Muscle pain and tightness are common among all athletes. This is because muscles tend to form knots when they’ve been exercised for too long.
Knots and other injuries to the connective tissue will affect your performance and might prompt you to stop running or exercising because you can’t handle the discomfort and pain.
Runners nowadays are opting for a new recovery technique that aims to release these knots, treat the connective tissues, and improve overall performance.
So, what is leg scraping? How does it work? Keep on reading to find out.
What is Leg Scraping?
Leg scraping is a tissue mobilization technique where you use a hard tool with blunt edges to release the knots in the connective tissue.
Fascia, or the connective tissue that surrounds our body organs and muscles, is prone to scar tissue with repeated muscle injuries.
Using this technique, you can loosen the scar tissue to promote faster healing, so you can get back to your exercise regimen.
This technique is related to a Chinese massaging technique called the Gua Sha, where you or a professional will use a tool to improve blood flow.
Gua Sha actually means scraping away energy blockages and has been used for hundreds of years.
This treatment usually improves the blood circulation, driving more nutrients to the cells, so it can help with improving the look of the complexion.
In this ancient practice, a piece of jade was lubricated to slide smoothly over the skin and was used to scrape across the treated area in one direction.
The same technique is still used today by a certified practitioner who uses a metal or plastic tool, lubricated with a suitable lubricant, and presses while sliding the tool across the skin.
What Are the Benefits of Leg Scraping?
When you run, the connective tissue contracts and expands as you move your muscles.
With vigorous exercise, you can end up with some injuries in your fascia, tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
These injuries can result from trauma due to an impact like if you fall down or from overuse when you push yourself to run for a longer distance or at a faster pace.
The injury usually feels like a painful bump that can be tender to touch, or you might not be able to move comfortably.
The pain can be mild or severe, depending on the extent of the injury.
Moreover, you might experience some bruising, swelling, and stiffness that prevents you from going on the next run.
Here is how scraping therapy can help you.
- Leg scraping can eliminate or reduce pain significantly if you’re suffering from an injury.
- It increases the range of motion by loosening the adhesions that restrict the movement of muscles and tendons.
- It reduces the scar tissue that affects your athletic performance.
- It reduces swelling and bruising and helps muscles heal faster.
- It improves the blood flow, so your muscles and tendons are able to work better.
- It reduces inflammation by promoting better blood flow. It also promotes the body to produce essential enzymes that fight off chronic inflammation.
- It facilitates recovery after a workout.
- It eventually improves the overall muscle performance by driving the toxins that cause fatigue away.
- Scraping will improve heart rate variability, which increases your endurance without putting too much pressure on the heart.
How to Do Leg Scraping
You can always do leg scraping in the comfort of your home as long as you’re following the right technique.
Or you can head to a certified practitioner if you’re not able to reach all the target areas.
The key to successful leg scraping is to use an adequate tool and follow the right steps to help alleviate the pain.
You can do the following when you notice painful knots or lumps after a strenuous run.
- Get a reliable leg scraping tool. There are several models that are made of metal or plastic, and you can also get a crystal one if you believe in the healing power of crystals.
- Locate the area where you’re experiencing most of the pain, tightness, or soreness. Move your fingers while gently pressing the skin to locate the knots.
- Apply an adequate amount of an emollient or oil to the target area. This will help the tool slide smoothly without tugging onto your skin, but you shouldn’t use too much as you need some pressure and resistance to release the knots.
- Use the tool’s edge and apply moderate pressure while moving it in the same direction.
- Use gentle yet firm strokes without going in different directions to help release adhesions and scar tissue.
- Continue scraping the same spot for 10 to 15 seconds and then move to the next area.
- After you’re done scraping the injured area, drink a lot of water and make sure that you’re consuming enough electrolytes.
Should I Try Leg Scraping?
As long as you don’t suffer from a serious internal injury, leg scraping can be an excellent way to improve your athletic performance.
It will help reduce any pain, improve blood flow, and get rid of the painful tightness and knots that prevent you from running.
Leg scraping is an ancient yet potent practice that helps release tightness in the connective tissue.
To do it properly, you need to use firm yet gentle strokes in the same direction to help loosen adhesions in the scar tissue.