A question I get asked by many patients is what do I really need to do to be in less pain and lead a healthy lifestyle. This, in many ways can be difficult to answer as there are many different factors that can affect us all in many ways. Do you really know what complete health means?
Health isn’t just glowing skin and going to the gym five times a week. It applies to how we feel, how we move, sleep, eat and much more. Below I have written a small amount about some of the things I feel are top of the list of health.
For physical and mental health, it is very important to get out in the fresh air every day, as not only can it help us maintain a good level of activity during the day but also Vitamin D is vital to support the intake of calcium and is used to support our immune system and neuromuscular system. Fresh air gives us that much-needed break from stuffy offices or long commutes; we can take in the surrounds and feel calm. Even the increase in oxygen can affect our mood as the level of oxygen in the body affects serotonin.
Moderate activity can easily be achieved by attending the gym or training sessions but it can include walking the dog or kids to school, a quick lap of the block at lunch-time or even a few hours of housework. Regular movement in the body is better than sitting for 12 hours a day and then blasting out a 10k run twice a week. When you are moderately active throughout the day, circulation improves, blood pressure can be lowered, moods can be elevated and weight control is more sustainable.
I always try to relay to patients that diet, or what we consume, is a lifestyle change. I try to stick to the 80-20 rule. I enjoy good quality food, lots of colour and fresh produce, meat primarily from the butchers and I cook most of my food. I stick to this way of eating 80% of the time. I am lucky that I enjoy healthy food and pick it by choice most of the time. I also allocate into my daytime to cook or reheat meals cooked and frozen. 20% of the time, primarily at the weekend, I do like to eat out and enjoy alcohol, and I have puddings and love chocolate. It’s all about balance. If patients come in with health concerns or allergies, then I will try to direct them to discuss things further with a Nutritionist or Dietician. What we consume affects our energy levels, how we look and feel, concentration levels and our overall health. I have said for years now that I have so much energy because I eat what my body needs and I take pride in looking after myself on many levels.
Education can be shown in many ways during treatment. Often I draw attention to the patient’s posture when sitting, standing and driving, even positions they sleep in. Patients are usually unaware of what is causing their pain or discomfort so I do try to make them understand certain anatomical trains and muscle groups. I promote rehabilitation and am always willing to go through exercises.
So many issues I see are down to poor posture, most of us live in a very forward world and we don’t do anything to rectify this. Good posture allows our bodies to work more efficiently in a neutral position. This, in turn, puts far less stress and strain on the body and gives us a chance to keep up with hectic lifestyles.
Sports massage can be used to aid with recovery, improve sleep quality, ease chronic tension and pain, support an active lifestyle and rehabilitate acute or long-standing problems. I try to share what knowledge I do have with patients. We discuss openly things that have been released on the news, social media and TV programmes, as some information can be confusing.
Sports massage has been used to aid not only physical stress on the body but also mental stress. It can lower blood pressure, increase circulation, ease the pain, and improve sleep quality. All of these things are important for our mental health. Alongside the physical benefits of treatment, a lot can be said for taking a small percent of your day and using it as a time-out. Treatment time is confidential and can be used in many different ways. I would say many patients speak positively about the way I communicate and feel at ease in my company.
Treatment is a blanket term for what I do at JM Sports Massage. This covers all of the above and so much more. I am always learning new techniques and anything I feel I can’t cover myself, I can advise you the right place to go. I never recommend anyone who I haven’t been personally treated/helped by myself. There is always a way to treat people, some react very strongly to deep tissue techniques so we have to use much more movement-based techniques, and taping can be a good aid for those in acute pain or with large amounts of inflammation. I’m always happy to give advice over the phone or via email.