Massage for Children

Children benefit from massage too. Playing sports, or musical instruments, carrying heavy bags around, dealing with social or exam stress can create the same sort of knots, aches and pains as they would in an adult body. A body that is still growing can experience ‘growing pains’ and the view has historically been “they’ll grow out of it”. Often there are identifiable factors to these aches, tight muscles, differences in joint mobility and anxiety levels can contribute. The good news is massage can help relieve the symptoms and a bit of exercise advice can help develop a functional adaptation, giving a better chance of efficient movement patterns to carry through to adulthood.

I spend part of my week working as a Massage Therapist for Tiny Tim’s Children’s Centre in Coventry, this charity provides free therapies for children from 0-18 years old with disabilities and special needs. I regularly see the enormous beneficial impact that massage provides many of these children and in turn, their families, read a testimonial here. I also hear how difficult it can be for those families to find a therapist willing to work with children. A sample list of conditions encountered so far : Autism, ADHD, Anxiety, Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Childhood Constipation, Developmental Delay, Downs Syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos-Hypermobility Syndrome, Hemiplegia, Sensory Processing Differences and a range of congenital conditions.

If you think massage would benefit a child or young person in your life, please get in touch.

Recommended Reading for Runners

I regularly recommend this books to runners and non-runners alike. First off, it’s a great story, full of inspiration of many different kinds. Second (and probably more importantly) it offers a wealth of debate to challenge everything you’ve ever thought you knew about footwear and running as a high impact sport. Thirdly, comparitive study of the sociology and psychology of the Tarahumara provide astounding revelations on the link between the mind and performance.

Born to Run holds enormous value for anyone looking to “rethink their feet” something I encourage many of my clients to do; regardless of how they plan to use them.

Click on the image to purchase a copy

Recommended Product for Active Sitting

Learning to sit in good alignment can really help combat neck, shoulder and low back pain this simple gadget can provide a firm foundation for finding and maintaining that healthy position.

Often when prolonged sitting causes discomfort, we look for ways to support the body. We commonly believe that we should somehow prop the body up to relieve our aches and pains. Lumbar and arm supports may feel like relief in the beginning, but keeping an area in constant rest mode just makes it weaker and recovery that bit further away. In good alignment the body supports itself, using low level activity in the muscles designed for that purpose, bringing relief to shoulders and lower backs.

I regularly coach clients in the full aspects of Active Sitting when they visit the clinic for treatment, an illustrated description of all the information is emailed after the session, for future reference.


Persistent Pain Management

I’m feeling excited and very honoured to have been invited to observe a 4 week programme of Persistent Pain management Workshops at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital Birmingham. The clinic runs on a multidisciplinary approach with Dr Grehame Brown, orthopaedic physician and co-author of the self help manual (link below); Abigail Darling, Human Givens Therapist and the physiotherapy department.

Lovely to see this holistic approach in an NHS setting.

If you’re interested in finding out more follow this link to Brown’s book, one in a series of the seriously quick and effective Human Givens self help manuals.


Definitely Try This at Home

Do you have a stiff neck? clunky shoulder? a knee that never feels quite right? Most of us carry some sort of niggle around with us. Try this. Scan your body for any bothersome areas, shut your eyes for a moment and conjure up any thoughts, colours, emotions that spring to mind, write them down. Now do another body scan and find an area that has no niggles, you probably don’t usually even notice this bit of you. Again focus in and take note of the way it makes you feel.

In all likelyhood, the images and feelings about your niggley bit will have come out on the dark and negative side, while the usually ignored, non niggley part will have conjured light and bouncy thoughts and feelings, possibly even a glimmer of optimism that more of you could feel this way?

So I ask you, do we focus too much on our pain or discomfort? Have I just put myself out of business?

Look out for more posts on the Headology of Pain and Discomfort coming soon.

Thanks to Gary Ward of Anatomy in Motion, for providing this little gem in his book What The Foot? (2013)


New Rules of Posture

I read a lot of material on ways to enhance body awareness and different forms of exercise to suit the full range of clients that come into my massage therapy clinic. There are few books I would recommend so readily to so many people.The information presented is masterfully accurate and concise, although it can take a while to process as you apply it to your own body. The practical elements are called explorations, rather than exercises, as the aim is to have readers understand and experience balance in a range of everyday situations. After practising for a while the reader is equipped with a very firm foundation for movement.

Functional Neuromuscular Rehabilitation

Neuromuscular Rehabilitation I have been studying this book for a while now, written by probably the most controversial voice in the world of bodywork. In a nutshell the theory goes: Posture is irrelevant, forget muscle imbalances, it’s all about motor control. Will be spending this weekend consolidating and asking awkward questions. Will be back March 3rd with improved understanding and skills to assist more people to move with greater ease.

Sore Muscles after Exercise? 2

When is the best time for a post event massage?

It’s frustrating that even though millions of professional and amateur athletes atKneadingtest to training, performing and recovering better with massage as part of their training regime, any medical research that supports the theory still comes with the “may help” tag.
It is difficult to assess the quality of the research commented on in the WebMD article as they don’t cite references to the original study. It is true that there have been a number of studies that have failed to prove the link between massage and faster recovery times, but Oleg Bouimer former Massage Therapist to the Russian Olympic team states that it is all down to timing. The Russian protocol was developed in a trial and error kind of way, but once they hit on the right recipe, they used it to great effect for decades. So, the magic number? 2-2.5 hours after exercise. This approach has since been corroborated by a scientific study published in 1994. If you would like to read up on some juicy cell biology follow this link to the original research:,type.2/article_detail.asp
But It’s not just massage at the right time that works, it also needs to be the right sort of massage.
A true post event massage is all about encouraging fluid exchange and should consist of roughly 50% kneading, all well within the comfort parameters of the person on the couch. Post event massage does not treat any new or existing aches and pains, is not uncomfortable and is not a replacement for a cool down regime.
So, now you know, you can start planning your massages to slot in with your training/event regime and bounce back from ‘the big push’ quicker than ever before.

Sore muscles after exercise?

Swedish massageA recent article published on WebMD gives a basic introduction to some recent research which maps how exactly massage affects muscles.
As a massage therapist I am often asked, why? Most people assume that science has all the answers already; but more is being discovered about the human body all the time. Studies are made, articles are published, the studies are then pulled apart and criticised for what they don’t prove.
This particular article sparked some interesting debate on Sports Therapist forums. I’ll share some other points of view and industry secrets soon. Watch this space!

Ever Tried Qi Gong?

Self help for chronic shoulder conditions or general wellbeing.
Do you suffer with persistent shoulder tension?
Do your tense shoulders result in neck pain or headaches?
Do you know you need to improve your posture but haven’t quite found a route?
Well you’re certainly not alone!
I decided to investigate Qi gong (most usually pronounced chi gung) as several clients have expressed a deep gratitude for this form of Tai Chi.
The link here is for the first of a pair of you-tube videos, made in a US Hepitius C clinic, but no less relevant for that. The second in the set should appear in the righthand side bar. There is quite a lot of explanation throughout the 2 clips (about 20 mins in total) to assist in getting the most out of the movements shown and the releasing breaths are really effective! Have a watch, have a go, tell me what you think.