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All the weird and wonderful things that help to inspire me on a daily basis.

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Somassage® Neuromuscular Deep Tissue Bodywork: An Attitude Agustment For The Body.

Somassage® Neuromuscular Therapy; An Elegant and Focused Treatment that Facilitates Whole Body Integration.

Somassage® Is the type of Neuromuscular work that is designed specifically to address the suspensory component inherent in an easeful upright posture.

In Somassage®,  we work the body is very different from other types of NMT. This is focused directional work. It is quite slow, we work together, & observe them as they move & integrate the new options for movement. We work alongside the body’s contours, so as the tissue softens, we can work on a much deeper level.

This means we can see postural/movement differences in a single session.

Before:

img_2777-before

After:

After one hour session
After a one hour session

Softer knees,  much more upright posture, better head/neck relation to shoulders. Her head is now floating on her neck, better position.

Shoulder & Pelvic girdles better balanced, arms at better angle.

Feet more mobile & are less stiff & tendons, ligaments no longer shortened.

Pelvis in good centre of balance, torso rises up from pelvis, rather than hyper extending & slumping forwards.

A special thank you to  the Medispa’s very own Briggi Urban for being my lovely  model.


The New Detox Revolution, or What about the Morning After?

imageNow that you’ve gotten used to starting the day with kale, avocado, beet & asparagus drinks, it’s time to branch out. You deserve a break! Here are a few ideas to shake up your routine, give you extra health benefits & make those drinks taste as great as they are for you.
Charge it up with spices like ginger & turmeric, botanicals such as coriander & parsley, & greens such as dandelion, milk thistle or nettles*. Herbal teas like sage, fennel, ginseng & floral teas like hibiscus or lavender, green tea, white tea. Additions like spirulina, omega mix, maca, coconut water, aloe vera juice. If you like a creamy smoothie, consider oat, coconut & nut milks like almond or hazel nut, or bio live yogurt. Flax, hemp, seeds, nuts, & soaked chia seeds are all useful & delicious.
Add oils like Udo`s Choice Oil, which is a carefully blended mix of the finest organic Omega 3, 6 and 9 varieties of Essential Fatty Acids. Avocado, Argan oil & pomegranate oil, coconut oil are all good for heart health.
Spices: Turmeric has been used for centuries for its healthy properties, for this purpose, you need to add black pepper to release it’s full potential.

I love the way cardamom livens up any drink, as can cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger mace, & coriander. Purple sumac & summer savoury add depth, or to really make those greens hum, add Middle eastern spices such as zatara.

Your imagination is the limit.
I’ve done several turmeric based drinks, delicious with cranberry & orange passion fruit, pineapple, mango, strawberries, raspberries, beets & other fruits & vegetables.
Pineapple, passion fruit, lime, turmeric & black pepper, coriander, Aloe Vera water or Coconut milk, or lemon water. Optional: add Mango or banana, or use instead of pineapple.
Cranberries, clementine & grapefruit juice, lime, turmeric, black pepper.
Blackberries, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, apple, clementine, tangerine or blood orange juice, banana or yogurt.
Pineapple, lime, spirulina, turmeric, black pepper & Aloe Vera& Mango water. Opitional: add green or white tea.
Cherries, pitted fresh or raw, pink peppercorns ground, cocoa nibs, lemon juice, water or almond milk. Like it thicker? Add a banana.
Cherries, beetroot –cooked, omega seeds, lime, cloves & honey if desired, & fruit or herbal tea.
Raspberries, rose water, pink peppercorns, lime, turmeric, & Aloe Vera & Mango Water.
Beetroot, cooked, raspberries or strawberries, lemon juice, cinnamon & white tea, blackberry leaf tea or yarrow tea.
Still keen on your greens? Add herbs like tarragon & sweet Cecily to your green drinks, they have a lovely anise / liquorice flavour, without being overpowering. Add lemon, lime or other fresh citrus juice, green tea, fresh dandelion or Maca for a extra burst of taste & energy. A little coconut oil will add extra goodness. Like Seaweeds? The extra vitamins & minerals will really give you boost.

Struggling with hot flashes? Sage tea on its own or with your greens are reputed to help.
Did you know you use your carrot tops? Just wash & blanche to remove the bitterness. Rhubarb, blanched, with ginger & orange are a great twist to your green drinks, too.
Like foraging? Green cattails blanched (from rushes) taste like a cross between corn & asparagus, they are delicious with blanched nettles, nutmeg & lemon juice & hazelnut oil. Add young dandelions & a few ripe blackberries.

You can make your own flower waters to add flavour, rose, lavender, honey suckle, jasmine, elderflower are just a few that are easy & quick – just gather flowers, wash well, & place in a litre jug, cover with water & leave in a cool place for several hours. You can then use it straight away, or make into ice cubes (which also look sensational in summer drinks)

I love Tony Stapeton’s HealThySelf bars, & I use them in my smoothies, like this: HealThySelf bar, banana, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, tumeric, nuts – almonds or pistachios, & Rude Health’s coconut drink. Options: pitted cherries go well with flavour of Cocoa nibs, hemp, almonds, cinnamon & coconut in the bar.
*To avoid ingesting the stinging hairs, Nettles must be quickly blanched in boiling water, or use dried nettles from teabags.
All foraged greens & fruits need to be carefully sourced & washed well. I.E. Picking next to verges will be very polluted, & possibly urinated on by passing animals.


Restore the body, calm the mind, free the spirit.

Rejuvanessence® For Body, Mind & Soul.
Feeling better is only the beginning – you will also find that you breathe better, have more energy, less tension in your face, neck & head, with the added bonus of feeling deeply refreshed. Your body’s nervous system is finely re-tuned and inner harmony is regained. This hands on treatment restores your spirit as much as your face!

Originally developed by Stanley Rosenberg, a pioneer who explored & developed new forms of body therapy. Drawn from Osteopathy, Cranio-sacral therapy, Rolfing, organ massage, joint mobilisation, peri-neural massage When Margareta Loughran, a nurse and psychotherapist who worked with him to develop the technique, returned to the UK, she called it Rejuvanessence ®,

In 2006, I trained with Margareta in Rejuvanessence®, now called Facial Energy Release®, (FER) after my acupuncturist suggested I have a session, as she often had difficulty inserting the needles into my rock hard shoulders! I fell in love with it, & still have it regularly just for the blissful way it makes me feel, & no longer have worry written all over my face. It is a precise and very effective gentle massage technique, which helps to restore the biological functional/structural mechanism of Tensegrity, which creates the “lift” effect. This helps the body to release tensions in the ninety-one muscles of the face, neck, skull, and shoulders. It includes aspects CranioSacral, Structural Integration, Lymphatic Drainage, & acupressure points on the meridians that pass through the face, neck, head & shoulders

FER® incorporates nutrition advice, (good nutrition makes all the difference to looking, as well as feeling good) body awareness, postural alignment, & frees stuck connective tissue to improve mobility & lymph flow.
FER® is a course of six treatments focusing on the 91 muscles of the face and neck using very light touch massage. Five session focus on different areas, with the sixth integrating it all together. It is also known as ‘The Fingertip Facial’ and ‘Angel’s Touch’. Suitable for men and women this remarkable treatment has clients drifting in and out of a deep state of relaxation and although there are a total of six sessions, a deeply relaxing single or “one off” session can still give visible results.

You might wonder what else it can do – I use for nearly pain free scar tissue mobilisation including post surgery, mastectomy tethering , burns, & injury. It works very well for Bell’s Palsey, TMJ dysfunction, Cluster Headaches, Migraine Relief, helps drain blocked sinuses, and clients report that it helps them sleep more easily, & deeply.


Equine Massage, Horse and Rider Fitness Training & Rehabilitation

From beginners to experts, no matter where they fall in the abilities category, like any other sport they need to accurately assess their strengths and weakness so that they can improve their performance.

As well as working with people, I  work with horses and their riders to help reduce injury and improve performance.  Just as you might find it beneficial to see a physio or professional massage therapist, so will your horse.I like to watch you work together, as team, and doing a bit of ground work – unless one of the two of you injured, as that shows me where I can most efficiently work to improve your performance.  I can then also slow you techniques to help keep both you & your horse fitter, happier and healthier.

To achieve their competitive best,  an adult rider should be engaging in cross-training activity three to four times per week for 60 to 90 minutes. Include core strength, muscle strength for balancing & symmetry, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance. A non-competitive adult should be engaged in physical activity on a daily basis for 30 to 60 minutes, if they are in competition training, add 30 – 60 minutes a week of stretch and flexibility training to create more suppleness with stability. Don’t forget those spinal rotations!

If that rider is you, your program needs to incorporate your specific requirements, (injuries, postural issues, disabilities) into account, as well as any to compensate for any that your horse may have.  It will be very much like the training goals & schedule you have made for yourself, your goals are for the horse: to improve his overall fitness, endurance, suppleness, flexibility, strength, cardio fitness, refining technique & performance style.

Because we approach and mount Near side, most of our horses will have more left sided issues – i.e.  heavy on the rear end, leading to falling through on the forehand. If you have a tendency to land on one side when going over fences, for example, then doing more balancing and strength exercises, like Pilates, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais exercises, (along with good bone density exercises with weights for women), will help you gain more symmetry. This is important for  control over your body weight distribution in your stirrups so you are not repeatedly throwing your weight on one side of your horse & causing injuries.

First, get yourself a great riding instructor, or a winning exhibitor, a horse knowledgeable physio,  or equine & human therapist to assess your key priorities. What are your postural challenges/issues/ injuries? Do you with more weight in one stirrup than the other? Slouch or hunch in the saddle?

A great little exercise is taking away your stirrups until you sit properly at every gait.  Correct  saddle fit is crucial, but poor posture of the rider  is often overlooked as the cause of soundness issues in the horse. The effect your own lack of weight distribution symmetry and self-carriage has on the horse is magnified in power events such as racing, steeple chasing, high level jumping, and high stamina events such as dressage, distance riding, eventing, including rodeo & western trail, barrel racing &  gymkhana.

A similar issue in dressage could be a tendency to sit with one hip lower than the other or off to one side, causing your horse to drift in that direction and interfering with his straightness on circles and lateral movements. Another might be having tight muscle groups impeding your ability to have the deep seat you need for your level.  Your shorted QL &  tight psoas  muscles have just changed your horses’ performance, and not in a winning way.

Like other top athletes, as well doing your sport,  riders should do cross-training with cardio two to three times per week, depending on their discipline, to increase stamina. Cross-training can seem like a lot of work and you need to plan really well to fit it in.  Thinking in five to fifteen minutes units, can help you develop a realistic plan that will give you that added bonus— maybe even the edge, your competitors don’t have.

As well as assessing your own postural issues & your postural vices,  it’s vital to properly  assess your horse’s postural vs conformational  issues, including injuries, & natural choice of side. Are you tending to pitch onto your horse’s forehand when you get tired? Does this make him stiff in his forehand?  Are you stiff in your neck, head, shoulders,  & find yourself getting a sore back? Does your stiff & lack of deep seat back make you bounce on his back – giving him backache?  Are you out of breath more than you should be for the exertion you are doing? Are you or  your horse out of condition? Is your trainer constantly telling you to get your shoulders back but you can’t seem to keep them there? Does your horse have neck issues because of your overbalancing on the front? Questions like these will help you identify your specific riding performance issues, and better help achieve your goals.

Having a  friend make a  video that can show you what you are doing right, as well as wrong is very  helpful. Include working your horse on the ground, & letting him graze – observe & listen to his  chewing pattern, as head & neck injuries can often be caught there. In the horse, the Temporal Mandible Joint (TMJ) problems show up in chewing – & the TMJ  in the equine athlete is vital to being able to collect and lift himself over fences, or in dressage, getting his  carriage correct.  These short training videos are also an excellent way to see how you are achieving your goals, together & singly.

For example, your goal might be “Jump a whole course with my shoulders back, no lower back pain, without being breathless at the end, or having a side stitch”. You have just identified back and shoulder strength training and cardiovascular improvement as key priorities. Since riders who have trouble keeping their shoulders back also typically have tight chest muscles, stretching your chest and shoulders before and after each ride is going to be important. Lower back pain from riding is often related to weak back muscles combined with tight hamstrings, so stretching your hamstrings every day ought be part of your plan too. Tip: if your hamstrings are very tight, try stretching your quads first, on horseback if possible.  Or maybe you have poor core control & no posting power – instead of rising to the trot, you count on the hip/leg thrust of the horse to ‘bounce’ you up.  Lazy of you, bad for his back. Engage your core & find your rising rhythm improve.

DO: Try to create a schedule & include time for each activity.  You do not necessarily need to go to a gym, cleaning stalls is great for upper body strength. Remember to squat & activate your gluts and hamstrings as you lift and push the wheelbarrow.  Try carrying a full water bucket in each hand – or half fill them and use as hand weights for bicep curls. Try to vary your weekly stretching – do different stretches will result in supplier,  fitter muscles.

DO fit in smaller work outs – it’s so much more efficient to do 5 minutes of good work, than 20 minutes rushed & poorly done. You can do core work every time you ride – just remember to activate your core and pelvic floor muscles.  There a lot of stretches that that can be done on horseback – (or on a large swiss ball or the Equizer – if you have one) making both of you more mobile. I am including a few of them below. You can do a more general stretch, or  focus on one muscle group at at a time, creating flexibility while maintaining the rest of your body with quicker stretches.

Do remember to include work on a swiss or balance ball, squats,  balancing on one leg,  one legged squats, star or box jumps. hopping  from one foot to the other, skipping rope, using a balance board -anything that improves your balance  when unhorsed, will improve it on horseback. Just remember to use your core!

If you have trouble keeping your heels down all the time,  doing different gentle calf stretches every day, along with ankle rotations will make them more supple and getting your heels down will be easier for you.

Do learn how to help your horse stretch & NEVER force a joint, try these great tips from a vet: http://vipsvet.net/equine-stretches.html

Do learn to stay relaxed on the horse, this does not mean flopping around in the saddle with loose muscles. Balanced riders must develop a feel for where their body is positioned relative to the horse’s centre of gravity & they  must must be able to do this while looking straight ahead, not down. We all have “muscle memory,”  – but riders, like dancers, need to work on theirs  so that the muscles fire in the right increments that enables them to maintain their equilibrium in motion – or at any gait or on any line they are riding without gripping with their legs or grabbing at the reins to stay on.

There are a number of exercises that riders can use to help themselves develop the “muscle memory” they need to stay in balance with their horses.

Please note that I always advocate working with a good riding instructor when undertaking new skills -they will see things you do not, and will save you time, effort, money and possibly help prevent an injury to you, your horse, or a bystander.

Here are a few to start with:

* Frog position. Riders draw their knees up to help them find the middle of the saddle and to stay there without gripping with their calves. start with sitting, progress through walk & trot.

* Dog position. Riders lift their thighs away from the saddle (like a dog lifting its leg) to help them find the centre of the saddle without gripping with their thighs.

* Up two, down one. Instead of normal up-down posting to the horse’s two-beat trot, riders stay up for two beats, sit for one beat, and keep repeating this pattern. This constantly changes the diagonal that the riders are on and prevents them from using the rhythmic thrust of either hind leg as a crutch to maintain their balance.

* Riding without stirrups. Riders can work on this alone but I recommend they work with an instructor or with a knowledgeable riding partner who puts their horse on a lunge line so they can work without either stirrups or reins. If you are tempted to do it solo, use a small circular pen, as it’s easier to stay on track. Start at the walk (in both directions) and gradually work up to the trot and canter as balance improves.

Once you have developed your seat,  you can can add new balance challenges such as riding with arms out on both sides, with both arms straight up, or with arms out to the side as they twist from side to side at the waist.

* I do not recommend riding with bareback pads to develop balance because they encourage gripping with the calves. A good saddle helps the rider sit correctly.

* Do try Cavaletti poles and small jumps,  working your horse from the ground and under saddle.

* For improving suppleness have a line of cones  with enough distance that your horse can go through left, right, left without touching cones. through all gaits.  As the horse becomes more supple, you can shorten the distance and work through all gaits, until you can do the in & out without falling off or pulling on his mouth. If you aren’t supple, your horse won’t  be either!

A  favourite of the gymkhana circuit is turning 360 whilst seated on your horse forwards, right side, back, left side, returning to forwards. When you can do it sitting, progress to walking, trotting & at a controlled canter.I would suggest working with a partner on a long line so that you can simply concentrate on your balance.

My personal party piece favourite was done on a horse called Penny, who graciously let her owner & I do the double switch. Riding bareback, in tandem, both turn all the way around in every gait. The perfect finish is switching places so that the lead rider trades places on horseback at a canter. You need a really steady horse for this, lots of time and a soft landing place, in case you fall off whilst practising. You also need to be supple!

Don’t forget that as well as your horse, you need a day off too, and that muscles need time to rebuild after strength training. You both need at least 48 hours in between strength training and intense cardio workouts. You should also not train intensely on the day before a show, or during an intense string of show days, however, it is essential to keep moving so that neither of you stiffen up. Walking & gentle stretching to keep loose, will help keep joints supple, and maintain flexibility while lowering stress levels will be more appropriate.

And if you are a rider who also runs, or does other sports – any injuries you seem to have acquired and can’t seem to shift are possibly from you compensating for your horse, or vies-versa.  Regular MOTs with your physio & professional massage practitioner can help put you in the winner’s circle.


A Little Foot Note, or Putting Your Best Foot Forwards This Year.

Feet are one of my favorite things to treat in rehab – get it wrong, and they won’t forgive you, but get it right & it’s absolutely life changing,

As a practice, we deal with a variety of pre & post surgery & injury conditions.  Desk bound  office workers, amateur to the ultra elite athlete.  We also deal with  more normal wear and tear issues.   And we now have a fantastic  specialist Foot & ankle Clinic addition to our Physio Remedies team at the Lansdowne Club, in the form of Miss Jane Baker.  She has teamed up with our expert resident podiatrist, Miss Amanda Lau, it is a great start to literally being able to put your best foot forwards this year. With our specialists there is a vast amount that can be improved upon in a relatively short time frame.  Personally,  I love working with feet.  From oedema relief to  trigger-pointing tight myo-fascia like plantar fascitis  to mobilising & scar tissue reduction from old breaks or tears in soft tissue.    Look us up at www.physioremedies.com

Book in and see how you can start the year off on the right foot.


Autumn Falls A Little Sooner Than I’d Like It To.

This year autumn seemed to come so much earlier than usual. Despite the wettest August I can recall, my garden looks both massively overgrown and quite finished.  I felt it come about the second week of August, and it made me quite melancholy, There is so much I could do, should do, and no doubt, will wish that I had done. It  feels slightly more final than usual.

As a bona fide Winter baby, I love the crisp cool fall mornings, the change of the colour of the sky, the change in the taste of the day.  Perhaps instead of the riot of fall colour, it’s the smell of the dying leaves that I notice. The swallows have long since departed. The darkness that greets me at 5:30 am isn’t  welcome, the evenings are drawing in much to soon.

Harvey, my cat  looks like he is wearing a winter blanket already. And the mornings are more nippy than dainty little Daisy likes, although she is nearly as fuzzy as her brother. I have worn socks already, and a proper winter coat. too.

And yet,…..and yet I am glad in some small dark corner of my heart, that the smell of wood smoke will soon fill the evening air, that beautiful crisp cloudy cider will be set aside to go hard. That the crocuses will pop up, and the honey will be brought in.

I have sage and herb bundles drying, and the fruits of the allotment in the freezer. Huge dark purple clematis hang in trellis nets, and the last roses fierce & thorny guard their territories. The ivy is fresh and  bright green, the wisteria still growing wildly, for I don’t care to tame her over-much.

At home, the salmon will be running, and the first elk season is just finished,
The hay is safely in, and the pumpkins are growing ever more golden.The overhead phone lines used to sag under the tremendous weight of thousands of goldfinches, waiting for the urge to go. While the Indian summer slips in like an imposter, in place of the real one, before the storms of winter come.

The woodpile, neatly split and stacked,  at my brother’s house will be steadily growing. The water pump will already have it’s winter fleece jacket on. The summer screens are locked away, the window shutters up.  I know the emergency generator will be primed and ready, candles on the side.

The windfall apples lay in the orchard, nearly forgotten now. I wonder if anyone will gather and press them for cider, or if the deer will get them all. I wonder if anyone will rush out to see the salmon make the last dash  home to spawn, or lay out in the grass to watch the meter showers that herald the turning year. I wonder if the valley misses me, the way I miss it.

And in the end it always comes much to soon, the browning field mushrooms, the dying grapes of wrath, the sun becoming softer until it can sit on you all day and not leave a single mark. The geese are noisy  in chevron flight. The fragile cobweb strung with dewy jewels.  And the mists of night, wrap us all in mystery and an etherealness that defies gravity.

 

 

 


Triathlon & Elite Runners Training Recovery Made Simpler

Now is great time to sort out the niggles that plague you during or after a training session.

  • See a Physiotherapist  to get the best advice on strength and stability exercises.  Schedule regular MOT sessions, especially as you get fitter, and your training and competing intensify.
  • Engage a PT to help you create a program that takes your particular needs into consideration whilst training.
  • Think about preventing , rather than treating injuries ( as little as 5 minutes warming up can save you weeks of setback).
  • If you have knee,  feet or gait problems, see a good  podiatrist.
  • A good chiropodist  will make your feet feel like they are floating on air, and get rid of corns and calluses, if you are better balanced, you perform better.
  • If you regularly see and osteopath or chiropractor,  set up a schedule of maintenance appointments, to help you stay on top of the big challenges.
  • Do other types of exercise to strengthen your overall fitness – pilates, yoga, swimming,dance, and stretch classes are just a few of the options that will improve your core fitness.
  • See a Bodyworker or a Massage therapist  regularly- with well over a hundred different types of therapy, there is something for nearly everyone.
  • Check your shoes and kit frequently. Replace your shoes before they actually wear out- saving wear and tear on you.
  • Consider some the amazing compression gear available for athletes.  My clients have recovered quicker, used less energy, and preformed better in compression wear.
  • The time to try out new things, is not the day before or the day of the race! Try your new gear on well beforehand, so you know it’s comfortable.
  • Eat well, sleep well,  & stay well hydrated.
  • Add a cup of Epsom or Dead Sea Salts to your bath – soak 20 minutes and you will have less aches and pains – it’s the magnesium and trace minerals that make the difference!

           Cold water and ice therapy is becoming quite popular, here are some tips to get the most out of it. 

  • DO: Consider using cold therapy & compression wraps, such as Arctic Ease after your training or event.
  • DO: Consider starting a bit higher and inch this downward a degree or two each exposure.  Start with 75 – 70 & then go down a degree or two with each session,until you are comfortable with water temperature between 54 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If your gym or spa has different temperature plunge pools,these will be  an ideal introduction.
  • DO: Recognize that you will have your own cold threshold. If you are doing open water swimming, you may already have booties (toe warmers made of wetsuit material) these will keep you happier, as your toes are likely the most sensitive body part to be submerged.
  • DON’T: Overexpose! At the recommended temperature range above, 6 to 8 minutes is generally long enough. Unless you are under supervision, or you have history with ice baths, NEVER exceed 10 minutes. And never exceed 10 min with ice water higher than your abdomen.
  • DON’T: Colder is not  better!  A  prolonged period of time in water colder than 54 degrees could be dangerous.
  • DON’T: Women on their periods should not immerse the lower abdomen.
  • DO: Moving water is colder water. Similar to the wind chill created when you ride, if there are jets in your ice bath and the water that is warmed at the skin’s surface gets pushed away, the resulting impact of the water will be cooler than measured by the thermometer. Reduce your exposure time – get out sooner.
  • DON’T: Automatically assume you need to be in  54 to 60 degrees for it to work.  Cool water (say, 60 to 75 degrees) can still be beneficial—as can very light active exercise to facilitate blood flow.
  • DO:  Take your time afterwards, as the residual cooling effect and gradual warming are ideal. Try not to rush into a hot shower, try a warm drink instead.  Consider initial warming options of a sweatshirt, blanket and/or warm drink.
  • DO:  Take a hot bath or  shower if you can’t seem to  warm yourself.