So you have just done your 19 mile run in preparation for your marathon in 7 days or you biked a for 4 hours hard, or you've twisted your ankle or you tweaked your knee. You are sore or know your going to be. What do you do? Legs up the wall pose from yoga. In addition to icing this pose is very powerful and should be incorporated into your plan. You could also take some anti inflammatories but they slow healing and should be reserved for the most severe situation. As an additional bonus if we listen to traditional yoga teachings, when we do an inversion pose it is calming to the nervous system. Legs up the wall is one of those poses/positions. If we interject modern science into the calming of the nervous system it is balancing the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system has 2 parts the sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic is our fight or flight part and readies us to fight by bringing energy to our muscles and away from our organs. It sacrifices running or moving right now for rebuilding and restoring. The parasympathetic part of our nervous system promotes healing, calmness and rebuilding. We as a society tend to be more sympathetic dominant and we need to add things that make us more parasympathetic. (bonus) So how and why do do it?
Start by laying on your left side in a fetal position but with neutral spine then roll on to your back. Raising the legs and the buttock higher than the liver helps to really push the inflammatory fluids out of the body by getting it to the liver so it can process it. Once it processes it won't go back to the lower extremity. If you just raise the legs, some of that inflammation will seep back into the leg tissues when you stand back up. So raise the butt higher then the liver with a folded towel or a bolster. Then scoot your butt as close to the wall as you can without over stretching your hamstrings. Your knees should be straight and your heals against the wall. Hang out, start with 1 minute and work your way to 5.
Make sure your legs are straight and heels on wall.
Once you roll on to your side stay there for 30 seconds, which helps to push the fliuds towards your liver. Then get up. Repeat 2-3 times per day.