If you are unlucky enough to have sustained an injury to your body, remember we are only human; a beautifully complex, interwoven network of bones, muscles and connective tissue that can be overstretched, over-worked or traumatised at any time.  Everybody will unfortunately suffer at some time or another, but the one thing we all wish to do is to heal as quickly as possible so we may resume normal activity again.

Massage and yoga are two safe and enjoyable ways to rehabilitate from injury, after specialist advice has been sought.

M a s s a g e:

Depending on the type of injury and at what stage in the healing phase you are, massage can be gently performed 3 days post-injury and can assist in many ways.

  • The stroking movements of massage create dilation and constriction of blood vessels which increases the supply of blood & nutrients to the area – this increases the rate of healing & reduces pain & discomfort.
  • Massage stimulates the metabolism which enables the removal of waste products from the bloodstream, via the lymphatic system, thus speeding up the repair process.
  • Mobilising the joints during treatment stimulates production of synovial fluid which will nourish & lubricate the joint.
  • Gentle stretches and exercises can gradually be introduced, but the focus must be on achieving mobility first, strength second while the injury progresses through its phases to completion.
  • Scar tissue is less flexible than normal, healthy muscle fibres so it is vital to gently stretch and manipulate the area during the repair phase in order to make the whole muscle both strong & supple.  Normal, healthy, bodily alignment can then ultimately be achieved.
  • Massage can assist enormously through the final healing phase known as ‘remodelling’.  This phase occurs between 3 weeks up to a year post-injury.  Deeper & firmer massage techniques can help to stretch the newly-formed collagen fibres in the same direction as the muscle fibres, thus enabling correct functioning and a quicker return to normal, healthy performance.
  • Finally, massage induces a state of mental relaxation which has a positive effect on the whole body by reducing tension & anxiety and producing a feeling of wellbeing.

Y o g a:

Once again, take care to obtain specialist advice before embarking on exercise post-injury & ensure you attend a class taken by a qualified yoga instructor who is aware of your injuries.

  • The simple fact that yoga is a slow and considered practice means that you can move with care, build strength & flexibility and protect your body from further injury.  Using the breath as you move gives you time to listen to your body and move steadily into each posture with heightened awareness.
  • There is no ‘pushing’ or ‘pulling’ in yoga, in fact quite the opposite!  It is more about relaxing, softening, breathing and flowing.
  • Yoga works to re-align the body by strengthening & lengthening muscles equally on all sides of the body and improving posture by building core strength.
  • Incorporating yoga into your rehabilitation programme means that you are not resting too long post-injury and thus ‘stiffening’ up with the healing scar tissue.
  • Often, the muscles around an injured area will tense up.  This is the body immobilising the area to protect itself.  These muscles can be gently released either by yoga stretches or massage.
  • Practising yoga following an injury brings about gentle but effective movement of the body.  It stimulates the Parasympathetic nervous system thus calming and inducing a feeling of well-being and happiness, which is the key to coping.

Practising yoga doesn’t make life easier; it simply makes you easier with life….

Cathy is a Sports Massage Therapist and an Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Teacher.  She enjoys making both therapies accessible to all, so works broadly in the community – providing massage to mental health patients, teaching yoga to new mums as well as working at Lucks Yard and running her own home massage & yoga practice for adults & children.