**Updated Notes With Real Results from Climbers Experimenting with Voodoo Flossing. Confirmed: Voodoo Flossing Helps Climbing Injuries
My first experience with Voodoo Flossing made me shake my head and say to myself, “Naw, that can’t be real.”
What appeared to be a very bad finger injury was 100% better in less than 48 hours. I Voodoo Flossed my finger about 2 dozen times and the pain was gone, the swelling was gone. My finger was nearly 100% recovered. [That is NOT hyperbole.]
I was unloading my climbing gear. As I lifted the bouldering pad off of the cargo holder, the middle finger of my right hand caught on a bungee cord. My finger bent sideways. Youch! That sucked; and I knew it was bad.
My middle finger was already a little bit tweaked before this trip; but I still climbed my hardest. And, during the trip, I only experienced a little bit of discomfort if I gave my finger a bit of lateral movement. If I warmed it up, I was good. So when my finger caught on the bungee, I knew it was going to be 10 times worse. There was some tenderness. There was some swelling…not another finger injury! I thought I had ended my finger injuries!
But, luckily for me (and luckily for you), I had been reading Dr. Kelly Starrett’s book, Becoming A Supple Leopard. Becoming A Supple Leopard is all about YOU getting your body healthy. Dr. Kelly Starrett says that all human beings should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves. On pages 217-220, you will find the details of Voodoo Flossing.
Special Note: If you are really injured, heard something pop, or your finger looks weird; go see your doctor.
Voodoo Flossing is the Compression part of the (now antiquated?) R-I-C-E (rest, ice, compression, elevation). But what makes this compression different is that you are wrapping the joint or injury SUPER TIGHT for a short period of time.
The MOST IMPORTANT PART of Voodoo Flossing is that you SKIP THE ICE and SKIP THE NSAID’s (ibuprophen, acetamenaphine, etc.)
The physiology of Voodoo Flossing is discussed in detail in this 26-minute YouTube video with Dr. Kelly Starrett and Gary Reinl. I encourage you to watch this video and then do your own reading and research about voodoo flossing and skipping NSAIDs and ice.
Who Are These Guys?
Gary Reinl is the trainer of trainers. If a trainer works with professional athletes, that trainer knows Gary Reinl. He is one of the leading minds in the area of keeping professional athletes healthy and returning them to action after injury. Gary is the author of Iced.
Here Are The Main Notes From That Video
- This conversation is about pain arising from swelling.
- There are 3 phases to healing: 1. Inflammation 2. Repair 3. Remodel
- Ice and NSAIDs stops/blocks that first phase of healing, inflammation. If you stop/block that first step, then you stop/delay the other 2 phases of healing. The problem with ice and NSAIDs is that you cut the connection between the injured tissue and the healing components that are being called to that injury site.
- You must move (the injury site) to get your lymphatic system to clear out the deoxygenated blood and wastes.
- If your goal is to “not hurt,” then, yes, use ice and NSAIDs. However, you sacrifice your body’s natural healing mechanisms and you may cause more tissue congestion.
I use the Aylio Exercise Band to warm up and stretch for both climbing and my everyday workouts. (By the way, Aylio has a lifetime warranty. If your Aylio band ever breaks, you just pay for shipping to get a replacement. That is a solid deal.) I had one band break on me, so I cut a sort strip of the rubber and I used that to Voodoo Floss my finger.
According to Dr. Kelly Starrett, you should:
- Start wrapping at the far end of the injured joint and wrap towards the heart.
- Wrap with a 50% to 75% tension on the wrap.
- Wrap the joint and tuck the end of the wrap underneath the band. The tension will keep the band in place.
- Once wrapped, move the limb though as much range of motion as possible.
- Two minutes is max. I found that one minute was comfortable for my finger.
- Skip the ice. Skip the NSAIDs.
Don’t be an Idiot By Leaving The Voodoo Wrap On For Too Long
According to Dr. Kelly Starrett: “…if you start to go numb or get a tingly sensation–pins and needles–or your limb turns…a color…take the band off.” Usually, that happens at about the two-minute mark. In most cases, you will get a tingly sensation before your hand or foot turns white, so if you hit this stage you need to act fast. Another warning sign is if you suddenly feel very claustrophobic. You need to respect these sketchy feelings and signs. As with most mobilizations, it’s pretty intense buy you should be able to differentiate between discomfort, and feelings like numbness, tingling or claustrophobia. And you should be able to recognize skin tone that resembles that of a dead person.”
My thoughts are that if you are the type of person who listens to your body, then you should experiment with Voodoo Flossing and keep listening to your body. Otherwise, if you are the type of person who runs to the doctor for any little thing, then skip this article, press the back button, and go read something else.
If You Are Thinking About Leaving A Comment That Mentions “Bro-Science”
Just move on. I don’t want your comment. I don’t want your participation in this blog.
I am not a licensed physical therapist or chiropractor or doctor. I don’t claim to be one. I happen to listen to my body. I believe in trying different things to benefit my health. I listen to other’s experiences and I have hearty skepticism. Skepticism is healthy. Listening to what other experience is healthy.
This article is for people who listen to their bodies. This article is written for those of you who try to understand how your very individual body works. You know who you are. You can read an article and make your own decision. If you want to try Voodoo Flossing, then great. I hope your tweaks and injuries heal quickly. If you never want to try Voodoo Flossing, then great–same to you–I hope your tweaks and injuries heal quickly, too.
How I Recovered From A Second Degree Calf Tear In Less Than A Week Using Voodoo Floosing
How I De-Pump Quickly And Send Hard By Using Voodoo Flossing
- Becoming A Supple Leopard (1st edition, 2013) Starrett, Dr. Kelly pg. 217-220
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