Aberdeen Sports Massage


Running Repairs and Avoiding Breakdowns

Running Repairs vs Breakdowns



Whatever your goal this year, an event or achieving a new PB or just to get fit, running and walking remains one of the cheapest and most addictive ways to keep fit.  What is always a difficult conversation in clinic though is when we have a client come in and things have started to go wrong.  Tight bits have turned into sore bits and now they are getting in the way of training.  It may mean these clients are advised that taking some time off training is required while the injury heals or restricting the type of training they are doing.  It may mean their goals for this season are unattainable.  Heartbreaking when so much time and effort has gone into the training.  We want to try and avoid those conversations this year so we have written a troubleshooting guide to keep you on track.  We would rather be helping you towards your goal than fixing something when it is too late!


1. Self-maintenance



Everybody has an area of the body that may require special attention more than other areas.  This may be dictated by previous injuries, your occupation or the activity you have chosen to participate in.  For some it may be the lower back, for others the achilles/calf region.  Having some go-to exercises, stretches, foam roller routines etc. for these areas will keep the niggles at bay and keep you on track.  What if you do not know what your go-to areas are or how to keep on top of them?  Well that brings us to no2.



2. The role of the Massage Therapist



A good Sports Therapist will be able to, through a range of quick tests combined with your medical and sporting history, be able to find areas of concern or areas that may require improvement.  A lot of running and walking related injuries can be caused by changes in muscle length and if caught and recognised early enough, can be avoided.  We call this PREHAB.  


A review with a sports therapist throughout your training journey can be beneficial in helping you recover from training blocks, prevent injury and ultimately improve your performance by ensuring your body moves optimally.  For some this may be fortnightly, others monthly.  This can be done on an ad-hoc basis when your self-maintenance does not feel like it is enough.


3. Load



The most common way people at this time of year injure themselves is doing too much too soon.  A good rule of thumb to use is the 10% rule.  Try not in the course of a week to increase the distance or times of your walk or run by more than 10%.  This gives your body a chance to adapt and protects structures like tendons from being overloaded.  Remember to build in rest days to your schedule too.  Your body will enjoy too many consecutive days of training without a chance to recover.


4. Warm-up/cool-down



I realise this is going to sound like that PE teacher or sports coach from your youth but some health and fitness advice does not change over the years.  Preparing your body for activity and then recovering afterwards is the cornerstone to remaining injury free. A good dynamic warm-up pre-activity and a good static stretching session post-activity is the current consensus on what is most effective.

The Detox fad in Massage Therapy

The Detox fad in Massage Therapy


Its January and this year more than most, we have been hearing about all the weird and wonderful ways people are starting their health kicks / fads this year.  Once again, the buzz word seems to be “detox”.  Whether it is juice, teas, Aloe Vera and everything in-between.  We have some opinions on these methods and products but since we are not a company who specialises in nutrition, we will not go on a rant about them!


However, it does raise the topic of detoxification which is a commonly hyped benefit of massage therapy.  It also seems to raise it’s ugly head in January as therapists attempt to jump on this health-fad bandwagon to increase footfall in the traditionally quiet January period.


Well lets get this straight, any therapist proposing to be helping to detox your body either


  1. Does not have a good understanding of human anatomy
  2. Does not have a good understanding on the effects of massage therapy and techniques
  3. Chooses to ignore these and regurgitate common misconceptions on the benefits of massage therapy


Oh oh...careful of them toxins!

My first point regarding detoxification is what exactly are we trying to rid the body of.  What do we have, specifically in January that is so harmful that the body cannot deal with of it’s own accord.  The kidneys and liver are the detoxification centres of the human body and do a very good job dealing with any waste products of daily living.  I would be interested to hear what answer your therapist would give when you ask them what specifically they are trying to eliminate from your body.


Don't be a victim of massage robbery!

Secondly, lets presume there is a toxin that requires special attention from your therapist to eliminate. How is your therapist going to achieve this?  Often, a therapist will propose that the massage will increase blood flow, hence “flushing” these products out your system.  Well research has shown (Sefton et al 2010) that massage therapy is ineffective in stimulating blood flow beyond the level of the skin.  Wiltshire et al (2010) even proposed in their study that massage therapy actually impaired the removal of waste product Lactic Acid post-exercise.  I am gonna put it out there, the only thing your therapist is detoxing with their Detox Massage is the elimination of money from your piggy bank!


The only form of massage that has any scientific evidence that points towards it’s effectiveness in this area is Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) (Vairo et al 2009).  There are various studies that show increased lymph flow and therefore the efficiency of the system in the body designed to eliminate waste products.  Fortunately for us, as a company that tries to be as evidence-based as possible, we have Lara Jordon on our staff that specialises in this area.


Massage therapy has a number of fantastic benefits but I am sorry, the evidence suggests detoxification is not one of them!  If you are looking for improved mood, sleep, reduced pain, anxiety, lymphodema and stress as part of your January “new you”, then get in to see your friendly local therapist.  Just don’t be suckered in to shelling out your hard earned pennies on myths and misconceptions.


Happy New Year from all at ASM. 

Can you beat the "seasonal flu" and the "winter blues" this year?

The nights are drawing in, the mornings are cold and dark!  For many that means the onset of the Autumnal/Winter cold/flu season, altered sleep patterns and a general feeling of increased fatigue.  Why is this and what can you do to combat it?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is the clinical term and most serious version of the "Winter blues" that affects around 2 million people in the UK.  However, there are many other less serious and more common versions of the effect that the change in seasons has on the body.  There are many potential causes and a range of things you can do to help yourself at this time of year.


1. Keep active, keep exercising.
If it is end of your season, you have finished the push for the bikini-body or the weather gets in the way of your weekend pursuits it is important to keep up a level of physical activity at this time of year.  It may be as simple as the NHS recommended 60 min walk everyday, if possible in the middle of the day.  This will keep the release of happy hormones flowing and give you a little more exposure to sunlight that is so important in regulating your sleep and mood.
For advice on walking for exercise see the NHS guide on walking for health here.


2. Use heat.
Warm foods and drinks, clothes and shoes are really important for staving off the Winter blues.  Microwaveable heat pads, hot water bottles and products like these are staples of our advice in clinic at this time of year for their benefits in prolonging the effects your session.  Our Hot Stone Massage treatments really come into their own at this time of year for working on those tight muscles, relaxation and combating the chills of this time of year too.


3. Exposure to light.
Often some of the effects of the Winter blues can be due to the climate we live in.  Exposure to the sun in the Winter in the Northern Hemisphere can be really difficult at times!  There are a number of products that can help combat this on the market from light boxes to alarm clocks that emit light around the time of waking that may be worth a try, although can be quite expensive.  

Of course, one of the easiest ways of ticking this box is to try and make sure when we do have daylight (allbeit it seems some days that does not happen) that we get outside and see it!


4. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)
MLD is a specialist treatment that we offer in clinic and is targeted at the a system in the body that has an important role in your bodies immune system.  This time of year is the most stressful time to your immune system as it is bombarded with winter bugs and suchlike.  The lymphatic system cleans up all these bugs and waste products and takes them away for removal.  Inefficiency of this system is thought to be one of the reasons that we may feel for months on end that we have a cold or a re rundown all Winter.  MLD treatments at this time of year kickstart this system, boost it's effectiveness and make sure we are in as good a position as we can be to win the war of the sniffles!  Check out our page on the service here.


5. Eat healthy
We don't put ourselves out there as nutrition experts at ASM, we leave that to our friends in the ASM family that we recommend on our website.  However, undoubtedly ensuring you are fuelling your body with nutritious foods at this time of year will help.  The temptation is to fall in the trap of eating comfort and unhealthy foods.  Everything in moderation but continuing fruits and veg is a good plan.


Hope that helps.  Lots of easy ways to help yourself and if you want to, we are here with some specialist services to help out.  As always, any specific advice on your symptoms or condition then we are happy to discuss.


Don't be a Pokemon Go hater...

Unless you are living on a different planet, it is hard to have not come across or try the craze, Pokemon Go.  From young to old, it has attracted a great deal of interest but also a great deal of negativity.  It is this that has sparked a somewhat spontaneous blogpost from us here at ASM on those "hating on" those playing the game as the kids would say.

 The new craze, Pokemon Go.

The new craze, Pokemon Go.

As a company that promotes health and well-being, we are wholeheartedly throwing our support behind the game, and here is why...

1. Firstly, lets address and put to one side the safety concerns.  As well as supporting people to try the game if they want, we are urging people to be vigilant of their surroundings at all times.  This means traffic as well as theft related advice on walking around with your smart phone so visible.  Risks are inherent in all past times, road cycling, mountaineering etc. so lets not focus on this but be mindful of it.

2. In this modern lifestyle, particularly in youth communities, of increased sedentary habits, why oh why should we be discouraging our youngsters from going outside and exercising.  Consider an average day in the life of an average school-going child.  Rise, breakfast (in sitting), lift/bus to school (in sitting), classes all day (in sitting), bus/lift home (in sitting), leisure activity i.e. Xbox, TV, texting, homework  (in sitting, sitting, sitting, sitting).  If any or regular parts of that day can be changed by walking around playing a game and exercising then it gets the thumbs up from me!  Exercising aside, if our youth are going out and engaging in their community in a positive way, socialising, being creative, imaginative then I challenge any "hater" out there to tell me why that is a bad thing.  Think about orienteering, treasure hunting, easter egg hunting from your own youth.  This is no different, just a more modern and equally, if not more, engaging version!

3. I know full well that this game is not only being played by the youth.  Yes it is a game that involves capturing mythical creatures and will be aimed more at younger markets but that doesn't mean us adults cannot enjoy it.  If this is getting people out of their car, walking to the shops/work or out in the evening with or with out friends/colleagues/children, then that cannot be sneered at by those "haters".  This is no different than recent Fitbit crazes of trying to hit 10,000 steps per day.  It is a way of encouraging and rewarding exercise.  Exactly what our modern lifestyles need and when it is put like this, negativity of the stigma of playing a game should pale into insignificance.

So we at ASM say, if it is for you - awesome.  Enjoy it, be proud of exercising, getting some fresh air and making your lifestyle more healthy.  Embrace the fun and the challenge.  Do it safely.  Young or old, don't be put off by those who do not understand the greater picture!  For those that snigger and sneer at those people out there having fun and being a little healthier - please encourage any changes someone is making to their health and well-being, Pokemon or not.  Even if you don't understand it or it does not interest you personally, be supportive to those around you that are playing, don't be a "hater"!  Go out and enjoy the walk with someone who is playing.  Enjoy the walk just as a walk if it is not your thing and you can benefit too.



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