Alternative Therapy Newcastle – Stretching

Alternative Therapy Newcastle – Stretching

We offer Alternative Therapy Newcastle and today I want to talk to you about the importance of stretching

IS THERE ANY POINT IN STRETCHING?

As a massage therapist, I often give advice to my clients to stretch tight muscles between treatments. This enables them to capitalise on the benefits of the massage and to accelerate and aid recovery.

Reactions to this advice vary. Some will take the advice very seriously and religiously carry out a stretching regime to the letter.

However, the most usual reaction is to start the stretching regime with very positive intentions. But life gets in the way a bit. Of course, as they start feeling so much better, the impetus to lie on the floor and pull limbs in various seemingly unnatural directions, wanes.

It’s only when the niggles start creeping back in again that they think ‘’Perhaps I really should do those stretches!’’

ALTERNATIVE THERAPY NEWCASTLE – WHAT ARE THE BENEFTIS OF STRETCHING

But there’s always a few that are a bit cynical about the benefits of stretching. Perhaps they have done a yoga class in the past and they’ve strained something. Or dare I say it, the class was a bit ‘woo-woo’!

But flexibility is a fundamental requirement of fitness along with stamina from cardio exercise and strength for weight bearing exercise. And the bottom line is, if you don’t actively try to at least maintain a reasonable level of flexibility, you’ll find simple acts in daily life increasingly difficult. I for one, don’t want to be helped to put my socks on!

And whilst it seems that a stretching program isn’t particularly beneficial the older you get, the evidence is clear. A study from Japan investigated how much (if any) degrees of muscle stiffness could be reduced by a static stretching program in both younger and older men.

MUSCLE STIFFNESS

20 younger (21–24 year olds) and 20 older (62–83 year olds) men were asked to practice a static ankle flexion. Stretch to see if it released tightness in the calf and improved the range of movement in the ankle.

They were asked to hold a stretch of the ankle for 90 second. Following this to repeat it 5 times. The range of the ankle movement was measured before and after the stretching. In addition the tightness in the calf muscle was measured.

THE RESULTS

The older men were found to have greater muscle tightness and less range of movement in the ankle before the stretching began. But stretching significantly improved the range of movement for both groups. 

The bottom line is that stretching can reduce muscle stiffness regardless of age. However, the stretching effect on muscle stiffness in older men is suggested to be limited compared with younger men. This is because older men cannot stretch their muscles sufficiently.

ALTERNATIVE THERAPY NEWCASTLE – 5 OF MY FAVOURITE STRETCHES

ALTERNATIVE THERAPY NEWCASTLE. Quad Stretch

Quads – Lying on your right side, legs straight, reach behind you with your left hand and grab your left ankle. Pull the left foot towards your bottom and hold for 20 secs, release then repeat.

You should feel the stretch up the front of the leg. Repeat on the other side. If it’s tricky to reach your foot, loop a dressing gown cord around the ankle to extend your reach.

Hamstrings – Lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Loop a dressing gown cord under the instep of the left foot, straighten the leg and elevate it. Do this until you feel a stretch up the back of the leg. Hold for 20 seconds, release then repeat. Repeat on the right side. Make sure you keep the pelvis down on the floor.

This will make the most of the stretch for the hamstrings.

Alternative Therapy Newcastle - Stretching, Hip Flexor

Hip Flexor – Kneel on your right knee.Put your left foot on the floor with your left knee at a 90-degree angle. Drive your right hip forward. You should feel a stretch at the front of the right hip. Hold the position for 20 seconds then repeat. Swap over to the other leg and repeat.

Chest Opener – Lie on a foam roller or a  rolled up towel. The roll should be placed across the spine at the level of the bottom of the shoulder blades. Raise the arms up straight, keeping them shoulder width apart. Gently lower them above the head, hold for 20 seconds, release then hold again.

Neck Stretch

Neck Stretch – seated or standing, place the right hand on the right shoulder to anchor it. Place the left hand on the right side of the head. Very gently draw the two hands apart so that the left ear moves down  towards the left shoulder. Hold for 5-10 seconds, release and repeat. Repeat on the other side.

STRETCHING CAN MAKE YOU FEEL GREAT

I hope this gives you some inspiration to try some stretching. It really can make you feel great. But always start gently until you are confident as to what your muscles can take. And, of course you can always give me a ring or email me if you need any help. Happy stretching!!

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Upper Back and Neck Pain

Here at our North East Therapy Rooms we are finding that upper back and neck pain are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society

Upper Back Neck Pain North East

Are Upper Back and Neck Pain Related?

The reasons behind the discomfort of upper back and neck pain may vary, but in most cases they all come down to our posture and lifestyle.

Our love of screens also plays a major role in upper back and neck pain. For instance the average office worker will spend almost 1700 hours a year in front of a computer screen, and most of us spend over 3 hours on our phones every day!

The neck and upper back are closely located, yet separate areas of the body, which seem to experience similar problems at the same time; but are both of them related?

Upper Back Pain

Whether it occurs through injury or repetitive strain, upper back pain is something most of us have experienced. The most common causes include muscular irritation and joint dysfunction.

The upper back, or thoracic spine, is designed for stability to anchor the ribcage and protect vital internal organs.

Due to its sturdiness, it is remarkably resistant to injury. Therefore when pain does occur, it is typically due to long-term poor posture.

Neck pain

Neck pain is extremely common, and aside from injury, lifestyle factors and stress are significant contributing factors. We all know the feeling of having to rotate our entire body to look sideways when unable to move our neck. 

As with the upper back, neck pain, or cervical spine pain, is most commonly caused by muscular irritation and joint dysfunction, but may also be accompanied by tension headaches, facial pain and pain or tingling in the arms.

The cervical spine is more mobile and less stable than the thoracic spine, and although more susceptible to injury, most cases of neck pain are again typically caused by poor posture.

Simultaneous Pain

Due to the proximity of the neck and upper back, pain can often be experienced simultaneously.

In fact, when poor posture is involved, and even when pain is only felt in one or the other, it is always best practice to focus treatment and rehabilitation on both areas collectively as they are anatomically interdependent.

The thoracic spine is ‘kyphotic’ or curved outwards, whereas the cervical spine is ‘lordotic’ or curved inwards.

These curves are balanced and relative to each other, for example, if the curve in upper back is increased, so is the curve in the neck. There are also many muscles that connect both areas, including the trapezius and levator scapulae.

When one area becomes stiff and tight, these muscles will exert force on the other, with at least some of this tightness being transmitted. There are many other shared structures between the neck and upper back, and the proximity of the nerves that supply both areas may also lead to referred pain.

Pain prevention

Pain in the neck and upper back may be prevented with exercises to stretch tight muscles. Similarly, to strengthen weak muscles and mobilise joints.

Here are 5 exercises to target the most common neck and upper back issues:Repeat this exercise three to five times.

Upper Back and Neck Pain, prevention

Exercise 1 – Towel Roll Stretch

  • Fold a dry towel in half lengthways and roll it up.
  • Place it on the floor (or your bed if preferred) and lie down on your back on top of the towel. The towel needs to run along the length of your spine.
  • Use a pillow to support your neck and bend your knees to protect your lower back.
  • Relax and breathe! Stay in this position for 2-3 minutes letting gravity work for you gently stretch your thoracic spine.
  • For an extra stretch, bring your arms out to the side to make a ‘T’ shape.

Exercise 2 – Back extensions

  • Fold a dry towel in half lengthways and roll it up.
  • Place it on the floor (or your bed if preferred) and lie down on your back on top of the towel. This time, the towel needs to run across your back, at the level of your shoulder blades.
  • Bend your knees to protect your lower back.
  • Place your hands on top of your head, and slowly drop your upper body as low as comfortable, and then return to the original position. Repeat 5-10 times. You can change the placement of the towel to mobilise different levels of your thoracic spine.
  • You can also perform this exercise in a seated position by placing your hands on your head and slowly bending backwards over the backrest of your chair.

Exercise 3 – Upper trapezius/ Levator scapulae stretch

  • Sit in a chair in an upright position.
  • Place one hand under your leg, so that you are effectively sitting on it.
  • Carefully lean towards the opposite side until you feel a stretch in your shoulder and neck.
  • Let your head drop to the side to increase the stretch in the side of your neck and hold for 20-30 seconds. Then, let your head tilt slightly forwards whilst still to the side to increase the stretch in your shoulder, and hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
  • You can make this stretch more effective by gently pulling your head with your other hand.

Exercise 4 – Dart strengthening exercise

  • Lie on your stomach with your legs together. Arms along your sides.
  • Lift your abdominal muscles away from the mat. Inhale.
  • Exhale. Keep your abdominal muscles pulled in. Extend through your spine and out the top of your head to lift your upper body slightly off the mat. Anchor your pubic bone to the mat to protect your lower back. Your legs and glutes are engaged as part of the stability of the lower body but don’t over-squeeze them. Know that your head is an extension of your spine. Your gaze will be down. Your shoulder blades will slide down your back as your arms reach behind you like they are being blown back.
  • Hold for an inhale.
  • Exhale to lengthen and lower your body to the floor.
  • Repeat this exercise three to five times.

Exercise 5 – Door frame stretch

  • Stand in an open doorway.
  • Raise each arm up to the side, bent at 90-degree angles with palms forward. Rest your palms and elbows on the door frame.
  • Slowly step forward with one foot. Feel the stretch in your shoulders and chest. Stand upright and don’t lean forward.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds. Step back and relax.
  • Repeat 3 times.

Keep in mind that these exercises must feel good! If any feel uncomfortable, discontinue them straight away.

It’s also important to always be mindful of your posture in your everyday activities. Hopefully these tips will help you to maintain a healthy spine around a busy schedule: …..

If you are struggling with upper back and/ or neck pain, we can help with Osteopathy and Remedial Massage at The Therapy Rooms.

Contact us on 0191 213 6232 if you’d like to speak to us or book an appointment.

Self Massage Advice

Self Massage Advice, neck and shoulder

Self massage advice. neck and shoulder routine is designed to ease tension. The idea originated from several of my clients saying that they were starting to stiffen up.

Self Massage Advice, neck and shoulder
Self Massage Advice, neck and shoulder pain

This whole routine was delivered to the lovely ladies in North East Network using Zoom and recorded with them.

During the session I do talk to them and get responses back which are muted for recording purposes. It does seem as if I’m talking to my imaginary friends! But honestly they are real!

Lockdown has been tough but I haven’t felt the need for creating someone to talk to – yet!!

The whole routine is seated. You can do the routine through your clothes, if you want to but directly on to the skin is better.

There’s no massage oils or creams used. You’ll need a massage ball. I’m using a spiky ball but any small ball will do.  It needs to fit comfortably in your hand.

Spiky Ball

The ball needs to have a non-shiny surface so it doesn’t just slip off the skin or your clothes and the softer it is, the more comfortable but less effective the massage will be.

To be safe, it is better to do less, use less pressure. If you find that you’re okay with that, then the next time you do the routine, you’ll know that you’re safe to do more movement and use more pressure.

These notes are designed to be used in conjunction with the video. All movements are gentle. Nothing should be done aggressively or quickly. You have to listen to how your body responds to the movement and react to that accordingly.

Self Massage Advice, neck and shoulder

Self massage advice – Mobilisation

  • Rotate your head to look over your left shoulder then the right. Repeat 5-8 times.
  • Drop your chin to your chest and trace the chin round to your left shoulder, back to the centre. Then trace your chin along your chest to the right shoulder, and back to the centre. Repeat 5-8 times.
  • Shrug your shoulders. Repeat 5-8 times.
  • Roll your shoulders forward 5-8 times. Roll your shoulders back 5-8 times.

Stretches

  • Hold your left shoulder with your left hand. Place your right hand on the left side of your head. Gently draw your two hands apart. Keeping your head in this stretch, drop your hands down to the sides of your body and allow the weight of your arms to lengthen the stretch. Repeat on your right side.
  • Sit on your hands and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • With your feet firmly planted on the floor and your lower body facing forward, turn your torso to the right. Using your hands, pull your torso round a little further to affect an active stretch. Repeat on the left side.
  • Repeat the first stretch but at the point you drop your hands to the side of your body, look up then down.

Self Massage

  • Using your massage ball, gently massage the posterior surface of the top of the shoulder and up into the side of the neck, using small circular motions. You should press hard enough to feel the muscle move with the pressure. You’re not just rubbing the massage ball over the skin. This will only irritate the skin and do nothing for your muscles. Then work these small massage circles on the anterior surface of the shoulder and neck. Don’t press on the collar bone, keep above it. Make a mental note where you found a tender spot. We’re going to find it again in the next section.
  • Locate again the tender spot and place two fingers gently on it. The pressure should be gentle. The warmth of your fingers and the gentle pressure should have a softening effect on the tissues underneath. Allow at least 2 minutes for this, More if necessary. 
  • Repeat the side bend neck stretch.
  • Repeat the massage routine on the other side.
  • Using your massage ball, work into the chest muscles, starting at the breastbone and working out towards the point of the shoulder. Pay attention to any tender spots.

Finally

  • Sit on your hands and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Repeat the first two mobilisations. Make a mental note if the movements feel at all freer, less tender or less crunchy.

Well, I hope you enjoy this neck and shoulder self-treatment. If you have any concerns about your neck and shoulders, please get a qualified doctor, osteopath, chiropractor, physio or, of course, massage therapist to check before trying this routine.

If you would like any advice please do not hesitate to get in touch

Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 3

How to Keep Healthy during Lockdown Part 3 is all about ideas to keep heart and soul healthy. This follows on from my previous blogs, Part 1 and Part 2

Keep Healthy in lockdown heart and soul

One of the hardest things to deal with in lockdown is to not fall into the trap of thinking that this is dead time. In other words, lost time and that life will start for real when the restrictions are lifted.

This kind of thinking is soul destroying.

Speaking about happiness, Gretchen Rubin, writer of The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun has a great quote that stands just as much today as it did when she wrote it:-

“It’s about living in the moment and appreciating the smallest things. Surrounding yourself with the things that inspire you and letting go of the obsessions that want to take over your mind. It is a daily struggle sometimes and hard work but happiness begins with your own attitude and how you look at the world.”

Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 3 – Be creative – make something

Studies show that creative people are better able to live with uncertainty because they can adapt their thinking to allow for the flow of the unknown.

So I’ve put together a list of ways to be creative.

  1. I learnt a new word this week – amigurumi. It’s the Japanese word which describes small knitted or crocheted stuffed toys, often in the shape of characters, animals, mini foods, household objects. And I can’t resist this pattern for a miniature crocheted Freddie Mercury. It’s absolutely adorable. However I’m starting my journey into the world of amigurumi with this cute little donkey I bought at Aldi this week!
  2. They say everyone has at least one novel in them so what better time to start, if you’ve always had a hankering to see your name on the front cover of a book. Don’t know where to start? Futurelearn has a free course Start Writing Fiction.
  3. In the same vein, why not write a song. Futurelearn also has a free online course in songwriting where you’ll be able to explore the mechanics of songwriting and meet established songwriters.
  4. Cook something delicious and comforting. In every culture, food is used as an expression of love and togetherness. Comforting not only for the maker of the food, but for those who get to eat it. For me it has to be homemade soup and bread. Tomato soup with these delicious cheese spelt scones put a smile on everyone’s face – even the teenager!!

Sing

Why does it feel so good to sing?

Whether it’s in the shower or part of a mass choir, it can help you feel amazing, physically vibrant, uplifted and energised.

I love watching the programs Gareth Malone does, where he seems to help to transform people and communities through the power of voice.

And, thankfully we’ve discovered that social distancing is no barrier to communal singing with virtual choirs springing up locally, nationally and internationally.

But there is tremendous joy to be had from putting on your favourite track and singing your heart out. Here’s my top ten (at the moment!) for lifting my spirits.

  • Every little thing is gonna be alright – Bob Marley
  • Titanium – David Guetta ft Sia
  • Place your Hands – Reef
  • The Best Day of My Life – American Authors
  • Shake it Off – Taylor Swift
  • Dancing in the Moonlight – Toploader
  • Pompeii – Bastille
  • I’m a Believer – The Monkees
  • Pencil Full of Lead – Paolo Nuttini
  • I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas

Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 3 – Declutter

‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

William Morris

Whilst you can declutter everything from your inbox to your emotional baggage, I mean the not-so-simple act of creating a calm and easy space to live in.

My guru for this is FLY LADY, who termed the great phrase of living in CHAOS – Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome (obviously you have to say it ironically, during lockdown!)

I swear by Fly Lady’s process of focusing on a small area. The prospect of decluttering the whole house is overwhelming and defeats most of us before we start. Here’s some guidelines that really work :

  • Pick a small area – a drawer, a shelf, not a whole cupboard or a whole room.
  • Pick up two bags – one for the charity shop, one for the bin.
  • Set your timer for 15mins.
  • Pick up each item and decide if you use it or love it. If the answer is no, is it good enough for the charity bag. If the answer is no, put it in the bin bag
  • When your alarm goes off, put the rubbish in the bin, the charity bag to one side for your next declutter session. Admire your handywork!

This routine can be repeated as often as you feel like, but go back to where you left off. That way you really get the beauty of it, that you can see your progress and be inspired by it!

Get plenty of sleep

Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 3, sleep
Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 3, sleep

This is a tricky one. I know from experience. You can always exercise more to get fitter, eat better to be healthier but you can’t make yourself sleep better and without it everything can fall apart.

I can’t guarantee that these things will fix poor sleep, but I’m pretty sure that if you don’t do them, you won’t sleep well.

  1. Fix both your bedtime and your wake up time.
  2. The first stage of sleep is the winding down time. Tell your brain it’s time to wind down by having a routine.
  3. Turn off screens 1-2 hours before bedtime, even the T.V. I know, even as I’m writing this, I’m wincing at your reaction, but it really does work. This point alone has transformed my sleep pattern.
  4. Make sure there is no light at all in the bedroom when you’re trying to sleep so remove all electrical equipment with standby lights and use blackout curtains.
  5. Get out in the fresh air for at least 20 minutes, preferably in the morning. It’s just as important to manage our light in the daytime as it is to manage our dark in the nighttime. According to Dr. Rangan Chattergee, in his book The 4 Pillar Plan, “Getting the right kind of light at the right point in the day can have amazing effects throughout our bodies”.

I hope this gives you some food for thought and inspires you to take on a new challenge.

And I know it doesn’t go without saying that I hope you are staying safe and looking after yourself and your loved ones.

If you need someone to talk to or advice – specific or general, please feel free to text or ring me on my mobile – we could even have a ‘virtual’ coffee via FaceTime, Skype or some such technology.

Keep Healthy In Lockdown Part 2

How to keep healthy during lockdown, part 2, yoga

As promised here is how to Keep Healthy In Lockdown Part 2. I do hope you enjoyed my previous blog – I’ve had some fantastic feedback from many of you about it. Thank you for that.

Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 2 – Ideas to keep the body healthy

In the first part of this blog series I talked about the importance of keeping the brain healthy during lockdown. I suggested ways in which we can keep our grey matter firing.

keeping healthy in lockdown part 2, yoga

Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 2 is all about the body. Although none of our systems are entirely independent – a good cardio workout will increase the blood supply to the brain. In addition it will aid cognitive function.

A yoga class will improve joint and muscle flexibility, but also has many benefits in calming and relaxing the mind.

How to Keep Healthy during Lockdown Part 2 – Drink Plenty of Water

Keep Healthy in Lockdown Part 2, drink water

This is so easy to do, so cheap and yet does amazing things for our bodies.

There isn’t a single function in our bodies that doesn’t need water including our immune systems.

There’s evidence that dehydration makes breathing more difficult. Our lungs are 85% water but if we’re dehydrated the mucus thickens. Thus making breathing more difficult.

We all need about 1-1.5 litres of water a day, depending on our size and activity levels. If that sounds alot, try increasing amounts slowly.

You can always add slices of lemon, lime or even cucumber to ring the changes.

Dance like no-one is watching

keeping healthy in lockdown part 2, dance like no-one is watching

Like a lot of people I used to be a reluctant exerciser, but over the years, have found exercise makes me feel amazing. Now I know I’m as healthy as I am, because I make the time and effort to exercise.

So now it’s a regular part of my life.

But finding something to do, when access to facilities is limited, is a challenge. Furthermore, add in the apathy and it all gets a lot less likely to happen.

But from your messages, lots of you are taking the time and feeling better for it.

Here’s a list of some of the best apart from the obvious, getting out for a daily walk.

  1. Take an on-line class. There’s everything from yoga, pilates, Zumba, Spinning  out there. A great way to support a local business as well.
  2. YouTube is full of instruction videos. Take a look at yogawithadriene.com I tried Beth’s 30 minute core workout from Trifecta Pilates and couldn’t laugh for the next day!! And of course, we can’t forget Joe Wicks.
  3. Many local personal trainers are offering 1-2-1 coaching via video link. This is a great idea if you lack motivation and/or you want to make sure you don’t hurt yourself.
  4. This is a great home workout, if you’re  missing the gym. The trainer uses all sorts of things found around the house as gym kit such as a tin of paint, sauce bottle, bottle of wine!!! Exercise with these household objects for a full-body workout during quarantine
  5. Last but not least, put on your favourite dance music and dance like no-one is watching. My favourite at the moment is Amazon Prime 50 Songs That Make You Feel Happy. And let’s be honest, if anyone is watching, who cares!

Eat the Rainbow

Massage therapy Newcastle, Rainbow

The rainbow has become an important symbol during the Coronavirus pandemic. It represents hope and solidarity. Good things to come after the storm.

But for years, I have followed Patrick Holford’s advice that we should eat a rainbow every day. For instance a myriad of fruit and vegetables. The more varied they are in colour, the greater the range of vitamins and minerals we will be absorbing.

It makes sense doesn’t it? Technically, eating 5 bananas is eating 5 pieces of fruit, but so is eating 5 portions of:-

  • red pepper
  • an orange
  • kurly kale
  • blueberries and
  • an avocado – but there’s so much more nutrition in the latter.

Support your Immune System and keep healthy in Lockdown

5 a day

If you are eating  more than 5 fruits and veg a day you’re well on your way to supporting and strengthening your immune system. But here are a few more ideas to reinforce that.

  1. Adding spices to your food is a great and tasty way to help – turmeric, garlic and ginger have been used for centuries as natural medicines.
  2. There’s really interesting evidence that Vitamin C supplements are essential to our immune health. Animals that make their own Vitamin C tend to not get colds and flu.  Check out Patrick Holford’s podcast series about research into the effects of Vitamin C on fighting infections. There’s even interesting research in China on the effect of Vitamin C on COVID-19.
  3. Omega 3 and omega 6 are essential fatty acids, essential being the key word. Great sources include fish and other seafood such as:-
  • salmon
  • mackerel
  • tuna
  • herring, and
  • sardines.

Nuts and seeds, such as :-

  • flaxseed
  • chia seeds, and
  • walnuts.

Plant oils, such as:-

  • flaxseed oil
  • soybean oil, and
  • canola oil.

Use Aromatherapy Oils

One of the nicest ways to look after your respiratory system is to use essential oils.

In order for them to benefit the respiratory system, they have to be inhaled. Therefore, using a diffuser, some drops in a bowl of warm water, or a few drops into some body lotion would be effective. Likewise rubbed into the chest. My favourites for benefitting respiration are:

  1. Eucalyptus – one sniff of this oil and you can really feel it clearing the chest and lifting the mucus.
  2. Frankincense – traditionally used for grief and anxiety (but who doesn’t need some of that at the moment). Frankincense also has expectorant properties, helping to clear the chest.
  3. Lemon – refreshing and uplifting. In addition supportive of the immune system and it has antiseptic properties.
  4. Peppermint -wonderful clearing properties. Furthermore this can help to relieve headaches. But be careful. It’s strong and can irritate the eyes and the skin if not diluted enough.

All of the above oils can be used on their own or better still blended together to enhance their effect.

I hope this gives you some food for thought and inspires you to take on a new challenge. Of course, it doesn’t go without saying that, I hope you are staying safe and looking after yourself and your loved ones.

If you need someone to talk to or advice – specific or general, please feel free to text or ring me on my mobile – we could even have a ‘virtual’ coffee via FaceTime, Skype or some such technology.

How to Keep Healthy during Lockdown

How to keep healthy during lockdown, the brain

How to keep healthy during lockdown is something I imagine many people are thinking of now.

After my own experience of the first week of lockdown –

  • without work
  • no gym and
  • no social contact with friends

I hit an all time low for me.

It’s because of these feelings I thought I would jot down a few ideas that have helped pull my spirits up. They are certainly helping to keep me on track.

When all of this madness is over and we return to whatever we call “normal”, I want to be in the best possible shape. Both

  • physically
  • emotionally
  • mentally and
  • financially as possible.

And I want those I care about to be in the best shape as well – and if you’re reading this, that includes you!

Whilst this clip is very funny, it does make you think about what state we’ll all be in, in a few months time!

How to Keep Healthy During Lockdown

Keep Healthy during Lockdown – The Brain

How to Keep Healthy during Lockdown - The Brain
How to keep your brain healthy

It’s very easy to sit passively watching television or playing computer games, but our brains are really just big muscles and they need exercising on a daily basis.

I’ve also found keeping busy helps. Therefore it keeps me from endlessly scouring the news. Sitting on Facebook and internet sites that supply depressing statistics on a minute by minute basis.

Visit art galleries and museums around the world

There are 3469 different museums to visit and the works of hundreds of artists.

I know it’s not quite the same as the real thing, but I think this it’s pretty amazing!  https://artsandculture.google.com/

How to Keep Healthy during Lockdown – Take an online course

The list here is endless but one of my favourite providers is:-

https://www.futurelearn.com/ 

Future Learn offers 100s of online courses and degrees from leading universities or organisations. Best of all it’s free.

There’s everything from health and sciences, history, business, languages….which brings me on to my next suggestion….

How to Keep Healthy during Lockdown – Learn a new language

This is really close to my heart as I have found so many benefits from learning Spanish. Improving my brain has been only a part of those benefits.

I have used Futurelearn for learning Spanish and everyone seems to have heard of Duolingo but I have also used Memrise https://www.memrise.com/ as a great tool for improving vocabulary.

To improve listening skills, what about listening to a podcast? For instance I’m listening to https://www.notesinspanish.com/ when I go out for my daily allowed walk.

If you sign up for their newsletter you get loads of tips and hints as to how to speak Spanish using phrases and idioms that help to make you sound like a native.

Go to the theatre

Obviously literally impossible at the moment, but The National Theatre is streaming world class theatre every Thursday on YouTube. And if you can’t make it on Thursdays, the production is available to watch for a whole week. This week it’s James Cordern in One Man, Two Guvners. Enjoy!

I hope this gives you some food for thought and inspires you to take on a new challenge.

And I know it doesn’t go without saying that I hope you are staying safe and looking after yourself and your loved ones.

If you need someone to talk to or advice – specific or general, please feel free to text or ring me on my mobile – we could even have a ‘virtual’ coffee via FaceTime, Skype or some such technology – Tracy x

Arthritis

arthritis, arthritis in hands

Is there a cure for Arthritis ?

Arthritis can affect people of all ages and is a condition that is characterised by joint pain and inflammation. At present there is no cure for arthritis.

Arthritis – Benefits of Exercise

Many people do not feel like exercising due to the pain caused by arthritis, however, exercise can help to ease pain and improve joint mobility which can:-

  • increase muscle strength and
  • reduce stiffness.

If you are overweight, combining regular exercise with a healthy and balanced diet will help with weight loss. This will result in less strain being placed on the joints in the hips, knees, ankles and feet.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends the following exercises:

  • Try some deep, belly breathing for between 30 to 60 seconds to help relax and relieve pain and stiffness.
  • 30 second seated straight leg raises are good for pain in the knee joints.
  • To strengthen muscles in the hips and thighs, march on the spot for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • By moving your arms on a table top as if you are swimming the breast stroke for 60 seconds could improve the movement in the upper body.

arthritis, arthritis in handsIf you find you have arthritic pains in your hands and fingers try the following:-

Fist clenching

Beginning with your hands and fingers spread out, slowly clench your hand into a fist. Keep your thumb on the outside of the fist, being careful not to squeeze your hand too much.

Slowly unclench your fist into its original position. Repeat these 10 times, and then swap hands.

Knuckle bending

Keeping your fingers straight, bend your knuckles as far as comfortable, apply a stretch and straighten your fingers fully.

Thumb bending

Using one of your hands, hold the base of the other hand’s thumb.

Without moving the base of the thumb, bend the top half of the thumb, until you feel the stretch. Return the thumb tip to its original position, and repeat.

Finger lifting

Rest the palm of your hand on a table, with all of your fingers spread apart. One by one, slowly lift each finger off the table.

Hold the finger in the air for a few seconds, before slowly lowering it.

Make an ‘O’

This stretch will help relieve achy or stiff pains in the hands.

Start with your left hand out and fingers straight, then, curve all of your fingers inward until they touch.

Your fingers should form the shape of an ‘O’. Hold this position for a few seconds.

Then straighten your fingers again. Repeat this exercise a few times a day on each hand.

Play with clay

Playing with clay is a great way to increase the range of motion in your fingers and strengthen your hands at the same time — and it won’t even feel like exercise.

If you think you may be suffering from Arthritis you should consult your GP for advice. If you would like to talk to us about your pain, please do feel free to contact us.

Source ANI

Article from The Express Newspaper

Ways To Recover After Work Out

Ways To Recover After Work Out – 5 Top Tips

We are always looking for ways to recover after a work out. Health is a combination of eating well and exercising effectively and regularly to keep your body working at its best.

To maximise your recovery after a great work out there are 5 top tips that can assist with the recovery period you may experience after using so much energy.

  • Water
  • diet
  • sleep
  • stretching and
  • massage

All of these combined, play a part in keeping your muscle soreness to a minimum.

Ways to recover after work out – Water

Ways To Recover After Work Out, water

Drinking water before, during and after a workout replaces the fluids you lose when exercising.

Water also helps break down food and transports nutrients around the body ensuring you get all the benefits from your meals.

While all that sounds amazing did you know water also helps in generating energy and lubricates your body’s joints?

Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink, it could be your body is already dehydrated at that stage so drink water frequently.

Ways to recover after work out – Food

Ways to recover after work out , FoodCertain foods can also be used to aid your body’s recovery after a work out too.

Complex carbohydrates and high-quality proteins will support your body most effectively when eaten within 60 minutes of your workout ending.

These food categories will help to repair damaged tissue, strengthen your body and prepare you effectively for your next workout.

Ways to recover after work out – Sleep

Ways to recover after work out, SleepNot only is sleep great at repairing your body, it also balances your hormones, supports a healthy immune system and your cognitive processes while producing and balancing your growth hormones.

Your hormones and immune system are vital in your body’s removal of toxins and waste products from your body.

Rest is a great way to speed your recovery time between workouts.

Ways to recover after work out – Cool down

While we often begin our exercise with stretches to warm the muscles up it is also important to cool the muscles down the same way.

Gentle stretches at the end of your workout can make a difference to the amount of soreness you feel.

Warm up and cool down to reduce the amount of time your body needs in between workouts.

Ways to recover after work out – Massage

The last on our list of top tips for recovery is massage.

Regular massages can alleviate muscle soreness from exercise as well as stimulate the blood to areas which are not usually well supplied such as tendons and ligaments.

Massage lessens the fatigue your muscles can feel and promotes your body to a more relaxed state of mind.

Each of these tips have their own place in your body’s recovery after exercise. Water, diet, sleep, proper workout warm up and cool downs coupled with massage will invigorate your mind as well as your body, keeping your health in balance.

Please make sure you connect with us on  Facebook where we will share more tips and information about ways to live a healthier lifestyle.

Health Benefits Ginger

Health Benefits Ginger

Health Benefits GingerHave you ever looked in to the health benefits ginger? It really has some fantastic benefits. Ginger can come in many forms

  • Fresh
  • Dried
  • Powder
  • Juice or as an
  • Essential Oil.

Health Benefits Ginger, Chinese MedicineHealth Benefits Ginger – Chinese Medicine

The health benefits of ginger can be linked right back to Chinese medicine and over 3,000 years ago. This plant was used for a multitude of reasons:

A range of digestive disorders

  • Muscular conditions
  • Life longevity

Health Benefits Ginger – Essential Oil

As an essential oil ginger can be used in many ways but must only be applied topically.

  1. When diluted in a base oil or
  2. Inhaled in very small amounts – ideally via a diffuser

As an ingredient ginger is quite harmless.   If you are thinking about taking ginger supplements internally you should consult your doctor.

In certain circumstances, with certain some conditions, taken orally could cause more harm than help.

Mostly the essential oil of ginger is non-toxic and non-irritant. Despite root ginger’s rather strong smell in its natural state, the essential oil smells rather warm and spicy, sweet and moody.

Health benefits Ginger – Sore Tummy

In The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy Valerie Ann Worwood, ensures that she always includes ginger in her Basic Travel Kit.

For travel sickness the book recommends applying two drops of oil to a handkerchief, to be inhaled during the journey.

Alternatively one drop diluted in a little vegetable oil can be rubbed gently on the tummy, which. This would work equally well for indigestion.

Health Benefits Ginger – Motivation

In aromatherapy, essential oil of ginger is believed to suit people who are full of the ideas and plans but find it difficult to motivate themselves.  It promotes a sense of well being and encourages the joy of achievement – amazing!

Health Benefits Ginger – Back Pain

Ginger is thought to be particularly beneficial for the lower back because of its association with the kidneys.

Chinese medicine has used ginger for years to warm and strengthen ‘yang’ energy of the kidneys, It is considered to be ‘hot & dry’ therefore helpful in treating ‘cold, damp’ conditions.

Blend a few drops of essential oil of ginger with the same quantities of lavender and eucalyptus oils in a carrier oil. This is great for massaging the lower back.

“It’s excellent for cold, debilitated individuals who have a pale swollen tongue”, Gabriel Mojay, Aromatherapy for the Healing Spirit

For more information about the therapy treatments we offer please feel free to contact us.

Sports Therapy Massage Newcastle

Meet James Tatham – Sports Therapy Massage Newcastle

Sports Therapy Massage Newcastle, James Tatham

Sports Therapy Massage Newcastle – How Did James Get Started?

James trained at Teesside University, studying for three years and qualifying in 2012. He has been working as a sports therapist for five years. He worked in private practice for four years, doing massage, rehab exercise classes, running clinics and assessments. He does a lot more assessments now he works for himself.

As a keen sportsman when he was younger, playing a lot of football, James often suffered injuries. On a visit to see a physiotherapist James was amazed by how much the physio knew about the human body. Realising that the physio knew his body better than he did, this prompted him to get into sports therapy rather than coaching, which was his initial plan.

And so the study began and James learned that sports therapy focuses on the musculoskeletal system and rehab after injury.

Is Sports Therapy Only for Athletes?

It’s important to know that you can come for a sports therapy session even if you’re not a sportsperson. James treats people from all walks of life, and prefers to work in a relaxed clinic setting rather than out on the side of a sports field. He enjoys seeing people improve over time in their daily life, as well as on a football pitch.

Example of a recent injury

James explained that he recently treated a posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tear. These occur in the back of the knee, and it’s the ligament that holds the knee together. Patients can be offered surgery, but if they choose not to have that, rehab and soft tissue work can help strengthen the knee.

Soft tissue work involves light massage to increase the blood flow to the injured area. James uses deep tissue massage, a more vigorous form of treatment, to try to separate muscle fibres, break down scar tissue or adhesions to muscles (adhesion is when a fibrous tissue develops from a small tear).

He also does pre-event work to stimulate the muscles. Soft tissue release is designed to lengthen a muscle by working it through its movement. Trigger point work is a held position on an area with a build-up of metabolic waste or which is hypersensitive. This can alleviate the pain and desensitise the area.

How can Sports Therapy Help?

Sports therapy is great for general aches and pains. Everyone has muscles which can get tight. One of the most common problems James treats are caused by people sitting for too long at a desk – they get very tight across their shoulders and mid-back. It can also cause neck pains and tension headaches, so massage will alleviate the tightness in the muscles that have been under stress.

Other typical problems include people who’ve sustained an injury while playing sports, such as receiving a knock in football or rugby. Massage is good for relieving the pain post-match.

What can You Expect During a Sports Therapy Massage Newcastle Session?

James talks extensively to each client about what their particular problem is and what they would like their treatment outcomes to be. He then discusses what he would do to help the patient reach their goals.

During treatment, James explains what he’s doing at every stage, so the client knows what’s happening and they feel comfortable. Deep tissue massage can be aggressive, as it’s designed to loosen tightness, which can sometimes seem scary.

Then, he talks through what the client should do post-treatment and what they can do at home to help themselves. James says that the best solution is to see aprofessional but also do a home exercise plan to really benefit.

Who is Sports Therapy for?

James treats a range of clients, many who are office-based for their working day.

They often have chronic back and neck pain, which is because posture slips after an hour sitting at a desk. James recommends getting up regularly and walking around to reset the body. People come to James as and when they feel they need to have treatment.

James has treated a range of injuries, caused by a variety of sports: football, rugby, cricket, volleyball and swimming. Massage benefits everybody, whether they play sports for fun or are elite athletes. It’s a misconception that you have to be a sportsperson to have sports therapy.

Contact us at The Therapy Rooms  on 0191 2136232 to arrange a Sports Therapy massage appointment with James Tatham.