage therapy is also very hands on. In order to properly learn the techniques, the student must practice frequently. This is usually done with their fellow students before taking their newly learned techniques on the road. Many massage therapy schools will take their students to sporting events, such as marathons, to give massages to the marathon runners at the end of the event. This helps speed up muscle repair and makes the runner feel much better.

What does it take?

Now that you know that finding a school is easy and that getting in is fairly easy, you simply have to have a drive to learn. As stated before, the classes do not last that long. This means you have to learn a lot in a short period of time. With the proper motivation, you can do that.

In the end, you do have to take the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. This is an exam given by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and they do have their own criteria that must be met.

There are several areas that are covered by this exam. They are: kinesiology and physiology, pathology, therapeutic massage assessment and application, anatomy, ethics, professional standards, and legal and business practices.

Once this exam is passed, you can run with the world. This is because you can be employed within a chiropractor's office, a fitness club, another type of doctor's office, or you can have your own business. If you can acquire your own massage therapy equipment, then you will make the highest salary by having your own business. This is because people will pay a lot of money for a quality massage.

So if you don't think you have what it takes, know that you are wrong because you do. Find a school, enroll for the class, take the class, take the exam, and then decide what it is you want to do from there. There are many career possibilities, so run with them.


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