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By West Norwood Therapies Team, Sep 8 2019 07:30PM

Sports Massage therapist Lauren O'Sullivan shares some insight into various types of stretching and suggests some things for you to try to improve flexibility.


Summer holidays are fabulous: sun, fresh air, and a well-earned rest. However, when you return to reality it can often be hard to get back into your exercise routine in a controlled and gradual way. Although it’s tempting, especially if you are working towards a goal, don’t feel like you’ve got to make up for any workout time missed while away. Bombarding your body with vigorous workouts after a more sedentary period is not ideal. Instead, keep the first few sessions back to steady cardio, bodyweight and resistance exercises.

The other important thing to consider when looking after your body is recovery from exercise. When increasing your exercise load you must consider how you are going to help your body recover and refrain from sustaining an injury. One of the best ways to help your body maintain good form is stretching.


Stretching comes in many different forms. The one you are probably most familiar with is static stretching, done passively: This requires an external force to hold the stretch and stretches are most commonly held from 15 – 60 seconds. Contrary to what most of us learnt in Physical Education at school, I would advise against this form of stretching pre-exercise. It has been shown in most studies to make little or no effect on performance and even decrease performance in exercise. Static stretching is best used post-exercise or gently in the evening before bed, preferably after a warm bath.


The current preferred pre-exercise form of stretching is dynamic stretching. This involves repetitive slow movements that progressively increase in range, for example joint rotations like ankle rolls or arm circles. Dynamic stretching improves flexibility in motion and can resemble movements you may make in a specific sport.


Can you touch your toes? For an increase in long-term flexibility, it is important to develop a continued stretching regime. Even if you just add on 5-10 minutes at the end of your usual workout you can improve your flexibility. As flexibility increases, the resistance against a joint rotation decreases and therefore the range of movement at that joint increases. It makes sense that with a larger range of movement, injury is less likely as a result of any unexpected sudden forces on the joint.


Your stretching regime should be carried out after exercise or completely separately. I would advise a mix of static stretching and something called PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) stretching. PNF is often recognised as the contract-relax method: a partner takes you to the end-range stretch of a muscle, you then contract the muscle against your partner’s resistance for a period of time, after which you relax and your partner stretches the muscle further. PNF stretching is something that I like to help my massage clients out with at the end of a session if increasing flexibility is a goal of theirs. If you are interested in PNF stretching why not book a session with me and we can work on it together post-massage!


When trying to increase flexibility it is likely that you will experience a level of discomfort when stretching to your end range. This is normal but the sensation should not be pushed into real pain as this can cause injury in itself. You know your body and its limits so stretch with consciousness!


With thanks to Jules Mitchell MS, CMT, Yoga teacher and massage therapist writing in Co-Kinetic Journal, July 2019.
With thanks to Jules Mitchell MS, CMT, Yoga teacher and massage therapist writing in Co-Kinetic Journal, July 2019.

Pictures are of me!







By West Norwood Therapies Team, Apr 8 2019 03:04PM

Osteopath and yoga teacher Yinka Fabusuyi shares some thougths about 'wellness' - what it is and how we can take simple, attainable steps towards achieving it.



In 1948 the World Health Organisation defined health as ‘not merely the absence of disease or infirmity but a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being’. This sounds great, aspirational and perhaps impossible.


One approach might be to make small affordable, realistic changes over a sustained period to optimise mental physical and social health. Wellness might be about cutting down, exercising, scaling up, downsizing, recycling, repurposing, cleansing, purging or whatever you think will help you stay as fit and healthy as you can within your means. Wellness can be about addressing changes to your diet or exercise routines which you have always meant to get around to but never seem to have the time. Make a small change right now rather than waiting for the “ideal time”. Get off the bus, start a class, ring a friend, bake that cake, start that hobby. As a yoga teacher I often hear people say things like “I would love to do yoga but I am not flexible enough”. I say, find the right class for you (this may take several attempts), start slowly and gently, keep going and you will get more flexible with the side benefit of learning relaxation techniques, getting stronger and you might even sleep better.


Schools are including wellness in the curriculum and we are beginning to teach children that mental as well as physical health is important for wellbeing. In an ideal world all the resources we need would be freely available, but sadly this is becoming less and less common. I was very saddened not to be able to continue working as an osteopath within the NHS due to funding cuts, but perhaps a regular commitment to exercising, getting more sleep, and planning more leisure time to name a few examples could make a big difference to how well you feel, and decrease the chances of needing medical or other therapeutic intervention. If you do need some input I can help signpost what you could do to get back on track.


Start now, keep going and good luck. Yinka.



By West Norwood Therapies Team, Mar 27 2019 02:31PM

Aromatherapist Veronica Massa considers the power of violet essential oil in the complex and painful process of grief and shares a meditation to do with this sacred oil


Violet colour has the faster vibrational frequency and the shortest wavelength in he entire spectrum. The therapeutic qualities of the colour are mirrored by the essence of the flower Violet


After reading the deeply touching blog on Grief written by Jennie Duck, I was impelled to share a wonderful helper from the flowers kingdom, much valued in herbal medicine and in the Sacred Oils age-old lineage.


Sacred Oils have a very ancient history, dated back even earlier than dynastic Egypt, when they were used for guidance, healing, rituals, celebrations and divination. They are a small, very special group of essential oils regarded for their special energies and sacred attributes.


Sacred Oils were also used to help the dying cross over to the other realm and prepare them for burial. In the Bible Mary Magdalene, High Priestess trained in the knowledge of these Precious Oils poured perfumed and costly Spikenard oil on Jesus to prepare him to pass over. The honorific anointing with aromatic oils is an act frequently mention in ancient time’s literature.


Sacred Oils are Healing Masters, some of them with a very high vibrational frequency that can reach very deeply inside of us and re-arrange our vibrational frequency to match theirs. They have the ability to help at a Soul level and harmonize and support profound emotional challenges and pain such as grief.

Violet Oil has been used by Felicity Warner for about 3 decades in her beautiful work as a Soul Midwife, “she who assists the dying to pass over” and exit this physical plane. Her work also supports the family and loved ones in their process of grieving.


Violet oil is so valuable for extreme, inconsolable grief, helping to release the pain and heal the wound, gives comfort and strength to a broken bleeding heart. It embraces us and guide us through our healing into acceptance.


Below is a Violet Sacred Oil meditation channelled by Felicity. Creating sacred space and sinking into a meditative state, prepare yourself to invite in and respectfully ask for Violet’s help. Meditate with this Healing Helper as you go through you healing process of acceptance and surrender to the divine plan. You can smell the oil; put a drop of diluted oil in the palm of your hand and breath in deeply and slowly cupping your hands to your nose; sweep your hands around your body: your aura (energetic field). You could also diffuse the oil in the room. Continue this practice daily for as long as you need.


Violet Meditation

“Call on me when the pain of deep grief is unrelenting, when the crying and the state of missing a beloved has become a deep, raw wound that nothing seems to heal.

I’m gentle but strong. I ‘ll release you from the deepest pain of your soul’s suffering. Even holding a bottle containing a few precious drops of my essence may bring a soothing shift in your heart. You’ll heal and greet joy in your life once more. I’ve a soothing and high vibration. I’m a powerful gift from the Earth that will hold your soul in a place of total love and release.”

Felicity Warner, Sacred Oils, 2018





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