Taking good care of yourself and working with your body as you age.

We have all heard the phrase ‘Old age doesn’t come alone’ and I am sure that many of you are starting to feel stiffer and tighter than you used to. We don’t spring out of bed in the morning as we used to and the after effects of activity can have us shuffling around for days!

What I am looking at today is the part that muscle tension plays in this process and I will show you an easy way to address the problem. What we do now has a direct impact on your body in the years to come. Making an investment to reduce tension, restore range of movement and address imbalances and injuries will keep you active and mobile in the future. Look out for the special offer at the end!

What is muscle tension?

The best place to start is to look at what muscle tension is and where it comes from. We all need a degree of tension in our bodies in order to keep us upright and to enable movement. Muscles are made up of hundreds of fibres. Each fibre can either be relaxed or it can contract. The level of tension in a muscle is determined by the number of fibres that are contracting – the more tension, the more fibres contracting.
 
So far so good….
 
The problems come when we have too much tension and it doesn’t ease. This means that some muscles are working harder than they need to taking up more energy than they should. There are lots of reasons for excess tension including stress and not stretching after activity. As we age tendons get stiffer, there is less lubricant in our joints and discs, and muscles can be put under increasing strain. General wear and tear starts to cause issues and old injuries can resurface.

Imbalances can add further pressure to some muscles causing your body to compensate elsewhere. If there is too much tension in one muscle then you can be sure that the corresponding muscle is too relaxed and over time this can lead to weakness and underuse. Your body is amazing and can cope with many issues by compensating elsewhere. The problems come when the pressure is too great and that is when something goes ping. It is very rarely the thing that you were doing at the time that causes the injury but rather that that was the final straw in a long chain of events.

What is the solution?

When we think about massage it tends to conjure up one of two images. The first is a relaxing spa massage, which is fairly light and usually offered in conjunction with a beauty treatment. The second is a sports massage usually deep, strong and can cause some discomfort and is more about fixing issues than relaxation. The ideal for most people is a combination of the two. What I am looking at today is how we can all benefit from massage and why it is so important to get help as we get older. Look out for the special offer at the end.

What does massage do?

The first thing that I tell anyone when they come for a massage is that they may have a stuffy or runny nose during the treatment and that their tummy may well start to gurgle. Both of these are indications of the various systems in the body starting to work effectively as you relax. All of the movements in massage work towards the heart and follow the direction of your circulation and lymphatic drainage. As we get older our bodies are less effective at taking the toxins away. As your lymphatic system springs into action during massage, fluid starts to move and metabolic waste is taken away from the muscles. Increasing the blood flow and warming the tissues will make sure the body works hard at addressing and repairing injuries and niggles. Tension in muscles reduces and as we release energy your body is able to redirect this to other systems. Wasting energy on excess tension has an impact throughout the body. Fluid can build up and digestion can be sluggish.

How Often?

A massage will reduce tension and rebalance your body. You will feel more relaxed and often ‘lighter’. Problem areas will feel looser and movement easier. It is the combination of all these things that is important. The most effective way of using massage is to see it as a way to keep you functioning at your best. For most of us taking an hour out every 4-6 weeks is plenty but if you suffer with tension, do a lot of exercise or have particular issues then it may need to be more often. Invest in looking after yourself now and you will avoid the bills for physiotherapy as niggles turn into problems that stop you in your tracks. It really is a case as we get older as to whether you can afford not to.
Maintenance Plan

I have a number of clients who have been working with me for a over a year now. They have a 60 minute massage each month and we have managed to keep long standing issues at bay by keeping excess tension to a minimum. A monthly treatment has worked well and there have not been any emergency chiropractor appointments for a long time now……touch wood!  Clients have exercises to do at home to support their treatments. These are designed to address weaknesses and imbalances and are progressed as required each month.

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The Maintenance Plan

The cost is £30 a month paid by standing order giving a saving of £120 over the course of a year. The plan gives you a 60 minute massage each month, a regular time slot to suit you and exercises to address issues in between treatments. A 60 minute massage would usually cost £40 so you will save £120 over the year. This offer is available until 31st July.

I hope that you have found this useful and are going to try a massage and see the difference that it makes. As I said in my last blog you can’t underestimate the effect that taking an hour for yourself will make to everything else that you do.

I had lots of emails and comments from my blog on slowing things down which was great. I would love to hear your stories too so please let me know what changes you have made and the benefits you have felt.

Please share this blog with friends and family. Next week I am looking at Foam Rolling and will give you a sequence to complete at home so make sure you have signed up to receive your copy.

Clare x

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