Blog

Pregnancy Massage

I am so excited to announce that I am officially qualified in Pregnancy Massages. I recently went on a short course at St Mary’s to learn everything I needed to know about this new treatment. I learnt about the hormonal, physiological and emotional changes the body goes through during pregnancy and how massage can be incorporated to support each stage.

Some people worry about massage during pregnancy but it is perfectly safe from 12 weeks right up until baby arrives. A lady who was on my course told me she had a massage on her due date and said it was the best way she could have prepared for the birth! If your pregnancy is deemed ‘high risk’ then you must seek your midwifes advice before getting a massage, most therapists will ask for a letter of consent before doing the treatment if you’re in this category. If you are ‘low risk’ you do not need a letter.

To see all the benefits of Pregnancy massage please have a look on my treatments page.

The treatment will be available at Locker 27 and Home Visits from Monday 2nd December just in time for you to de stress before the busy Christmas Period.

I will also be releasing Pregnancy Massage vouchers – a perfect Gift for any Mum to be.  

Christmas Vouchers

It’s that time of year again when we are all starting to think about what to get people for Christmas. Why not give them something they really want and give the gift of massage!

To make it even more appealing, YOU get 10% off your next massage with every Christmas voucher you purchase for a friend or loved one. Definitely a win win gift.

To purchase a Christmas Voucher please email me at mollysportsmassage@gmail.com – you will then be sent the voucher via email OR you can come in and pick it up from Locker 27.

Vouchers are not refundable, cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers and must be used by the expiry date.

New Logo

I would like to take this opportunity to launch my new logo – it has taken me 3 years to change my original standard Vistaprint one and I keep wondering why?!

I think that it is because when you set up a business you are your harshest critic and maybe I felt that I did not want to jinx it! But, I can honestly say I am SO proud of my new design. I chose to incorporate elements of anatomy and sports as that sums me up. I am a hockey player; I love sport and I am fascinated by the human body and how it functions (hence the degree in Sports Science). The purple is because it is my favourite colour – and if you’ve been in my room at Locker 27 then that is pretty obvious!

I have been at Locker 27 for 2 years now and JUST working there for about 16 months. I can honestly say that although it has been tough at times, it has been such a fun experience building my client base, designing the logo, going to local events and working with the most amazing team of people.

On that note – I would like to invite you all to come and see me at my stall at the Girl Power Fit Fest in Walton, Surrey (instagram – @girlpowerfitfest). I will be offering 10 minute massages for £5, also at the event there is food, drinks and fitness classes! It will be so much fun and I cannot wait.

I would also like to tell you about my amazing prize draw. Head over to my instagram account throughout this week for a chance to win the different prizes that I will be announcing every day. Each prize has a different set of t&c’s so keep an eye on those as you do not want to miss out!

Thank you for the support for the last 3 years and hopefully your continued support in the future.

Ice VS Heat – what to use and when

When my clients get injuries or niggles, they often ask what should I do? Should I ice it? Should I heat it? And How long for? Well in this blog I will be answering these questions.

It is important to note that these treatments have mostly been ignored by science: the benefits are far from proven, and obviously it’s not a miracle cure that fixes your injury. However, they have been known to relive symptoms, they are a cheap, drugless way of taking the edge off a variety of common painful problems.

Basics:

Ice is for recent injuries — calming down damaged superficial tissues that are inflamed, red, hot and swollen.
Examples: a freshly pulled muscle, a flare up of Tennis Elbow

Heat is for muscles, chronic pain, and stress — taking the edge off symptoms like muscle aching and stiffness
Examples – Muscular back pain

 

Ice Treatment

Ice is most commonly used when the injury is acute. If the injury has occurred recently (within the last 48 hours) then your main objective is to reduce the swelling, then you need to ice. Ice helps to minimise swelling around the injury, reduce bleeding into the tissues, and can even reduce pain.

Ice can also be used for chronic conditions, such as overuse injuries in athletes e.g. tennis elbow. I recommend that ice be used on the injured area after activity to help control inflammation and reduce the chances of a flare up. DO NOT ice a chronic condition prior to exercise/sport.

My favourite “ice pack” of choice is Frozen peas as it moulds around the injury site. Never place ice directly on the skin – use a damp tea towel and keep the pack moving to avoid ice burns. You should ice for 10-20 minutes.
I have recently read that you shouldn’t use ice packs on your left shoulder if you have a heart condition – so please be careful if this applies to you.

How ice works – the cold causes blood vessels to constrict (get smaller), this can help to minimise the damage and thereby reduce the amount of repair

Heat Treatment

Heat treatments are used for chronic conditions, the heat helps to relax and loosen the tissues and stimulates blood flow to the area. Heat can be used before exercise for over-use injuries.

Heat should not be used straight after activity, and do not use heat after an acute injury (occurred in the last 48hr). Never use heat where there is any swelling, swelling is caused by bleeding in the tissue and heat will draw more blood to the area causing the swelling to get worse.

Heating tissues can be accomplished using heating pads, hot water bottles and wheat bags. When using heat treatments, be very careful to use a moderate heat for a limited time to avoid burns. Never leave heating pads or towels on for extended periods of time or while sleeping.

How heat works – increases blood flow to the area, this provides oxygen and nutrients to aid the healing process and restore movement

When not to use cold or heat treatments:

  • On areas of skin that are in poor condition (e.g. cuts/rash)
  • On areas of skin with poor sensation to heat or cold
  • In the presence of an infection

Muscle tears

If any of you have been following me on Instagram or Facebook you will have seen that I have recently suffered from a tear to my calf. I managed to do a grade 2 tear to my medial gastrocnemius while playing a hockey match!

What causes a tear?

A tear often occurs when you accelerate suddenly or change direction quickly, there are a few who can tear their calf while walking, but this is VERY rare.

What is a grade 2 tear?

There are different grades of muscles tears, grades range from 1 to 3 (1 being minor, 3 being major).

Grade 1:

Grade 1 tears are a result of mild overstretching which can cause some small micro tears in the muscle fibres. Symptoms are normally quite disabling for the first two to three days, e.g. shortened stride length. In most cases, your recovery will take approximately one to two weeks.

Grade 2:

Grade 2 muscle tears result in partial tearing of your muscle fibres. Full recovery normally takes several weeks (4-6 depending on severity). If you return to high load or high-speed sport too soon it can result in unnecessary re-tear, which is reasonably common in moderate calf tears as you often feel ready, but the muscle is still too weak.

Grade 3:

A grade 3 tear is the most severe calf strain, you can completely tear or rupture your muscle fibres. Diagnostic assessment utilising ultrasound or MRI is recommended for this level of tear as surgery mat be required. Full recovery can take several months and may not be 100% in some instances.

Recovery

There are 6 stages to recovery when it comes to any muscle tear. Physiotherapy and Sports Massage are vital during recovery.

Phase 1 – Early Injury Protection: Pain Reduction & Anti-inflammatory Phase

RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. This is a critical phase and people often say “I don’t have time to ice” – you sit at a desk at work? You can ice it. Watching tv – ICE!

Phase 2 – Regain Full Range of Motion

The torn muscle will successfully repair itself with collagen scar tissue through your body’s natural healing process, this can take up to 6 weeks. During these initial six weeks you must lengthen and massage the area to ensure the tissue isn’t “lumpy” or inflexible. This will prevent re-tearing.

Phase 3 – Restore Concentric Muscle Strength

Your muscle strength and power should be gradually progressed. This involves performing your exercise initially in non-weight bear, before progressing to partial weight bear, full weight bear, and then eventually performing resistance loaded exercises.

Phase 4 – Restore Eccentric Muscle Strength

Using the calf as an example – the muscles work in two directions. They push you up (concentric) and control you down (eccentric). Therefore, VERY controlled Calf raises are ideal recovery at this phase.

Phase 5 – Restore High Speed, Power, Proprioception & Agility

Most tears do occur during high speed movements. Depending on the specific requirements of your sport or lifestyle, your rehab will include exercises and activities that will address your speed, agility and power to reduce your risk of injury reoccurrence (it is also known as Sport-specific training).

Phase 6 – Return to Sport

The perfect outcome will have you performing at full speed, power, agility and function with the added knowledge that a thorough rehabilitation program has minimised your chance of future injury. The key here is to not return too quickly and to have built it up in the gym before returning.

 

I am 4 weeks post tear now and in phase 4 of recovery at the moment, a lot of calf raises are happening, and I will be moving into phase 5 soon! Although it has been highly frustrating it has helped me to realise that I need to look after myself a bit more, get more massages and foam roll my muscles more regularly. PREVENTION is key and Sports Massage is the answer to this. Feel the niggle sort it out – then hopefully you won’t get to the tear phase like me 😦

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow or Lateral Epicondylitis as it is clinically known, is a condition that causes pain around the outside of the elbow, it often occurs after strenuous overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm. You do not have to play tennis to get this condition! I have seen several cases of Tennis elbow recently so thought I would write a Blog identifying the causes, symptoms and treatments.

Where/when is the pain?

  • On the outside of your upper forearm, just below the bend of your elbow
  • When you lift or bend your arm
  • When gripping small objects or when twisting your forearm e.g. opening a jar

Tennis elbow can last 6 months – 2 years, but it completely depends on the treatment you receive. Tennis elbow is most common in people aged 30-50, although anyone can get tennis elbow if they do repetitive motions.

The cause of tennis elbow

Lateral epicondylitis  (tennis elbow), involves the muscles and tendons of your forearm. Your forearm muscles extend your wrist and fingers. Your forearm tendons (often called extensors) attach the muscles to bone and they attach on to the lateral epicondyle. The tendon usually involved in tennis elbow is called the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB).
If the muscles and tendons are strained (overused), tiny tears and inflammation can develop near the bony lump (the lateral epicondyle) on the outside of your elbow.

As the name suggests, tennis elbow is sometimes caused by playing tennis. However, it is often caused by other activities that place repeated stress on the elbow joint, such as decorating, playing the violin and repetitive lifting.

Treatment

Approximately 80 – 95% of people suffering with tennis elbow recover fully using treatment. These treatments include:

Rest
The first step is to give your arm proper rest, this involves stopping any sport/repetitive motions or heavy work activities for several weeks.

Ice
10 minutes at a time over the elbow joint, you can also take ibuprofen to reduce any inflammation and reduce the pain you may be experiencing.

Physical therapy
Sports Massage and manipulation into the forearm will help to reduce the tension in the muscles. Specific exercises are recommended to help strengthening the muscles of the forearm. Massage will help to stimulate healing of the micro-tears in the muscles. (exercises are shown on my instagram page @mollysportsmassage)

Equipment check
Check your racquet to make sure it is a ‘proper fit’ for you. Stiffer racquets and looser-strung racquets often can reduce the stress on the forearm. This will take the pressure off the muscles in the forearm and therefore reduce the likelihood of tennis elbow reoccurring.

Check the weights you are lifting – reduce the weights and less reps while you are in recovery. All of this will help to speed up recovery.

 

New Year, New Goals?

We all start a New Year with huge plans to be more healthy, try to get down the gym or go for a run more frequently and eat clean but do we ever think about looking after our muscles?

I know I say it every years but why not try and include Massage into your new year resolutions?

1. Get active 

Sports  Massage Therapy has been proven to have major benefits for athletes, including enhancing performance, improving conditioning, speeding up recovery and preventing injuries. If you are going to increase your exercise you need to incorporate massage to prevent any injuries and get the best results for you.

2. Stress Management

I have written a blog about the importance of massage and stress. Studies have shown that getting a massage does infect reduce stress levels and improves mood.  (Please see my other blog for more details)

3. Take control of your pain

We need to take control of how our body is feeling and listening to it more. I see so many people who say ‘I thought it would go away and now its worse‘. If you get a massage as soon as you feel the niggle the likelihood of it turning into an injury is significantly reduced. It will also decrease the recovery time, if you allow a niggle to get worse you will need more treatment to correct the issue. You may also need to stop training which would really affect your fitness goals!

Its simple, include Sports Massage in your Healthy New Year Goals and this will keep you on track and tackle any nasty niggles!

For the month of January I am offering a beer a friend deal. Your friend gets 20% off their first 1hour and you get 10% off your next treatment!

T&C apply, please message me for more details and I cannot wait to see you all in 2019!