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Twinges, stiffness, niggles and gripes.

Don’t let them slow you down!

We all have times when we wake up and feel the odd twinge in our back or niggle in our knee. It’s easy to dismiss these aches and pains as a part of the aging process but while the frequency of these incidents goes up with age, it doesn’t mean that getting older means you need to live with everyday discomfort.

Golf - Dorset Massage TherapyYes, none of us may be as flexible or agile as we used to be, but I’m a firm believer that we can still enjoy an active way of life, unhampered by pain and stiffness. Massage therapy can be a very effective muscle relaxant and stress reducer. It helps to add tone and strength to muscles which helps prevent injury, allowing you to get on with your daily activities.

Moreover, it can be great in managing the effects of aging such as arthritis and a host of other physical ailments.  It:

  • Helps in managing arthritic pain and promotes natural joint lubrication, which is extremely important for arthritis sufferers
  • Facilitates relaxation and communication in Alzheimer’s patients
  • Increases range of motion
  • Helps to increase strength and muscle coordination
  • Boosts natural energy levels and mental awareness
  • Improves posture by reducing muscle tension.
  • Assists with a higher quality of rest, and aids deeper, longer sleep which can have a significant effect on general health and wellbeing

Spotlight on: Arthritis

Massage therapy can help relieve the symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis. The assortment of techniques used can help stimulate circulation, ease pain and inflammation and help improve flexibility and provide a general feeling of wellbeing.

Spotlight on: Oedema

Fluid retention can be quite uncomfortable; by applying gentle, specific pressure on the affected area, blood flow and the lymphatic system are stimulated to help the excessive fluid drain away naturally.

Pain is often managed with medication, but massage can go a long way to relieving painful symptoms. Whether you have a diagnosed condition or you just want to stay active – whether on the golf course, going out dancing, gardening or walking the dog – massage helps to keep you moving.

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Massage through the ages

No, I’m not talking about the History of Massage here, rather how different age groups benefit differently from the process. There are particular considerations that can be taken into account across the generations.


Foot-Massage-225x300Children suffering from anxiety-based conditions have responded positively to massage and its soothing nature; it can be an important part of a child’s development. It helps with their relaxation and has been found to improve behaviour in hyperactive and even autistic children, encouraging improved social involvement and attention spans.

In some cases it has been effective for children suffering from diabetes, asthma, and other skin or arthritic problems. It is felt that the reduction in stress of children boosts the immune system and its ability to resist diseases.


The sense of wellbeing that massage creates helps with relaxation and can help with sleep problems. It can offer a break from the stresses of day to day life and rebalance the body after a week of sitting with poor posture behind a desk or at a steering wheel (see our previous blog: Good posture; the importance of alignment).

For those more active among you, the benefits can be more physiological than psychological (see our previous blog: Summer of Sport). It helps to improve muscle quality, allowing for greater freedom of movement and reducing the risk of injury allowing you to sustain performance for longer.

Massage can positively affect different systems in your body – from the skeletal and nervous systems, through to circulation and muscles. Even the respiratory and digestive systems can benefit.

The golden years

General wear and tear is a common result of the aging process, but it doesn’t mean that you have to slow down completely. Ability levels may change over time, but you can still reap the rewards of an active lifestyle.

While a massage can be a relaxing treat for you, it can also provide relief from arthritis and chronic pain. Aches and pains may be becoming more frequent and joint stiffness may be holding you back. Effective but gentle massage helps to mobilise tendons and joints, improving your range of motion and help you to get back to your independent day to day life.

It can also help you enjoy your activities more – from golf to walking to dance classes – whatever you enjoy doing, you’ll find that massage helps keeps your muscles in good shape and encourages improved flexibility.

More specifically, massage can relieve the symptoms of oedema (fluid retention) as, by applying gentle, specific pressure on the affected skin and muscles, the lymphatic system is stimulated to help the excessive fluid drain away naturally.

All in all, massage has a great impact on both body and mind,

whatever your age.

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Drink up! The importance of hydration

Glass of waterAnd no, I’m afraid tea and coffee don’t count! Hydration is fundamental to our wellbeing and sits at the heart of our body’s basic functions, from keeping your heart healthy, to proper brain function, to digestion. We’re focusing on muscles here, but you can see how important hydration is to other areas by going to this web page.

Our muscles are made up of up to 75% water, and the brain 79%. It’s needed to keep our bodies working properly, helping with the lubrication of joints and transferring nutrients to the muscles; water is where energy reactions take place. It is essential for health, growth and development.

Are you drinking enough?

If you experience any of these symptoms, the chances are you’re not:

  • Even minor dehydration can leave you feeling tired.
  • Muscle strength is weakened
  • Muscle control is reduced
  • Loss of skin tone
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tightness of muscles

If you’re properly hydrated, you’ll enjoy more benefit from your massage; muscle fibres separate, are fuller from hydration, making it easier for them to be manipulated and allowing them to perform to their best ability. It’s also important to drink water after a massage. Massage releases a lot of toxins which need to be flushed out of the body; water helps your kidneys and other organs process these substances. Water is being used by the body all the time, even when we’re asleep.

There are differing opinions on the amount of water we should be aiming to drink every day; it ranges from 1.6 litres to 2 litres. It will be different for all of us, depending on our body size, whether we’re male or female, and how active we are. Here in the UK we need less than in hotter climates to replenish normal water loss and avoid dehydration. Start your day with a glass of water to replenish your body after sleep; it will boost your metabolism.

Drink more water and you’ll both feel and see the difference in your body’s health. Cheers!

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Get on your bike.

We are so fortunate to live in a country which, while comparatively small, offers such a wide variety of landscapes. The recent Grand Depart of the Tour de France highlighted the beautiful scenery of Yorkshire and reminds us here in spectacular Dorset of the opportunities to enjoy the Great Outdoors.

CyclingSo, even if you’re not aiming for the yellow jersey, getting on your bike is a great way to clear the cobwebs and get a different perspective of our county. If you don’t have a bike, why not hire one? If you don’t want to ride alone, join a group! (See below for local contacts).

But what can you do to make sure you make the most of your time in the saddle? Cycling demands a lot from your body and involves working a whole variety of muscles which you may not usually use to a great extent in everyday life. Massage is beneficial in helping to prevent injury, improve your performance and recover faster.

Before you embark on your next Tour de New Forest, don’t forget to warm your muscles up. This will improve circulation to tendons and ligaments, allowing your muscles to move more freely and help prevent damage and ultimate soreness after the ride.

On the whole, it’s your quads which will bear the brunt of your effort, especially if you tackle any hills, but your back, knees and shoulders, not to mention your neck and glutes are likely to feel the effect of cycling. Regular massage helps to keep your body prepared for the extra stresses placed on it.

After your ride, massage helps to avoid prolonged recovery time by allowing fluids and toxins to drain freely from between muscle fibres, letting blood flow and so bringing in oxygen and nutrients. It pushes out the muscle’s carbon dioxide-rich blood to the lungs and heart which is then filtered to come out as oxygen-rich blood that goes back into the muscles that need it the most.

If you do find you have an injury, massage can help reduce swelling and break down non-flexible scar tissue because it releases trigger points, those tiny knots that form in muscles and reduce strength and range of motion. By carefully focusing on a particular muscle, massage stretches it, releasing the trigger points that are impairing performance. Ironically, massage delivers a more precise effective stretch than traditional stretching.

Massage relieves sore muscles, speeds recovery, prevents injury, and helps you feel better fast. Few activities demand more from your body than cycling, and few athletes benefit more from massage than cyclists. So, dust of your bike, plan your route (see below) and don’t forget to drink a lot of water while you enjoy this glorious weather!

Here are some local companies which will help you get out and about and explore Dorset on two wheels:

Cycle Groups:

New Forest Women on Wheels

Bournemouth Arrow Cycling Club

Indoor Cycling @ The Hub

Cycle Hire:

Forest Leisure Cycling

Cycle Repairs:

Mobile Cycle Repairs

Cycle Shop:

The Forge Cycleworks

Cycle Routes:


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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! And with the weather 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?

Football bootsIf 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:


The football season is a long one, and even if you’re not on the pitch in Rio, 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


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


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.

Local inspiration: Verwood Community Tennis Club

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


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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