Thursday, 9 April 2020

Making the Bank Holiday Different

Life in lock-down can mean that the days all begin to blur into one. If, like me, you already have absolutely no idea what day of the week it is, you may have only just realised that tomorrow is a bank holiday ! The start of the long Easter Weekend!

There have been numerous posts and blogs offering advice on how to survive lock-down and how to look after our mental health as well as posts advertising online resources for fun things to do or watch. I'm not going to tell you how to look after your mental health or the importance of routine, you've already heard and read about all that too many times. I am going to try to pull together a few of the resources and ideas that are available to help differentiate the weekend from the week. Maybe some of these ideas will help you to make the Bank Holiday Weekend feel a bit more like a holiday and less like just another 4 days in lock-down.

So, what would you normally do on a bank holiday weekend? A weekend away? Camping? Walking? Theatre or cinema? A meal out? See family and friends? With a bit of creativity and planning, many of these could be recreated at home.

We can't have a weekend away, but if you are feeling hardy and have a tent you could have a garden camp-out, don't forget the marshmallows and campfire songs (you may even be able to get your neighbours to join in....we did last weekend before the Queen's speech, it was lovely to see everyone laughing and having some fun) !! If, like me, April is a bit too chilly for camping, you can save this one for the end of May bank holiday weekend instead..

Walking/cycling:...well, we may not be able to go far afield, but we can still go out for exercise once a day so make the most of the opportunity to get out of your house and explore your local area...most of us don't know the area on our own doorstep as well as we know our favourite beauty spot, now's your chance to get to know your local area too. While you are out, pop into your local shop for supplies for some of your other activities.

Theatre: You can't go to the theatre, but the theatre has come home to us. Both musicals and stage plays can be watched on YouTube. Personally, I'm off to the theatre this afternoon to watch 'One Man, Two Guvnors' before it disappears at 7pm to be replaced with Jane Ayre. Don't forget the chocolate/sweets/ice cream/prosecco. Try these links for more information:

A meal out: Well, we may not be able to go out for a meal or a takeaway, but the meal can come to us. There are many pubs and restaurants trying to keep their businesses afloat and support their local communities by providing take-away meals. A quick search on the internet should help you find what is available in your local area. The closest to me in Copmanthorpe that I am aware of is Ye Old Sun Inn in Colton, where you can not only pick up a fabulous take-away but some essential groceries too (and some of Ashley's amazing chocolate). You can place your order by phone, then, when you collect, ring them from the car park and they will bring your order out to you. Many other pubs and restaurants are also offering take away services, but , as I don't know where you all live I'll leave it to you to have a look online. Now is a great time to support your local businesses.

Your favourite takeaway: If you are set on your favourite Indian/Chinese/Thai/Burger/Pizza you could use the extra time that most of us have to make your own using a simple recipe, let's face it there are a lot of fabulous recipes online. Alternatively you can see what your local supermarket can offer from their takeaway selection, picking up some marshmallows (for your camp fire), chocolates and ice cream (for the theatre) or popcorn (for your movie night) at the same time.

Movie night: This is one for NetFlix/Amazon prime/Now TV etc or maybe you could dig out some of your old favourite DVD's and start to watch them again. Maybe you could swap DVD's with some of your neighbours. Don't forget the takeaway and popcorn (see above!)

BBQ: This is still possible so long as you have the gas/charcoal you need and can get some supplies. The supermarkets are well stocked again now, but if you don't want to go to the big shops, your local butchers will be able to provide top quality meats and, again you will be supporting a small, local business. Your local greengrocers will be able to supply the vegetables for your kebabs and salad vegetables as well as fresh fruit to dip in melted chocolate for desert.

Family time: If you have the luxury of a garden, this is definitely the time to dig out those old garden games from the depths of the garage or garden shed, dust them off and start to play. Whether it is an ancient swing-ball set, hoop-la or a couple of tennis balls that you can throw at some tin cans, dig out what you have got and get creative to make some fun, silly games to play as a family. There are loads of ideas on the internet, here is one link (and a second one for card games), but a quick search will provide you with plenty of ideas.

Family time: To spend time with your wider family, and friends too, you can arrange a video call using WhatsApp/Zoom/Skype/Google hangouts etc. with a bit of planning you could organise a quiz, a bingo night or some silly games to play online.

And, of course, it's Easter, there will be eggs to hide, eggs to hunt for, eggs to paint and decorate....and chocolate to eat...

So there's a few ideas. What will you plan to do this weekend?

Personally, I'm off the the theatre this afternoon, racing around the world (on catch up) tomorrow, heading back to the theatre for Jesus Christ Superstar on Saturday or Sunday, enjoying a curry, catching up with family and friends via Zoom and playing games in the garden (swingball, football and badminton most likely). I'll save the camping until it's a bit warmer! Let me know what you get up to, it might give me some ideas for next weekend...

Monday, 3 October 2016

What is Therapeutic Massage

What is Therapeutic Massage?

I have heard of Sports Massage, but what is Therapeutic Massage and what should I expect?

Massage is: a natural therapy which has been used for thousands of years to treat musculoskeletal problems.

Musculoskeletal Problems and Massage:

Minor injuries are the most common musculoskeletal problems. These can be extremely painful, often seriously impacting on an individual’s occupation, sport, hobbies or quality of life. Such injuries are often not treated effectively through modern medicine and, if untreated, can sometimes lead to more serious conditions in the long term. The majority of these minor injuries can be quickly and effectively treated with massage. Massage can also be highly effective in injury prevention both in a sports context and also in daily life.

Sports Massage is: a form of Therapeutic Massage dealing with the health of muscle and connective tissue. Sports massage is a specific qualification generally associated with the treatment of sporting or other injuries. Clients should expect a thorough consultation, postural analysis and an assessment of their range of movement prior to a treatment targeted to address their specific condition, and thorough aftercare advice.

So, what is Therapeutic Massage?

Therapeutic (or remedial, or Clinical) Massage is, like sports massage, a targeted massage aimed at addressing a specific condition.

Clinical Massage Therapy can be defined as ‘the use of manual manipulation of the soft tissues to relieve specific complaints of pain and dysfunction’.

Therapeutic massage can be used as part of a wider health/treatment plan for someone recovering from an injury or a specific health condition to loosen muscles, improve muscle tone, increase flexibility and help to manage pain.

Therapeutic massage can also be used as a stand-alone treatment. Athletes for example regularly use therapeutic massage to keep themselves in good physical condition and address any injuries and pre-existing conditions.

People suffering with, for example, back pain, neck pain, frozen shoulder, rotator-cuff problems, sciatica-type symptoms etc often use regular massage to loosen their muscles, break down knots and adhesions, increase flexibility and mobility, and reduce pain.

Those with sedentary lifestyles/jobs may use therapeutic massage to correct postural and repetitive strain problems while workers in physical/manual jobs may use therapeutic massage to keep their muscles strong, loose and flexible.

What should I expect from a Therapeutic Massage?

Depending on your symptoms/condition a massage therapist offering therapeutic massage would:

  • Ask about symptoms/conditions when you book your appointment
  • Carry out a thorough consultation to ensure that they are able to effectively target their treatment to address your condition and in order to ensure that it is safe to work with you on that day in the way required.
  • May carry out a postural assessment to enable them to see where you have tight or stretched muscles which will be impacting on your condition.
  • May assess your range of movement in the affected parts of the body to further enable them to target their treatment appropriately and effectively.
  • Use massage to warm and relax the muscles prior to deeper tissue work.
  • Work within your limits, using your breath to relax muscles in preparation for deep work.
  • Use deep tissue massage, advanced massage techniques and muscle energy techniques to break down and release any knots and adhesions, enervate lax muscles, relax tight muscles, release trigger points and increase range of movement and joint flexibility and mobility.
  • Use passive and/or assisted stretches to further increase flexibility and range of movement.
  • Ensure effective massage to increase circulation to provide oxygen and nutrients to the cells and effectively remove waste products.
  • Give comprehensive aftercare advice which will often include advice on stretches to help continue the improvement.

Qualifications in Therapeutic Massage:

Therapeutic massage is not such a well-known and widely-recognised qualification as sports massage. However, as you can see, the two are closely related.

Training in therapeutic massage is thorough and comprehensive requiring a thorough working knowledge of the musculo-skeletal system as well as all the other systems of the body; training in advanced massage techniques and in the treatment of specific conditions and in techniques to work with each area of the body; an understanding of when massage is/is not an appropriate treatment plus many hours of practical application of the techniques assessed through observation and written case studies. Therapists should also be constantly practicing, learning new techniques and updating their knowledge and skills.

The training course I did incorporated: sports massage; deep tissue massage; muscle energy techniques; positional release; post isometric relaxation; stretches; trigger point and adhesion work; lengthening tight and facilitated muscles and shortening weak and inhibited muscles.  

Is Therapeutic Massage right for me?

  • Do you have aches and pains you would like to get rid of or reduce?
  • Do you suffer from persistent muscle tension?
  • Do you suffer from headaches, insomnia and any other stress-related symptoms?
  • Do you regularly engage in sporting/leisure/work activities for which you need your muscles to be strong, supple and flexible?
  • Do you struggle with symptoms/conditions such as back pain, stiff necks, symptoms of sciatica, rotator-cuff problems, repetitive strain injuries, poor posture etc?
  • Are you recovering from a musculo-skeletal injury?
  • Do you have an ongoing health condition causing muscle tension and related symptoms?

I could go on…. Therapeutic massage is a targeted massage therapy aimed at addressing a specific problem/condition. It is highly beneficial to many people and incorporates sports massage techniques alongside many other advanced massage techniques to relieve specific complaints of pain and dysfunction.

If you think you could benefit from a therapeutic massage, get in touch today to discuss your injury/condition. Making contact does not commit you to anything but could be the best decision you make. I work with clients with a wide range of conditions and injuries in my treatment room based in Copmanthorpe, York.

Cash, M. Sport and Remedial Massage Therapy. 1996. London. Ebury Press

Clay, J H and Pounds D M. Basic Clinical Massage Therapy: Integrating Anatomy  and Treatment. 2002.  Lippincott Williams and Wilkins

wiseGEEK [online]. Available at: [accessed 26th September 2016]