I saw this 45 second clip on YouTube today, and thought this is an extremely relevant demo considering all the COVID-19 hype happening in the world right now.
Do you know how to wash your hands? This is the clinical method used in hospitals and health centres everywhere, and this video is such a great way to show exactly why its such a useful sequence of handwashing techniques.
Imagine the black paint is the soap, and see how this method makes sure you are cleaning every surface of your hands and fingers.
Before becoming a healthcare practitioner, I had never been taught to wash my hands like this before!
Shout out to David Gravelle on YouTube for this video.
This is a decision we have not made lightly.
We have decided to close temporarily from Monday March 23rd, as Premier Dan Andrews has introduced Stage 1 Restrictions as part of the Victorian State of Emergency to manage Covid-19.
As the multiple massage and myotherapy associations debate whether we are considered "essential" services, as a clinic here at Simple Wellness Myotherapy we have had some difficult discussions about our ethical position in regards to our response to the virus that is effecting people worldwide.
Both Emily and I considered carefully the patients we've seen since the beginning of 2020, and we made a list of high risk categories. We found that more than 75% of our patients fit one or more of these risk groups.
People who are personally at risk, including our patients with: Multiple Sclerosis who take immunosuppression medication; weakened immune systems and other autoimmune diseases; more than one chronic condition; elderly themselves or living with elderly family members; family and household members with immune diseases; pregnant.
People who are essential workers, including: nurses; Emergency Department staff; allied health practitioners; teachers; childcare workers; supermarket or distribution workers.
People with a high risk of coming in contact with infection, including: people who travel on public transport; travel interstate or internationally for work.
We had already increased our hygiene efforts between March 16, when Premier Andrews initially declared the State of Emergency, up until now. We had increased the time between appointments to allow more time to sanitise surfaces and tools, and to reduce the number of people in our waiting area. Dr Dib and the Together Medical Family Practice had also decreased their number of appointments, spaced out their waiting room chairs, and started taking phone consultations for anyone displaying any kind of respiratory symptoms.
Over this last week, we received many calls and messages from patients to cancel their appointments due to Covid-19 and the instructions from the Premier that if you can stay home, to do so.
We weighed up our options. We considered the nature of our treatments - we work hands on, on your body, usually for at least 50 minutes at a time, sometimes longer. It would only take one ill person visiting our clinic to put us and our patients at risk.
So with sadness, we made that decision to temporarily close so that we can stay at home, and encourage you to stay at home, too.
We understand that by closing for now, this may impact your treatment plan.
As best as we can, we will support you online, on the phone or through your exercise programs we've created for you using your PhysiTrack account. Any patients with current treatment plans who need support or help can email me at Mel@simplewellness.com.au
Here's hoping that the more people who stay at home means the quicker we all get back to a more normal looking life!
Do you know what sets off your pain into a flare up? We call these triggers, and they can be different for everyone.
Knowing your triggers can be particularly helpful if you have a pain condition that has a flare/settle cycle, because it can help you avoid triggering things or situations, or help you prepare for an oncoming flare.
We often see people who don’t know what their triggers are. This can be a pretty scary situation for them, because their pain seems random and uncontrollable, but for most people there are at least some consistent triggers for their pain and with a little investigation we can usually pin down some of the big ones.
Some of the most common triggers include:
Stress – Of course! Stress and demands pulling in every direction is bad enough when you don’t have pain, but this is one of the really big triggers for setting off bad pain flares.
Over doing it – Pushing yourself too hard is probably one of the most common triggers for an increase in pain. This can look like lifting something heavier than you’re capable of, walking further than you normally can, rushing around doing more errands than usual. The trap is usually that you have a day where you actually feel pretty good and capable, so you do as much as you can while you're feeling good and then - bam! On comes the flare from over doing it!
Change in air pressure – Theres not a lot of great research on this, but I can tell you from clinical experience there are a huge number of people who get pain flares when the weather changes, particularly if a storm is about to roll in. Headaches, migraines, joint pain, nausea, nerve pain – these can all flare if the air pressure changes suddenly. Sometimes people affected by this trigger can tell its going to rain hours before it starts because they start to feel those symptoms.
Temperature – Sudden changes of temperature can also flare up some pains. This usually happens in the peak of summer or winter, especially if you go from a cool air conditioned space into the Melbourne heat wave, or getting out of your warm car into the cold air of a single digit day.
Medication – Changes to medication or forgetting to take medication can set off a pain flare up. If its from changes to medication, make sure that you note it down and let your GP know when you see them next.
Sleep – Usually it’s a lack of sleep that causes the pain to increase. Sleep deprivation can lead to feeling run down, slowed thought processes, memory issues, low mood, and can increase sensitivity to pain. I recently wrote a blog with some general tips for aiding your sleep cycle, which you can read here.
Illness and infection – Picking up a cold or virus that’s going around can certainly flare up existing pain conditions. Your body uses a lot of extra resources when it needs to fight off illness or infection, so this can be particularly involved for people who already have weakened immune systems.
Certain movements – Sometimes your pain can be increased by specific movements, like shoulder pain that hurts more if you reach overhead. As Myotherapists, we can help you identify the specific movements that are responsible, and create a treatment plan that addresses those areas so we can get you moving better and with less pain.
Food – Food allergies or sensitivities are very common, and some of these can trigger pain and inflammation. Common ones can be things like gluten, sugar, and processed foods. A Nutritionist like our friend Samantha Gemmell can help you identify foods that may be causing you to have flare ups and help you plan some alternatives.
Chemicals – Sensitivity to chemicals can also increase pain. Consider the types of dish liquid, washing powder and cleaning chemicals you use at home. If you consistently get flare ups after using these, it may be time to try alternative products and see if it makes a difference.
Body products – Similar to chemicals for cleaning your house, the products you use on your body can also trigger pain in some people. This can include body wash, hair care, skin care and make up, deodorants and dental products.
These are just some of the common things that we see. We always recommend that you keep a good eye out and become a little investigator into your own triggers. Sometimes a trigger or symptom journal can help in identifying the things that are setting you off. If you want to do this, we suggest you start by taking note each time you experience a flare up and jot down anything you have done, eaten, interacted with around the time of the flare up. This will help you start to notice patterns that your pain follows.
Some things will be easier to avoid than others – for example, not eating gluten will be much easier to do than not being exposed to air pressure. But for things like weather that are out of your control, you can make a mitigation plan by checking the Bureau of Meteorology and planning to be somewhere comfortable and safe if a major storm is predicted.
We can also help you identify some of these triggers and help you make plans for your triggers. Talk to us about this at your next appointment so that we can support you.
Have you ever found that gentle movement such as yoga helped to alleviate your symptoms, but you struggle to go to a regular class?
Here at Simple Wellness Myotherapy, we know how good moving your body can be - for your muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments, as well as your nervous system and your mind! But we also know that it can be tough to get to a class when you're feeling sore or brain-foggy.
That's why we sat down with Erica Webb, a Yoga, Mat Pilates and Somatic Exercise Coach for a chat. If you're looking to incorporate movement in the comfort of your own home, her Mindful Movement Virtual Studio might be for you.
Hi Erica! Thanks for joining us.
Could you start off by telling us a little about yourself and the Mindful Movement Virtual Studio?
Thanks guys! I’m a Yoga, Mat Pilates and Somatic Exercise Coach based in Melbourne, Australia.
As well as a mindful movement coach, I am a mother to two young boys and a writer and illustrator. At my core I'm curious, kind, committed and just the right amount of quirky!
I truly believe that movement is powerful. Mindful movement is more powerful still. That’s why I created The Mindful Movement Virtual Studio.
The Mindful Movement Virtual Studio is an online Yoga, Pilates and Somatic Exercise Studio. It allows you to do your movement practice from anywhere, anytime.
But it’s more than just a library of classes. It’s also a space where you’re supported! We talk about mindset, forming habits and other practical elements that make a home practice do-able and sustainable.
As part of the Studio, we also offer live masterclasses, weekly Q&As and more.
Who is this Virtual Studio for?
People who want to feel better in their own bodies! Many of my clients are busy women who want to feel better and know they need to commit to look after themselves and take responsibility.
It’s also for people who simply don’t get the chance to go to a local yoga class. It might be that you’re juggling around kids, or that you have pain or a condition that makes it difficult for you to make a regular class.
Is there anyone who wouldn’t benefit from this service?
I can really only think of two:
Does someone need to have experience with yoga to benefit from the Virtual Studio?
Not at all! Many people who join are brand-new to yoga. But for those who do know their yoga, it’s beneficial because we use a lot of techniques and poses that aren’t commonly used in the average yoga class.
Do we need to commit a lot of time to see the benefits?
No! Most of the classes are 30 minutes or less. There are some that are only 5 minutes, and some go up to an hour. So it’s more about committing little chunks of time on a regular basis, rather than committing to a dozen hours every single week.
Do we need to be skinny, super fit, bendy or decked out in the latest activewear to do these classes?
Firstly: you can rock up in your PJs if you want to!
Secondly, these classes are designed to be inclusive – you can be whatever size, fitness level and flexibility level and still reap the benefits.
Do we need fancy equipment?
A few of the classes incorporate props, but there are always at-home alternatives you can use. Many people use pillows and blankets as their props! However, you can always filter the classes to find a prop-free video if you need.
Are the classes appropriate for people who have pain or ongoing injuries?
If you have a condition or injury that might impact your ability to engage in physical activity, I always recommend getting clearance from your health professional first.
With that in mind, the majority of classes are gentle and have variations to suit almost any issue. For example, some of the classes can be done while seated.
Some of the more advanced classes may not suit for some types of injury or pain that affect the function of your muscles. If you’re unsure, you’re welcome to contact me directly about a specific class and whether it’s right for you.
What if we need a little extra support with anything?
I’m here to help! I make sure that I’m available for people to ask questions. Feel free to reach out if you need anything.
Ok, you’ve got us: how do we sign up?
If you’re ready to prioritise YOU, make time to move well and feel well, head to this link to join! The doors are open until Sunday 15th March.
If you have joint pain, chances are that hydrotherapy is going to be a huge help to you.
A hydrotherapy pool is a warm water pool for doing exercises. Its quite different from swimming laps, although a lot of people find that swimming can be helpful too, if its not painful to do it. Can’t swim? It doesn’t matter, a hydrotherapy pool is usually quite shallow, it usually doesn’t have a “deep end” where you can’t touch the bottom.
Our local hydrotherapy pool is at Knox Leisureworks in Boronia. The centre has a lot to offer, actually. There is the hydrotherapy pool, as well as a kids pool, a regular lap pool, a spa and sauna, and an onsite gym.
So why is Hydrotherapy such a great option?
Buoyancy – Being in the water takes the pressure off the joint due to the water supporting your body weight. This makes it a great option for weight bearing joints like hips, knees and ankles, especially following injuries or surgeries like hip and knee replacements or fractured bones.
Warmth – Heated hydrotherapy pools allow muscles to stay warm and relaxed while exercising. Typically a hydrotherapy pool is heated to about 33*, warmer than a normal swimming pool.
Low Impact – Unlike running, doing exercises in water is friendly on vulnerable joints. The water doesn’t allow you to move as fast as in air, so the force of impact is less than running or jogging on a hard surface.
Resistance – The water provides great resistance for strengthening the body, without feeling painful. It can be tiring afterwards due to the resistance of the water, though, so starting with short sessions is best.
Low Cost – Knox Leisureworks has a great hydrotherapy pool. You can access the hydro pool with your standard pool entry fee of around $8, or if you plan to go frequently they have multi visit passes or memberships.
What kinds of pains or conditions does it work well for?
Hydrotherapy is fantastic for helping with pain in big joints and weight bearing joints, like hips, knees and ankles. Lower back pain can respond very well to hydrotherapy because of the way the water helps take pressure off the spine and support the weight of the body while you move. It can also be great for things like arthritis, and rehabilitation after a fracture or surgical repair.
It can be great for general fitness, too!
How do you get started?
Initially just walking through the water can be really helpful. You can also include day to day movements like bending and straightening your knee or hip while standing with you back against the pool wall for support. You can use a floating board or pool noodle to hold onto and do gentle squats or lunges.
If you’re uncertain, talk to us about specific pool exercises at your next appointment and we can help create a program tailored for you.
Mel is a Myotherapist based in Ferntree Gully.