Hydration goes beyond drinking the 48 oz a day. If all that water is only making you venture to the bathroom every hour, chances are it is only passing through and never making beyond your intestines. Our body is mostly water and all of your cells, tissues, and structures require hydration to do their normal cell functions. Without enough hydration into your soft tissues, your muscles and fascia become a desert wasteland – unable to effectively do their daily tasks at an optimal level. Water that you consume will continue to flush its way through your intestines unless you’re giving it a stimulus to go somewhere else, like your soft tissues.
While a formal study has yet to be conducted, dynamic ultrasound of the calf muscle before and after rolling with Yoga Tune Up® therapy balls showed an increase in the amount of space between the superficial and deep layers of fascia. Basically – rolling literally makes you fluffier on the inside. The body does not allow for empty space, so whenever space is created, it is filled with fluid. In this case, the hydration that would normally be rushing through your intestines is now called into action to rehydrate and fill the in between layers of your muscle! More fluid means the cells can then clear waste products, draw in nutrients, and may increase the slide and glide of the tissues over one another. Motion is literally lotion. (Read more about this in The Roll Model by Jill Miller).
This effect is not just limited to the calf, but can occur anywhere in your body. If you know that your muscles are peppered with trigger points, you seriously KNEAD this. Any deep tissue massage tool (or person) can create this fluffing effect, but a tool that creates a ton of shear is ideal. Shear is a massage technique that creates this fluffing of the layers by encouraging the sliding of layers over one another and is best done with a tool that has a ton of grip, like a YTU ball. This fluffing and rehydration does not stay contained to the specific area – if you are creating an environment of rehydration and healing in one area, it will spill into surrounding areas improving the global health of the tissues.
My favorite way to quickly create heat and rehydration is with the inflated Coregeous ball in the lower back. With the ball positioned directly under the thoracolumbar fascia (TLF), which is an anchor for almost every tissue above and below it, you can affect every fabric it is in contact with, from the abdominals as they wrap around the torso to the latissumus from the shoulders. Once you have the Coregeous ball underneath your lower back, spin yourself around the ball in on direction as much as possible. It will feel like you are giving your self a rug burn and that is correct! Gently move your hips from side to side while you are wound up to maximize the amount of shear. Rotate in the other direction and repeat. (See the image below for the set up)
Improving the pliability and hydration of this focal point can help improve tissue health from head to toe. Make your hydration more than just a million trips to the bathroom and give your body a reason to soak up all that water!