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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A Little Behavioural Change and Cookie Baking Scheduling

A Little Behavioural Change and Cookie Baking Scheduling

I gotta say, cookies make me happy! 

A few weeks back, I started to lose track of ‘Lockdown Groundhog Days’ because all days seem to blur into one.  I began to feel unmotivated.  I didn’t want to go for another run or do another yoga class. I was also bored, irritable, and agitated. While I’m all for acknowledging my unwelcome feelings and letting people know about them, after a few days, I wanted those feelings to stop. I knew from my past experience of ‘behavioural change’ and becoming a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, I had to find something different to do, something that brought me a ‘reward’. 

I searched my memory for these ‘things’ that might bring a sense of reward, and it didn’t take long for my grandmother and cookies to pop up.   My grandmother was a star. She would let me help her make the family favourite Chocolate Chip cookies and her own recipe Lemon Snowflake cookies.  

I’d stand next to her on a step stool, and she would let me beat the eggs with a hand-powered beater, and taught me how to measure flour and other dry ingredients by levelling off the filled measuring cups with the back of a knife.  She taught me to ‘pack sugar’ and whip butter until light and fluffy.  When it was time to clean up, my grandmother would leave a little more batter in the bowl than was necessary so I could lick the bowl clean before it went into the sink. 

When the cookies finished baking, I helped her put them in the huge airtight container ready for the family’s ‘cookie attack’. The cookies never lasted long.  This made me and my grandmother very pleased.  A job well done!

This makes me reminisce about simple family time with my grandmother, learning and practising a ‘craft’, knowing my family loved the results.  All these memories made me dig out my beloved Kitchen Aid mixer, search out recipes, start baking, and even sparked a quest to develop my own cookie. This holds value to me. I felt my motivation returning.

Now, I schedule cookie making on a Sunday mid-morning. It leaves me with a cheery smile and continuously talking about food science for the rest of the day. Two kitchen shelves have become home for every type of flour imaginable, different % dark chocolates, all types of sugar, and oils whilst the fridge is stocked with unsalted butter. I know a cookie passes the taste test if my son asks could I make it again. 

Now, just so you know, I do watch what I eat.  Basically, I watch what I eat, so I DON’T HAVE to watch what I eat.  I don’t eat all the cookies in the cookie jar,(I honestly probably eat more of the dough than the finished product!). I play around with ingredients, and I enjoy eating nutritionally.  I like to provide my body with what it needs to function and function well, hence cookie recipe development to satisfy all my needs. 

That’s just me. 

I’m not suggesting you bake cookies all day long; what I am suggesting is that if you happen to feel unmotivated, irritable, agitated, or just bored, think about what you used to enjoy, what used to make you smile, what brings value to your life, then go do it, or adapt it during lockdown, noting how you feel after.  Do you walk around with a cheery smile? Is your mood that bit brighter?  You never know, you may just find your sense of motivation returning. 

If you would like to know more regarding Behavioural Change and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, please get in touch via the form here I’ll be happy to chat.

PS. My son’s favourite home-baked delight: Paleo Coconut Flour Banana Bread!

Rochelle

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Trail running. How and where to start?

Trail running. How and where to start?

You may have heard about trail running and would like to give it a try, but don’t know where to start? Lockdown has given so many a new or renewed interest in running. For those who would like to try something new and give trail running a go or ‘Walk and Talk’ in beautiful surroundings, PenLlyn Ultras have a variety of races and challenges from 10k, 1/2, and full marathon distances to 50, 75 and 100-mile trails.

From personal experience, I can tell you that these challenges take place in absolutely breathtaking countryside and there is something for everyone.  Understandably, with the current Covid-19 situation, this year’s races will have been impacted. Adapting to the ‘new normal’,  PenLlyn Ultra has scheduled a series of virtual races. I am participating in a virtual race myself later this month and talk more about that nearer the date.

Check out their race dates and future events, visit penllyncoastaltrailseries.co.uk for details.

Rochelle

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Is your body ready to run….really ready?

Is your body ready to run….really ready?

IS YOUR BODY READY TO RUN? EFFICIENTLY?? AND PAIN-FREE?? Humans are meant to run, whatever the distance, aren’t we? We keep running with little niggles, knee issues and injuries, that’s just the way it is, isn’t it? But, when my body became ready to run, things changed.

I introduced myself to strength and conditioning coach, Keith Downer (of The Natural Movement Studio) when I walked, or, more like hobbled into his gym 3 days after completing The Race to the Stones.  Race to the Stones takes place on Britain’s oldest path called The Ridgeway, and I’d just completed it with a friend in July 2016.  It was our first 100k! Being in the UK, the weather could have been anything.  Gratefully, it was a clear morning, and off we went. Day turned into night. We continued to cross uneven, rocky, bumpy, narrow, hardpacked, difficult terrain with sheer determination, Donna Summer music and unbeknown to me at the time, a squishy slug which made a home in my running shoe! There was no hanging around at checkpoints either; eat, drink, go. 

We finished 23hrs and a few minutes later when the sun was coming up. And, after a prolonged loo break in the grass, we managed to jump up and down with joy quite a few times even though moments earlier, particularly me, was dragging all my limbs on battered and blistered, slightly shuffling feet! About an hour later while sitting in the finisher’s tent savouring our accomplishment, surrounded by collapsed runners feeling quite chuffed with ourselves, we didn’t move so well.

Everything was seizing up and the pain of my Iliotibial band (ITB) made me think my leg would never bend again!

My instructions to Keith was ‘please make me be able to run for 10 min cross country and I’ll be happy’ thinking my running career was over before it really started. Keith sent me home to rest.  Little did I know… I was the one going to be given some serious instructions and lessons!! Having been involved in the fitness industry for 30 years and being fortunate enough to learn about the body plus strength and conditioning from knowledgeable, walk their talk coaches, I did have a great grounding in this area. 

The difference now was that I was seriously experimenting with the knowledge for running performance and injury prevention. About a week later, being somewhat able to move again, I went for my first training session and there were some serious lessons given to me in why body management, strength and conditioning, and having rest would help my running, prevent injuries and keep me functional for every day. 

It begins with… Mobility Drills: https://youtu.be/x5IWioHxlKw Full biomechanical assessment to determine how your body physically moves as one ‘unit’. Simple. We tend to spend lots of time behind a desk, at meetings, in cars, trains, and planes, and our bodies get ‘glued’ into a position that’s usually hunched over, experience neck, shoulder and back pain, along with other discomforts.   Then, with every good intention of ‘getting fit’, we go for a run. 

We expect ourselves to be fully physical functional, and perform to whatever our expectations are. Great!!  Except, we get injured; ankles twist, knees hurt, ITB’s don’t work, Achilles problems, tight hamstrings to name a few.  We feel disillusioned, and annoyed because now, we can’t run. The mobility drills are a great indicator of how your body moves or doesn’t move as a unit.  Doing the drills, you will feel which parts move, bend, remain stable and upright during movement, or not.

You may be pleased with your range of movement, or you may be surprised it’s not quite what you thought it was. Remember, do not force the movements.  Forcing can cause injury. Any level runner or athlete could use these mobility drills because they can flag up signs of something not working quite right, and point out areas for strength and conditioning work. 

Injuries can be kept at bay because you know what needs to be fixed to keep you running and very importantly, have everyday functional fitness, because really…it’s much more fun to move! *Quick follow up:  Keith’s the very first question to me literally right after finishing my first 50K race on the Isle of Wight the following April, was “How’s the  IT?”  My reply: “Oh yeah…I forgot it’s good!”  I was excited because I came 6th female and I was still walking just fine. Happy Days!!! These drills are what we started with and continue to do.

 

Rochelle

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