Guest Blog by Dr. Perry Nickelston DC, NKT, FMS, SFMA
Before you lace up your shoes and put on your sweats this season, take a minute to consider using deep tissue laser therapy as a warm-up tool. Here are 4 ways adding laser therapy to your warm-up program can help better prepare your body for physical activity.
1. Increasing Blood Flow
One of the main goals of warm-up exercises is to help increase blood flow, bringing vital nutrients to muscles. Stretching and isometrics can accomplish this goal, but their effectiveness can be diminished for areas with damaged tissue. Laser therapy is a great option for safely increasing blood flow, particularly in damaged tissue, due to its vasodilatory effects. The laser light helps to produce nitric oxide, a powerful vasodilator and important cellular signaling molecule involved in many physiological processes. Just a few minutes of laser therapy prior to stretching may increase the effectiveness of your warm-up and decrease the amount of warm-up time.
2. Increasing Muscle Temperature
A primary goal of warming up is to increase muscle temperature. Movement on its own helps to facilitate this effect, but adding Class IV laser therapy can give you an edge when trying to gradually warm tissue. Class IV laser therapy treatments create a gentle, soothing warmth, as substances like water and hemoglobin absorb some of the energy. Applying laser therapy during warm-up patterns is a win-win combination.
3. Increasing Range of Motion
Increasing range of motion by limbering the body and improving mobility is an additional goal of warm-up exercises. While range of motion can be improved though stretching and other warm-up activities, it can be further improved by decreasing any underlying inflammation. Inflammation causes pain, which will restrict motion since the body will fall back on self-preservation and protection.
Many athletes (and non-athletes) have a general amount of inflammation present at any given time — inflammation that occurs from tissue breakdown with athletic activities and training. This inflammation can inhibit range of motion and put people at greater risk for injury if it is not addressed prior to activity. Laser therapy helps to reduce inflammation, which leads to an improved range of motion that warming up alone can typically not achieve.
4. Getting to Hard-to-Reach Areas
Deep-structure muscles and joints can also be difficult to adequately prepare for activity with standard warm-ups. Reaching deep muscles such as the psoas with manual manipulation or stretches is challenging and often painful. Tight hips are a common problem in sports and using laser therapy on the hip joints prepares the core for optimal power and performance. Class IV laser therapy is particularly well-suited for not only reaching these deeper structures, but for also delivering an appropriate therapeutic dose to these target areas. Class IV lasers are more powerful than low level lasers (for a more detailed explanation of the role power plays, please watch this free on-demand webinar). This deep-tissue higher-power delivery can be even further enhanced by using a massage-ball head to compress shallow structure and disperse superficial fluids – and who doesn’t like the idea of a laser massage?
Warming Up to Laser Therapy
In addition to your favorite workout sneaks, you should consider adding laser therapy to your warm-up routines. Over 50 professional sports teams in the United States already have LightForce Therapy Lasers in their training rooms – maybe it’s time to add one to yours!