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.
Nobody likes to feel sore and achey all the time. If you experience chronic pain, it can contribute to many other conditions and sabotage your mental health. But if you’re looking for natural ways to relieve pain, the first place to look to is your diet. My good friend and incredible Nutritionist, Sam Gemmell, has taken the time to write this guest blog to explain more.
Fatty fish are a potent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are naturally anti-inflammatory. Most studies that have been published focus on omega-3 supplements. But there are small studies that support consuming it as part of the diet as well. One showed that consuming fatty fish 4 times per week can reduce inflammatory compounds in the body.
3-4 serves of oily fish per week is a good number to aim for. If you prefer plant-based sources, include walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds daily to reap the benefits.
Looking for a healthy source of fat to include in your diet? High quality olive oil has properties that may help to reduce joint-related symptoms. One animal study showed that extra-virgin olive oil reduced joint swelling, slowed the destruction of cartilage and reduced inflammation.
But don’t worry – the benefits are for people as well! One study showed that people who consume olive oil are less likely to have rheumatoid arthritis.
Olive oil can be drizzled over salads, or used to sauté ingredients. But it's not great for deep frying - deep frying isn't good for you anyway!
Berries are the best fruit ever, at least in my opinion! They are chock-full of nutrients including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help to reduce inflammation naturally.
One study showed that people who ate at least two servings of strawberries per week were 14% less likely to have elevated inflammatory markers. Researchers also suggest that blueberries and strawberries may offer protection against arthritis.
Want to up your berry intake? Chuck them in your smoothies, porridge, salads or just straight into your mouth.
Spice things up in the kitchen! Pretty much any herb or spice will have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. But if we’re going to play favourites, turmeric and ginger are bestfor sore joints and arthritis.
There are many research studies that show supplementing with turmeric can be beneficial for arthritis. But adding it into your diet can still help as well! Turmeric is not well absorbed, so the best consume it is with a source of good fats and some black pepper. Research into turmeric and ginger has shown that both have anti-arthritic effects.
How to use them? It’s simple – sprinkle your favourites spices everywhere! Turmeric and ginger can be added to sweet and savoury dishes.
Tart cherry juice
Tart cherries are packed full of antioxidants that can support your joint health. One study looking at osteoarthritis showed that consuming 475ml of tart cherry juice daily significantly reduced symptoms and inflammation. Tart cherry juice can also reduce inflammatory markers.
But the benefits don't stop there. Tart cherry juice is also a natural source of melatonin, which is needed for deep, restful sleep. If you’re not getting quality sleep, your body can’t repair damage effectively, which can exacerbate pain.
Ready to get into tart cherry juice? Make sure you choose an unsweetened variety. Otherwise, a lot of the benefits will be cancelled out by excess sugar.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my coffee. But green tea is king when it comes to caffeine-containing beverages if you’re in pain.
Green tea contains a potent antioxidant known as ECGC. ECGC has been shown to reduce inflammatory cytokines in research. And although trials are in the early stages, the research also suggests that it could be beneficial in reducing inflammation in osteoarthritis.
I often recommend that coffee drinkers alternate between coffee and green tea – so if you drink 4 cups of coffee per day, try 2 cups of coffee and 2 cups of green tea. But if you're not big on caffeine, even one cup a day can offer health benefits.
Sam is a nutritionist, health writer and wellness speaker based in Melbourne. She loves to spread knowledge about food as medicine, and is passionate about personalised nutrition. You can find out more on her website.
You might love your myotherapy sessions – in fact, I hope you do! But I never pretend that myotherapy is the be-all and end-all of healthcare. I’m an advocate for a holistic approach to your health. So today, I wanted to share some reasons why combining myotherapy with other therapies can help you to be your healthiest self.
Combining therapies helps identify problem areas
I’m trained to spot health conditions related to the muscles, joints and bones. But other therapists are trained to spot issues elsewhere.
By seeing more than one practitioner, we can work together to make sure we oversee your health in a holistic way. Often, teamwork is a more effective way to spot potential problems and address them before they get worse.
Combining therapies ensures you have the support you need
Looking after your muscles is important, especially if you have a chronic condition. But if you do have a chronic condition, it’s more than just your muscles that need support. When you add in another therapy, you can look after more aspects of your wellbeing.
Combining therapies has a complementary effect
Different therapies can work together to bring around a better outcome. For example, I can work the knots out of your muscles every session. But if they are stress-related, you might want to work with a naturopath and/or counsellor to work on a stress management program. That way, the benefits of my treatments will last longer for you.
Combining therapies offers better education about your health
Therapists are experts within their field. I can explain your muscles to you until I’m blue in the face. But other practitioners can give you insights into other aspects of wellbeing. The more you learn about your body and your health, the easier it is for you to keep healthy and happy.
Combining therapies is preventative care
Prevention is always better than treating a problem. The best way to prevent ill health is to actively work on it with a team of health experts. Seeing more than one practitioner means that you’re covering more bases with prevention.
Practitioners I love working with
I’m happy to work with anyone who is on your healthcare team! You may have different practitioners, depending on what support you need. But I love seeing my clients working with:
If you have a quality healthcare team you work well with, you will get the best healthcare available – it’s that simple!
You can book your appointment online, or call me on 0401212934 so I can help you find a time that suits you best.
It’s a new year, and that means we’re all ready to get healthier. But did you know that myotherapy can help you to achieve some of your goals? Let’s look at why regular myotherapy might be a good addition to your New Year’s Resolutions.
Myotherapy aids in recovery from exercise
A lot of people hit the gym or sign up with a personal trainer in the New Year. Unfortunately, you can start off with a lot of enthusiasm – and that means a lot of pain during recovery. Often this can lead to you giving up after just a week or two, as it becomes too painful.
The good news is recovery doesn’t have to suck! A myotherapy treatment, particularly early on, can boost your muscle’s recovery time. This means that your muscles will hurt less, recover quickly, and move the way they should. And that means you can get back into the gym sooner and achieve your goals!
Fortnightly or monthly treatments for the first 3 months of an exercise program
Maintenance with sessions every 4-8 weeks, depending on how you feel
Myotherapy is a good form of self-care
Is adulting on your list for the New Year? More of us are realising that preventative is the way to go with our health. That is where myotherapy can be a good investment in your long-term health.
When your body functions properly, you function properly. Healthy muscles and joints mean less pain, more energy and the freedom to do the things you want to do.
How much more adult-y would you be if you didn’t have to deal with aching shoulders and a stiff sore neck? Put it on your non-negotiable list. Your muscles will thank you.
Maintenance with sessions every 4-8 weeks, depending on how you feel
Myotherapy can be a great treat
More and more, people are understanding how important it is to treat yourself. And the best treat is one that improves your health, instead of deteriorating it!
You won’t get bloated, feel hungover or get sugar cravings when you get a myotherapy treatment. What you will be is feeling good within your body, because your muscles will be happier and healthier.
So why not make the most of your health insurance and get a session that makes you feel good from the inside out?
Treating yourself at least 4 times per year – after all, you deserve a good treatment! The more often you can make time, the better you’ll feel.
Ready to get your body happy and healthy? Make sure you book in for your January appointments here. Spots are filling up fast!
If there’s one resolution to make in the New Year, it’s to boost your self-care. To help you do just that, I’ve asked two of my fellow practitioners to share their tips, as well as a couple of my own.
Self-care is an ongoing journey. But by taking small steps each day, you can feel better.
Sam’s Top Tips For Self-Care
Emily’s Top Tips For Self-Care
Mel’s Top Tips For Self-Care
Is self-care on your priority list for 2018? Let us make it easier for you!
Emily and I have teamed up to create a Balanced Life Package to get you off on the right foot for 2018. You can get a 60 minute naturopathy appointment and a 60 minute myotherapy session for just $150 – saving you $60!
To learn more or book your appointment, send through a message today.
As we get into the party season over summer, you’ll be wearing heels and thongs instead of runners. But if you find that you start to get more aches and pains, your shoe choice might be to blame.
How shoes affect posture
The way that our feet hit the ground when we move has a massive impact on the joints and muscles of the body. And that means it affects our posture.
When we wear heels, for example, our bodies tilt forward. The body tries to compensate in response, but the muscles and joints cop the strain. The weight of your body is held on the balls of your feet, instead of balanced between the balls and the heels. Your knees and hips move forward and your back flexes backward to maintain balance.
Flats might not have the height issue, but they can also impact on the body. Flat shoes cause the weight to be mostly on the heels, so the lower body tries to compensate so we don’t fall backwards. Wearing flats constantly can mean our posterior chain – including the calves, hamstrings and glutes – can weaken from lack of use.
Even thongs (or flip-flops, for non -Aussie consumers) can cause postural issues. They have been found to cause pain in the feet and even hips and lower back, due to the lack of support and altered gait (how you walk when wearing them). The real issue is that you have to grip the shoe with your toes, so they are overworked.
Pain that can occur
So if your shoes are altering the posture of your body, pain can often follow. Incorrect shoes can lead to issues including:
How to reduce it
I’m sure all myotherapists and bodyworkers would prefer everyone wear sensible shoes 24-7! But that’s easier said than done. So if you think your shoes are potentially causing issues, here’s some small tweaks to reduce the issues:
Not ready to give up your heels or cute flats? I don’t blame you! So instead, let’s work together to counteract the muscle imbalances. Pop in for a 30 minute appointment, and we can get you back to feeling good.
Recently, more clients have been telling me they’ve experienced pain or discomfort in the wrist area. They come from all walks of life – mums, office workers, self-employed or even retired clients. Although there are many different causes of pain in the wrist area, many improve using one little trick I use
Why wrist pain occurs
Wrist pain can be all too common these days. Many of us use computers and smartphones that can increase the chance of wrist strain.
However, there are other conditions that can impact, too. Repetitive use is a common issue in the wrists and hands, leading to repetitive strain injuries. Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause pins and needles, numbness and pain in the wrist. Arthritis can show up in the wrists. Even tennis elbow can extend into the wrist, causing discomfort.
It’s quite common for people to have weaker muscles around the hands and wrists. We’re not having to climb rocky mountains and swing through the trees anymore, so most of us don’t maintain the strength in our wrists and hands.
Wrist pain could present in:
Every case of wrist pain is individual. So the treatment needs to be personalised. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t little tricks to ease the pain in the meantime.
How to relieve wrist pain
For the majority of wrist pain cases, you want to strengthen the muscles in the wrist and hands. The stronger the muscles, the more strain they can take without pain. Strong muscles will also protect the joints from damage.
That’s why I recommend this simple exercise to strengthen the smaller muscles in the arm. Combined with a personalised treatment plan, it can help to relieve discomfort in the wrist area.
To do this exercise, all you need is an elastic band or rubber band – or even a hair tie will do the trick.
On one hand, bring your fingers together until they are touching. Wrap the band around all of the fingers (even the thumb!)
Then slowly open and close your hand, so the band stretches with your finger movement.
The key here is movement with control in both directions. Try opening your fingers outwards for a count of 3 seconds, then hold for 1-2 seconds, and then – the hard bit – closing your fingers slowly over 3 seconds.
Because of the resistance of the rubber band, your fingers might want to snap back to the starting position. The best results from this exercise come from slow controlled movement.
PS - It should take a little effort, and give a stretch or even a bit of an ache, but not cause any acute pain. If it does cause sharp pain, stop!
This is just one of the home exercises that may help your pain. To get a personalised treatment and exercise plan, pop over and book a session with me today.
Please note: This exercise is a tool, and is no substitute for an assessment by a qualified practitioner! If you’re experiencing unexplained wrist pain, seek out a professional opinion.
Many therapists want you coming back time and time again forever. Not me! If there's something I can get you doing at home to help, I let you know. That's why I stock a few of my favourite at-home care tools in the clinic. By using these, you can help to take care of your own muscles each and every day.
The Best At-Home Care Tools
The tool: Spiky ball
If you've been into my clinic room, you've seen these scary-looking little balls hiding in the corner! But they are actually my number one favourite tool for my clients – and myself.
What's it for:
It might look like a torture device, but it's actually sweet relief for many. For any niggly spots or trigger points, this colourful ball is the key to relieving tension.
How to use it:
Grab your ball. Use it to roll over a sore muscle until you feel a point of tension or a trigger point. Then, keep rolling on that spot until you feel your muscle relax.
Note: This should feel tender, but not like agony! If it's too sore, ease up a bit. Try rolling it over a clothed area if its too tender straight onto skin.
The tool: Foam roller
Everybody's least favourite post-exercise tool - the foam roller! If you go to the gym, they may already have a few of these laying around, otherwise they are usually cheap to buy from sports stores, or even Kmart!
What's it for:
The foam roller can be used in a similar way to the spiky ball, but its a broader area. Think big muscle groups, like hamstrings, quads, glutes and backs.
How to use it:
Time to get down on the floor and roll out those sore muscles. You can roll in one long movement, for example from your knee to your hip, or you can roll in sections. Just like the ball, when you find that tender spot stop there and let the pressure release the muscle for about 20 seconds or until you feel it relax.
Note: Foam rollers come in a heap of designs - if you're very pain sensitive, choose a roller that doesn't have any bumps or grooves on it. A smoother roller can be just as effective and much less painful.
The tool: Heat pack
There's something magically comforting about a heat pack on a cold night. But these aren't just about comfort – they can also be therapeutic.
What's it for:
The idea of a heat pack is to increase circulation to an area. This might be good for areas of poor circulation, or to help warm up a tight, cold muscle. It's generally recommended for chronic muscle pain and sore joints.
How to use it:
Heat in a microwave for 1-2 minutes (check the label for guidance). Place on the area that needs a little TLC. Make sure it's a comfortable temperature. And then – relax!
Note: You should be careful if you have nerve impairment, as there is a risk of burning. Do not use it within the first 48hrs of an injury unless instructed by your practitioner.
The tool: Resistance band
Getting the 80s vibe from these bad boys is pretty common! But don't fear, you don't need to don the lycra to benefit from them.
What's it for:
You don't need bulky weights to build muscle. Resistance bands can help you to build and maintain muscle strength gently. This is great for people who are rehabilitating joints or are just beginning with strength building.
How to use it:
It depends on the exercise you need to do. The general idea is to find a way to make the band gently resist your body movement. If you don't have set movements prescribed, I can teach you an easy at-home exercise routine personalised to your needs.
Note: There are different levels of resistance available. So if you're not sure what level is right to you, let me know. You can even have a quick try and see what feels right!
Do these sound like tools you need to try? The next time you come in for an appointment, you can pick one – or more – up!
If you're still not sure which is best for you, send me a message and we can chat further.
Do you experience post-exercise soreness? Does DOMS get you down?
Our muscles can only do so much before they need a bit of TLC. But today, I'm going to give you some tips on how to reduce the aches and pains caused by exercise.
.1. Stretch It Out
Stretching helps to relax muscles that are tight from exercise. Remember: stretches are best done when you're still warm – so use it as an exercise cool-down. You may also stretch during gentle exercise such as yoga.
Major muscle groups to stretch: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, pecs, traps, calves, and anything that's sore
2. Roll It Out
Foam rolling is a cheap option that helps release trigger points. It's a great addition to a cool-down routine. Using a foam roller, you roll over the muscle until you find a tender spot. Gently roll over that spot until you feel relief.
Foam rolling is all about self-releasing the over-active muscles. By releasing the trigger points, it allows the muscles to relax, which means less soreness the next day.
Major muscle groups to roll: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, middle and upper back, side of upper legs (IT band), inner thighs, and anything that's sore
3. Treat Yourself To A Treatment
If you experience constant post-exercise soreness, a myotherapist can help.
As a myotherapist, I can offer many treatments that can alleviate sore muscles. From massage and trigger point therapy to cupping and even taping, there's a solution for your pain.
Myotherapy works because it treats the muscle pain that may not respond to stretching or rolling. It's also much easier – and more enjoyable – to have someone treat your muscles for you. We all deserve a good massage!
Have a question about stretching, rolling or booking a treatment? I'd love to hear from you!
Are you local to Ferntree Gully and looking for a Personal Trainer? Courtney Taylor at Fitness Taylor'd For You runs regular boot camp classes in the Knox area. Thanks to Courtney and the boot camp class for the fun photo!
Mel is a Myotherapist based in Ferntree Gully.