exercise

Remedial Massage Therapy – Not just your regular massage!

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I am not sure about you, but for a very long time the only massage that I was aware of was relaxation massage.  I knew that remedial massage could help with tension, stress and backaches, but I had no idea that there was so much more to it than that.

Generally massage practice in Australia is divided into two levels based on the level of qualification – Relaxation/Swedish massage therapy and Remedial massage.   Massage falls under the “Complementary and Alternative Medicine” (CAM) umbrella, and so is a great therapy to complement other therapies including your regular primary care from a GP or other health professional.

The role of a Remedial Massage Therapist (RMT) is to assess and treat musculoskeletal and other system disorders. (1)  So it’s not (always) just a case of show up, hop on the table, treat and off you go.   There are various assessments and techniques that are available to provide a holistic treatment in order to get you well and more importantly KEEP you well.

Below I’ll discuss what to expect during your remedial massage treatment, what techniques are offered as part of your treatment plan, and what you may expect with regards to long term prevention strategies.

First things first….
If it is your first time coming for a remedial massage treatment or you are coming in because of a new injury or problem, then I’d strongly recommend booking in a 90 minute appointment instead of a 60 minute appointment.  The reason for this is because in order to come up with a suitable treatment plan both for that day and long term, I may need to do some musculoskeletal assessments or screening processes in order to determine what is causing the problem and how to provide the best treatment for you.  Sometimes we will re-assess during the treatment to determine the outcome of some of the techniques, however in most cases they’ll be done again after the treatment to compare pre and post treatment range of motion and/or pain levels.

I’ll also take a thorough case history to get a general idea of your level of health, the history of the complaint and any other relevant health history details.  Depending on the problem that you are presenting with, this can take anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes.  If you’re just after a relaxation massage, the health history interview will be brief – however the treatment will only consist of relaxation massage which is of course beneficial for stress and tension reduction but may not specifically address your health concern.

A remedial massage treatment may consist of a combination of techniques including relaxation massage, deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, stretches, myofascial release and kinesiology taping.

Deep Tissue & Trigger Point Therapy
Deep tissue massage consists of strokes similar to relaxation or Swedish massage, however they are deeper, firmer, and can feel more intense depending on the area being treated.   Deep tissue massage is intended to reduce pain, lengthen and stretch muscle fibers, improve lymph and blood flow, separate adhesions and deactivate trigger points.  Trigger point therapy will generally be incorporated at the same time as deep tissue techniques, as usually the trigger points are found during the massage.  A trigger point is a localized area of hyperirritability within a muscle that can be extremely tender when touched or compressed.  In some cases, you may not know you have any until the massage, but in other cases they can be what’s causing your pain.  Trigger points usually have a “referral pattern” of pain, that feels like a dull ache or a pain that you can’t quite work out how to describe or know where its coming from.  Once trigger points are deactivated, pain can be reduced or eliminated completely. (1) When working on a trigger point I’ll ask you to let me know what level the pain is (on a scale of 1-10) to determine how much pressure is used.

Myofascial Release (MFR)
Myofascial release works within remedial massage to reduce adhesions and restrictions in the connective tissue throughout the body.   The fascia within the body connects everything together – and is spread throughout the body as a single structure.  If you can imagine a knitted jumper – if you were to pull on one sleeve it can affect the whole jumper.  The analogy relates to the human body in that if there is a restriction or adhesion within the fascia in one area of the body it can potentially affect other areas.  This can contribute to pain and postural problems.  The techniques used in MFR are aimed at lengthening the fascia, improving fluid flow in the areas, increasing range of motion, and reducing adhesions.  They are slower than deep tissue and trigger point therapy, and the pressure can vary between light and firm/deep.  In some clients, MFR can cause an emotional release either during the treatment or after treatment. (1)

Stretching & Taping
Stretches may also be incorporated as part of your remedial massage treatment in order to lengthen the muscles and improve range of motion.  Stretches may be passive, or may include your participation via your resistance to further improve range of motion to specific muscles.

Rocktape application may be recommended to further enhance the treatment, provide relief or improve posture in the days following the treatment.  Rocktape is a hypoallergenic and water resistant brand of kinesiology tape that is used toprovide functional support to the body during and post exercise, decrease pain, swelling and bruising and improve posture. (2)

Post Treatment
Post treatment you may be prescribed stretches or strengthening exercises to address the issues that are causing your pain or discomfort.  Stretches will be prescribed to further lengthen tight muscles, and strengthening exercises will be prescribed to improve weak muscles.  These two issues together are a big contributing factor to pain and injury.  The exercises prescribed will accommodate your level of fitness and exercise knowledge – both gym exercises and home exercise can be recommended.

So as you can see, remedial massage is more than “just massage”!  If you’re ready to book in your treatment then call 9293 2999 or visit the “Book Online Now” button below to make your appointment.

 

 

References:
1.         Grace S, Deal M. Textbook of Remedial Massage: Elsevier Australia; 2012.

2.         Rocktape n.d. [Available from: https://rocktape.com.au/.

 

Online & At Home Exercise Tips

Exercise is important.  We all know it.  We all hear it.  Sometimes we ignore it.  But it's a truth that you can't escape.  The health benefits of exercise are numerous, from reducing stress and anxiety, improving low mood, improving immune function and reducing many cardiovascular and hormonal imbalances (think type 2 diabetes and heart disease).

But what about those of us who honestly lead very busy lives, juggling work, family/kids, study, or even all of the above?  A gym membership is amazing if you can get there to make it worth the dollars spent.

I have been a regular gym goer for many years, and during my last pregnancy we moved house and the first thing I did was sign up for a (2 year) gym membership at a local gym.  Which was lovely, and the staff there were amazing.  Unfortunately I did not anticipate how busy my life would get, and I think I managed to make it there less than 30 times.  In two years.  You do the math on dollars wasted on that one.  While well intentioned, I just couldn't get there around my work/study timetable plus within the hours the creche were open.

So instead I started finding different options for exercising at home, around my schedule.  The kind of thing where I could go "Oh!  Baby is in the high chair eating his dinner and I have 30 mins until he starts having a hissy fit, and I have to do some administrative work and fit in some study this evening so the time to exercise is RIGHT NOW." and drop everything and just get it done.  Other days I'd set my alarm 30 mins before my normal get up time to squeeze it in before I start my day.

It is helpful if you have a way to stream the internet onto your TV.  We have a Chromecast which has turned out to be a great investment - it allows you to stream YouTube or other media sites from your computer or phone directly onto the TV.  They're inexpensive too so worth looking into if this is something you'd like to do.  

Of course it is important to check with your doctor before embarking on any new exercise regime if you have any underlying health issues or have not exercised for a while.

So - here are some suggestions!

 

YouTube - Sarah Beth Yoga
https://www.youtube.com/user/SarahBethShow

This was one of the first video channels I started using to ease back into exercise.  It categorises the yoga workouts based on length of time and style, making it easy to choose a video that suits your level and the time you have available to do your exercise.   Yoga is well known for its many health benefits, and is especially worth incorporating into your routine if you suffer from stress, anxiety, low mood, or tight muscles.

Cost: FREE, with paid options available.

 

Yoga With Kassandra
https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithkassandra

 

I came across this channel while looking for other Yoga options when I wanted to stretch out my hips, and found it to be amazing - there are SO many videos of various lengths and styles that you won't have a problem finding a variety of videos that suit you.

Cost: FREE, with paid options available.

 

Fitness Blender
https://www.youtube.com/user/FitnessBlender

Fitness Blender have soooo many videos, so there is plenty of variety.  They have heaps of workouts and many of them require no extra equipment, so if you don't have any weights or other fitness equipment you can still get an awesome body weight workout.  To me this is a great bonus as it means not only lower cost but also you can just chuck the video on and go with no set up required.  It also has low impact and advanced options for many of the routines as well as varying time lengths.

Cost: FREE

 

Sweat With Kalya
https://www.kaylaitsines.com

Sweat with Kayla is an app that you install on your phone.  It has a few different styles of workout aimed at building strength, losing weight, toning and exercising post pregnancy.  If I am to be completely honest, I found the app a little confusing, and it took some effort to find out whether equipment is needed (it is, for quite a few of the workouts).  As an all in one workout program that includes meal ideas and progress tracking it's good - and you can subscribe for 7 days for free to see if it is suitable for you.  I have kept it here as there are a lot of great reviews for it and being an app means you can exercise anywhere - but the routines and exercises didn't really grab or motivate me.  As a guided program and all in one app that you work through and track your fitness goals however it's a great option.

Cost: $19.95/month (cancel any time) with a 7 day free trial.

 

TIFFXO
http://tiffxo.com/

*** MY PICK OF THE BUNCH ***

TIFFXO is a subscription program which includes workouts (fitness AND relaxation), meal plans and progress tracking.  What I like about this one as it spells out every day what to do and what meals to make (if that's something that you find helpful) as well as other tips along the way.  The workouts are 20 minutes each day and what's awesome is that because they are a martial arts style - you don't need any equipment OR shoes.  So you can literally get up out of bed, chuck on some pants and a top (or as I have been known to do, stay in pjs!) go to your lounge, and get it done.  You can also choose to do the extra 10 minutes to make it a 30 minute workout.  Also, the FB community is amazingly supportive!

Cost:  Varies, with subscriptions available monthly, 3 monthly, or yearly - cancel any time.

 

Les Mills On Demand
https://www.lesmills.com/ondemand/

It’s finally here in Australia! Les Mills ON DEMAND allows you to workout in the comfort of your own home. So many people who have joined gyms with group fitness classes would be familiar with this, and it’s a great way to get going without having to get a gym membership, and it is SUPER affordable.

Cost: $24.99/month


So there you have it - hopefully there is something in here to spark a bit of motivation to get moving, I'd love to hear how you go with it!