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The Chef aching legs and Accidental Athlete’s leg health

The Chef Do-It-Yourself Recovery Book

While Chefs know all about food and how to cook it, and I don’t, I know about aching legs and how
to fix them and they don’t!
I know about them because I work with ultra long distance athletes-runners and walkers who
deliberately run and walk over marathon distances 26.2 miles (42.195 kilometers)

Chefs may walk this distance around the kitchen, but like the ultra marathoner they do this on a
daily basis which puts them in the ultra marathon category-and like ultra people their legs need
special care because they rely on them to keep moving
Chefs are Accidental Athletes but unlike the deliberate athletes they do not generally have any leg
recovery strategies in place to keep their leg health
Recipe for aching legs
Take 1 Chef
• Take one set of legs-any Chefs will do
• A set of arteries

• A set of veins
• A touch of gravity
• Some atmospheric pressure
• Lots of blood in the body-preferably some used blood that has collected in the ankles

• 1 pair of safety shoes

• 1 pair of ankle socks
• And 1 Flat Floor
Mix all together by standing or moving for about 8 hours or more of standing in a
small space-viola! Aching legs!

The dish will look something like this

2009 Copyright Michael Gillan 1

The Chef aching legs and Accidental Athlete’s leg health
Recipe for relieving them
Take a pair of chefs aching legs
1 chair
1 pair of hands
1 bit of knowledge
1 different approach
Mix together well for 5 minutes

This dish is better-it looks more appetizing

Viola!-aching legs may be relieved!

Do It Yourself Recovery System

When I was a trainee masseur, the massage school I attended used to encourage to us work at
exhibitions or trade shows to put the idea out to the public of some of the benefits of massage and to
give us contact with new people to learn people skills
We discovered that many of the people who turned up to the stands were people who were in
occupations that required them to spend long hours on their feet-and they felt so stressed after a
long time standing and walking on their stand floor they needed advice on relieving the ache in their
Unfortunately, the only thing we could offer them was a seated upper body and neck and shoulder
massage because we were not equipped to do the lower part of the body where they actually were
having problems-the legs and we were having problems ourselves from the stand floors that we did
not know how to fix them
The only advice we could give them was to go home after work and use the system commonly
recommended for aching leg relief

Elevate the legs

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The Chef aching legs and Accidental Athlete’s leg health
(or go and see someone and get the legs massaged)
Long hours on kitchen floors is exhausting work
Long hours with spit shifts do not give good recovery-fitness and recovery or the lack of it that
fatigue takes its toll on the body-not only is there mental fatigue through dealing so many would be
clients, the legs do not recover very well from the previous day of standing and walking
The consecutive days put the chef in the ranks of the endurance athlete, even if they are there
accidentally and they can suffer some of the consequences of doing this in the long term-
Some problems that may develop if they are not addressed include
• Varicose veins
• Venous insufficiency
• Lower back ache
• Sleeplessness
• Angry muscles
• Spider veins
• Foot problems
• Swollen ankles
• Fatigue
There are many more areas of concern and to check some of these out I refer you to
A problem for the chef is that while many endurance runners and walkers have recovery plans
available to them, they do not
What options for recovery does the busy chef have?

• Medical Massage for soft tissue problems

• Relaxation Massage for wound up and stressed people
• Sports massage-for Sports People (athletes)
The sports massage is split again into
• In-training massage used to sort soft tissue problems in between event
• Pre-event massage used to ready the muscles for competition
• Post-event massage used to help the muscles recover from competition
All of these are specialized massage systems and take much training and studying to be effectively
applied-and equipment such as massage table, oils, and towels, not too many kitchens allow these to
be taken to work
Light Manual Muscle Relaxation- an active recovery for Accidental Athletes

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The Chef aching legs and Accidental Athlete’s leg health
Light Manual Muscle Relaxation offers the busy chef an alternative system of

Accidental Athletes and recovery

The area of leg health is one that everyone to some extent or another is responsible for either for
themselves or someone else’s-it is something which can’t be bought and which is under appreciated
until something goes wrong with the body and that can start with aching legs

Aching legs
The reason for aching legs as it affects the stand attendant-too much standing and walking
The body is basically a column of blood and other fluids (between 65% and 85% is water) held upright by
the body structures which is subject to pressure from gravity and air pressure-left to its own devices it all
tries to accumulate in the lowest part it can find
The lower legs and feet
The only thing that stops it running out all over the ground is the ends of the toes-this is why whenever a cut
happens that is quite deep, one of the main strategies to slow and stop the bleeding is to elevate the part
higher than the heart-this reduces the pressure and hopefully the bleeding by reversing gravity and pressure

What happens when the legs are not working properly-swollen ankles as the fluid builds up
Getting this back up the legs so it can be absorbed back into the body can be a problem
How can gravity and atmospheric pressure be utilized to help the legs to stop aching?

We could simply use the recommended way of doing it-and reverse the flow so that some of the
weight of fluid flows back up the legs to the body

This way reverses the flow from the feet

This is known as passive recovery because it relies on the blood and fluid to leave the legs and
then the legs can recover themselves- because of the time it takes for all this to work (unknown), the
legs which may be sore, stiffen up and on standing, walking may be difficult to do
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The Chef aching legs and Accidental Athlete’s leg health

As the old blood and fluids have left the legs through the veins, new blood will have been pumped
there by the heart through the arteries, but it too will have gone cold
All this fluid from the legs has to go somewhere so it goes again to the lowest part of the body, this
time towards the head-on standing many people will go dizzy and disoriented for a few minutes,
they may even fall over or trip-this lasts until everything equalises and they regain equilibrium
If You Don’t Move It You Lose It
This also goes for the legs and the muscles
While you have been lying with the legs elevated the muscles also stiffen up and they may go too
light-the muscles in the legs forget how to move because they are not getting any feedback from
pressure and stretch receptors located in the skin, muscle tissues and joints about their environment
and position in relation to the rest of the body
All the feedback goes back to a part of the brain called the Cerebellum in latin this means small
brain-with all the information supplied to it, it compares where the muscles are now, and where they
should be-this information is sent to the brain which organises the smooth movement of the body
part to where it is going to

In these runners who have been on the track for 3 days, the legs have stopped moving,
they could not get up and walk in a straight line if they tried

Using an ‘active’ recovery method would both increase the removal of used blood from the
lower legs and help the Cerebellum regain its use as a comparator so the legs can work
smoothly again

This is an ‘active’ method of leg recovery

What happens here that is different to the ‘passive’ version?

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The Chef aching legs and Accidental Athlete’s leg health
Basically while we are still letting the body heal itself, we are helping it to do this which can
help by-pass the waiting period that exists while using the ‘passive’ system

What is Light manual Muscle Relaxation?

It is a Do-It-Yourself method based on encouraging the muscles and tissues to

assist in their own recovery-it works with the muscles not on them

• It is not a massage system

• It is not invasive

• It is not aggressive
• It is not time consuming

• It does not need disrobing

• It does not need oil applied to the skin

• It does not need strong hands and fingers

• It does not need hand/brain coordination

• It does not need equipment

• It does not work on the muscles

• It does not work on any specific injuries

• It does not threaten the integrity of the muscles

• It does not use force on the muscles

• It does not need more than a few minutes to do

• It does not require a long course or workshop

How can it help the Chef with aching legs?

All that is needed is a strap and a chair-I looked after a running team for 24 hours on the chair next
to the bottles above and used the seated version of Light Manual Muscle Relaxation and only
needed a few minutes on each runner
To do self recovery is as simple-at home it can be just as simple if you have a partner-

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The Chef aching legs and Accidental Athlete’s leg health
Below is a chart from when I discovered working with the muscles rather than on
them shows how much things did improve for the runners and walkers
If these figures are translated into recovery speed for the person with aching legs they
would be very happy

Results from 1995 Coburg 6 day footrace

Name Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6

A Krouglikov 237.2 113.6 130 106 126 108 Kilometers
539 284 325 365 315 270 Laps

T Rusek 215.2 98.8 98 139.6 138.4 122.4 Kilometers

538 247 245 349 346 306 Laps

M T aylor 174.4 128.8 143.6 123.6 138.4 122.4 Kilometers

436 322 359 309 302 223 Laps

B Beauchamp 180.4 133.2 124 117.6 110 93.2 Kilometers

451 333 310 294 275 233 Laps

P Gray 150 134 105.2 94.8 111.6 106 Kilometers

375 335 263 237 279 265 Laps

D Parri s 138.4 108.4 106.8 116.4 106 107.2 Kilometers

346 271 267 274 265 268 Laps

I Davis 168 119.2 90 116.4 106 107.2 Kilometers

420 298 225 291 180 247 Laps

G Watts 132.2 96.4 99.2 104.4 92.8 133.6 Kilometers

328 241 248 261 232 334 Laps

C Young 142 91.2 90 97.6 88 92 Kilometers

355 228 225 244 220 230 Laps

D Kettle 138.2 86.8 90.8 95.2 94.4 84.4 Kilometers

332 217 227 238 236 212 Laps

R H ill 128 80.8 99.2 70 95.6 96.6 Kilometers

320 202 248 175 239 241 Laps

K Fisher 164 91.6 50 115.2 49.6 81.2 Kilometers

410 229 125 288 124 203 Laps

G Pollard 120 74.8 73.6 68.4 69.6 61.2 Kilometers

300 187 184 171 174 153 Laps
The above group came in for Light Manual Muscle Rel axation
The below group did not or had their own recovery people
T Rafferty 141.6 112.8 104.8 101.6 98 96.4 Kilometers
354 282 262 254 245 241 Laps

G McConnel 145.6 110.8 126.4 113.6 108.4 106 ki lometers

363 277 287 284 271 265 Laps

G Audley 152.8 110.8 126.4 113.6 114.8 95.2 ki lometers

S Scanlon 140.8 82 84 34 0 0 Kilometers

352 205 210 85 pulled out-bli sters Laps

J Timms 127.2 98.4 74.8 0 0 0 ki lometers

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The Chef aching legs and Accidental Athlete’s leg health

What does it do?

It is a fully self contained non-technical, non-invasive 'cutting edge' recovery system
It’s not what you do but the way you do it that counts

Quickly-easily and in an environmentally friendly way!

The World Run Recovery System is a simple system that is easy to use without the
need for equipment other than the hands

Resource Box

Michael Gillan is an Ultra Marathon Recovery Specialist who has been a masseur around many
ultra long distance events both in Australia and internationally since he was a student in 1993

In 1995 while working at a 6 day run, he changed the approach to recovery of the athletes from the
conventional way of working on the muscles using the hands and fingers to increase muscle blood
circulation, to working with the muscles and making them work on themselves

The results from this changeover can be seen on the Coburg result sheet on page 5

In 1996 Michael went to the Nanango 1000 Mile 16 day event where it was tested and helped the
worlds 4-5 and 11th to achieve their distances

Other notable events the World Run Recovery System was tested on was World Run 1 with Jesper
Olsen www.worldrun.org and the World Run 2 training camp in Denmark in 2007

How can someone with aching legs benefit?

Because the muscles are being worked with they are actually doing the work-this means that the
skills needed to do the recovery after training and competition do not have to be as great or as
complicated as when they are being worked on
Nothing is being fixed nor is any attempt being made to repair anything

All that is happening is that the body is repairing itself-we are just facilitating it’s ability to
do that by increasing circulation to the muscles

Aching legs should always be checked out by a medical professional before doing anything to and
with them because there are many medical reasons why they may be aching-see a physician

If you want more details on Light Manual Muscle Relaxation go to my website at

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The Chef aching legs and Accidental Athlete’s leg health
or google me Michael Gillan ultra marathon masseur

Books I have used in my research

Travell S.G. Simons D.G. Myofascial Pain & Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual Williams &
Williams 1983

Travell J. Rinzler S.H. The Myofascial Genesis of Pain Post Grad Med. 1952
Modern Treatment for Lymphoedema Casley-smith Judith & Casley-Smith J.R. 5th edition

Touching Montague Ashley Harper & Row

‘Guyton-Textbook of Medical Physiology eighth edition-1991 W.B. Saunders Company-ISBN 0-

Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology-Seeley Stephens and Tate-Mosby Year Book ISBN 0-8016-

‘Textbook of medical Physiology” (Physiology- fourth edition-Robert M. Berne, Mathew N. Levy,

Bruce M. Koeppen, Bruce A. Stanton-Mosby ISBN 0-8151-0952-0)

What they say about Light Manual Muscle Relaxation

Michael’s methods of massage and blister care helped me to stay mobile throughout the race and to
recover quickly afterwards. His techniques are safe and gentle.
Unlike some treatments, which put the runners and walkers at risk of muscle tears or infection,
Michael’s techniques are light, safe, reassuring, and highly effective.
They enhance comfort and flexibility, build confidence, and promote success.

This booklet will help others to learn and practice Michael’s methods.
It is recommended reading for everyone who walks and runs and who wants to go further, go faster,
or just to enjoy life more!!'
1996 Ladies 1000 Mile World Record Holder
1999 Ladies 100 mile Race walking World Record Holder

“I know that your massage kept a number of competitors in the event.

The cold weather of Saturday afternoon and night certainly got to many of the walkers and your
prompt action had them back in the race after a short stop.
In years past, that would have ended up as a non-finish; a number of walkers were able to keep
going for the full 24 hours on the basis of your expert help.”
Tim Ericson Secretary Australian Centurions Club

'I have known Michael Gillan for many years and have always got quick relief for my aches and
pains from the stretching he performs'.
CLIFF YOUNG-Ultra marathon runner

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