Why do golf and massage go together?

Why do golf and massage go together?

Did you know, that, according to official figures from four UK, and Ireland golf unions, participation in golf in 2022 was the second highest since records began, over 30 years ago!!  Research and data collected by The R&A along with England Golf, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf, and Golf Ireland report that 5.6 million adults played at least one 9, or 18 hole round of golf in Great Britain, and Ireland in 2022. That is A LOT of people, and that’s ONLY ADULTS!! Furthermore, research showed that golf participation is more than 50 percent above pre-pandemic levels (1). 

My ONLY ever exposure to golf in my youth was through television, when my father occasionally watched Jack Nicklaus. There was nothing ‘calling’ to me to want to play the game, the only part that intrigued me…warm weather in February!  I wanted to be where the golfers were because I wanted to be in sunny warm weather!  Years later, when I married into a family of golfers from Yorkshire, and then when my son decided he LOVED golf at the age of 9, I thought I better get interested, even if there was a lack of warm sunshine in Berkshire.  I bypassed pretty summer clothes, dug out boots, warm clothes, and waterproofs, and started to investigate the draw of golf.   

This is what I learned…

Golf can be considered a low-impact sport whose benefits may include:

– Letting go of stress, at least for a while. By focusing on your game, you have the opportunity to not overthink everything else!          

– Fitness. Good cardio from walking. Great exercise – a full body workout (shoulders, arms, legs, abs)  

– Get fresh air, and be surrounded by beautiful greenery

– Companionship- be with old friends, and make new ones 

– Satisfaction, because your golf skill has improved! Very satisfying. 

HOWEVER…I also learned there are plenty of injuries waiting to happen!! In golf?!! Really??!

– Mass General Brigham Hospital in Boston, US says because of improper mechanics in your golf swing, and/or a lack of strength and mobility could be the reason you may begin to experience lower back, hip, shoulder, and elbow pain and injuries (2)

AND…

– A review of biomechanical risk factors published by Sports Medicine and Health Science in 2020 tells us that professional and amateur golfers both can experience overuse injuries; professionals because of reduced swing variance, and amateurs because of improper technique and musculoskeletal imbalances.  They also tell us risk further increases if a golfer lacks adequate mobility (3).

Now…even though I have taken golf lessons, and managed to hit a ball over a good-sized lake, I still don’t play golf.  I prefer the walk, but, as an ultra distance trail runner, with many multi-day events under my belt, I understand how frustrating injuries can be, with forced recovery time, not being able to do what I love. 

What do I do as part of a routine to help prevent injury, or recover from injury? 

Apart from strength training, I have rest days and I get regular massages. 

SO… HOW DOES MASSAGE THERAPY HELP??

A research report published in Sports Health (4) states that massage might be beneficial for patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain, particularly when combined with exercise and education.  They also report that the pressure point massage technique was more effective than a traditional classic massage. 

A VERY brief history of Massage Therapy:

First recordings of massage therapy being used were in China 2700 BC, India 2500 BC, and Egypt in 2500 BC, and the ancient Greeks had recognised the value of deep friction massage with olive oil.  According to Hippocrates…a post-exercise massage helped to ease muscle pain. Modern research verifies massage increases blood flow, relaxes muscles, and can help break down scar tissue. (5)(6)

Further techniques and movements in a massage include stroking to promote muscle relaxation, kneading, lifting, twisting skin to increase muscle movability, deep friction with the thumb, or hot stone to break down scar tissue, and adhesions whilst neuromuscular technique (NMT)a sustained, targeted pressure to help release stubborn tight muscles which can improve your mobility and flexibility. 

So, if you are experiencing low back pain, lack mobility, recovering from injury, or want to help prevent injuries, massage therapy may help.  I know it keeps me running!  

Please email for more information ro******@ru********.com.

 

Article resources:

  1. The Golf Business Article – UK Golf Participation Was Second Highest Ever In 2022
  2. Mass General Brigham Article – Comm Golf Injuries
  3. Edwards N, Dickin C, Wang H. Low back pain and golf: A review of biomechanical risk factors. Sports Medicine and Health Science. 2020 Mar;2(1):10-18. DOI: 10.1016/j.smhs.2020.03.002. PMID: 35783335; PMCID: PMC9219256.
  4. Petering RC, Webb C. Treatment options for low back pain in athletes. Sports Health. 2011 Nov; 3 (6):550-5. doi: 10.1177/1941738111416446. PMID: 23016058; PMCID: PMC3445234.
  5. www.natural-therapy.com Jennifer Morgan History of Massage Therapy, last activated 15/11/23
  6. Nomikos NN, Nomikos GN, Kores DS. The use of deep friction massage with olive oil as a means of prevention and treatment of sports injuries in ancient times. Arch Med Sci. 2010 Oct;6(5):642-5. doi: 10.5114/aoms.2010.17074. Epub 2010 Oct 26. PMID: 22419918; PMCID: PMC3298328.

Rochelle

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Oncology Massage and Mindfulness Meditation: A Powerful Duo To Enhance Wellbeing During Cancer Treatment

Oncology Massage and Mindfulness Meditation: A Powerful Duo To Enhance Wellbeing During Cancer Treatment

Oncology massage and mindfulness meditation both have many benefits, so why not use them together? Why not indeed? 

Massage, the direct manipulation of the body’s soft tissues, and mindfulness, a meditative practice that encourages ‘presence in the moment,’ can both improve sleep, reduce fatigue, anxiety, and pain, and generally improve quality of life. Both can also help with even the notoriously difficult-to-treat neuropathic pain. In fact, massage and meditation actually work together to enhance each other’s effects! 

Oncology Massage and Mindfulness Meditation Together 

… is a marriage made in heaven! No, really.

Massages use stroking, kneading, tapping or pressing on various key parts of the body in order to release tension and improve blood flow. This can relieve pressure on the nerves, relieve pain, and affect how medicines work. And, almost most importantly, massage can be profoundly relaxing – the benefits of relaxing cannot be overstated! 

However, massage is only as effective as the mindset of the person being treated – this is where mindfulness steps in. Mindfulness meditation, when done during massage, reduces stress even more and enhances both the relaxation aspect and the pain relief aspect. 

This is because oncology massage and mindfulness meditation are doing similar things to the body and mind. They work together to help turn down the thoughts and give the brain a rest. In our distraction-filled, fast-paced, anxiety-rich world, it can be difficult to turn off one’s thoughts and let go – mindfulness can help with this, making the most of the massage experience. For intensive massages, this can help alleviate the pain of the massage and allow patients to tolerate more massage in their problem areas. 

Both oncology massage and mindfulness meditation not only improve mood through relaxation, but also make it easier to focus, learn, and retain information. Studies on various groups of people, from students to office workers to people with chronic illnesses report that mindfulness meditation and massage improve energy levels, reduce fatigue, and lead to overall positive moods. Emotions such as depression, anger, and anxiety are less intense and easier to control. 

When oncology massage and mindfulness meditation are used together, these mental health benefits only increase. In particular, mindfulness has also been used to help people with ADHD improve their ability to focus, and might also be helpful for getting through “brain fog,” a common side effect of chemotherapy.

But that’s not all! There is evidence that the benefits from massage can last weeks beyond the actual massage itself, and mindfulness makes it last even longer – up to a month or more after the initial session! 

The Benefits of Oncology Massage and Mindfulness Meditation During Cancer Treatment

These are great results for two therapies that are very easy to do at the same time. You can even do both while also receiving chemotherapy treatment – if, of course, your hospital allows oncology massages. Massage during treatment eases the stress, pain, and fatigue from the chemo treatment. Mindfulness meditation can be done anywhere that one can get a few minutes to oneself and close one’s eyes. 

Mindfulness-based stress reduction is very helpful for improving mental health in cancer patients. Even if mindfulness does not directly affect physical health – which is tricky to measure, it reduces stress and potentially makes it easier to keep up with medication or dietary regimens, which improves physical health. 

It’s also much easier to get treatment if the pain is reduced and the treatment is associated with something pleasant like massage. When done properly there are few to no downsides to oncology massage, and none for mindfulness meditation – just be sure to pick a trained and qualified therapist 

Rochelle is well trained in handling the unique needs of oncology care and can help you integrate these alternative therapies into your life.

Related articles that you might be interested in: Oncology Massage During Cancer Treatment and The Healing Power of Mindfulness For Cancer Patients.

 

Oncology Massage and Mindfulness Meditation References 

Lopez, G., Eng, C., Overman, M. et al. A randomized pilot study of oncology massage to treat chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy., Sci Rep 12, 19023 (2022)|https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-23372-w Massage and cancer. Massage therapy, Complementary and Alternative Therapies, Cancer Research UK. (2022, September 6). Retrieved December 18, 2022, from https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatme nt/complementary-alternative-therapies/individual-therapies/massage

Weinberg R, et al. The Relationship of Massage and Exercise to Mood Enhancement, Sports Psychologist, Volume 2 Issue 3, pg202-211, doi: https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/tsp/2/3/article-p202.xml Mao J.J., Et al., Integrating Oncology Massage IntoChemoinfusion Suites: A Program Evaluation, Journal of Oncology Practice 13, no. 3 (March 01, 2017) e207-e216. Published online January 03, 2017.DOI: 10.1200/JOP.2016.015081

Rochelle

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The Gentle Touch of Oncology Massage: Enhancing Comfort and Quality of Life During Cancer Treatment

The Gentle Touch of Oncology Massage: Enhancing Comfort and Quality of Life During Cancer Treatment

Cancer and cancer treatment are physically and mentally taxing for both patients and caregivers – what if there was a non-medication-related way to reduce stress and worry? 

So, what can it do for you?

The Benefits of Oncology Massage for Cancer Patients 

Medical programs to treat cancer are notoriously harsh on the body and mind, both because of the stress of the whole ordeal and the side effects. The results speak for themselves – medical treatment works! However, it is not pleasant, and many people seek out alternatives or something to make things more tolerable. So, what works? Massage!

Massage is the manipulation of soft tissue – skin, muscles and the nerves beneath to relieve tension and stress in the body, and improve blood flow through the body. Massages can vary in intensity, region of the body, and length. Massages need to be adapted to the needs and vulnerabilities of cancer patients but also offer significant and proven benefits. In a study with 343 patients and 87 caregivers, massage treatment relieved their physical, psychological, social, and “spiritual” distress across the board. This led to better sleep, lower fatigue, anxiety, and pain, and better overall feelings of well-being. The frequency of the massage sessions seemed to have more of an effect than the length of the massage session (30 minutes vs. 60 minutes).

Massages can reduce pain and nausea and improve emotional health. It may also help with depression and mood disorders. The potential benefits of massage for cancer are great, but there are a few things to keep in mind when looking at oncology massage.

Massage for People with Cancer 

First, massage does not ‘spread cancer’. This is an old wives tale. Complementary and integrative medicine, the use of so-called alternative therapies alongside Western medicine, is becoming more respected by the year Integrating oncology massage into other medical programs, including chemotherapy, reduces barriers to controlling symptoms and improves the experience enormously. After all, patients tend not to miss massage appointments, and so more frequent sessions can be done, usually without issue.  

Sometimes massage can be provided alongside chemotherapy treatment, often in the form of foot or hand massages, to relax the rest of the body. Massage during treatment can ease the stress, pain, and fatigue from the chemo treatment, and these effects can persist weeks beyond the actual massage itself. 

Things to Keep in Mind with Oncology Massage

Oncology massage requires specific training to massage the patient while being mindful of mediports, swelling, higher levels of pain and stress, and other symptoms of cancer or its treatment. 

A trained therapist will avoid surgical scars, radiation treatment areas, and tumours, and will use light pressure in the cases of bone disease and lymphoedema. A properly trained therapist will also not do massage if blood counts are low. 

Always tell your therapist if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. They will need to adjust their methods to cope. Physical weakness due to treatment, heart problems, arthritis, or bone fractures will also potentially cause complications. 

People thinking of oncology massage should check with their doctor before the massage, or before trying any other alternative therapy. Massages can potentially make you feel lightheaded due to relief or blood flow changes, sleepy or tired from relaxation, thirsty, or emotionally sensitive due to stress relief. 

The Takeaway About Oncology Massage 

I am a trained therapist and can provide massages tailored to your care needs. I will work with your treatment program and give you the relaxing environment that you need to feel your best. You are in safe hands. 

Other posts that you may be interested in: The Healing Power of Mindfulness For Cancer Patients

Rochelle

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Discover the Deliciousness of Soft Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Discover the Deliciousness of Soft Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Another research and development cookie!  The humble Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies.

There is something about the crunchy and chewy texture of an Oatmeal Raisin cookie that never leaves my memory. I did mix and adapt this recipe a bit to see what would happen. I think I was a scientist in another life.

I replaced the all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour and used coconut oil instead of butter. I also used dried cranberries instead of raisins and topped the cookie with a pecan.  I’m no mathematician and fractions are part of my worst nightmare; I was glad to discover that the replace ingredients were 1:1 ratio. So, 1 cup of gluten-free flour replaces 1 cup of all-purpose flour.  1/2 cup melted coconut oil replaced 1/2 cup butter.

The cookies were crunchy and chewy and didn’t have a coconut flavour. They most certainly reinforced why I love oatmeal raisin cookies.  And apart from being a happy memory cookie,  they will certainly be on my trail running food list for energy!

Original Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies recipe from Live Well Bake Often – 

Ingredients

1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour or (or I used gluten-free flour) (spooned & levelled)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (115 grams) melted butter (or I substituted for coconut oil)
1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups (150 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (150 grams) raising (I opted for cranberries)

Method

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar for 1-2 minutes until well combined. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until fully combined.
  • Slowly mix in the flour mixture and continue mixing until just combined, then mix in the oats and raisins until fully combined, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Cover the cookie dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
  • Once the dough is chilled, remove it from the refrigerator. Using a 1.5-2 tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough and drop onto the prepared baking sheets. Roll the cookie dough into balls and very gently press down with your hand to flatten each ball of cookie dough slightly (make sure not to flatten them completely, just slightly). Make sure to leave a little room between each ball of cookie dough as they will spread a little while they bake.
  • Bake in separate batches at 350°F for 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are lightly golden brown and the top is set. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Notes

Prep time includes 30 minutes of chilling time.
Allowing the cookie dough to chill for 30 minutes will help the cookies to bake up thicker. If you prefer for your cookies to be a little thinner, you may skip the dough chilling.
Cookies may be stored on the counter in an airtight container for up to five days.

If you give this recipe a go, feel free to share your results on our Facebook page, we would love to see your baking!

Other recipes you might enjoy:
Try These Easy Spelt Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Banana bread! A delicious quick recipe using paleo coconut flour
Jakes Tiger Boost Nut Butter Recipe – Cherry Overnight Oats

 

 

Rochelle

Did you find this article interesting? Visit our other sections Mind & Body, Inspirational Life Journeys & Recipes to read more!

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Disclaimer: Run Body Run is an online magazine that shares events and services related to fitness, health and well-being that may be of interest to our followers. Please note Run Body Run is not affiliated in any way with the pages or people whose stories and recipes are shared in our articles. However, this article may contain affiliate links for products that we feature on our Recommended Products Page. We only endorse products we use and truly believe in. If you are interested in any events, products or businesses mentioned, please contact the companies and organisers directly for full information. If you feel that parts of this blog relate to you and you’d like to discuss this further, please fill out the form on our contact page.

Try These Easy Spelt Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Try These Easy Spelt Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I came upon this chocolate chunk cookies recipe as I’m researching and developing my own perfect chocolate chip cookies.  After reading through the ingredients and um-ing and ah-ing over what I could do, I just decided to follow the instructions!  I can’t not share these as in my opinion, they are a mix of traditional after-school snack ‘milk and cookies’ chocolate chip cookies, and grown-up ‘I think I’ll have a cookie with my coffee/tea cookie.’

If you haven’t used Spelt flour, give it a try. It imparts a touch of ‘nuttiness’ and ‘richness’ without detracting from the feel-good factor of an old school chocolate chip cookie!

I got this great recipe from Butter and Brioche

Ingredients for Chocolate Chunk Cookies

200 g unsalted butter, cubed
285 g light brown sugar
80 g granulated sugar
175 g all-purpose flour
175 g spelt flour
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 tbsp. vanilla bean extract
225 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Flaked salt or fleur de sel, for sprinkling

Method

  • Place the butter into a medium-sized saucepan, set over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring occasionally until the butter is melted.
  • Remove from the heat and pour the butter into a large mixing bowl. Add in the light brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk until smooth and combined. Set the bowl aside.
  • In a separate medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, spelt flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set the bowl with the dry ingredients aside.
  • Add the egg into the bowl with the butter and sugar mixture. Whisk until smooth and glossy, then, add in the vanilla bean extract. Whisk until combined.
  • Incorporate half of the dry ingredients into the bowl, using a wooden spoon to mix until just combined (some dry flour pockets should remain).
  • Add in the remaining dry ingredients, again, mix until just combined.
  • Fold in the dark chocolate chunks until evenly incorporated throughout the dough.
  • Cover the bowl with a layer of plastic wrap and set the dough in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour (any time longer and the dough will be hard to roll. If this happens, let the dough sit out at room temperature until it’s soft enough to roll but firm enough to hold it’s shape).
  • Preheat the oven to 180 c (350 f). Line three large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Using a small cookie scoop, or a generous tablespoon as a measure, roll out as many cookie balls out of the dough as possible. Arrange the dough balls evenly amongst the baking trays, then, sprinkle over a little of the flaked salt.
  • Bake, for 9 to 11 minutes. Three-quarters of the way into baking (about 8 minutes in), open the oven door and raise the cookie sheet by a few inches (the cookies should just be beginning to puff in the middle). Use a little force to tap it against the oven rack, so that the cookies deflate slightly. You should see the chocolate begin to spread. Close the oven door and let the cookies bake and inflate again, for a further 30 seconds. Again, repeat the raising and tapping process above for a total of 3 times. The cookies should be golden, crisp around the edges and the middles should be just set with chocolate puddles throughout.
  • Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on their baking trays for 10 minutes, before carefully transferring them to a wire rack to further cool slightly, before serving.

If you give this recipe a go, feel free to share your results on our Facebook page, we would love to see your baking!

Other articles you might be interested in:
Discover the Deliciousness of Soft Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
Banana bread! A delicious quick recipe using paleo coconut flour
Jakes Tiger Boost Nut Butter Recipe – Cherry Overnight Oats 

 

Rochelle

Did you find this article interesting? Visit our other sections Mind & Body, Inspirational Life Journeys & Recipes to read more!

Follow RunBodyRun on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to get notifications of new stories and healthy recipes.

Disclaimer: Run Body Run is an online magazine that shares events and services related to fitness, health and well-being that may be of interest to our followers. Please note Run Body Run is not affiliated in any way with the pages or people whose stories and recipes are shared in our articles. However, this article may contain affiliate links for products that we feature on our Recommended Products Page. We only endorse products we use and truly believe in. If you are interested in any events, products or businesses mentioned, please contact the companies and organisers directly for full information. If you feel that parts of this blog relate to you and you’d like to discuss this further, please fill out the form on our contact page.