Monthly Archives: July 2010

The benefits of sports massage

Sports massage is becoming more and more popular as a form of treatment for injury rehabilitation and also as a preventative tool for regular training athletes. Sports massage is used by athletes of all levels from novice to elite due to the benefits it has in both rehabilitation and in training. In my previous blog I talked a little about about how sports massage was more beneficial than foam rollers so I just wanted to let you all know the benefits of sports massage.
Sports massage helps promote a faster recovery from exercise by increasing circulation. Increased circulation will send fresh blood to the worked muscles providing the muscles with the nutrients needed to repair and replenish whilst transporting away waste products produced by exercise. Sports massage can also help improve flexibility as massage techniques can stretch specific areas of tissue irrespective of range of movement. Deep tissue massage and friction can directly break down scar tissue and adhesions to help realign muscle fibres leading to an increase in length, pliability, elasticity, suppleness and tone.
If sports massage is undertaken regularly it can also be used as a preventative tool. The therapist will be able to feel any developing adhesions or scar tissue caused by overuse and treat the problem area before it causes injury. Also if the athlete has had regular sports massages their muscles will be less prone to strains and tears due to a release of excessive muscle tension and increased elasticity, pliability, suppleness and tone.
As with all forms of treatment there are some contraindications to sports massage such as, acute trauma, acute inflammatory conditions, infections and bleeding disorders, myositis ossificans, cancers and tumours.
If you wish to find out more or would like to book a sports massage with Variety Fitness please take a look at our website
Thanks for reading

Foam rollers

In recent years foam rollers have become commonly used as a therapeutic tool and we are now seeing them on many gym floors. So what are they, what are the benefits of using them, who are they suitable for and are there any disadvantages to using the foam roller?
Dr Moshe Feldenkrais was among the first to use the foam roller for therapeutic purposes which he later used in his Feldenkrais method (if you don’t know who he is google him, he was a very clever man!). Dr Feldenkrais used the foam roller to help clients improve body awareness and joint position sense, enhance balance and proprioception, aid in muscle re-education and promote flexibility and strength.
The average gym-goer will generally use the foam roller for stretching or myofascial release however is it effective or are there better means. Of course this depends on what you want to achieve if you want a general stretch then the foam roller is great. However, if you want a more specific stretch or have trigger points to work on then a good sports massage would be more beneficial. Due to its size the foam roller is too imprecise to get a specific area whereas a sports masseur can use different techniques for trigger points and precise areas of the muscles. I do think the foam roller is a good addition to a rehabilitation or stretching programme but in my opinion is best used alongside sports massage for greater results.
Foam rollers are also used in pilates to provide an unstable surface to further challenge the core muscles, for this purpose I think they are an amazing tool. The foam roller isn’t as intimidating as the swiss ball but has all the same benefits and offers as many exercise variations as the ball. I will upload some videos of core stability and pilates exercises on the foam roller at the end of the week.
Like every piece of equipment there are advantages and disadvantages of using the foam rollers but I think they definitely have a place in the fitness and rehabilitation world, just ensure you are using them for the right reasons. As a word of warning don’t use the foam rollers if you suffer with any of the following; osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, during flare ups of rheumatoid arthritis, vertigo or if you are taking anticoagulant medications regularly.
So, have some fun and try them out next time you are in the gym. By the way, the ITB stretch using the foam roller will bring tears to your eyes!

Don’t forget bootcamp starts next week, so if you haven’t booked your place do it quick as places are limited!
Sarah x

The Power of Oats

This week’s blog is inspired by my dad! I recently analysed my dad’s food diary as he wants to change his eating habits to help him get rid of his little pot belly (no offence dad – and to keep me out of trouble I did say little)! Anyway after giving my dad my words of wisdom and a book about superfoods, he started to implement changes and even tried one of the recipes out of the book – oat bars – see the inspiration now!
I switched my cereal to an oat based cereal about 2 or 3 years ago when I started teaching millions of classes a day to give me a slower release of energy to get me through the morning. I also found that switching to an oat based cereal from a wheat based cereal made me feel less bloated in the mornings, so oats was one of the changes I suggested to my dad.
So the power of oats is this; they are low on the glycaemic index so great for dieters and diabetics as they keep hunger at bay. They help lower bad cholesterol and boost good cholesterol as they are rich in the soluble fibre beta-glucan, therefore also helping prevent circulatory and heart problems due to the effects on cholesterol. And finally they are a great source of a wide range of vitamins and minerals including Vitamins B and E, magnesium, calcium and iron.
So my advice to you is this, see where you can substitute oats into your diet to reap the benefits just like my dad!

Fitness professional, Pilates and Yoga studio owner, sports therapist and nutritionist. Love anything fitness related #Pilates #yoga #Macclesfield