Our Feet: Vitally Important, Yet Neglected and Abused

Our feet are incredibly complex! EACH FOOT contains 26 bones, 33 joints, and 100+ muscles/tendons/ligaments. Almost 25% of the bones in the body are in the feet.

For something so vitally important, they are often neglected and abused. Our feet are considered the foundation of our body and when we neglect them we become limited in our mobility and independence. The dangers of neglecting our feet can directly impact our balance and posture, develop diseases and infections, and cause serious medical conditions, which can be life altering for some people.

As humans our lifestyles have become increasingly more sedentary by unconsciously selecting convenience (e.g., driving, escalators, elevators, food delivery, parking close to the mall entrance). This physical inactivity hinders our blood flow. A foot massage can improve our circulation by transporting oxygen to damaged, tense muscles. This is especially important in cases where other health problems add to poor circulation or nerve damage, such as diabetes.

A little foot massage is also an easy way to relax and help reduce stress and anxiety, especially after a long day at work. Massaging those tired, achy and swollen feet is both soothing and relaxing, and promotes feelings of general well-being.

Trigger Point Therapy is a massage technique that we can all apply and benefit from in the comfort of our own homes. Muscle knots are sore spots in soft tissue that are extra sensitive and painful (also known as trigger points). This technique involves rubbing and pressing on the muscle knots, focussing on softening them and reducing the pain associated with them.

The arch of the foot is supported by a string of connective tissue (ligaments and tendons in the foot and calf), which absorbs an incredible amount of weight and shock with every step we take. The sole of the foot also contains a high concentration of nerve endings (200,000 PER FOOT!), which makes them highly sensitive. Therefore, massaging the arch of the foot can be stimulating and a nice break from the daily abuse we put them through.

In the center of the arch muscle of the foot lies a trigger point that is a common cause of stubborn aches and pains such as plantar fasciitis, a kind of tendinitis caused when the connective tissue in the arch of the foot starts to degenerate. This trigger point is super easy to find! It is exactly halfway between the heel and the ball of the foot, and halfway between the inside and outside edges (perhaps slightly closer to the inside edge) and can easily be self-treated.

Keep in mind that Trigger Point Therapy is not a miracle cure for chronic pain and that you should contact a medical specialist if you are experiencing chronic pain.

Giving yourself a foot massage can feel pretty amazing, but we all know it just doesn’t compare to someone else working those muscles for you. So, alternatively you can book yourself an appointment at your favourite massage studio and let the experts do the work for you; all you have to do is lie back, relax and enjoy.

Self-care is important, so give some love to the part of your body that probably receives it the least.

Need a Good Sleep?

Like many others, my cell phone is my go-to alarm at night, both at home and when travelling. Research shows that 48% of those aged 16-34 use an alarm on their cell phone compared to only 26% of those aged 35-54 and 9% of those over the age of 55. Having our cell phones within arm’s reach at night may seem harmless to us, but technology affects our sleep in more ways than we realize.

Electronic back-lit devices such as cell phones, tablets, e-readers, computers, and televisions emit blue wavelengths (shortest wavelength with the highest energy), also known as blue light. It has been well documented that blue light reduces or delays the production of melatonin, a natural hormone that controls our sleep/wake cycle. Reducing melatonin decreases feelings of sleepiness as well as the amount of time we spend in slow-wave and rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep.

Blue light is not all bad though. It has been proven that high-energy blue wavelengths improve attention, help with memory and cognitive function and elevates mood, which is beneficial during the day but not when we are trying to sleep.

The fast pace at which technology is advancing is making it increasingly more difficult for us to put our gadgets down. We have become more dependent on electronics than on human interaction. From reading the news to banking to grocery shopping, pretty much everything can be done online these days. The inevitable result being that our brains are constantly engaged. So, after spending an entire day plugged in, do we really need our electronics in the bedroom?

Technology-free bedroom is a concept many of us have heard and ignored, including myself; however, the benefits of it should not be dismissed.

More (and better) Sleep: Give your mind and body the rest it needs.

Sleep is as essential to our bodies as eating, drinking, and breathing. In addition to the visible symptoms such as yawning and daytime fatigue, researchers have linked sleep deprivation to mood swings, depression, diabetes, weight gain and cardiovascular problems. The mind and body use sleep time to heal itself and perform important neural connections that consequently aid in learning and memory retention. Mental and physical health almost entirely depends upon getting enough sleep. Too much screen time before bed can easily trick our brains into thinking that it needs to stay awake and can also eat into our precious sleep time. For better sleep, adopt a relaxing bedtime routine and consider swapping your screen time for reading time.

Conscious Reflection: Let go of your day.

The last thing we need while lying in bed at the end of the day is to be dwelling on work-related issues, an unsettling post on social media, or how to achieve world peace. The day is over, so let it go. To consciously evaluate and assess our day, it is best to disconnect ourselves from the mindless stimulation provided by our electronics. Some healthier alternatives to help us wind down and fall asleep faster include light reading, journaling, and meditation. Now is a good time to express gratitude and acknowledge everything we have accomplished throughout the day.

Morning Mindfulness: Start your day on the right foot.

Reaching for our phones to check our emails or switching the television on for a news update seems to have become like second nature to us. However, by doing so we instantly throw our minds back into the exhausting hussle and bussle of life. We over stimulate our minds before we are even fully awake, which causes us to be more distracted and less productive during the day. Instead, take a moment and start your day in silence. Starting your morning calm and relaxed sets the mood and your intentions for the day. Morning mindfulness helps us stay focused and reduces overall stress and anxiety. The endorphins released by mindfulness are also an energy booster.

It is easy for us to come up with excuses as to why a technology-free bedroom will not serve us; however, most of our excuses can be overcome by adopting healthy sleeping habits. After all, our bedrooms are for rest and relaxation, so lets leave our electronics out of them.

Massage after a work out – the benefits!

Many of us have been there. We’ve pushed ourselves so hard in a training session that we’ve been sore for days after, struggling to walk up stairs or just get off the chair. Did you know that you could help your muscles recover faster if you had a massage after your training session?

Not only does a massage feel really good, there’s also scientific evidence that it assists in muscle recovery. In a 2012 study published in the Science Translational Medicine, Dr Mark Tarnopolsky and other researchers found that massage is beneficial to post-workout recovery. In his study, Dr Tarnopolsky performed muscle biopsies in the legs of young men before and after a hard workout, and then a third time after the men had been massaged.

The study found that massage therapy reduced the activity of a protein by the name NF-kB, hence reducing exercise-related inflammation. Tarnopolsky also found that having a massage increased the number of mitochondria, which is often referred to as the ‘powerhouse’ of the cells. Essentially this means that a massage after your workout can strengthen your muscle cells and reduce inflammation. Double win!

We at Fremantle Remedial Massage Clinic recommend having a Swedish massage with one of our talented massage therapists after your workout. A deep tissue massage can also be a great way to relieve muscle tension. However, be prepared that this can be quite a contrast to the relaxing massage you’re used to! In these therapy sessions we apply heavier pressure and focus on any particular issues or pains you might have – so you might experience soreness a couple of days after the session.

Just remember to specify what massage you’re after!

Are you suffering from text neck?

There’s no beating around the bush on how reliant we are on our smartphones these days, and there are no signs of it stopping. While these devices assist us in everyday life with googling, photographing and staying connected to the world, they are also causing some wear and tear on our health. Especially our necks.

What is it?

If you haven’t heard of it yet, ‘text neck’ is the term used to describe the pains we get from continuously tilting our heads to look down at our phones (or devices) for long periods of time. According to Dr. Kenneth L. Hansraj, and his study on the stress in the spine caused by the position of the head, people spend an average of two to four hours a day with their heads tilted forward, looking at a smartphone.

Dr Hansraj’s study found that when we angle our heads forward the weight on our necks increases. For instance, when your spine is in a neutral position it weighs around 4-5kg, but at a 60 degree angle the weight on the spine is 27kg. This continuous strain on our necks and spine can cause symptoms such as upper back, shoulder and neck pain, as well as chronic headaches and even an increased curvature of the spine.

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What can you do?

Are you suffering from these symptoms, or look at your phone a bit to frequently? Some of the things you can do to prevent text neck are to make sure to hold your phone at eye level as much as possible, do stretching exercises, and get a massage. Some neck stretching exercises include looking gently to the left over your left shoulder, and holding the position for five seconds. Then repeating on the right side. Another exercise that is believed to help text neck, and the slouching posture that it brings, is chin tucks. Chin tucks are done by sitting up straight and tucking in your chin – not to your chest, but back towards your spine, and hold for 3-5 seconds. Some find it helpful to put their fingers on their chin to have a ‘starting point’, before tucking in the chin.

If you’re suffering from text neck or other neck pains, a massage at Fremantle Remedial Massage Clinic can offer great relief. Our talented massage therapists can provide the best treatment for your specific neck pains and recommend many stretches and exercises for you to do on your own time.

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A massage a day keeps the headaches away!

Migraines and other types of headaches are painful and can at its worst ruin one’s day causing light sensitivity, dizziness and nausea. There are almost two million migraine sufferers in Australia, making it a predominant problem amongst the population. However, did you know that massage treatment could help decrease and stop the occurrence of migraine and headaches?

Recent studies by the Tehran University of Medical Science and the University of Miami School of Medicine, amongst others, have found that massage treatment can reduce the occurrence of migraine, as well as reduce the headache pain intensity of the patients. Since massage treatment relaxes muscles and improves blood flow, the pressure and tension held in the muscles in the neck and head will decrease.

Regular, ongoing massage treatment can help prevent and reduce the number of headaches and stress that comes with it. Book in for a session with one of Fremantle Remedial Massage Clinic’s talented massage therapists and specify your aches and pains to get the optimum treatment for your individual needs.

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What is Remedial Massage?

Before booking a massage session with one of the therapists at Fremantle Remedial Massage Clinic – you might wonder what remedial massage actually is. Did you for instance know that it is one of the most popular forms of massage therapy as it addresses the aches, pains and injuries many of us seem to fall prey to at some stage in our lives?

Remedial massage is a varied therapy and combines a number of different techniques such as massage, trigger points, myofascial release and lymphatic drainage techniques to work on damaged or sore muscles, soft tissue or joints.

How You Will be Assessed

First of all, the massage therapist you have choosen will ask you about your problem areas and discuss how long you have been affected. They will look and listen for clues in order to provide an effective treatment plan, looking for the original biomechanical dysfunction, and so healing the cause of the disorder, as well as the symptoms.

If you have an injury or painful point that needs work, don’t expect the therapist to only work on that body part – for instance if you have a sore thigh muscle, you may favour the other leg imperceptibly to avoid causing more pain to the original affected area, thus causing strain on the other leg. Also, you may be feeling pain in one part of the body that is “referred”, meaning that isn’t the part that is in fact injured. Remedial massage aims to correct chronic imbalances.

The techniques may be gentle or firm, deep or shallow, depending on your preference and what the issue requires.

What Can be Treated?

Remedial massage can help stimulate blood supply to damaged muscles and joints, which can help remove toxins that have built up. Massage is very relaxing and relieves stress and so is good for the nervous system.

Remedial massage can address issues such as:

  • Muscle tightness and pain
  • Arthritis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Tennis elbow
  • Whiplash
  • Neck and back pain
  • Scoliosis
  • Headaches
  • Sports injuries

Remedial massage can holistically address the whole body to ease out tension, and repair damage to muscles, joints, tendons and soft tissue.

Read more on: http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/article/what_to_expect_from_remedial_massage#ixzz3F357qUkk