After the success of our Autumn sports massage offer, when we saw lots of new faces visiting the Faultless Fitness Sports Therapy wing for treatment, we discovered that there was a degree of confusion around the differences between sports massage therapy and sports therapy. Read below as Rosie answers some of the most frequently asked questions.
What is sports massage and how does it differ from a normal massage?
Sports massage can be anything from basic techniques used on non-pathological or uninjured tissue through to injury treatment requiring a greater knowledge of anatomy which allows the therapist to treat a wider range of muscle dysfunction. The difference between a sports massage and a regular massage is less candles and relaxing music and more targeted muscle release. You can probably expect more pain as well, but it will be necessary, and your therapist will communicate with you to ensure they are working within your limits. Sports massage therapists are required to have a thorough understanding of the different systems of the body such as the musculoskeletal, myofascial, lymphatic and neural, meaning every treatment will be prescribed to your needs as an individual, rather than just focusing on relaxation.
What is the difference between sports massage therapy and sports therapy?
At even the highest level, sports massage therapy is not the same as sports therapy. Sports therapists have to study a much broader range of treatment modalities to receive their qualification, these include:
After studying such a wide range of highly effective techniques, sports massage often becomes a very small part of a sports therapist’s treatment. Although sports massage is excellent, using a combination of techniques is the quickest way to restore functionality for a client.
Which should you choose?
If you suffer from any sort of chronic or recurring pain or injury, whilst sports massage will provide you with some relief, you will benefit the most from a series of sports therapy sessions. I would recommend sports massage for general aches and pains sustained from an active lifestyle, if you want to minimise your chance of sustaining an injury or if you are feeling a bit tight and tense. If after reading all the above you still aren’t sure which treatment modality would benefit you the most, drop us a message on Facebook and book in for a telephone consultation with Rosie!
Sports therapy is specifically concerned with the treatment of pain, prevention of injury, and rehabilitation of a patient back to optimum levels of functional, occupational and sports specific fitness, regardless of age and ability. Sports therapy utilizes a variety of techniques to have an impact on soft tissue, joints, posture and functional movement patterns.
Do you need to play a sport to benefit from sports therapy?
In short, no. The techniques used can be applied to improve functionality in day-to-day activities. Everyday movements put stress on the body, much the same as playing sport does, these stressors can manifest in dysfunction or pain. Whether you sit at a desk, play a team sport, are on your feet all day, are training for a marathon or want to support a busy lifestyle, regular treatment will ease and prevent pain allowing you to live life to the fullest.
How can sports therapy improve my performance?
By having regular appointments with your therapist, you can ensure that your body is functioning optimally, reducing your risk of injury, allowing you to train with consistency. Additionally, regular maintenance treatments will reduce your recovery time, allowing you to train with more intensity.
Your sports therapist will work with you to ascertain your performance goals, but they will be able to assist with increasing range of motion, specific to your sport, through advanced stretching techniques, increasing efficiency of musculoskeletal and joint function as well as taking care of your body pre and post event.
What is the value of sports therapy?
The main goal of sports therapy is to eradicate pain and discomfort, in as few sessions as possible whilst also targeting and fixing the root cause of the problem but your treatment does not start and end in the therapy room. Before you visit us, we will arrange a telephone consultation, when we will take the time to understand your individual case, offer advice that may help you to take steps towards reducing your pain straight away and talk you through a potential treatment plan. On your first visit, your therapist will carry out a full, detailed assessment ensuring that your treatment is safe and tailored to your specific needs. After your treatment, you will be provided with exercises and stretches to continue the healing process and your therapist will always be available to answer questions via phone or email.
Is sports therapy the right choice for you?
If you have any of the symptoms below, sports therapy techniques will help;
Alternatively if you are an athlete, or partake in sport and exercise as a hobby, In:Motus can assist with:
A visit to a sports therapist can be one of the quickest ways to get you back to optimal health. If you still aren’t sure if this is the right style of treatment for you, send us a message and Rosie will get back to you as soon as possible.
The arm is attached to the rest of the body by one, relatively small joint, called the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. This joint comprises of the top and front section of your shoulder blade, which is called the acromion, and the collarbone (the clavicle). The collar bone is the first bone to start ossifying (hardening) in a human fetus, but it is the last bone to completely develop- often around late teens/early twenties. You can break your collarbone, sprain the ligaments of the AC joint, and dislocate the joint all together. But the main joint where the majority of injuries occur is the glenohumeral joint, the main shoulder joint, made up from the humerus and the shoulder blade (scapula).
The glenohumeral joint is a ball-and-socket joint consisting of cartilage, ligaments and the capsule. The muscles which control the movement of this joint are called the rotator cuff muscles. There are many other muscles which control scapula movement and provide stability of the shoulder, including the deltoids and trapezius.
Some may see the shoulder as one joint, but the complex consists of the main glenohumeral joint, the acromioclavicular and the sternoclavicular joint. These work together with the scapulothoracic joint to achieve normal shoulder range of motion. If these joints are not able to work together sufficiently, it leads onto many different injuries.
The shoulder, upper back and neck pain is a common problem for many people, one of the reasons is due to having a lack of thoracic spine mobility (upper back). It has become increasingly popular for us to develop a posture which we call upper crossed syndrome. This posture can develop from many reasons. We usually tend to see it due to being slouched over whilst on a computer, chilling on the sofa, and being on our phones.
So what is Upper Crossed Syndrome?
With UCS, we typically tend to see a rounded shoulder posture/‘kyphosis”, causing a lengthening of your back muscles such as your ‘Traps’ and some of your Rotator Cuff muscles, and a tightening of your anterior muscles such as the chest/’Pecs’. In order to compensate for a lack of mobility in our thoracic spine, we start to overload structures within the shoulder, neck, and even the lower back. This can lead to a whole new world of other problems!
SO, it’s important to aid your thoracic mobility for the prevention of future injuries. We particularly need a movement called thoracic extension (leaning backwards). Here’s a few little exercises you can do in your own time. For safety, if you are aware of any injuries within your spine, or if you have been advised not to do exercises like these from a medical professional, please do not carry them out.
1. Thoracic foam rolling (NB, if you don’t have access to a foam roller at home, you are able to perform this through leaning over a soft step such as the stairs). Lean against the foam roller with your upper back, where you can roll up and down, and can start to lean backwards when you feel some tightness. Don’t hold your breath!
2. Thoracic stretching, if you find kneeling on all fours too uncomfortable, follow the last image where you are lying on your back! Aim for 10 rotations each side, if you’re going for the stretch, hold for 20-30 seconds.
Aim to do these at least once a day, even better if you can achieve more!
With fitbits and pedometers on smartphones currently trending, more and more people are keeping track of how many steps they do per day. How often have you heard your friends, relatives or colleagues talk about the 10,000 step goal? However, where does the 10,000 step goal actually come from? And how legitimate even is it??
A recent study by I-Min Lee, a professor at Harvard University, states the 10,000 step goal was really just a marketing ploy and that no real scientific research links this number of steps to having significant health benefits! Crazy, isn’t it?! A Japanese pedometer released in the 1960s was termed manpo-kei meaning 10,000 steps. This is where the 10,000 is thought to have originated from, but there’s little to no research to back the health claims being made now!
Through advancements in technology, fitbits and step counters integrated into phones/smart watches, the 10,000 benchmark has become the social norm! However Lee’s research (n = 16,000 American females) states that a mere 4,400 steps is actually enough to decrease mortality rate in comparison to sedentary females. Mortality rate continued to drop with an increase in step count until around 7,500 steps, where a plateau occurred. The take home message from this study was that an increase of just 2,000 steps was associated with health benefits for the participating females.
The 10,000 step goal isn’t realistic for many individuals, especially the elderly and those with sedentary jobs, but it’s important to not get disheartened. What is important is to increase your physical activity levels. Now this could be through walking, but it could also be through cycling on a stationary bike, swimming, rowing, dancing, playing a team sport or doing a gym session!
If you are interested in gaining these health benefits but don’t know where to start, drop us a message today and we will help.
So I can't promise that if you are in financial difficulty, exercise is going to work better than more money to release you from that stress. However, a new study published by the lancet has shown that exercise is fantastic at reducing the feeling of negative emotional states.
The study asked ~1.2 million people how often in the month they felt a negative emotional state. The average of the whole 1.2million people showed that most of us have about 3.5 days a month where we feel like we suffer negative emotional burdens.
For those of us with a diagnosed emotional or depressive state, the burden experienced was ~11 days!
The good news is that popular sports, cycling and a good gym reduced that burden the most, by reducing it by ~20-25% in healthy populations and ~15-20% in diagnosed populations. This averages out at around 3.5 days less for those with a diagnosed negative mood state and those in the normal ranges of emotional burden would lose around 1.4 days of feeling the burden a month - what a relief!
Although team sports, cycling and the gym came top 3 for reducing negative burden, the frequency and duration of the exercise also had an effect on how successful it removed the burden for that person.
The best length of time to exercise for was ~45 minutes - ~60 minutes for the gym and cycling, and a little bit longer for popular team sports at around 90 minutes (who would have thought it? 90minutes of football anyone??).
The best frequency to relieve the burden of negative mental health was 3 or 5 days per week. 4 sessions saw a rebound effect probably caused by the fact that session lengths were not tapered for the extra session from 3, and so mild overtraining occurred!). I would recommend that 3 sessions need to be around an hour to maximise effect (like we do down at the lab for our clients on the Lifestyle Transformation program) or 30-45 minutes 5x a week, although that can be a bit hard for people with a busy schedule!
Cycling frequency had the best dosage at 5 sessions a week and popular sports were also 3 times a week.
So there you have it! Exercising can drastically reduce the amount of time you feel under the burden of a negative mental state! I have even given you the three best ways to do it!
Also, if you don’t like the gym normally, then why not come and see us and the Faultless Fitness family to see if we can help!
When we look to achieve weight loss, more often than not we will calorie count. But are the ratio of macronutrients as, or possibly even more, important?
Macronutrients are the three basic components of nutrition. Carbohydrate (CHOs), Protein and Fat, containing 4kcal, 4kcal and 9kcal per 1 gram of each. Water can be considered a fourth macronutrient, so then micronutrients include vitamins and minerals.
Weight loss at its simplest requires our bodies to be in an energy deficit for a prolonged period of time. To be in an energy deficit we have to look at our energy intake and energy output. Energy intake consists of the food and drink we consume, most notably the macronutrients. Energy output is made up of our resting energy expenditure, physical activity and the thermic effect of food.
If we consider there is 3,500kcal in 1lb of fat, we would want to tip the energy intake/output scale to a deficit of around 500kcal per day to lose a pound per week. Now here is the part where calorie counting becomes difficult, as how can we accurately calculate the balance of calories? Apps like myfitnesspal help us greatly in finding the total calorie values in packet foods, but what about home-cooked meals, are we going to weigh out every single ingredient to find an exact calorie value? Probably not.
On the other side of the scale can we estimate accurately the number of calories we burn from physical activity? Research has shown fitbits have a tendency to overestimate energy expenditure (Montes, 2017), so again probably not. Perhaps it doesn't matter if we are a little under or over here and there... Well, if an 80kg man was looking to maintain his weight by balancing calories over the next 10 years, he would gain 20lbs over these 10 years with an overestimation of just 20kcal per day. 20 kcal is the equivalent of one bite of a banana!
Why can utilising macros (particularly protein) help more?
If we look at a strategic weight loss plan with a 40%/30%/30% (CHOs, fats and protein) ratio, the main challenge here will be obtaining a protein content of 30% and limiting carbs to 40%, as the typical individual will consume 50-65% CHOs and less than 20% protein!
Out of the 3 macronutrients protein has the greatest satiety, with an increased elevation in satiety hormones after high protein meals and a greater perceived fullness. Protein also has the greatest thermic effect of the macronutrients, around 20-30% of proteins useable energy is expended for metabolism/storage, while CHOs only use 5-10% (Aaragon,2017). Therefore, higher protein consumption can help to preserve resting energy expenditure with weight loss. Higher protein will also maintain, and in some instances increase, lean mass in hypocaloric conditions (again helping maintain resting energy expenditure). By maintaining resting energy expenditure we can limit the plateau that often occurs with weight loss.
Some believe you should disregard total calories completely and purely look at the macronutrients, for instance if you were following a 40%/30%/30% (CHOs, fats, protein) plan hitting this would to some extent curtail your calorie intake.
In conclusion both are important, and yes I think we should definitely have an idea of the total kcal of the substances we consume, but we should also place larger emphasis on the macronutrient ratios, particularly protein, with a percentage of 30-35 of the total macronutrients most likely being optimal for weight loss!
- Stuart Ferguson
Montes J., Young C.J., Tandy, R., & Navalta J (2017). Fitbit Flex: Energy Expenditure and Step Count Evaluation. Journal of Exercise Physiology, Volume 20 (5).
Aragon A., Schoenfeld B., Wildman R., Kleiner., & Taylor L (2017). International society of sports nutrition position stand: diets and body composition. Journal of the international society of sports nutrition, Volume 14 (16).
One of the hardest things we have to deal with in our industry is the rise of the social media influencer. For a long time now I have been saying that these influencers can literally only be relied upon to get it wrong. I have taken torrents of abuse from people online regarding this stance and largely have been drowned out. My stance has always been that if you haven’t studied the subject of health, nutrition or medicine, at a degree or masters level you shouldn’t be preaching about it online.
It can take me up to a year to undo the damage that social media does to people's relationship with food. I have had clients come to me suffering the effects of dangerously low protein intake, for fear of looking bulky or because some influencer told them vegan was easy and best, and having had their muscle waste so badly their joints and muscles have started to degrade making life painful and physical activity intolerable.
I have also had people trying to exercise whilst being on no carbohydrates to replace the glycogen they have lost, and are suffering with exhaustion.
I have seen people remove dairy from their diet because that's what a social media influencer told them to do and then they had a horrendous vitamin D deficiency.
It always comes down to money and it is clear that whenever the bad advice is handed out there is a motive behind it, whether it is multi level marketing products or dangerous weight loss products. The result of this influencer gaining a few extra pounds can be catastrophic for their reader - don’t even get me started on the social media gurus of the exercise world!
As an exercise physiologist and now as a student Physician Associate, the one thing we are told to do is stay in our lane. Keep in scope and perform literature reviews and scientific research in order to gain an understanding of the implications of our actions before we make suggestions. This however seems to have been missed out of the Social Media Influencer curriculum school.
Despite being an unpopular opinion, finally some new research has come out that suggests that I have been hitting the nail on the head for the last few years.
Research by the University of Glasgow suggests that 8 out of 9 social media influencers talking about nutrition gives incorrect and bad advice about nutrition! The one social media influencer that did get it right was a registered nutritionist trained to degree level.
You might be surprised to hear that one of the 8 that got it wrong was also a doctor. This should be expected though because, despite what a lot of people think, doctors don’t usually get trained in nutrition as part of their training and this is the reason they partner up with nutritionists and dieticians who deliver nutrition advice as a job and have degrees in it!
My advice to anyone looking for help with nutrition is to always consult the person who has invested time and money into their knowledge first, not into marketing.
Massage has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of illness and injury by health care practitioners, including musculoskeletal injuries, cancer, stress, relaxation and pregnancy. The history of sports massage started back in 1924, at the Olympic Games in Paris when runner Paavo Nurmi brought a massage therapist along with him! He went on to win 5 gold medals and claimed that his training regime included this specialised type of treatment.
What does it involve?
A variety of techniques can be used within a massage, depending on the therapist level of experience. Common techniques include: effleurage (sliding/gliding movements), petrissage (tissue kneading/scooping), tapotement (rapid striking), trigger point release, vibrations (shaking the tissue), and much more! Sessions typically last between 30-60 minutes.
Is it painful?
Compared to other relaxation massages, yes, a sports massage can be more uncomfortable. This is because it is working deeper into the tissue layers and releasing any adhesions such as trigger points. Side effects usually last around 24-72 hours, which can include stiffness, and slight bruising, but after this period, or even immediately after treatment, you will start to see the benefits...
So what are the benefits?
Sports massage helps prepare an athlete for competition, to enhance athletic performance, and used as a treatment approach to help recover after exercise. There are many other effects of massage and the reasons why we utilise it as a treatment, and here are a few of them:
Sports massage is also a brilliant tool to help a variety of injuries, all over the body! I have used these techniques to treat a range of issues such as:
And many more injuries!
However, research has shown that a multimodal approach achieves better outcomes, versus those who only receive one treatment modality. For instance, combining education about posture/body mechanics, performing rehabilitation exercises and receiving treatment such as massage, produces better and faster results.
So, if you are suffering with some aches and pains, and looking to book in for a sports massage, please do not hesitate to drop me an email at email@example.com, or contact us by clicking here.
Brummitt, J. (2008). The role of massage in sports performance and rehabilitation: current evidence and future direction. North American journal of sports physical therapy: NAJSPT, 3(1), 7.
Pulling Back the Curtain: A Look at Sports Massage Therapy. Steve Jurch, MA, ATC, LMT
Weerapong, P., Hume, P. A., & Kolt, G. S. (2005). The mechanisms of massage and effects on performance, muscle recovery and injury prevention. Sports medicine, 35(3), 235-256.