Are you suffering with that horrible Shoulder pain that will not go away?!

September 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Shoulder pain, as you may well know, or have right now, is horrible! It lingers there all day and all night but just won’t go away!

You go to the doctors, who prescribe you with pain killers. A couple of hours later you feel so much better… Until the pain killers wear off! That horrible shoulder pain returns! WHY you may ask?

The simple answer is that pain killers treat the symptom, NOT the CAUSE of this shoulder pain.

What causes my shoulder pain?

Typically, our shoulder pain develops due to our lifestyles; whether this be sitting at a computer all day, moving house, lifting too heavy with improper technique the gym, or sleeping in a poor position (which I may add we do not have much control over!)

This, over time, results in the development of tight areas within that muscle, which causes decreased blood flow, decreased range of movement, weakness… And perhaps the most detrimental effect is that it can cause other muscles to work too hard to compensate for this. Your end product is PAIN, TENSION and LIMITED range of motion.

What can I do to treat this?

As a sports massage therapist I take great pride in getting rid of this pain for you, through releasing those dreaded tight spots in your muscle, restoring your range of motion and well- being.

Alongside physical therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises are extremely beneficial to increasing strength, flexibility and the general well being of your shoulder.

Please note that it is important to get a professional to examine your shoulder prior to diagnosis and treatment. It is not always solely down to tight muscles, but a big percentage of shoulder pain is as a result of this!

Keep posted for more health and fitness tips and advice, all for FREE!

Until next time!

Mark –


Tight Hip Flexors? Stretch em’ out

March 22, 2012 at 10:38 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Do you sit down all day?

If you answer yes, then you are more than likely to have tight hip flexors.

What are / where are the hip flexors?

Hip flexors refer the the muscles that are found at the front of the hips, responsible for flexing the Femur (thigh bone) at the hips.

The primary muscles responsible for flexing the hips are the Psoas Major, Psoas Minor, and Illiacus.

In simple terms, the Psoas muscles originate at the spine, and insert in the the Lesser Trochanter of the Femur.

The Illiacus arises from the inside of the hip bone, and joins together with the Psoas Major, forming the Illipsoas.

So how do they get tight from being sat down all day?

As you are sat down, your hip flexors are contracted (shortened). If these are not stretched, they will not return to normal length. As a result of this, the continual contraction of these muscles results in extremely tight, shortened muscles. This effects the range of movement around the hips, and can effect other muscles and tissues surrounding the pelvic area.

What are the consequences on posture as a result of tight hip flexors?

Tight hip flexors can force the pelvis in to anterior pelvic tilt. This is where the pelvis tilts forwards.

As a result of this, the arch in the lumbar spine will increase, which will over time lead to the development of  lower back pain.

What can I do to treat this problem?

Anterior pelvic tilt is associated with muscle imbalances around the pelvic area. The hip flexors and erector spinae muscle become tight and shortened, whereas the Hamstring, Glutes, and abdominal uscles are typically weak and lengthened.

To focus on resolving this issue, you have to focus on strengthening the weakened muscles, and stretching the tight muscles. This will, over time, restore the desired posture at the pelvis.

Hip Flexor stretch. Hold for 12 seconds

Strengthening exercise for the Glutes and Hamstring. Completed 2 sets of 12 repetitions.

So, treat those hip flexors well, and they will treat you well in return!

The importance of changing your workout

March 4, 2012 at 8:49 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Working in a gym, I see many people do the same thing day in day out. Their programme looks something like this, Monday to Friday:

Treadmill (same speed ) for 20 minutes

Bike for 20 minutes (same intensity / effort)

Lat Pull Down

Chest Press

Bicep Curls

Quite often they come up to me and say “I have been coming to the gym for three years now and nothing has changed?”

The first question I would ask is “How often do you change your programme?”

Progressing from a Lunge, to a walking Lunge

The importance of changing your exercise programme:

Your body adapts and fitness improvements occur every time a new exercise is introduced, every time a heavier weight is lifted, or every time you increase the time of your run on the treadmill.

For this reason, it is extremely important to change your programme, in order to add a new stimulus, and shock your muscles.

Your programme should be changed every 5-6 weeks. This may be in the form of increasing the frequency, intensity, time (duration) or the type of exercise. For example, you may want to progress single leg lunges, to walking lunged with dumbells.

So the golden rule of today is: “Change your workout every 5-6 weeks, get adequate rest, eat well, and you will see results”

The Benefit Of Sports Massage – from Office worker to Athlete

February 23, 2012 at 10:52 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Have you ever had a Sports Massage? Do you wonder why you feel as though you have ‘new legs’, or a ‘new back’ after having one.

Sports Massage Treatment

Sports Massage and Deep Tissue Massage are extremely popular among both the general public, and athletes alike. Contrary to popular belief, sports massage is NOT just for athletes. Sports massage will benefit anyone who is experiencing muscles pain and stiffness.

Lets take an office worker for example: Most office workers tend to adopt the ‘slumping; position when sat at a desk. Essentially, this is where your shoulders are rounded, your back is curved, and your posture is by no way at its best. Over time, this will cause repetetive stress on the Pectoral muscles, and Trapezius muscles. As a result, these muscles become tight and shortened, which results in rounding of the shoulders.

Upper Crossed Syndrome - 'Rounding' of the shoulders

Sports Massage will target the problem areas, relieving any tension and providing rehabilitation advice to stretch out the tight muscles, and strengthen the weakened muscles.

For the athlete, where there is a key focus on performance, Sports Massage is extremely beneficial to remove any waste build up in the muscles, to prevent cramping and stiffness, increase blood flow, prevent injuries, and to promote muscle relaxation.

The benefits of Sports Massage are outlined below:

– Reduces muscle soreness

– Reduces muscle stiffness

– Increases the rate of recovery

– Increases blood flow to the muscles

– Increases the rate at which you recover from an injury

– Increases lymphatic flow

– Breaks down scar tissue

If you are suffering from a hard gym session, or your back is hurting from sitting down at work all day, I can strongly advise a Sports Massage. It will do you the world of good

Until next time, keep healthy!


Have you ever stopped and thought… why do you exercise?

February 17, 2012 at 8:51 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Today, I was lying in bed ahead of my long run, and thought to myself  ‘Why am I doing it?  Why do I exercise?

There could be many reasons as to why you exercise:

– Enjoyment

– Training for an event

– To maintain your Health and Fitness

–  To lose weight

– To get in shape for a special occasion

Spare a few seconds and have a think. Why do you do it?

For me on a personal level, I exercise to maintain my Health and Fitness, and Enjoy doing It. The feeling after a hard session makes it all the worthwhile.

This leads me on to the point of Enjoying exercise. If you do not enjoy exercise, it is fair to say that in the long run, you will stop doing it. If you are one of these people, there are many forms of exercise that can be enjoyable.

Train with a friend, join in group exercise classes or take up adventurous sports. These are examples of ways to make your exercise more enjoyable, and fulfilling.

Further to this, there are many benefits of exercise, some of which include:

– Control your weight

– De Stress

– Increases your Cardiovascular fitness

– Reduces the risk of developing High Blood Pressure

– Reduces the chance of developing Diabetes

– Reduce feelings of Depression and Anxiety

– Helps to build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints

– Promotes Psychological well being

So, Why do you exercise?




” Why are my muscles sore today?”

February 7, 2012 at 9:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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So, you’ve been out of regular, consistent exercise for a while, and return to where you last finished.

The following morning, and commonly 48 hours after, you wake up and feel as though you have been through a mincer. Your legs are sore, your arms are weak, you struggle to bend over to put your socks on, and everything you do is a massive effort.

Ever thought what this is? Well, you’ll be ‘pleased’ to know that what you experience is called ‘Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness – DOMS’

What is DOMS?

DOMS describes a phenomenon of muscle pain, soreness, and stiffness, generally experienced from 24 to 72 hours post exercise. DOMS is quite commonly experienced after: a) You return to exercise after a long lay off b) A change of an exercise programme, or c) A big increase in the duration and/or intensity of exercise.

DOMS is quite an alarming experience for those who are new to exercise, however it is a natural adaptation response of the body. When you are working out, you are causing microscopic tears within your muscles. These microscopic tears are the cause of the muscular soreness that you are experiencing. 

Eccentric muscle contractions (contraction while the muscle is lengthened) are commonly the cause of DOMS. Examples of eccentric contractions include walking down the stairs, running downhill, or lowering weights.

What is the best treatment?

Once you have DOMS, the only thing you can do is to try and increase the rate at which your body returns to ‘normal’. Your muscles will adapt, increasing in size and strength. This means that there will be an increase in your fitness.

Treatment for DOMS includes:

Rest & Recover: Rest is the best thing you can do for muscle soreness. Your body will heal naturally, however the rate of recovery can be increased through the following.

Active Rest: This includes light exercise that promotes blood flow to the muscles – nothing strenuous!

Gentle Stretching: Hold stretches for 12-15 seconds

Sports Massage: Sports Massage promotes blood flow to the muscle tissue, and will remove any waste products.

Ice Bath: Alternating heat and cold will increase blood flow to the muscles

The best way to treat DOMS, is to prevent it in the first place! When you are new to exercise, ensure that you build up your distance and intensity in line with the rate at which your body adapts. Not only will this prevent muscle soreness, but it will also prevent Burn Out.

Keep healthy!

Mark –

Rounded Shoulders?

January 27, 2012 at 7:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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You may or may not realise how many people suffer from poor posture. As a Massage Therapist, the amount of people i see walking around with rounded shoulders and excessive back arches, etc, is incredible!

Tight muscles combined with weak back muscles result in Poor Posture, but how?

Rounded Shoulders

Rounded shoulders are caused as a result of a) Tight chest muscles, and b) Weak, lengthened back muscles

Tight chest muscles, can be caused by many factors, including:

-Focusing on lifting weights for your chest (typically found among men!), along with ignoring your back

– Sitting down for long hours in a ‘slumped’ position.

Your chest muscles include the Pectoralis Major and Pectoralis Minor, the bigger of the two being the Pectoralis Major.

In people with ’rounded shoulders’ you tend to find that the Pec. Minor muscle is tight. As a result of this, it pulls at the insertion point (Scapula) near the upper arm. If your back muscles are unable to ‘resist’ this pull, then there will be a shift in movement, causing the rounded shoulders.


There are two main goals that need to be achieved in order to restore your posture, of which include:

– Stretching and massage of the chest muscles, relieving tension (Hold the stretch for 12 seconds)

– Strengthening of the back muscles, most notably the Rhomboids (any ‘Row’ exercises are good for strengthening this muscle)

Chest Stretch

The domino effect of rounded shoulders:

As a result of rounded shoulders, other muscles are effected, most notably the upper Trapezius muscles (the muscles connecting from the base of your skull to your collar region).

The rounded shoulders cause a forward head position, placing the Trapezius muscles under immense pressure. Over time, they weaken, and a build up of trigger points are common. In simple terms, trigger points can be explained as tight spots of muscle.

The motto of this article is: ” Do not neglect your posture! Stretch your chest and strengthen your back”

Please keep tuned for more health and fitness information!


Are you warming up before your workout?

January 17, 2012 at 10:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A Warm up is an essential aspect of any training programme. In simple terms, it prepares the body to to work harder, and acts as a transition between rest and vigorous exercise.

During the winter months, it is especially important to warm up, as the temperature is a lot lower than during  the summer months. This means that a more prolonged warm up will be required, to prepare the body for more    intense exercise.

As a rough guide, 10 minutes is a substantial amount of time required to get a ‘light sweat’, an indicator that you are sufficiently warmed up.

Why Should you warm up? The benefits:

– Increases your heart rate, which increase the blood flow to your muscles. As a result, Oxygen delivery is faster and more efficient.

– Joint function is better due to the release of synovial fluid, which is found at joints.

– Reduces the chance of developing an injury

– Greater extensibility and contraction of muscle fibres

– Increase speed, and force of muscular contraction

– Removal of Lactic Acid – a poison to the muscles, and the reason why your muscles ‘burn’ during exercise

What can I do to warm up?

A warm up involves light, gentle exercise, aimed at increasing the core body temperature, heart rate, and blood flow to the muscles. Typical warm ups involve a light jog and sport specific activities as you progress throughout your warm up.

Dynamics Stretching of the muscles is also done during a warm up, which is aimed at stretching the muscles, while at the same time, keeping the body warm. Complete 12 repetitions of the stretch on each leg / arm, etc.

Below is an example of a Dynamic stretch for the Hamstring muscles, using a Theraband.








Don’t underestimate the importance of a warm up.

Keep posted for more Health and Fitness tips!


Achieve It Health & Fitness

Lower Back Pain?

January 13, 2012 at 11:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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LOWER BACK PAIN – Treat the cause, not the symptom!

We have all had some form of lower back pain at some time in our life.  Some take action to correct it, however some plod on with this pain. What causes it, and how can you treat it?

What causes lower back pain?

Lower back pain can be caused by many things, including a direct blow to the back, incorrect technique when lifting, a slipped disk, poor posture, or tight hamstrings, to name a few. This article will be focusing on the relationship between tight Hamstrings and Lower Back Pain.

Here’s a question, how long are you sat down for, per day? A typical office worker will do something along the following lines:

Sit down for breakfast, sit down while driving to work andsit at work from 9-5. Once they leave work, they will drive home, and eat dinner sat down, followed by unwinding on the sofa at night. That is potentially 13-14 hours of sitting down per day! Plus the 6-8 hours you are lying down for while in bed.

As a result of this, your Hamstrings will be contracted (shortened) throughout the day, eventually leading to tightness.

The anatomy behind tight Hamstrings and lower back pain:

The Hamstrings originate at the base of your pelvis, at the ischial tuberosity (‘sit bones’), and insert in to the bones in your lower leg (the Tibia and Fibula). If the Hamstrings are tight (and short) they pull on your pelvis, forcing it out of its neutral alignment.

As a result, there will be a shift in the pelvis, placing more strain on the  lower back. This movement can also result in pinching of the Sciatic nerve, causing pain in the lower back region, of which can travel down the legs.

How many times have you been to the doctors for lower back pain, only to be given pain killers to treat the Symptom (pain), rather than treat the Cause. 

What can be done to prevent your Hamstrings from causing lower back pain?

Stretching your Hamstrings will increase the range of movement at the joint, and return the muscle to its optimal length. As a result of this, the pulling force at the pelvis will be reduced, taking tension off the surrounding muscles.

Secondly, it is important to undergo Strengthening exercises for your Hamstrings, to reduce the likelihood of the problem reoccurring. Basic exercises such as  Hamstring curls are simple, yet effective strengthening exercises (see below).

Lastly, Sports Massage will be extremely beneficial at removing the tension in the Hamstring, which is causing these muscles to become so tight. Massaging these tight spots will result in a more relaxed, stretched Hamstring muscle, ultimately reducing the pain in your back!




Drink your way to losing weight!

January 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Maybe not the Drink you were thinking of! The following will discuss the important of WATER in your diet.

Have you been trying to lose weight? Are you drinking enough water?

The Human body is reliant upon water to function properly. Without it, we would die in a few days.

Water accounts for more than two thirds of human body weight – Your brain is made up of 95% Water, your Blood is made up of 82% Water, and your Lungs are made up of 90% water.

As a rough guide, you should be drinking between 1-2.5 litres of Water a day. This does not take in to account other lifestyle factors such as exercising in the heat, for example.

Enough of the facts – What role does water play in weight loss?

– The process of burning calories needs Water in order to function efficiently. If you are dehydrated, this will slow the process down.

– Burning Calories produces toxins, of which need to be flushed out of your body. Have you ever had a massage and been advised to drink water after? It’s a similar principle – to flush the toxins out of your body.

– Dehydration causes a reduction in blood volume, of which causes a lack of Oxygen delivery to the muscles. As a result of this, you may feel tired.

– Water acts as a lubricant in your muscles. Being properly hydrated means that your muscles can contract and relax efficiently.

– Water can also make you feel ‘full’. Drinking at regular intervals throughout the day, along with a nutritous diet will prevent snacking on unhealthy foods.

So, when you leave your house to go to work, to the shops, or for a run, take a bottle of water with you!


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