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Lost muscle mass during COVID lockdown

lost muscle mass massage tension release Melbourne

Millions of people missed out on regular exercise or activity during the Covid-19 pandemic and are likely to have lost muscle mass.
Jumping right back into an activity you haven’t done in a while and expecting to pick up where you left off may lead to unwanted aches and pains.
Muscle loss can lead to long-term problems with mobility and balance, in turn can trigger or aggravate a whole range of health conditions. There are things that you can do to get yourself back active.

Think of movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience. Be active in as many ways as you can, both incidental activity and some regular, more vigorous exercise for extra health and fitness.

Why is incidental activity important?
Physical activity is a major factor in preventing and reducing the risk of many health conditions eg. heart disease. Physical activity can be accumulated in small amounts through the day or as a single longer session. These two types of activity produce similar health benefits. Also, many people find it easier to be active in lots of little ways throughout the day.. Remember to think of all types of physical activity as a chance to improve your health.

Examples of incidental activity:

  • getting up from your desk, shrug your shoulders up, in circles forward and back this will release any tightness in your neck & shoulders
  • after sitting for a long period of time, squeeze and release your butt (glutes)
  • Walking up stairs instead of taking the lift or escalators
  • Cycle or walk to work instead of driving
  • Do some gardening or mow the lawn
  • Make your leisure activities more active
    • Walk at golf instead of using a buggy
    • Throw or kick a football at the park

What are some ways to ramp up activity safely?
Getting started with some exercise or movement is the hardest thing for many people, don't try to do too much.
Starting small is the key to motivation, you need one small win every day.
Our upper body muscles may have weakened during the lockdown. Simple things like changing the way we shop may have added to the problems. Carrying loaded shopping bags is a great strength activity. The switch to online shopping means that's gone for many people.
The muscles in the front of your body are usually good at pushing, and the muscles in the back are good at pulling. You should try to balance them both. It doesn't need to be formal exercise. Moving things around in the garden or cleaning out a cupboard can give you the same workout.
Simple exercises for your lower body and your core can yield big benefits. Sit to stand exercises are good way to start, along with calf raises and stepping up and down the stairs. Just start with 10 repetitions and build up, when you're ready, and if it's appropriate, you move on to squats and lunges.

The single biggest factor in forming healthy habits is consistency. So the best way to achieve that is to set small goals which you know you can achieve. People with grandiose goals are much less likely to stick with them.

Best steps to resume activity after COVID-19 are:

  • Start with light activity, such as a daily 15 – to 30-minute walk, before breakfast, after dinner, or both!
  • Slowly ramp up your regimen over the days and/or weeks that follow.
  • Stop your activity, if you experience symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pains, and light-headedness or heart palpitations consult medical advice
  • Listen to your body, and if it’s too easy the first time, make it harder the next.
  • Hydration - drink up before, during and after exercise
  • Recovery - It’s good to exercise, but you need to have a day where your body can recover. If you do an activity seven days a week, there’s no opportunity for the body to recover ultimately, that can lead to overuse or injury.

Remember that patience is key, as you work yourself back into your routine.

Self Care Strategies

mental resilience tension release Melbourne

Reminder to oneself, find time each day to play and be creative, even if it's only for a few minutes. Did you laugh today? Did you smile? like really smile 😊 Did you crack a joke or dance to music while getting pumped for the start of your day?
It's easy to go through everyday tackling what's on the to do list in a serious state but it's so important we remember to pepper in fun and not take ourselves so seriously, most of the time.
Life has a habit of testing our limits - mental resilience is your chance to bounce back.
Resilience has become a bit of a buzzword, but it’s something we should all know more about in order to protect and improve our mental health.
Mental resilience is your ability to bounce back after experiencing tough times. It has been a struggle in the last year, for some worse than others with the impact of COVID on our lives. Whilst we have done better than most around the world so far, we still have a long way to go.

Having good mental resilience not only helps you to get through these tough times, you may also become a stronger person for it.
So how can you become more mentally resilient? Here are some tips.

Stay connected

Humans are social beings. Surrounding yourself with friends and family can act like a safety net when you’re feeling down. If you’re not close with your family, find a group of people you like hanging out with. Join a club or simply make it a point to have a regular chat with your neighbour. It is not just people you should connect with, any activity involving spending time the animals is also beneficial.

Find what you love

Getting absorbed in a pleasurable activity encourages you to focus less on the negative and enjoy the present. It’s also important to identify what gives your life meaning, whether that is spiritual beliefs, your career or a hobby. Prioritising the things that make you feel good about yourself can have a strong protective effect and make the world seem like a much better place.

Let it go

Just like the song says, sometimes you just have to let go of negative thoughts or experiences. Worrying about what might happen doesn’t solve any problems.
Try instead to focus your mind on what achievable actions you could take to make things better. Make a list and tick things off if that helps. Techniques like music, exercise or meditation can calm your mind and give you a break from pesky worries and thoughts.

Take care of yourself

To look after your mind, you also need to look after your body. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Get out for a brisk walk every day and not only will your physical fitness improve, it will also help clear the mind. Finally, avoid using substances like alcohol or drugs to make you feel better.


Lunchtime workouts to Keep Active!

Finding time in the day to squeeze in some exercise can feel like an impossible task, and for those who work in an office, leaving your desk at lunch is unheard of in most office environments. But by having a break and going outside, stepping away from your screen and incorporating some more movement into your day, not only will you feel great but it’ll help boost your productivity and concentration levels too! Whether you have 5 minutes or half an hour, here are a couple of lunchtime workout ideas for every fitness level to get you moving and those endorphins flowing:

1. Walk it out (5 – 30 mins, easy)

Change into comfortable shoes and hit the pavement! Begin with a slow walking pace to warm-up and work your way up to a brisk stride. Pick a new route each day, we have some wonderful parks to explore. You’ll get outside and away from the office, be able to explore the neighbourhood, fit in some exercise AND you’ll return clear-headed and feeling happier. Now that’s productive!

2. Step by step (5 – 30 mins, intermediate)

Ready to take it up a notch? Great! Stairways are free and you’ll find them almost everywhere. Challenge your legs, glutes and core to work hard while bumping up your heart rate. Warm up by walking up and down a flight of stairs 3-4 times at a slow, easy pace. When you’re ready to step it up, increase your speed to a fast walk. Start small and see how many flights of stairs you can fit into your lunch break. See if you can beat it tomorrow! And if your office building has a lift, start taking the stairs instead.


Hydration – Drink Up – Before, During and After Exercise

Summertime is nearing, so you've got no more excuses for not going outside to get some physical activity. Outdoor activity is a great way to put the fun into fitness -- but it requires paying special attention to hydration.

Our bodies are made up of more than half water and we use it for pretty much every bodily function — from regulating body temperature to removing waste to lubricating joints to carrying oxygen to the cells. That’s why you feel so fatigued, dizzy and moody when you’re dehydrated.

When it's warm, your body perspires more to help you cool down. And depending on the temperature, humidity, and the nature of your activity, you might not even realize how much you are perspiring.

Don't rely on thirst alone to tell you how much you need to drink. To keep those muscles working and avoid fatigue; it's extremely important to drink plenty of liquids before, during, and after activity.

A good guideline to use when preparing for an outdoor workout, whether it's walking, running, biking, or tennis, is to drink about two cups of fluid two hours before the activity. That helps make sure you are well-hydrated before you even go outdoors.

Then, during the activity, try to sip some water every 15-20 minutes to keep your muscles well-hydrated. If you are planning an hour-long walk or gym workout, fill a water bottle and take it with you.

Last, drink up after you're finished with your exercise to rehydrate the body.

Does massage therapy help for stroke rehabilitation?

A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted. (

stroke-remedial-massage-tension-release-melbourne picture from Mayfield clinic


When a person suffers a stroke, they may experience levels of paralysis in almost any skeletal muscle; as a result, they can experience weakness, stiffness, problems with positioning, balance and posture, and resulting discomfort.

Stroke risk increases with age, but stroke in young people, including infants, children, adolescents and young adults, does happen. In general, however, most experts consider a young stroke age to be under 45. [1]

Massage therapy can augment other physical therapies (such as physiotherapy) for stroke patients to address symptoms.  Clients should consult with their treating doctors as to whether massage therapy is suitable in their circumstances.

It is very important that massage treatment starts as soon as feasible for a quick recovery.

In convalescence, it is necessary to stimulate not only the blood and lymphatic circulation, but also to act on the skin, subcutaneous cellular tissue and muscle mass.

Remedial and relaxation massage may benefit stroke patients in various ways:

  • Reduced stiffness/improved mobility and posture
  • Improved strength
  • Reduced pain and cramping
  • Improved limb circulation
  • Improved mood
  • Increased cellular exchange
  • Increased endorphins serotonin and dopamine
  • Increased tissue elasticity

Different techniques are used to address to each problem.

Specific techniques often used include:

Muscle Energy Technique (MET)

A form of osteopathic manipulative diagnosis and treatment in which the patient’s muscles are actively used on request, from a precisely controlled position, in a specific direction, and against a distinctly executed physician counterforce. [2]

Positional Release Technique (PRT)

A bodywork modality using passive positioning of bones and joints, intended to reset proprioceptors and establish a more functional level of tone and resistance.[3]

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)

This stretching technique utilized to improve muscle elasticity and range of muscle motion has been shown to have a positive effect on active and passive range of motions.[4]

Remedial massage techniques can be applied to problem areas to reduce stiffness and address contractions in specific muscles to improve range of movement.  This may assist with improved mobility and improve the patient’s posture.

The application of MET (an active technique that includes the participation of the client) and PNF may improve strength in weakened areas.

Massage to areas affected by stroke may reduce pain and cramping by improving flexibility and positioning.

The moment of its initiation and the type of massage to be used must be well regulated. If the intervention is premature, it will be more harmful than beneficial; if it is too soft and prolonged, it will cause or increase weakness of the muscle; if it is of great intensity, it will produce muscular fatigue, precisely what must be avoided.

Stroke patients may experience various symptoms in affected areas due to changes in circulation.  Massage may improve circulation and reduce these symptoms, such as limbs feeling cold.

Any sufferer of neuromotor condition can be benefit physically and psychologically with a remedial massage therapy, which may also assist with improving mood and overall energy levels.

[1] A study published in October 2012 in the journal Neurology

[2] Chaitow, Leon (2013). Muscle Energy Techniques + Videos. Elsevier Science Health Science Division, 2013

[3] Glossary of Osteopathic Terminology” (PDF). American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. April 2009. p. 28. Retrieved 25 August 2012.

[4] Funk et al., 2003; Lucas and Koslow, 1984; Wallin et al., 1985


Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief Through Myotherapy

Sciatic Nerve Pain

The sensations of sciatic nerve pain are different for everybody; there are those who claim that the pain is the kind that builds up over time, and then there are those who describe their pain as the hot radiating kind that shocks their lower body repeatedly. Suffice it to say, sciatic nerve pain attacks can render anybody helpless, and for those who experience such pain frequently, the condition fully compromises quality of life.

Most people who suffer from this type of pain are prescribed non-steroidal pain killers which alleviate the pain for several hours or so. The problem with the frequent intake of pain killers is that it can thin the stomach lining, make a person hyper-acidic and lead to liver damage. Meanwhile, there are some who are advised to get surgery as treatment, but this is really expensive and is only for those with intense pains who have tried out more conservative treatments yet witnessed no positive results from such treatments.

Sciatica treatment

Treating sciatica is on a case-to-case basis, but what medical professionals agree on and advise is for sciatica sufferers to get some physical stimulation (like exercise and massage) because without proper physical activity, low back muscles can become weaker and deconditioned. And with weak, deconditioned low back muscles, pains can actually become more intense in the future because the spine cannot support the whole frame of the body anymore. Likewise, without proper physical activity and stimulation, important nutrients that the spine requires to be strong and healthy will not get distributed and absorbed properly. Yet again, this varies among cases because physical exertion may lead to a flare up of pain if not executed properly, and this now leaves therapeutic massage as the safest bet for sciatic nerve pain relief.

What’s particularly beneficial about massage that is performed by a trained professional is that the body receives the stimulation it needs for better circulation without the pain sufferer exerting too much effort. All the patient has to do is lie face-down on the massage bed and the massage therapist can treat the impinging nerves typically found at the base of the spine (the sacral bone) which is the origin point of the nerve pain. On top of that, massage can also help maintain the body’s natural flexibility, which sciatic nerve pain sufferers tend to lose due to their limited movements. And lastly, it is also known to reduce inflammation which is a common manifestation of sciatica – this inflammation creates a tender feeling around the source of the pain but therapeutic massage can easily address that to promote better circulation for quick healing.

Therapeutic massage for sciatic nerve pain typically requires several sessions, but relief from pain is longer-lasting, it’s more affordable, and most importantly, it has no side effects.

Dealing With Pain – Massage Treatment For Migraines

Therapeutic massage treatments can help significantly when a migraine takes hold.

Many people who suffer from migraine are at a loss for words when it comes to describing the excruciating pain that they experience. Some will even daresay that it is infinitely better to give birth without the aid of pain medications than to suffer this form of headache.

But what is a migraine and how is it different from other kinds of headaches?

A migraine is a type of headache that is marked by an intense throbbing sensation in a single area in the head. It is often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to both light and sound. Some migraine sufferers report flashes of light, blind spots or a tingling sensation in the leg or arm prior to an attack.

Although experts have yet to make a definitive pronouncement regarding the root cause of this problem, experts are pointing towards an imbalance in brain chemicals and low serotonin as the primary reasons for migraines. Other triggers include hormonal imbalance, food and additives, alcohol, stress, sensory stimuli, changes in sleeping patterns, physical exertion, changes in the weather and medications.

The list of drugs prescribed to migraine sufferers can go on and on, ranging from pain-relieving medications to preventive medications. But the bottom line is that migraines cannot really be cured. The best thing that one can do is tweak their lifestyle to avoid their pain triggers as well as craft a pain-relief plan with the aid of their healthcare provider.

Many migraine sufferers have discovered the benefits of going for a massage, not only for the treatment for migraines, but also before and after an attack. By targeting the muscles typically associated with migraine pain, a skilled massage therapist can significantly reduce pain during an attack through kneading and stroking the scalp, neck and shoulders. Going for a regular massage treatment can significantly reduce stress, one of the most common triggers for migraine sufferers.

Since pre-history, countless people have been plagued with migraine, leading them to believe that they have been cursed by the gods. As such, many cultures have concocted various remedies to aid those who suffer from it. Fortunately, for modern people who are plagued by it, there are numerous strategies and treatments that are easily available. As such, it is crucial to identify one’s triggers, and from there, make use of medications and massage treatments to allow them to cope better with the pain instead of simply succumbing to it.

Getting On Your (Sciatic) Nerve – Understanding The Causes Of Sciatic Pain

Have you ever experienced pain originating from your buttocks, which then radiates down to the back of your thigh to your knees? Then, you might be suffering from sciatic pain or sciatica. Sciatica is usually felt in just one leg with intensities varying from continuous burning pain to dull, intermittent pain.

What exactly causes sciatica?

The sciatic nerve is one of the largest nerves in the human body and sciatica is the result of pressure on that nerve. This condition comes as a result of various causes. Sometimes, it is caused by poor posture or muscle strain. If you are pregnant or obese, the risk of getting sciatica can become high. Even wearing high heels for an extended period of time or sleeping on a bed that is too soft can cause this pain.

There are also people whose risk of succumbing to sciatica is high. This includes people whose work involves heavy lifting, extended periods of sitting or twisting. Older people are also more likely to get sciatica as compared to their younger counterparts. If you have diabetes, you are more prone to getting sciatica as the disease is known to increase the risk for nerve damage. Osteoarthritis can also cause sciatica. Persons with osteoarthritis have burn spurs which can put pressure on nerves. In rare instances, sciatic pain may be caused by meningitis or spinal cord tumours.

The best way to confirm whether you have sciatica or another condition is to consult a medical professional. Your doctor will run a series of tests including testing for reflexes, muscle strength and sensation, and coordination. It is also possible that your doctor will ask you to lift your leg in a 60-degree angle without bending your knee to allow him to locate the origin of the pain. Some doctors may request you to undergo an X-ray, CAT scan or an MRI.

Once your doctor determines that you indeed have sciatica, he may prescribe you with muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers to help reduce inflammation as well as pain. Once the pain has gone down to a minimal level, a combination of exercise and massage therapy can help.

In addition to this, you can implement a few changes that will help you cope better with this condition. This includes sleeping on a firm mattress, either on your side or back. Putting a pillow either between your knees or under them will allow you to deal with the pain better as you try to sleep. Experts caution against sleeping on one’s stomach. If you work in an office, keep both feet firmly on the ground when sitting. Also, find a chair with adequate back support.


The Design Of Pain – A Network Of Triggers And Remedies To Common Aches

Melbourne Wellness Professionals Reveal a Network of Triggers and Remedies to Common Aches.

There was a Readers’ Digest special feature back in the seventies or eighties which told the true tale of an office employee who suffered from constant ringing in his ears that was at times accompanied by headaches and nausea. He consulted different doctors who provided prescriptions which were all ineffective in ridding him of the discomforts he was feeling. Weeks turned into months, and months turned into a year, and the ringing grew worse; the pains he’d been feeling have also already extended to his lower back. He continued to seek medical help and one doctor told him that he was dying.

Not one to easily give up, he continued to find a solution to his health problem and finally found a doctor who looked beyond the symptoms he had and inspected him more closely. The doctor took note of the collar size of the button-up shirt the man was wearing and then provided the most credible explanation to the ringing in the ears and pains that the man had been suffering from — the size of the collar (which was always buttoned and stylishly reinforced by a necktie) of the shirt was too small; it restricted blood and air from properly flowing to the head, and put uncomfortable pressure on his spine. True enough, a change in the size of clothing eventually got rid of the ringing in the ears, headaches, neck and back pains, and nausea the man often felt.

Loose, comfortable clothing allow blood and oxygen to be transported properly to the brain and this remains to be one of the most overlooked solutions to relieving pain, Melbourne wellness professionals claim. Tight jeans, shirts, shoes and underwear are common culprits not only for pains but even disfigurement of body parts — have you seen Oprah’s feet?

Another often overlooked but effective remedy for pain is drinking water. Most people just think that it’s for health maintenance but some of the aches the body feels can be eased instantly by drinking more water. Water rids the body of harmful toxins that cause infection and inflammation; drinking water allows the body to flush out toxins and at the same time rehydrate cells for quick recovery. The rule of thumb when it comes to healthy consumption of water is to drink at least half your body weight in ounces; so if you weigh 127 to 130 pounds, you must drink 65 to 78 ounces of water. For back pains that hinder movement, drinking this much water or slightly more will provide moisture to the disk between every two vertebrae of the spine. The disk, which is filled with gelatinous substance called the nucleus pulposis, is the shock absorber between the bones and it is primarily water, so keeping it hydrated prevents friction between bones that cause “creaky” back pains.

It’s imperative to direct attention to ergonomics as well in relieving body aches. Chairs that are built for complete comfort are the best when you’re working long hours on a project for school or work. Those that recline and come with an adjustable desk (and massaging features) will prevent you from hunching over, which is perhaps one of the worst positions for your body. A hunched posture is deemed responsible for a variety of aches that stretch from the neck and radiate all the way to the calves and ankles. The base of the spine is most vulnerable with this position as it’s the centre of the body’s frame; therefore, providing it adequate support to keep it in a comfortable angle while working can ease those tension knots and maintain flexibility of the body.


Getting Remedial Massage — Melbourne Residents’ Quick Guide To Effective Massage Therapy

Repetitive motions. Heavy lifting. Awkward postures for hours at a time. Some jobs may leave you susceptible to risks for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Whether your work requires you to lift and move heavy boxes or scan grocery items at the checkout counter, exposure to certain working environments and demanding physical tasks — over a long period — can result in neck and back pains, wrist injuries, muscle tightness, and a whole range of other aches and pains, which when left unresolved could affect your overall health, mobility, and well-being.

Get ahead of any serious injuries or resolve chronic pains by considering the healing benefits of remedial massage.

The Healing Treatment

Remedial massage, which is a form of deep tissue massage, delivers a healing treatment by working on the muscles and tendons that have been damaged, knotted, or impaired. A lubricating medium, such as oil, is usually applied directly to your skin to guarantee that the muscles related to your disorder are deeply penetrated. The remedial massage Melbourne therapists apply not only lead to eased joint stiffness and tension and improved mobility, but the therapy also enables your body to speed up its own repair mechanism, relieving you from pain and discomfort.

Massage therapies, including remedial massage, are being recognised as safe and effective treatment options according to a report conducted by Dr. Kenny Ng in collaboration with the School of Health and Sciences of the RMIT University. The research highlighted that massage therapy has been specifically effective in managing chronic lower back pain, delayed onset muscle soreness, anxiety, and stress. There is even indication that massage therapy can support the wellbeing of people diagnosed with chronic and terminal diseases like cancer. However, the Australian Association of Massage Therapists (AAMT) emphasise that using massage therapy as a safe treatment option will depend on the qualification and accreditation of therapists.

Finding Your Massage Therapist

The profession is largely unregulated still, with practitioners not entirely required to register as professionals, which is why it is recommended that you first seek consultation with medical practitioners and other registered health professionals before getting treatment from a massage therapist. With every remedial massage commencing with an examination and assessment, your therapist needs to be able to accurately determine which areas in your body are causing you pain. This means that your therapist should have completed a diploma course on remedial massage or bachelor’s degree on musculoskeletal therapy, and other required competencies.

The AAMT also recommends that you look for massage therapists who are members of an industry association such as the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA) or the AAMT. Membership to such organisations ensures consumers, like you, of therapists that follow proper practices, ethical procedures, and safety guidelines, giving you effective treatment for a broad range of problems.

From built-up knots and blockages after a stressful day at work to chronic injuries sustained from a physically demanding job, do not let those aches and pains go unresolved. Consider the healing powers of remedial massage and let a qualified and accredited professional therapist restore your body’s health and wellbeing today.