blood circulation is an absolute must for healthy tissues. Strong
and steady blow flow allows for constant exchange of nutrients and
waste at the cellular level, and also promotes healthy flow of fluid
through your lymphatic system, a key component of your immune system.
active and minimizing intake of refined carbohydrates and
damaged fats are arguably the most important requirements for healthy
blood circulation. Beyond taking these measures, a simple and powerful
way of promoting strong and steady blood circulation throughout your
legs is to massage the soft depression found at the back of your knees.
area is called your popliteal fossa, and contains a number of blood
vessels, nerves, and even components of your lymphatic system. By
gently massaging this region, you can promote healthy blood flow and
nerve tone throughout your lower extremities.
this work? Via the same principle that makes acupressure and acupuncture
powerful therapeutic tools - by applying direct stimulation to vessels
and nerves, you can actually encourage them to function at a high
level. It's a basic law of life: lack of use leads to atrophy,
while sensible use and stimulation of tissues invigorates them.
come as no surprise that a powerful acupuncture point - Bladder 40
- is located right in your popliteal fossa. And for that matter, just
about all of the most powerful acupuncture points found throughout
your body represent clusters of major blood vessels and nerves. Makes
perfect sense, right?
back to your popliteal fossa, you can locate it by feeling the underside
of your knee while you're seated and your knees are bent at 90 degrees.
Toward the thigh side of your popliteal fossa, you should feel tendons
on both sides - these are tendons of your hamstring muscles. Toward
the calf side of your popliteal fossa, you should feel the inner and
outer heads of your upper calf muscle (gastrocnemius).
your knee bent, this soft, fleshy area should "give" enough with palpation
to allow you to gently dig around and feel a tender point or two.
Located within your popliteal fossa are:
lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels.
artery, which is a continuation of your femoral artery - these
two arteries deliver blood to your entire lower limb.
and common peroneal nerves, which innervate all of the structures
in your lower leg.
it's always prudent to check with your family physician before you
begin any program of self care, including pressure work in your popliteal
fossa. It's especially prudent to get clearance from your doctor if
you have varicose veins or a family medical history of any health
challenges related to compromised blood circulation.
you take things slow and listen to your body's response to massage
of the popliteal region, you can almost certainly stand to experience
improved blood flow, nerve tone, and overall health throughout your
a look at the location of your popliteal fossae:
your legs are straight, especially when your leg muscles are taut
while standing, you won't be able to access much of the contents of
your popliteal fossa.
need to be seated or even lying on your back, with your legs resting
on a foam roller.
just sitting or lying in this position with gravity and your leg weight
pushing your popliteal fossae into the foam roller can be enough to
create positive effects on the vessels and nerves within.
you're comfortable in this position and you want to experience greater
therapeutic value, try lifting your feet off the ground to increase
pressure by just a smidge.
pressure and therapeutic effects a bit more, use your arms to slightly
raise your buttocks off the ground.
to feel a gentle but firm massage of your popliteal fossae. It's normal
to feel some tenderness in this area - you just don't want to produce
pain. If you feel significant discomfort, ease off and try applying
effective way to massage the structures in your popliteal fossae is
to rest your legs on a foam roller and slowly internally and externally
rotate your hips. This creates a deep massaging effect on the structures
in your popliteal fossae.
a brief video clip that shows how to externally and internally rotate
your hips while resting the backs of your knees on a foam roller:
all exercises, strive to main regular and even breathing while you're
your popliteal region in this way for even a minute or two a day can
go a long way towards keeping your legs healthy over the long run.
Before discovering the foam roller earlier this year, I used to do
this on myself, family, and clients with my hands and even sometimes
my shin bone. But I've found that a roller can apply more effective
pressure to this region than I can manually.
don't have a roller, the one that I continue to recommend can be found
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