If you're like most people we see at The Soma Room, you often suffer from work-related shoulder and neck tension, brought on by hours sat in front of a computer. Maite shows how to alleviate some of this discomfort in a quick, three-minute stretching routine, which can be done at a desk throughout the day to help you maintain the health and mobility of your muscles.
Today we have a guest post written by Soma Room therapist Samuel Tinguely. A passionate sports massage therapist, martial artist and dancer, Samuel is particularly interested in finding ways to help his clients move in ways that are easy, efficient and pain free. In this post, Samuel offers a simple visualisation exercise to help you walk with more power, but less effort.
Walking is something we do everyday, and that makes it a great tool to work on our body and movement. I use imagery a lot when I walk, and this post is about a simple image to improve your efficiency and body mechanics. To learn more about what imagery is and how it works, you can read the introduction to this post on my blog.
The image we will work on today concerns the movements that happens inside the pelvis when we walk. It is an extremely simple image, but it will power your walk and make it effortless, by helping you recruit deep, powerful muscles and use the structure of your skeleton optimally.
This image is fairly straightforward: think of your pelvic area as a brick-shaped sponge, and as you take a step with your right leg, think of this sponge twisting so that the bottom of the right side goes forward, and do the same on the left.
This image is very simple, but it can prove challenging to many in our society, because we are lead to think of the pelvis as one single "thing", whereas it is a complex construct involving multiple bones that articulate in many ways. There are amazing videos presenting the movement of the individual bones of the pelvis on Youtube, among which two are particularly informative:
And with that, I hope your walking becomes more effortless with every step, allowing you to devote your precious energy to whatever you're going to do at the end of your next walking journey!
If this you're interested in this kind of exercises, head over to my website for more similar posts!
Another quick video from Soma Room therapist Maite on how to use a foam roller to ease the back discomfort which results from hours in a flexed or 'hunched' position, as is what commonly happens whilse driving for long periods or sitting at a desk all day. Many people are told that they 'should' foam roll but don't really know how to go about it - Maite lays it out clearly and simply below.
Our very own Soma Room therapist Maite demonstrating a very effective exercise for easing out some of the muscular pain and stiffness that builds up around the tops of the shoulders and in-between the shoulder blades, and is made worse by long periods of sitting in front of a computer or driving. The next best thing to an actual massage when you need to alleviate some of the discomfort - and you can do it in the comfort of your own home too!
A new client came to me a few weeks ago with pain in her left shoulder, which she had been suffering from for a number of years. I asked her if she had ever seen another healthcare provider about her condition and she said yes, a physiotherapist a couple of years ago. “He told me I have a twisted tendon” she said, “and that in a few years time it's going to shorten my leg. I already have a pain in my hip”.
"If the patient comes in thinking that you're not going to help them, you're not going to unless you can convince them that you can." - Joseph Brence
I recently watched a fantastic webinar by physiotherapist Joseph Brence, where he talked about his M.I.P (Motivation, Input, Plan) model for motor control. Joseph is a prominent physical therapist with a special interest in the neuromatrix and pain. Although coming from a physiotherapist's perspective, a lot of what Joseph talks about can very easily be transferred to what we do as massage therapists. Although the webinar touched on a great many interesting topics, one of the things that really stuck in my head is the idea that no matter how fantastic your massage skills, if your client doesn't have confidence in you, you're not going to give an effective treatment - pure and simple. Your hands on skills are only part of it.
Clients are complicated creatures, and touch is a subjective experience. As a massage therapist, I have taken many workshops with prominent leaders in the field on bodywork, who can sometimes appear to completely eliminate years worth of pain with just a five minute demonstration, and have legions of adoring fans who will quite literally cross continents to get just a few hours worth of bodywork from their chosen guru. Of course these 'experts' usually have pretty finely-tuned hands on skills, but could there be more going on here than simply good bodywork?
So you have a little one on the way and you've heard that pregnancy massage might be a pretty good thing. Perhaps you have some aches and pains, you haven't been sleeping very well or you just feel like you need to do something to pamper yourself and relax - all excellent reasons to give pregnancy massage a try.
But there can be some anxiety around the actual treatment too. How is my therapist going to position me? Are there any risks to my baby? What if I get the desperate urge to pee halfway through? (It happens). This blog post aims to try and answer some of those questions, and give you an idea of how your pregnancy massage treatment might change and develop along with your bump.
Note that some of these points might apply regardless of which trimester you're in. For example, if it's your first appointment, a thorough medical history will be always taken, to ensure that the treatment you receive is not only effective, but safe too.
After a brief period of homelessness, The Soma Room is now once again up and running - and this time I've decided to experience another part of London. Having recently moved to Ealing Broadway, I stumbled across an ad for The Treatment Room at The Broadway Studio almost by accident, and jumped at the chance to rent this little space just three minutes walk from Ealing Broadway station. Featuring a timetable packed with dance, martial arts and fitness, The Broadway Studio is a great place - not only to get a massage, but also to get fit and have fun while you do it. Check out www.thebroadwaystudio.com for more info.
There have been a few other little updates in the last month or so. The Soma Room now have its very own gift certificates, which can be bought online, customised with a personal message if you choose and then either posted to you or emailed directly to the recipient if time is short. In blocks of 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 minutes, they are valid for 6 months and make a great gift idea all year round.
As far as yearly round-ups go, this one is a little late - but since I've been galavanting around the States for two weeks, I hope that can be forgiven! 2012 was a big year for me - I started a business, became a Structural Integrator, embarked on my Feldenkrais training, became qualified in pregnancy massage, spent a week in a dissection lab, discovered the importance of skepticism and critical thinking, and started to explore the wonderful world of neuroscience, which has lead to some fascinating insights into how and why pain (especially chronic pain) occurs, and more importantly how it can be helped. Not bad for 12 months!
It can be tough trying to find a really great massage therapist in the UK these days. With few regulations compared to countries such as the US and Canada, a 'therapist' can become qualified and insured after just a day of training, or even from a distance learning course. The quality and skill of practitioners can therefore vary wildly, and you won't know which camp your therapist falls into until after you've paid your money and either enjoyed or suffered through your treatment.
Although there are no foolproof ways of knowing whether your therapist is an expert or a wannabe until they lay their hands on you, there are some things you can do to lower the risk of leaving a treatment with nothing having been thoroughly massaged except your wallet.