Precision Movement's KT gives her recommendations for reducing the risk of a flare up from pain and autoimmune conditions as well as re-injury during the Christmas party season.
Hello! I'm back. After a long sabbatical of blogging I've returned to share my insights, new finds and help information to help you all recover from injury effectively and maintain a healthy and enjoyable life through movement and fitness.
As many of your already know I am training to be a soft tissue therapist. In it's simplest form I can be referred to as a massage therapist but the techniques I am learning also help with soft tissue injury recovery. Massage is mostly regarded an enjoyable experience that helps you feel more relaxed. But it has many other important benefits for health, injury recovery and training. Read onto find out the top 5 benefits of regular massage treatment.
The flow of fluids
Massage has a pumping effect on blood circulation which helps transport nutrients for growth, repair and nutrition as well as removing waste products at a cellular level. Lymph is fluid found in tissues that is not part of blood that holds certain nutrients and also collects waste products from cells. Unlike the blood, the lymphatic system does not have a pump system. Lymph is moved through muscle contraction. However, if you are recovering from injury and unable to contract certain muscles then massage can help push lymph through the body more effectively.
Body maintenance for regular training
For those of you who train regularly massage is an important maintenance tool for recovery and increased training gains. When you exercise you create micro-trauma (tears) in muscle fibres. The body responds by laying down repair tissues (scar tissue) for healing. This is all perfectly normal. However, with repeated training sometimes the tissues doesn't get enough time to heal so scar tissue can build up without you noticing until there is a significant impairment in muscle function or pain. Regular massage therapy can help identify small areas of build up and break them down before they become an issue. Post-workout massage can increase the rate of healing and recovery which means your body is in the best working condition for your next training session.
Massage can be a great contributor to the healing of soft tissue injury. When muscle fibres are injured the body lays down scar tissue in the first stage of healing. When the fibres are healed the body clears up the excess scar tissue. However, sometimes due to a premature return to exercise scar tissue does not fully leave the healed area and then lays down more in response to micro trauma from exercise. An excessive build up of scar tissue can lead to layers of muscle fibres, which ordinarily glide over each other, sticking together. This can impair the function of the muscle and surrounding tissues and potentially lead to further injury. Massage can help break down the scar tissue and adhesions and realign the fibres so the muscle can heal and return to full function.
Localised tissue flexibility
Sometimes rather than a whole muscle, only a portion of the muscle becomes tight. Stretching the whole muscle cannot reach the portion that really needs to be stretched. Certain massage techniques can help stretch and release localised tissue and also helps to draw muscle fibres and sheets of muscle fibres and fascia (connective tissue) apart in different directions. Massage therapists can help identify areas of tightness before they start affecting performance and/or causing discomfort.
The immediate effects from massage are felt mostly through the nervous system. The direct affect of massage is that is stimulates nerve receptors in the tissues and reduces tissue tension. Nerve receptors also respond to touch, warmth and pressure which helps place the body in a parasympathetic state - otherwise known as a state of relaxation, healing and recovery. It helps decrease blood pressure, mental and emotional tension and encourages digestion. That is why you feel so good after a massage!
One stop shop
In fact, massage is beneficial on so many levels that in my opinion it can no longer be seen as a luxury or a treat. With our busy lifestyles, it is imperative that we stop and take time to relax, heal and recover. When you book a massage treatment you have no choice but to lie on the couch and be treated. Even if you don't want to go because you have a million other things you think you should be doing, after your treatment you'll feel like a different person! For me it's akin to the benefits of meditation or a micro-vacation!
As part of my training I am required to log 100 hours of practice treatments. I hold my free massage clinic on Fridays between 3-7pm in Mayfair. Treatment is 100% free until I qualify in July. The only charge is the clinic room hire of £20. So, if you would like to experience some or all of the benefits of massage email me at KT@precisionmovement.co.uk and we'll get you set up with a date for treatment!
As many of your know Precision Movement has been making extensive additions and changes to our little Mayfair studio space courtesy of Grosvenor House Apartments. And though she be little she is (mighty) fierce and versatile. Here are the new changes to the space and how they optimise your workout.
This March we had a custom designed BeaverFit rig installed into the ceiling. This has been the most anticipated change in the studio since we moved in. The rig will be used for pullup/chin up and brachiation training. Also check out the fat GRIPZ for extra intensity without extra load. It has proved super popular so far!
The rig also enables us to use TRx, Crosscore180 and Olympic Rings for suspension and aerial training. Bring on the strength! The rig is 3.5m long meaning we can have someone working on the Kinesis, someone working on the TRx and someone in the weight area quite comfortably.
The matted floorspace has been increased by a third meaning more workable space for people to use and more people using the space at the same time. It also means the floorspace becomes more versatile - we can bring out a barre for a ballet workout or clear the space for kickboxing or a yoga based work-in. We have had some guests using the space to practice their karate katas and MMA moves. We have left the space open for just this purpose because no single person's workout is the same and we want to cater to that as much as possible.
We now have adjustable weights up to 41kg each alongside the original rack of 1-10kg. We have a few olympic bars and weight plates for more traditional strength training as well as weighted medicine balls and powerbags. The original Kinesis cable machine is still installed as well.
The bring out put back system
We have lots of different equipment that can be used in the space - kettlebells, powerbags, battling ropes, agility equipment, olympic bars, medicine balls. We bring out what we need into the space for your specific workout and then put it back to open the space up again. It sounds really obvious but many gyms, particularly hotel and residence gyms are the same space as our little studio but packed full of machines which limits the type of exercise you can do in the space. Training has moved on past machines... there are some uses for machine work but at Precision Movement we are more steered towards challenging your body in different ways. Which is why we think our space is becoming one of the best hotel gyms in London.
The space is being used more than it ever has been and it's being used in many ways, for all kinds of movement, workouts and sports conditioning. If you haven't been down to visit yet, then please do. We'd love to have you!
Let's face it, I'm hard to sum up in a tidy little phrase - though many have tried! So I asked my lovely clients, the recipients of my knowledge and expertise to describe their experiences of working with me. My fabulous web/video/media guys at SquareGlu sprinkled magic dust over it to produce this little movie...
Thanks to to my lovely clients for taking part - I did tell you I'd get you your five minutes of fame! And thanks to SquareGlu for making such a professional end product.
Popcorn at the ready.... ;)
The number one question I get asked is "Are you a physio?" - unfortunately I cannot lay claim to this esteemed profession! I am not a physio. The second question is, "So are you a personal trainer then?". Again I cannot say I am a Personal Trainer either - well not anymore. I fall somewhere between the two and work under the grandiose title of "Corrective Exercise Specialist". This line of conversation invariably leads to a discussion about what type of exercise I do and how it differs from gym training. I will now humbly attempt to explain in an effort to give you a better understanding of the difference.... Wish me luck!
What is corrective exercise?
Corrective exercise is a special type of exercise usually used as part of the rehabilitation process in healing and recovery from chronic pain, injury or surgery, or given to those who suffer from poor posture. The emphasis really is on optimal alignment, stability, mobilisation and then strength development.
In comparison regular exercise that you might do in the gym or in sports has a different goal - often increased fitness, body shape change, weight loss etc. As the goals are different the exercises and movement given are bigger and incorporate more muscles. This helps co-ordination for sports and is also effective for conditioning the body to change shape and increase fitness. If I were to give these exercises to someone who is in pain and has poor alignment, poor stability, mobility and strength they would not be able to perform them effectively and could potentially hurt themselves further.
It's important to mention here that corrective exercise also forms a foundation for all movement and exercise. If your foundational principles are good then your risk of injury is much reduced. When clients come to Precision Movement with fitness goals we still take them through foundational principles to make sure alignment, stability, and mobility is optimal for more complex movements.
The types of exercises
The majority of exercises I do with clients at the beginning of their programmes are floor or swiss ball based. I ask them to repeat the repetitions many times to elicit postural change and I also ask them to engage in mindful exercise which includes some psychology techniques. Corrective exercise rarely makes you sweat and definitely doesn't increase your heart or breathing rate. It is not easy though! The areas we stretch are usually tight and stiff and the muscles we train are weak to begin with. When clients adapt and improve, programmes are updated to challenge them further.
A classic exercise I teach clients is the horsestance series. It looks very easy but it is actually quite challenging. Before clients can do this exercise effectively I'll also teach and often reset their breathing mechanics, help them effectively activate their core and how to activate stability through their hands and feet. When the exercise is performed correctly it is exceptionally effective in training stability and forms a solid foundation for more complex movements that you would do in the gym or in sports.
Typical exercises you might see in the gym are squats, lunges, pullups and pushups. These are all neurologically complex movements meaning the brain needs to send a huge amount of information to the muscular system to perform the movement successfully. You might use a kettlebell swing which is a dynamic form of a deadlift pattern. Running, martial arts and many other sports are also exceptionally challenging to the body and brain. To perform these exercises and sports well you'll need optimal joint stability, understanding of core function, breathing mechanics, optimal joint mobility and to minimise the risk of injury good alignment throughout the body as well as in the movement.
When does corrective exercise become regular exercise?
At Precision Movement we are specialists in change. Our goal with everyone is to get them to a fully functional movement state for life and whatever sports they participate in.
We don't want someone lying on the floor doing a mundane exercise forever. We may ask someone to do this in an early stage of rehabilitation to get certain muscles firing but when they adapt to the exercise we make it more challenging. All the exercises we give have many many progressions right up to regular exercise that you'll recognise well. Perhaps the difference in giving regular exercise at Precision Movement is we might make changes or modifications that are specific to an individuals needs eg. A static lunge might include a band to emphasise the inclusion of the hip stabilisers that have a tendency to be lazy - they might now be strong but the band acts as a reminder for the individual to maintain good knee alignment.
In a way, we use corrective exercise like servicing a machine. A machine that has been running for a while might need some parts changed, an oil or water change. Similarly, we'll do a maintenance check and make sure all the stabilisers are firing correctly and alignment and mobility are good.
For more information on corrective exercise for postural alignment, pain relief and management of injuries and degenerative conditions please contact us.