Practice what you preach!

As part of the aftercare advice I give to my clients I usually advise to stay well hydrated and drink plenty!

There are so many articles on the internet telling you the benefits of staying hydrated I’m sure you don’t need another one.

But how about what happens when you don’t stay hydrated?

Recently I had a couple of days where I just forgot to drink, which is very unlike me!

I found myself feeling tired and lethargic, slightly confused and forgetful, my head was pounding the next morning. My skin felt dry and I looked tired, I felt achy and stiff and my mouth and throat were dry. My vision was a little blurry. I couldn’t stop yawning. I felt very congested and blocked, almost like I had a build up of dead energy and waste inside my body.

All of this was very easily remedied with a couple of pints of clear refreshing tap water. I felt rejuvenated, flushed through, cleansed and my mental clarity returned.

We are so lucky to have access to this rejuvenating source of energy, just at the turn of a tap. It’s so easy to get a hold of it that sometimes I take it for granted, or even forget it’s there.

So I thought I would write this little post as a reminder to myself that every time I tell a client to drink plenty and stay well hydrated I shall take a long swig of that clear stuff as well.

Cheers!

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Card Machine

I’m pleased to let you know that my card machine arrived this morning. This means that I am now able to accept card payments!

Tight Hip Flexors

If you spend a lot of time in a seated position (i.e desk job/driving) then it’s quite likely that you will have tight hip flexors.

These are the muscles responsible for bending at the thigh/hip. So if you are constantly sat with your hips bent these muscles will constantly be in a contracted and shortened position, so of course they will be tight!

I would recommend taking regular breaks and having a walk around and a stretch in an attempt to remedy this tightness, along with a regular massage of course!

The bottom picture below shows what a hip flexor stretch looks like.

In the top picture the models knee is line with her hip. If you have extremely tight hip flexors you may feel some stretch in this position, but as this is the position your hips would be in when you are standing you probably won’t be stretching your hip flexors very much.

It may remind you of the more commonly seen quad stretch, which is similar, but done in a standing position.

Only one of the quadriceps muscles crosses the hip joint (the rectus femoris) and this is why simply doing a quad stretch won’t quite target the correct area.

If you really want to target the hip flexors you must move your hip in front of your knee. This then takes your hips into extension, which is the position to best feel the stretch.

You can deepen this by lunging forward onto your front leg, pushing your hips forward and leaning backwards (from the hips) slightly. You can also intensify this by squeezing your bum muscles (gluteals).

Your gluteals are functionally opposite to your hip flexors and when one muscle contracts the opposing muscle must relax. This is called reciprocal inhibition.

If you would like further information regarding stretches I can provide this as part of the aftercare you receive at the end of a massage treatment.

Footprints In The Snow…

Check your footprints in the snow!

If your prints are particularly turned out (i.e. you walk like a duck!) it could indicate that you have a tight piriformis muscle.

Tightness in the piriformis muscle can put pressure on the sciatic nerve, which can cause back, buttock and leg pain. But, not to worry! A massage and a few stretches should help to remedy that!

MTI Membership Renewal

I have renewed my membership with the MTI for another year! For further information on the Massage Training Institute please see their website: http://www.massagetraining.co.uk2017-mti-page-001

Insomnia

Luckily I rarely suffer from insomnia, however a couple of weeks ago I found myself wide awake until the early hours of the morning.

I tossed, turned, fidgeted, turned the pillow to the cool side, opened the window, closed the window, but nothing seemed to be helping. Eventually I realised what was going on and was able to use my knowledge of the nervous system to drift off.

Earlier that day I’d been in a bit of stressful situation, nothing too traumatic or dangerous, but enough to make my heart race. When our brains perceive a stressful situation, which could be anything from being chased by a tiger to having to give a presentation at work, our sympathetic nervous system is engaged.

The sympathetic nervous system is often referred to as our ‘fight or flight’ response. This brings about a number of changes within the body so we are able to run away quickly or stand and fight our ground. Sometimes the body can stay in this state of high alert even after the stress has gone away, meaning sleep that night may be disturbed, difficult or even non-existent.

To turn off our sympathetic nervous system we need to engage the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system (also called ‘rest and digest’) reverses the changes made by the fight or flight response, returns the bodily functions to normal and hopefully allows us to get some rest!

One way to activate this ‘rest and digest’ response is to massage the vagus nerve, but unfortunately this isn’t always convenient when you’re lying awake in the middle of the night. Another method of stimulating the vagus nerve is to take some deep slow breaths.

And so that is exactly what I did! I took in a big deep breath, allowing my belly to expand so that the diaphragm was engaged, and then slowly let the breath out, I probably did this for a couple of minutes and then I don’t remember much after that, so I must have drifted off quite quickly.

If you find you are having trouble sleeping give the deep breathing technique a try, however if insomnia becomes a common occurrence then I would recommend getting yourself booked in for some regular massage sessions.

Kington Walking Festival

This year is the fifth Kington Walking Festival,  it runs from 15th -18th September 2016 and the brochure is now available on their website http://www.kingtonwalks.org

If you are staying in the area during the festival and need a massage to soothe your weary legs, feet or hips after your walk then please get in contact and we can arrange a massage!

Massage is great for flushing out waste products, such as lactic acid, that can build up during exercise. It can also improve blood flow into an area, bringing along with it more oxygen and fresh nutrients to aid with repairing any micro-damage that may have occurred during your walk.

Remember to stay well hydrated during your walk and to take a rest if you need it. I would also recommend to have a good full body stretch after your walk, but if you only have a couple of minutes then I would suggest stretching the main leg muscles, (quadriceps, hamstrings, calves) along with the gluteals, and doing some ankle circles with your feet.

I hope you enjoy the festival!