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Another Summer of Sport!

Whether you’re an active participant or an enthusiastic spectator, there’s no getting away from it: Sport is everywhere this summer! Even if the England football team is opting to take a bit of a rest, with the weather (in theory!) offering up increased opportunity to get outside and be active, what better time to make sure you’re ready to make the most of it?

Be prepared for a kick around in the park!

Be prepared for a kick around in the park!

If you’re more of a watcher of sports rather than a player, you may want to take a look at my previous blog so you can make sure you’re sitting correctly to protect your body while in one place for extended periods of time. If you’d like to get involved with the Summer of Sport, take a look at the local clubs I’ve listed below for inspiration.

But, for you competitive types out there, it’s important to keep the body in top shape in order to maintain performance and to help prevent injury which could keep you off the pitch /course /track /court for extended periods of time.

Regular, or “Maintenance” massage concentrates on particular areas and groups of muscles in order to sustain range of movement and flexibility. This can help prevent niggling injuries which can reduce your activity levels and prevent you performing at your peak.

If you do find yourself experiencing an injury – however minor- massage not only helps to relieve the discomfort caused by over-exertion, but also breaks down the stress and tension which builds up in the body’s soft tissue during physical activity.

For major events in your own sports calendar, it’s a good idea to consider specific treatments both before and after the event itself. Consider pre-event treatment as a supplement to your warm-up. It helps circulation and reduces excess muscle and mental tension. Post-event, your focus needs to be on reducing muscle spasms and lymphatic build-up in order to be able to return to your regular regime as soon as possible.

Rehabilitation: There are times, though, even if you’ve looked after yourself appropriately that you may experience cramps, tears and aches. I can work with you to focus on trigger points to reduce the spasm and discomfort that occur in both the injured and “compensation” muscles.

Although the above applies to all sports, here are a few examples of specific risks associated with particular activities:

Football

The football season is a long one, and even if you weren’t on the pitch in France, certain areas are more susceptible than others:

  • groin strain resulting from sudden changes in direction or over-reaching for the ball
  • hamstring strain needs to be treated with specific techniques to improve blood flow and loosen muscles
  • one leg stronger than the other (the “preferred” leg) can cause issues with balance and movement

Local inspiration: 3G Revolution Adult 5 a-side

 

Golf

This sport has a unique set of requirements in order to succeed. It combines a particular mental focus with physical movement in order to succeed. Massage can help by:

  • Increasing circulation to help remove metabolic wastes that can accumulate in muscles due to overuse and the repetitive motion of the golf swing
  • Reducing muscle spasms, trigger points and adhesions that need to be addressed to help prevent injury and improve quality of movement.
  • Improving range of motion  and muscle flexibility resulting in increased power and performance
  • Decreasing anxiety and stress levels, so improving mental focus

Local inspiration: Crane Valley Golf

 

Tennis

Whether you’re Andy Murray or a fair-weather player, performance is regulated by the efficiency, precision, and freedom with which you are able to move. Efficiency is dependent on training and conditioning. Massage allows for more intensive training as it helps to keep your muscles in shape. We’d bet Marcus Willis looks after his muscles! 😉

Local inspiration: Verwood Community Tennis Club

 

Cycling
If you prefer a Tour de New Forest rather than the Tour de France, massage is good for injury prevention, enhanced performance and faster recovery.

Cycling is demanding, and can put your body under stress for prolonged periods. While the legs endure the greatest burden, many groups of muscles are involved.

Legs –especially quads and knees – take the brunt of the punishment; cramping and general soreness is the most common result. The upper body can also be affected because of the unnatural posture required for serious cycling.

A post-activity massage improves recovery time by allowing fluids and toxins to be moved out, and allowing blood flow, oxygen and nutrients an opportunity to get back in. Swelling caused by an injury, and the production of non-flexible scar tissue, can “pinch” the flow of blood to the injured area. An increase of blood flow and nutrient to the muscles naturally translates to better recovery.

Local inspiration: Verwood Cycling Club

 

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So….. any activity can benefit from massage, whether pre or post event, but for sustained strength and performance, think MAINTENANCE!

Find out how I can help you perform to your best ability.

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Clinical or Spa massage; what’s right for you?

Having a massage is synonymous with relaxation, but did you know that massage itself can be divided into more than 80 distinct methods? It seems a staggering number (I certainly couldn’t name them all!) and it can be very confusing when trying to choose what’s best for you. Here, I want to explore the difference between 2 of the “types”. While what I practice, Clinical Massage, by its very nature will give you a sense of wellbeing by keeping your muscles in good shape, Spa Massage is designed specifically as a relaxation technique.

Let’s look at this in more detail……….

Spa Massage

Spa massage is very much a treat we can give ourselves: a bit of “me time” which we all deserve. We can enjoy some time out where we can drift away beneath the soothing hands of the therapist, often in a subtly-lit treatment room with gentle music playing in the background, aromatherapy oils permeating the air… an indulgence for the senses.

Clinical Massage

muscle health

Whether you run marathons or enjoy a gentle walk, don’t forget to look after your muscles!

Clinical massage on the other hand focuses specifically on physical wellbeing: keeping your muscles in good shape. This can mean helping to ease a specific existing problem, helping to protect against future injury or maintaining muscle quality so you can keep on doing all the things you want and need to do in your everyday life.

Here’s one of my favourite definitions, courtesy of study.com:

Clinical massage therapy uniquely focuses on the treatment of soft tissue to maintain, develop, augment or rehabilitate the patient’s physical function. Clinical massage therapy can improve the functioning of joints and muscles, the healing process, metabolism and circulation.

In my view, it does NOT involve inflicting pain! After all, pain is the body’s way of telling you something’s wrong: massage should not cause damage.

Whether you enjoy playing sport, keeping generally active, or you feel the effects of sitting in a car or at a desk for long periods of time, your muscles can benefit from being looked after through clinical massage techniques. And the bonus? You’ll also feel great afterwards!

Take a look at this page to find out more about how clinical massage, or what I like to call Massage Therapy, helps improve:

  • muscle quality
  • scar and tissue damage
  • drainage of waste products from the lymph system
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Stress causes tension. Tension causes stress!

Christmas is well and truly over, the New Year is in full swing. You may be back at work and your next holiday seems a long way away. If you’re like me, this is the time when stress levels are raised: my shoulders tense up, I get more headaches and I generally feel out of sorts.

Shoulder massage - Dorset Massage Therapy Verwood

In serious cases, stress can have detrimental long term effects on health. In fact, there’s a whole range of illnesses and conditions which have been attributed to or exacerbated by stress, including eczema, migraine, digestive complaints, high blood pressure, heart disease, back-ache, muscular pain and depression.

Massage is more than just a treat, although we all need one of those every so often! It helps to heal the body and soothe the mind, bringing calm to sufferers.

Here are some key ways in which massage is used to help de-stress.

Tension Relief

Muscles are manipulated during a massage, which relieves tension. Daily stress – whether work-related or emotional -can cause tension in the neck and the back making them feel stiff and sore.

It’s a vicious circle; the discomfort of a tight neck and shoulders can be the cause of stress. You may not even realise that you’re suffering from tension until it’s relieved by massage.

It’s easy to understand how activities like playing sports can affect your muscles, but so can sitting in a car or at a desk all day.

If you’re experiencing any of the following, book your massage now!

  • Stiff neck,
  • Tight shoulders,
  • Stiff hands and arms,
  • Lower back

Reduced Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

Anxiety can cause your heart rate and blood pressure to increase. The relaxing effect of a massage helps to lower these, inducing a feeling of calm and helping to melt away the symptoms of stress away.

Pain Reduction

Massages can provide relief from pain by reducing muscle tension and stimulating blood flow, so increasing oxygen supplies to the blood stream. Oxygen is carried through the blood stream to the muscles, helping to heal injuries and soothe sore muscles. Pain and soreness add to feelings of stress. By reducing the pain, stress is relieved.

Massage aids relief from stress and pain.

If you’re feeling the stresses of this time of year, give me a call and make an appointment!

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Post-Christmas recovery plan!

Happy New Year! I hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to 2015.

If, like me, you’ve over-indulged somewhat, spent too much time sitting around inside enjoying yourself with friends and family and neglected your usual routine, now’s the time to get back on track.

I must say, as much as I’ve enjoyed the festive season, I relish the thought of returning to my pre-festive, active self. I’m always mindful, however, that getting straight back into exercise after a week or so “off” isn’t a good idea…..

When you think about it, your muscles have had some time off, too. They need to be prepared to go back to work; they need to be “eased back in” to day-to-day activity. They

A picture of a physio therapist giving knee massage over white background

can’t go straight back to performing as they did before their time off; that’s where you risk damaging them or causing injury.

So, yes; I start having regular massages again to help with the process of getting back on form.

Muscle manipulation supports lymphatic drainage, relieving congestion in muscles and removing waste products, toxins and other metabolic by-products. And let’s face it; when does our body need that kind of help more than at this time of year?!

It improves circulation, allowing muscles to use oxygen and nutrients efficiently. In addition to all this, massage can identify areas of tightness, giving you advanced warning of potential problems so you can prevent injury before it occurs.

The cold weather itself – let alone inactivity in general- causes muscles to function inefficiently. Massage will help get them back to health and in prime shape, so when you start being active again, your range of motion will have been helped along, injury is less likely, and if damage should occur, your recovery will be quicker.

And even if you’re not a generally active person, you – or maybe someone you know – may welcome a New Year massage to relieve the general stress of Christmas!

Personalised vouchers available:

give the gift of massage!

 

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Beat the winter blues

Well, after a glorious summer and an unexpectedly mild autumn, the temperatures are starting to plummet, leaves are falling and it seems winter has finally arrived.

Besides affecting our ability to spend time outside – raking leaves and the anticipation of clearing driveways and pavements of snow and ice don’t count -weather can have a real impact on our health and well-being.

A temptation to hibernate

sweep-221399_640If you’re anything like me, the cold days and dark nights of winter make you want to “hibernate”: I actually feel “under the weather”. But, being inactive can take a toll on your fitness, your weight and your mood. Stay active with indoor options such as exercise classes, walking at the shopping centre to do your Christmas gift buying, or home fitness videos.

Even if you are going into a warm gym or maintaining your regular sports and other activities, remember your muscles are likely to take longer to warm up; be kind to them, they have a lot of work to do. Massage helps to keep your muscles in good shape, allowing you to continue with your activities without causing damage.

Saying that, do try to get some exposure to sunlight. Even if you don’t suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), you may find your mood is affected by lack of light, so take time to go outside at lunchtime if you’re office-based, and just make the most of whatever sunlight is around during the short days.

Pre-existing Conditions

If you sufferer from Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, or have any joint injury you are going to feel it in the cold weather more. These conditions are unfortunately more susceptible to and can be exacerbated by the cold as changes in temperature and outside pressure often increase joint stiffness.

As arthritis causes swollen joints, the soft tissue expands around the joints causing more pressure and pain. In fact, sufferers of arthritis do say that they can predict what the weather’s going to be, based on how painful their joints are. Regular massage can help immensely in the relief of pain. This is a time of year when, especially if you suffer from a joint condition, you need to keep more active and to keep warm to avoid resistance to movement by the joints, so massage will enable you to do this.

Be kind to yourself

Here are a few more ways that Massage can help you through the winter:

  • Massage therapy can boost your immune system. Studies show that regular massage therapy can boost the body’s resistance to bugs, making it easier to fight off the many communicable diseases that float around in the winter months.
  • With shorter, drearier days, winter can leave you feeling tired and worn out. A good massage can be relaxing as well as uplifting.
  • With Winter comes dry air, and with dry air comes dry skin.  Massage therapy can stabilise the collagen in your skin and also helps maintain your skin’s elasticity.  The oils help to moisturise your skin.

So, whether you want to relieve the stress of the upcoming Christmas period, keep yourself active despite the dark days, or soothe the discomfort caused by arthritis, massage therapy is a great way to beat the winter blues.

Gift Vouchers - Dorset Massage Therapy VerwoodAnd if you want to give a friend or loved-one something to look forward to after the frenzy of Christmas has passed, don’t forget we have special personalised vouchers available:

give the gift of massage!

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