By Duke Autret, Myotherapist
Exercise has long been touted as a means of promoting physical health, but recent scientific findings suggest that it may also be one of the most effective therapies for mental health. For those of us who are frequently trapped in our chairs, offices, home office, cars, and then the ‘comfy’ chair in front of the tele, these recent findings will validate what we’ve known we need to do!
A new research paper published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has provided compelling evidence for the benefits of exercise therapy for treating depression and anxiety, suggesting that it may be more effective than other commonly used interventions such as medication and psychotherapy.
The study, which analysed data from over 1,000 individuals with depression and anxiety, found that exercise therapy was associated with significantly greater reductions in symptoms than other interventions, such as antidepressant medications and psychotherapy. Participants who engaged in regular exercise showed a 26% reduction in symptoms of depression and a 20% reduction in symptoms of anxiety, compared to those who received medication or psychotherapy alone.
But why is exercise therapy so effective for treating depression and anxiety?
Studies have shown that exercise promotes the release of endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters that help to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. In addition, exercise can help to reduce inflammation in the body, which has been linked to depression and other mental health conditions.
Exercise also promotes the growth of new brain cells and improves connectivity between brain regions. Additionally, exercise can help individuals to develop a greater sense of control over their bodies and their lives, which can be empowering and boost self-esteem.
A little for a lot
And according to a recent article in ScienceAlert, another large-scale study of nearly 50,000 people showed that exercise is the most effective treatment for depression, with a 43% reduction in symptoms compared to other treatments such as medication and therapy.
Exercise also has the added benefit of being a low-cost, low-risk intervention that can be easily integrated into most people's lives. Even small amounts of exercise, such as a 10-minute walk or a few minutes of stretching, have been shown to have benefits for mental health. And for those who are able to engage in more vigorous exercise, such as running or weightlifting, the benefits may be even greater.
What does this all mean?
Of course, exercise therapy should not be seen as a replacement for other treatments for mental health conditions, such as medication and therapy. However, it may be a valuable addition to a comprehensive treatment plan, and one that has the potential to improve outcomes for many individuals struggling with depression and anxiety.
And the evidence is clear - exercise therapy is an effective and powerful intervention for promoting mental health. If you're struggling with depression or anxiety, consider incorporating regular exercise into your routine. Not only can it help to alleviate symptoms, but it may also improve your overall sense of well-being and quality of life.
While the ideal amount of exercise is still a matter of debate, the authors suggest that individuals should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, such as brisk walking or cycling, in order to achieve the maximum mental health benefits.
Working with people recovering from pain and injury, we know that even small amounts of physical activity can have significant benefits for mental health. So why not take a walk, go for a bike ride, or hit the beach, pool, or gym today? Your mental health will thank you!
By Jacqui Mulholland
You may have heard of the term “holistic” sometimes spelled “wholistic” when referring to certain health modalities and practices. Here we will explore what holistic means and how it applies in a remedial massage context, and why I choose to approach my treatments in this way.
What Does Holistic Mean?
Holistic means that the patient is treated as a whole person, taking into account physical, mental, emotional, societal & even spiritual aspects. Seeing all these aspects of a person all playing a function in disease, symptoms and the quality of the human experience. Believing that all of these parts are interconnected and interdependent and make up the whole of you.
How Does it Apply to Remedial Massage?
Viewing a person holistically in a massage treatment provides a wider lens from which to view and address the pain or symptoms. Whilst working to provide practical relief and improved function within the physical body, the therapist is aware of the potential to impact multiple layers of a person's well-being and health. The practitioner works within the scope of a remedial therapist in line with their training and experience with an understanding and appreciation of the complex human experience and the correlation of all of the aspects that relate to mind-body health.
This does not mean that we have the ability to diagnose or recognise illness, or mental health conditions nor the ability to treat specifically to those issues. However we are aware of the impact that our regular treatments can have on these aspects of your health, and how our treatments can provide continued support to you and complement other treatments you may need.
Often the holistic massage therapist will have an interest and possibly some training in supporting natural healing modalities that give them further understanding and experience of a broader range of possible impacts to your whole health. Eastern medicine and ancient philosophies and practices can provide some further support and insight into your health.
Whilst your therapist may be aware and trained in these alternative modalities, they often require a separate treatment or referral to another practitioner. While the focus is on providing a remedial massage treatment with your massage therapist, we may also be able to recommend another form of therapy or practice that we believe may be beneficial for you.
These may include modalities such as meditation, yoga, pilates, nutrition, naturopathy, chinese medicine, acupuncture, reiki, psychotherapy, holistic counselling and so many more! Often a combination of therapies can help give you a greater understanding of what works for you and how you would like to support your holistic health and wellbeing. These options are particularly helpful if you are curious about approaching your health from a more holistic perspective.
If you are interested or believe the holistic approach to your health might benefit you, You could start by asking yourself some of these questions:
How is my physical health?
How is my mental/emotional health?
How is my spiritual health?
How is my gut health?
How is the quality of my sleep?
Am I present? Or am I mostly focused on thoughts of the future or the past?
How are my intimate relationships?
How is my libido?
How are my energy levels?
Am I moving my body enough?
Do I make time to rest?
Am I too harsh or critical of myself?
Do I tend to put others' needs before my own?
Am I struggling to keep up with the endless and ever-growing to-do-list?
Do I feel constantly drained, depleted, lacking energy and vitality?
Am I feeling disconnected and detached from people, work or relationships?
Do I feel burnt out?
Have I lost faith in the decency, kindness or humanity of others?
I could go on and on! As you can see, there are varied and complex feelings and influences on our whole-being health. This human experience can be challenging and confusing at times. Knowing that you have more choices than you think to support yourself is empowering!
Which is why opening up your awareness and exploring some holistic modalities can support you in a variety of ways. Start with something you might feel more comfortable with and go from there.
If massage is your thing, I would love to be able to meet you and support you on your holistic health journey. Sometimes initially it can help to ask questions and get some recommendations so you can feel more confident about which path to choose.
Book a holistic remedial massage with me and let's discover what works for you to achieve your holistic health goals.
When we make New Years Resolutions, we usually focus on what we want. We want to be fitter, thinner, better organised and able to give up bad habits. But have you ever wondered what resolutions your body might like you to make?
Our head myotherapist and resident body-whisperer Mel has 5 resolutions that your body is begging you to make this year.
Move more throughout the day
Our bodies were not designed to sit at desks for hours every day. They were designed to move constantly in a variety of different ways.
Unfortunately, most of us can’t change jobs just to suit the body’s preferences! But you can find little ways to move more frequently throughout your day.
For example, you could:
When you get up and change position regularly, your body will thank you. Regular movement can also reduce the risk of injury and pain that can occur when you’re physically inactive.
Stretch out regularly
Another important way that your body loves to move is with a good stretch! But when we sit for hours at a time, our muscles can tighten up and leave us feeling sore.
So whether it’s at work, at home or even at the gym, find a way to incorporate a regular stretch. Make sure that you stretch until you can feel the muscle stretching out. But don’t go too far – pushing a stretch too deep too quick can lead to injury.
If you do feel any sharp pain while stretching, you might have just stretched too far. But you might have an underlying injury that needs to be checked by your myotherapist.
Focus on good quality sleep
Our bodies do their best healing work as we sleep every night. So if you’re not getting enough deep and restful sleep, your body can’t maintain itself properly.
A good rest isn’t just about how many hours you sleep. It’s also important to get quality rest, so your body can go into healing mode.
Sleep is particularly important if you experience chronic pain. A poor night of sleep can worsen your pain the following day. But this goes both ways – worse pain during the day can impact on your sleep that night.
Find a healthy way to manage your stress
A lot of the less healthy choices we make can come back to stress. How we eat, move our bodies and unwind in our spare time often reflects how we deal with stress.
But on the flip side, these factors can also make a big difference with how we manage stress. That's why it's a good idea to find a healthy way to manage your stress.
There are plenty of options out there, including:
Take a proactive approach for body care
When it comes to our health, most of us wait until something goes wrong before we actually do anything about it! But if we can switch to a more proactive approach to taking care of our bodies, we can get onto issues early or even prevent them.
Book yourself in for a check-up with your GP, dentist, optometrist and any specialists you see regularly.
When it comes to your muscles and joints, the team at Simple Wellness Myotherapy are here to help. To book in for a tune-up your body would approve of, head to our booking page here.
Looking for an excuse to get a massage? We hear you! Massage can have a variety of benefits, especially when you are treated by a qualified remedial massage therapist. Here are our top 10 reasons you might want to get a massage this week.
You’re stressed out
Let’s face it – most of us live pretty hectic lives. Between family, work, social life, hobbies and more, there isn’t much time for stress-relieving activities.
Putting aside an hour for massage isn’t just about feeling good. Research has found that massage therapy can reduce the level of your stress hormone cortisol, as well as boosting up your feel-good brain chemicals. So it relieves stress physically as well as mentally.
You’ve been hitting the gym lately
Whether you’re doing a 12 week challenge at your gym or getting outside for a bootcamp, increasing your exercise can mean a lot of aches and pains.
Massage is a great option for after a workout to aid with recovery. But you can also book yourself in regularly to address any tightness or discomfort in the muscles that can limit your gym efforts.
You want to be more flexible
Our bodies are designed to be flexible. But our modern world has had a big impact on how flexible the average person is. Between office jobs, Netflix and cars, we spend a lot of time sitting on our muscles instead of stretching them out.
When a massage relieves tension in a ‘tight’ area, it can help your muscles, ligaments and tendons to be more flexible.
You have a new fitness goal or event in mind
Set a goal to run a marathon in 12 weeks? Signed up for Tough Mudder or a Spartan race? Want to be the next Ninja Warrior? Maybe you just want to get back to doing a proper push-up.
Whatever your fitness goal or event, a massage will relieve tension. A remedial massage therapist can also let you know if you have any significant areas of tension or muscle imbalances that may increase your risk of injury.
You’re sore or aching
There are many reasons for feeling sore. But one of the simplest solutions is to get a massage. Massage can soothe away the aches and pains.
If your pain is more chronic, massage can still help to relieve symptoms. In fact, research suggests that multiple massages may be more beneficial for relieving symptoms of pain for issues such as chronic neck pain. Sounds like a good reason to book in a few appointments!
You’ve got a headache
A nasty headache can really screw up your plans and leave you grumpy. So why not get a treatment that can relieve those symptoms?
Research has shown that massage can reduce the duration of a headache, as well as reducing frequency for those who experience chronic tension headaches.
Think it’s more of a migraine? Massage can still help. One study found massage can reduce migraine pain by up to 68%. Just make sure you’re safe to drive, or ask a friend to drive you to your appointment.
You haven’t been sleeping well
If you’re not sleeping soundly, your body and mind can suffer some nasty consequences. Poor sleep can have many factors involved – caffeine, food choices, technology use, lack of sun exposure, stress, family, work, the list goes on.
The good news is that massage can help address many of these factors as well as priming your body for sleep. There is plenty of research showing that massage can help with sleep. It can even help with sleep concerns for specific groups such as people with chronic pain or pain conditions, heart failure or post-menopausal insomnia.
Your mental health has been a little low lately
Whether you’re feeling blue or are getting anxious over little things, mental health is something to take seriously. When you’re not feeling ok, it can be hard to take steps to help yourself feel better. But one simple and enjoyable step is a massage!
A review of 37 massage therapy studies found that the greatest impact of massage is its ability to reduce anxious and depressive symptoms. In fact, they suggested that a course of several massage treatments showed similar benefits to psychotherapy!
It’s been a while since you’ve taken care of you
Most of us are great at taking care of others. But we’re not so good at taking care of ourselves – physically, mentally or emotionally.
Massage is a one-stop shop treatment for all of these aspects of self-care. Your body feels good, your stress levels drop and you are looking after your mental wellbeing.
Because you can
We think this is the best reason of all! If you’re looking for an excuse to get a massage, that in itself is a good enough reason for a massage.
To book a massage with our remedial massage therapist Helvi, head to our booking page and select ‘Helvi Topia’ as your practitioner.
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