Krista Merwede LMT
As a massage therapist, there is one person in particular that sticks out in my mind, we will call her Jane, as the individual that has the "juiciest" muscles I have touched in the treatment room. What I mean by juicy is the quality of the musculature: toned, hydrated, healthy skin, strong. It was during my massage therapist training inalifornia in 2001 when I encountered this lady, and I have been questing to find a structure that my hands deemed more optimal than hers for well over a decade - to no avail.
Did I mention that this woman was 56 years old when I worked on her?
Even with my limited experience at the time, I was truly amazed. This was the human body in its optimum form, this is what muscles feel like when they are functioning at full capacity, I remember thinking. I was also curious why see felt better to me than many of the more youthful patients that I had seen. After the session I checked in with her, what was her secret? Could it be her diet or a lotion or a potion or a sport?
Rebounding for Health- and Anti-Aging?
Jane's secret is simple and ruthlessly effective. She would spend 15 min a day bouncing on a rebounder. This is a piece of exercise equipment that looks like a small, circular trampoline that is low to the ground for in-home use. One can be purchased for less that $50 in many cases, and using it only a quarter an hour per day makes the rebounder both cost and time efficient.
Why would such a simple, low-impact exercise have such a profound positive consequence on the musculature? Taking a look at the surface there are certainly obvious benefits in increasing muscle strength and tone as well as improving balance and flexibility. One must travel deeper into the body to reveal the greatest benefit of working with a rebounder: supporting the lymph system.
Circulation and the Lymph System
As Jane bounces on her personal trampoline she is greatly encouraging the circulation of lymph fluid throughout her body. This is crucial because the lymph does not have a pump to encourage its flow, such as the blood has the heart. Instead, lymph is moved through the body by the movement of our musculature. Spending a few moments on a regular basis bouncing on a rebounder supports the intention of a flowing lymphatic system which in turn supports health detoxification. It is a combination of movement and detox that is the secret to Jane's physical success.
The analogy that I like to use with many of my patients is that of a bottle of Italian salad dressing fresh out the fridge. So nice and clear at the top, gradiating down into richer ambers, the bottom dense with accumulated herbs and spices. Imagine if that was your body, as we are filled with water, minerals, and oils. Most of us live a lifestyle that includes a computer and a commute; a daily routine that allows for a lot of sedentary time. There is a lot to be said for shaking up the salad dressing bottle so everything is evenly distributed and moving freely. This is exactly what the rebounder can do for the body.
I have literally massaged thousands of people over the course of my career, and still my hands remember the feeling of Jane's musculature above all others. This is a powerful example of a little heightened kinetic awareness and consistency that pays off with a jackpot in the long run. Bear in mind that the rebounder is versatile in that you can incorporate many other exercises in addition to simple bouncing for a more complex work-out. It is always a good idea to check in with your general practitioner before adding a new piece of equipment to your regimen. Happy bouncing!
Krista Merwede L.M.T., has been a therapeutic massage therapist for over a decade and a Reiki Master since 2006. She customizes treatment protocols for each patient's needs and offers a myriad of massage therapy techniques (deep tissue, trigger point, craniosacral therapy, and more). Krista will earn her Master of Science in Therapeutic Herbalism in August 2014. She is also a graduate of the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine's Clinical Herbalist certification program.