Why massage works – Smart physio

February 9, 2018

In response to my first blogpost of 2018 which you can find here -10 body shifts you need in 2018- tell me, what have you done for your self care routine since you read it?

Share in the comments below as I am also in the position where I want ALL the change and want it ALL now – yoga in my life, less meat (I have actually managed that for two meals this past week) , stretching etc etc.

However, no matter how good our best intentions are, often we feel overwhelmed and rather than start small (which is was what I suggest we do in the blogpost) we rush in.

So, share your achievements even if they are one less meeting in the work diary or a stretch of the legs after dinner. I want to know and to support you as you allow self care to be a part of your world.

In relation to self care I mentioned that I am attending physiotherapy for six weeks with Maura of Smart physio.

HOLY COW I have NEVER had deep tissue physio or any physiotherapy other than work on my lower back as a student. I am one session down and although I admit to hating 90% of the hour I was in with Maura, I am already a convert.

Here is why I believe massage works.

Yesterday before our session I had a one to one workshop, I had been at the hospital visiting a relative, school runs, an arm workout and a swim – I was sore.  I was in need of a sleep or some serious medication to lift my headache and the tension I was carrying.

After working on my lower and upper back – specifically my traps where my range  of movement was restricted in my neck and shoulders. The difference from before we started and at the end when Maura examined me was phenomenally different . I am in shock !

I slept well, a real deep sleep after a week of tossing and turning for various reasons and although I was aware of the marks from where Maura had to break down very tight and taught muscle tissue, I slept until 6:30 am which was magical.

Today I can wholeheartedly say that I do not feel the usual restriction and neck pain that I normally do when I swim. During my swim I was feeling pinches from Maura’s work but overall my range of shoulder movement didn’t nip when I rotated my arm.

This is giving you an idea of how much I needed massage.

I am asked quite a bit about how to do massages, what are the benefits of foam rolling and kinesiology taping.

So, here is an expert to answer it for you. Over the next two months we will have Maura’s guidance and I am all in with this.

A year of you. Self care and looking after the one body we have is an investment.

Name: Maura Moran
Age: 39
Occupation: Musculoskeletal Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist
Location: Carryduff, Northern Ireland
Clinic: Smart Physiotherapy Belfast

In a few lines tell me a bit about yourself, work, family and lifestyle?
I am original from county Longford. I have recently moved to Northern Ireland from England where I have lived for the last 15 years. I went to the northeast of England in early 2000s to train as a physiotherapist. Once qualified I worked in the NHS for ten years and progressed to become a specialist in musculoskeletal. In October 2016 my life became complete when I became a mum to twins. A little boy and girl. I like to exercise and keep fit, it use to be with playing sport and attending the gym, now it’s mainly by pushing a double buggy on daily walks.
How and why did you choose to get into Physiotherapy?
I always wanted to enter into a career where I could help people. When I was young my dad was diagnosed with a terminal illness and with that he had lost his ability to walk. I remember him working with the physiotherapists and learning to walk again and the joy and hope it had given him. I thought that’s definitely the job for me and I have never looked back. I love my job and having the opportunity to help others is priceless.
You are a musculoskeletal clinical specialist physiotherapist, what is that?
This is a physiotherapist who has expertise in the treatment of injuries of joints/muscles/spine. A musculoskeletal physiotherapist employs advanced clinical assessment and diagnosis methods. It has been the 13 years of clinical experience, working in many musculoskeletal fields and with continuous study, completing masters which has helped me to get to this stage.
Can you tell me about some of the areas you have worked in as a physiotherapist?
Having worked 10 years in the NHS I worked in many interesting areas including paediatrics, fracture clinics, specialist orthopaedic clinics and. Working in the sporting environment has been one of my greatest passions as a physiotherapist. I have been fortunate to have worked in many sporting fields. This exposure to different sports I believe has made me a better therapist. I have worked as physiotherapist with the England woman’s rugby team, Irish Ladies Masters Hockey team, Northeast of England elite swimmers. I also worked with various club teams in hockey, rugby and gaelic football.

As a physiotherapist I have trained to become specialised in Manual therapy. That means I believe in “hands on” therapy. Another key aspect to my practice is education. I believe strongly in the patient understanding what their issue/injury is and understanding the best way to treat it.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to talk about various different treatment techniques that I incorporate in my every day management of patients. I aim to give a brief overview (don’t want to bore you) about the treatments including how they can be of benefit to you.
The first topic is sports massage. So let me answer the main questions that are always asked.

So what is sports massage?
This is a massage that’s works deep into the muscle
Do you have to play sport to get a sports massage?
Initially it was developed to help athletes in preparation for sport and recovery but research has shown it can benefit anybody.
Will it be sore?
It can be tender following treatment but during the massage it’s always to the patient’s pain tolerance so you are totally in control. The physiotherapist will only work to the depth of the tissue that you can tolerate.
How do your muscles get tight?
Through daily life and postures we adopt to perform everyday functions or when we exercise, our muscles can become tight and shortened. This shortening creates tension in our muscles and joints. For example, as I mentioned I became a mum last year. A few months after having the babies I felt really tight in my neck and upper back and I was struggling to turn my neck. This had developed from leaning forward so much with feeding/carrying, changing nappies. My muscles had got tight from the posture of leaning forward so much. So when your muscles get tight this can restrict your joints working to their full ability.
I treat a lot of people who have desk based jobs. Being in a sitting position for long periods of time can cause a lot of muscles to get tight. Not just muscles across your neck and shoulders but also in your lower back and legs.
With everyday worries and stresses in life we can get a build-up of tension in our muscles particularly around the shoulder and neck. So there are many ways our muscles can get tight.
Sport and exercise, whatever you do, whether its running, weights in the gym, going for long walks, it can place increased demand through your muscles causing increased tension.
How does a sports massage work?
It works deep into the muscle breaking down any adhesions (knots in the muscle) realigning the fibers and flushing away the toxins. This is why you can feel tender after.
What are the main benefits?
There are many benefits to massage. It can reduce tension in muscles, reduce pain, and improve your joint health and movement. One of the principal benefits of massage is the release of endorphins (your body’s natural pain reliever) and this in turn can reduce pain, decrease anxiety, improve your mood and overall enhance a person’s state of well-being.

Like most things, the best way to understand massage and feel its benefits is to experience it for yourself.


Aly- I am so excited to have Maura on board to educate us on the benefits of massage and taping and how to improve pelvic floor. Sign up the blog on the right hand side or at the bottom if you are on a mobile device. Then you can keep in touch with eberything over the next few months. 

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