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30 May 2018

How Remedial Massage Can Help You

By Pam O’Connor, Remedial Massage Therapist

What is Remedial Massage?

Pam massaging client 2A Remedial Massage involves a comprehensive assessment and treatment of muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissues to help the body with rehabilitation and management of pain and injuries.

It can focus on a specific area or problem such as headaches or back pain, or can be more general to help reduce stress and ease tension.

Remedial treatment typically involves asking you questions relating to your presenting condition, a postural analysis and functional testing to help plan your treatment and adapt massage techniques accordingly.

We also take your full medical history into account to effectively deliver a treatment backed by evidence-based research suited to your individual needs.

Our holistic approach also factors in your mental and social factors, and includes post-treatment assessment and self-care such as stretches and exercises to maximise and maintain the effectiveness of treatments in-between visits to help you to achieve your goals quicker.

Remedial techniques can include soft and deep tissue, myofascial release, trigger points and stretching.

 

Top 5 conditions that would benefit from remedial massage:

  1. Headaches – Headaches are common and it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause. Taking medication only masks the pain without addressing the source of the problem. Often headaches are caused by stress leading to muscle tension, or poor posture. A remedial massage therapist will assess the cause, plan a treatment to address muscle imbalances and work to reduce your headaches and their reoccurrence – naturally, of course.
  1. Back pain– This condition is very common and can be caused by a variety of reasons, but our sedentary lifestyles or poor postural habits can often lead to back pain. Remedial massage can help to reduce pain by easing tension in muscle groups surrounding the spine, improve muscle tone and ease pressure on nerves. Remedial massage can also improve posture and flexibility to help make your back stronger.
  1. Poor sleep– A good night’s sleep is vital to feeling good and performing at our best. People often feel sleepy after a massage – or even fall asleep during the massage! That’s because massage increases serotonin, the feel-good hormone that makes us feel happy and relaxed during the day. In turn, this helps with our melatonin levels which regulate our body’s circadian cycle to ensure restful sleep at night.
  1. Anxiety and depression – Many studies have shown massage can lowerlevels of the stress hormone cortisol, whichcan drive up blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and lower the immune system.The soothing touch of massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system that helps our bodies to rest, digest and recover. This helps to lower the sympathetic nervous system (or our fight or flight response) that makes our hearts race and cause stressand muscle tension in our modern day-to-day lifestyles.
  1. Frozen shoulder – Also known as adhesive capsulitis, it presents as a painful and stiff shoulder resulting from inflammation in the shoulder capsule and fibrotic adhesions that limit movement. This can lead to trigger points developing in the rotator cuff and deltoid muscles in the shoulder. Massage can help to alleviate the pain in these muscles in conjunction with Physiotherapy to maintain movement in the shoulder joint. Frozen shoulder is more common in women over the age of 40.

It may take a few treatments to address specific problems, especially if they are long-standing. Regular massages are recommended to help maintain muscles in good, healthy and toned condition and to stay on top of problem areas.

 

25 May 2018
Pam at ALA conference

Stronger Together – A Message for Lympoedema patients

By Pamela O’Connor, Remedial Massage Therapist

Lorna at ALA conferenceIt is not easy living with Lymphoedema. It is a complex condition to understand, and learning how to manage this condition for which there is no cure can be a complicated journey that is individual for each person.

To help ride the swell of this individual journey, it takes teamwork – and the stronger the team the better.

This “Stronger Together” message of the Australasian Lymphology Association conference last week was delivered loud and clear,with a large crowd of Lymphoedema-related practitioners plus patients learningand networking with each other on a dazzling array of topics.

The three-day conference for lymphoedema practitioners held at the Brisbane Convention Centrealso incorporated a Public Day,hosted by the Lymphoedema Association of Queensland, for people living with the condition, their carers and anyone wanting to know more about this little knowncondition that affects around 300,000 Australians every day.

Both myself and Lorna Golombick (senior Physiotherapist and Lymphoedema practitioner) attended the conference. It was a first-time experience for me and it was made all the more interesting because I was able to experience it from both perspectives - as a Lymphoedema practitioner (in training) as well as a person living with Lymphoedema.

As a practitioner I heard from an impressive international line-up of speakers on topics such as the latest on indocyanine green and near infrared lymphatic imaging and other exciting advances in technology and research, as well as practical considerations and communicating empathically with clients in a clinic setting.

For the patient or the general public, the Public Day delivered a well-rounded program covering the basics of how the lymphatic system works; the assessment and treatment of Lymphoedema in a whirlwind talk from Professor Neil Piller; exercise for Lymphoedema and fatigue; self-care; nutrition, skin and wound care; lipoedema; and stories from patientsthemselves.

The exhibitors’ trade displays was a wonderful chance for both practitioners and patients to get hands-on with all the latest in technology, products, compression and garments. I had fun measuring up one of the Sigvaris staff member’s legs for Velcro compression wraps, got touchy feely with compression stockings in all sorts of trendy colours and wild patterns, slathered myself with the natural skin care range from Dr Plunkett, and watched other people undergoing L-Dex readings or having a limb hooked up to compression wave pump machines.

Armed with this heady mix of knowledge it makes it a little easier to work out how to make my team stronger to ride out this bumpy journey – and to help others to do the same.

I look forward to sharing some of the useful information I have learnt from the conference in my blog articles in the coming weeks.

 

20 May 2018
Which Pilates should I do?

Which Pilates do you need?

By David Peirce, Principal, Pondera Physio & Pilates

Which Pilates should I do?

Isn’t it just Pilates?

That’s like saying “I do exercise”. Which exercise? Actually, Pilates is just that – a form of exercise.

Which type of exercise you choose should depend on your goals for doing it – general or more extreme fitness, strength, body building, weight loss, managing a health condition, recovery from heart surgery or therapeutic exercise to help rehabilitate after an injury.

One may flow into another as you get fitter, stronger, more mobile, bigger (or smaller) but where you start and who guides you is the most important decision you make.

Pilates is actually a family name. Joseph Pilates designed a series of floor and equipment exercises he called “Contrology” – Google it for more history if you’re interested.

After his death it was coined “The Pilates Method” and then just became just ‘Pilates’.

Pilates type exercises have been adapted, altered, modified, tried to be owned and certainly widely marketed by many different people and organisations.

Back to our first statement – the type of exercise you choose should be guided by the outcomes you want or need. So which type of Pilates exercises should you choose?

Mat Pilates

This requires no or little equipment and generally has a particular focus on ‘engaging the core’ through a linked series of movements and positions.

Classes are easy to run, relatively cheap and can be a good choice if you are well, uninjured and looking for something to improve your body tone & general fitness.

Depending on the instructor, you may use resistance bands, balls, circles and other gadgets to increase the challenge or complexity.

Mat Pilates can be physically dangerous if the level of exercise is not matched to the person.

Many mat exercises are more physically demanding than equipment exercises – it is not a progression to move from the floor to equipment!

Mat Pilates is not a good choice if you are injured or need specific help with a long term problem or recovering from pregnancy & childbirth.

 

Lime Therapy - Mat Pilates

 

Mat Pilates is a cheap, easy to run class exercise
but not advised for injury recovery or rehabilitation.

Group Reformer Pilates

The reformer is the classical, unique piece of Pilates equipment and is now made by a number of companies in wood, steel and hard plastic.

Different strength springs resist or assist movement patterns and with a little ingenuity, the variety of movements is almost endless.

Most group classes run in gyms and studios are again best for someone who is well, uninjured and looking for general body tone & fitness.

There is much debate on some of the more traditional Pilates claims such as ‘it activates the core’ and specific breathing patterns taught that are essential to the exercises.

Simply put, no exercise will magically improve muscle activation and then strength unless you are educated and thinking about the muscle action and how it fits in to the whole body movement.

Group reformer classes run by a well-educated, observant instructor can be very beneficial but we don’t recommend this option if you have a specific injury, long term pain or dysfunction and therefore need an individually designed program.

By the way, if you are told – “your core doesn’t work” – seek another opinion from a health professional who can actually assess your movement quality and give you a more scientifically based analysis and plan to improve.

 

Lime Therapy - GROUP REFORMER PILATES

 

Group reformer classes can be a great general fitness option,
can help with weight loss and body toning
but are not advised for injury rehabilitation or long term pain management

Clinical Pilates

This term has been adopted mainly by the Physiotherapy and other health based professions, taking the original principles of the Pilates method and modernising them to treat, manage and rehabilitate specific injuries, back pain particularly and assist with a raft of other medical and physical conditions.

The primary reason for this, is that exercise, whether it be therapeutic or fitness aimed, is a proven part of any successful treatment or rehabilitation program.

As first stated, Pilates is simply a form of exercise but with the right instruction can be used to challenge the human form in unique ways not available in any other approach.

The main thrust of the clinical approach is individual assessment and programming of exercises.

A thorough history taking, physical assessment, movement analysis and graduated progression of exercise separates Clinical approach from mat and group reformer Pilates classes.

Classes, by definition involve an instructor taking a group through a set series of exercises with everyone doing the same thing.

Some services have a health clinician or instructor working in small groups of 2-4 programming individually with some common exercises.

With an experienced person, this can be a good approach but is very challenging for the instructor and more difficult to maintain an individual’s progress.

Once individually programmed exercises have been taught to the client, people can attend group sessions where they run through their own program, under supervision and are progressed at a pace suitable for their condition and goals.

This approach allows for tailored exercise therapy but is much more affordable than 1 on 1 sessions.

So when choosing which Pilates, Clinical Pilates guided by a qualified health clinician is the choice for those with specific injuries, health conditions or long term pain looking for an individual program, well supervised and progressed as clinically indicated.

The program should be functional, challenging but achievable and most importantly, enjoyable.

The best exercises are the ones that we actually do and stick to!

18 May 2018
OT#5

15 tips to manage stress at work

By Kyle Pennell, Senior Occupational Therapist, Advance Wellness (Lime’s partner Physio in New Zealand)

Most of us experience some form of stress in our daily lives, whether it’s at work or in our personal lives, and people have differing abilities to handle varying levels of stress.

Below are my top 15 tips to help you manage and cope with stress at work. By adopting these strategies, you will become more organised and productive, while reducing those stresses that are harmful to your mind and body.

 

  1. Spend time planning and organising: Using time wisely to think and plan is time well-spent. In fact, if you fail to take time for planning, you are, in effect, planning to fail. Organise in a way that makes sense to you. If you need colour and pictures, use a lot on your calendar or planning book. Some people need to have papers filed away; others get their creative energy from their piles. So forget the “shoulds” and organise in “your” way.
  1. Set Goals: Goals provide direction to your life and determine how you spend your time. Bt first you’ve got to decide what you want. Set goals that are specific, measurable, realistic and achievable. Your optimum goals are those that cause you to “stretch” but not “break” as you strive for achievement.
  1. Prioritise: Use the “80-20 Rule” introduced by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto that states, “80 percent of the reward comes from 20 percent of the effort.” The trick to prioritising is to isolate and to identify that valuable 20 percent. Once identified, prioritise your time to work on those items with the greatest reward. Prioritise by colour, number or letter, whichever method makes the most sense to you. Flagging items with a deadline is another idea to help you stick to your priorities.
  1. Use a “To Do” List: Some people thrive by using a daily to-do list created the day before or the first thing in the morning. Such people may combine a to-do list with a calendar or schedule,or use a “running” list that is continuously updated. The key is to use the method that works best for you. Don’t be afraid to try a new system. You just might find one that works even better than your present one!
  1. Be Flexible: Allow time for interruptions and distractions. Time management experts suggest planning for just 50 percent or less of one’s time to allow flexibility to handle interruptions or unplanned emergencies. Schedule routine tasks when you expect to be interrupted. Save or make larger blocks of time for your priorities. When interrupted ask yourself; “What is the most important thing I can be doing with my time right now?” to help you get back on track fast.
  1. Consider Your Biological Prime Time: That’s the time of day when you are at your best. Are you a “morning person,” a “night owl,” or a late afternoon “whiz”? Knowing your most productive time will help you use that time of day to tackle your priorities.
  1. Do the Right Thing Right:  Doing the right thing is more important than doing things right. Doing the right thing is effectiveness but doing things right is efficiency. Focus first on effectiveness, then concentrate on efficiency.
  1. Eliminate the Urgent: Urgent tasks have short-term consequences, while important tasks are those with long-term, goal-related implications. Work toward reducing the urgent things you must do so you’ll have time for important tasks. Flagging or highlighting items on your to-do list or attaching a deadline to each item may help keep important items from becoming emergencies.
  1. Practice the Art of Intelligent Neglect: Eliminate trivial tasks or those tasks that do not have long-term consequences from your life. Can you delegate or eliminate any task on your to-do list? Work on those tasks that you alone can do.
  1. Avoid Being a Perfectionist: In the Malaysian culture, only the gods are considered capable of producing anything perfect. Whenever something is made, a flaw is left on purpose so the gods will not be offended. Yes, some things need to be closer to perfect than others; but perfectionism or paying unnecessary attention to detail can be a form of procrastination.
  1. Conquer Procrastination: One technique to try is the “Swiss cheese” method described by Alan Lakein. When you are avoiding something, break it into smaller tasks and do just one of the smaller tasks or set a timer and work on the big task for just 15 minutes. By doing a little at a time, eventually, you’ll reach a point where you’ll want to finish.
  1. Learn to Say “NO”: Such a small word and yet, so hard to say. Focusing on your goals may help. Blocking time for important, unscheduled priorities such as family and friends can also help. But first you must be convinced that you and your priorities are important. That is the difficulty in learning how to say “no”. Once convinced of their importance, saying “no” to the unimportant things in life gets easier
  1. Reward Yourself: Even for small successes, celebrate the achievement of goals. Promise yourself a reward for completing each task or job. Then keep your promise to yourself and indulge in your reward. Doing so will help you maintain the necessary balance in life between work and play. If we learn to balance excellence in work with excellence in play, fun, and relaxation, our lives become happier, healthier, and a great deal more creative.
  1. Learn Not to Have to Work in a Crisis, Anticipate Some Common Actions or Activities: Through proper planning and by working systematically, you can perform tasks quickly, efficiently and in a timely fashion. Try to develop shortcuts to cut down on time when performing routine tasks or activities. Developing a contingency plan will also help you to avoid any pitfalls. Be sure to ask “what if?” when making decisions or developing a course of action. Try to think of at least three ways to handle a crisis, and then put those solutions into practice when appropriate. Don’t forget to revise your contingency plan as needed.
  2. Reduce your Expectations: To help reduce your stress, work on reducing your expectations and on the flip-side,work on steadily increasing your results and reality.