Injuries Affecting Joggers and Runners

Running is one of the most popular forms of sporting activity worldwide. Despite its many health benefits, there are some concerns over the incidence of injury, especially heel pain, shin pain and knee pain among runners and joggers. Here are the most common running injuries and how to prevent them:

BLISTERS

Up to 40% of marathon runners suffer from blisters. The heels, toes and balls of the feet are the most commonly affected areas. They are caused by prolonged friction that produces a shearing force in between the layers of skin. As the layers of skin separate they fill with blood or fluid. This results in a painful blister. Make sure you have properly fitted running shoes and break these in gradually. Never wear new running shoes for a race or a long run.

RUNNERS’ KNEE

Commonly known as runner’s knee, IlioTibial Band Friction Syndrome is so prevalent in runners. It affects up to 10% of all runners at some stage. Typically there is pain located on the outer side of the knee joint. This pain may radiate up the thigh or down the outer side of the shin and is exacerbated by running. Usually, the knee pain from Runner’s Knee is only present during activity and settles when the person rests. However, in some cases it can also be extremely uncomfortable going up or down stairs. Runner’s Knee is an overuse condition that is aggravated by excessive training. Make sure that you gradually increase your training load – there should be no sudden increases in workload as this can overload the tissues.

SHIN SPLINTS

Shin splints is a common term for pain in the shin region. One of the most common shin conditions that is labeled as shin splints is medial tibial stress syndrome. It is fairly common in runners. People suffering from medial tibial stress syndrome will feel shin pain on the inner side of the shin during exercise and also at rest. It is important to consult a sports doctor who can distinguish medial tibial stress syndrome from other causes of shin pain such as compartment syndrome and stress fracture. The amount of stress being placed on the shins can be minimized by wearing good quality, supportive running shoes with shock absorbing insoles. It is possible that some cases of medial tibial stress syndrome could be prevented by correcting problems such as flat feet (excessive pronation) with arch supports.

PLANTAR FASCIITIS

Plantar fasciitis refers to inflammation of the plantar fascia, a fibrous sheath that runs most of the length of the sole of the foot, usually at the point where it attaches to the heel bone. It is a common cause of heel pain in runners. Inadequate footwear is often implicated in plantar fasciitis. Shoes should provide adequate support for the foot during running. Unsuitable footwear can increase strain of the plantar fascia and lead to the development of inflammation.

Should you have any of these conditions, we recommend that you seek professional care. Take adequate rest before continuing with training. You can also benefit from massages from qualified masseurs. Come to Thai Odyssey and leave your pain in our healing hands.

What is Thai Aroma Massage?

Focusing on the energy lines and acupressure points to stimulate the body’s self healing, Thai aroma massage will leave you feeling renewed and restored to your own body’s natural rhythm. Thai aroma massage is the aromatic and relaxing massage that uses special blended oils that helps the body to be refreshed and relaxed.  This gentle massage allows the healing properties of natural oils to penetrate into the skin which leaves both body and mind completely relaxed. Thai aroma therapy helps in:

  • Releasing tense muscles
  • Increasing flexibility
  • Improving joint movement
  • Lymphatic cleansing
  • Eliminating toxins
  • Inducing deep relaxation
  • Stimulating internal organs
  • Relieving tension & stress
  • Healing long term injuries
  • Assisting postural alignment
  • Calming the mind

There are over 300 essential oils which are the aromatic liquids extracted from flowers, seeds, leaves, stems, bark and roots of herbs, bushes, shrubs, plants and trees. The knowledge of how these essential oils affect the body as a cure and remedy is a science that has been lost to the modern world, but has always been practiced in Thailand, for hundreds of years.

Here’s a video on what you will experience during a relaxing Thai aroma massage.

http://youtu.be/5__r0Ydk4yA

How Music Helps the Body Relax

Stress is one of the most common problems that people face every day. Stress is defined as a specific response by the body to a stimulus like fear or pain that interferes with the normal, physiological equilibrium of an organism. Stress can wreck a person’s mood, cause muscle tension, and it’s been seen to contribute to high blood pressure and the formation of ulcers. Stress can be eliminated, or reduced, by people taking the time to relax after stressful events, the most common of which is working. However, relaxation can be a difficult thing for many people to achieve, particularly people who are chronically stressed.

One of the most common ways for people to relax and to reduce their stress is to listen to music. Stress is caused by a person’s reaction to a negative stimulus such as fear or pain, and stress can be undone by exposing a person to a positive stimulus. Music, particularly those composed with the idea of relaxation in mind, is keyed to be a positive stimulus. Stress usually begins in the brain and spreads to the body, and the stress relief from music follows the same pattern. The way this is done is that, when a person hears music or sounds they find pleasurable, the sound receptors in the ears activate a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens. This is the part of the brain that releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is typically associated with elevated mood and pleasure.

Calming effects of music have been demonstrated in many research studies. Our body responds to music that has a slow and steady rhythm by reducing our heart rate, which decreases levels of stress. Our body also responds to soothing music by reducing the amount of cortisol, the major stress hormone, in our body. However, upbeat music such as techno can actually increase the level of cortisol, which makes us feel more aroused and stressed.

Here’s news that proves how music has been helping patients under treatment relax.

What is Neuromuscular Therapy

The most effective type of massage therapy for lower back pain is pass4sure PHR neuromuscular therapy. Neuromuscular therapy is also called trigger point myotherapy. The American Academy of Pain Management recognizes this form of massage therapy as an effective treatment for back pain caused by soft tissue injury (such as a muscle strain).

Neuromuscular therapy has a holistic approach towards healing in that emphasis is laid on stimulating the body to heal itself. Once this healing has begun, neuromuscular therapy techniques are used to stimulate soft-tissue repair in the affected areas. During a typical session of neuromuscular therapy, the therapist will first examine the patient and his or her medical history in an attempt to accurately gauge all the factors that are creating and prolonging pain. Once the problem areas have been identified, alternating levels of concentrated pressure are applied on the areas of muscle spasm with the fingers, knuckles or elbow.

Neuromuscular therapy works by addressing the following six physiological factors which can intensify pain patterns. They are:

  • Trigger points – trigger points are highly irritable points in the nervous system.
  • Nerve entrapment/compression – when a nerve gets pressed constantly between the surrounding structures, it can lead to an acute kind of chronic pain.
  • Postural distortions – Postural distortions result in underdevelopment of the supporting muscles and thereby lead to their weakening.
  • Nutrition – Lack of adequate nutrition to pass4sure PHR the cells leads to an overall weakening of the entire system.
  • Ischemia – In a condition such as Ischemia, the cells and tissues get a reduced blood supply and as a result are under-nourished.
  • Stress – Stress plays havoc with the functioning of the nervous and musculoskeletal system.

Neuromuscular therapy is used to treat conditions such as chronic pain, sciatica, rotator cuff dysfunction, carpal tunnel syndrome, temporomandibular joint dysfunction and migraines. It is also used in the treatment of some physical and sexual abuse-related traumas. Neuromuscular therapy is also the most effective type of massage therapy for lower back pain. It is also used to locate and release spasms and hyper contractions in the tissue. It aids the healing process for injured tissue, assists in venous and lymphatic flow, restores postural alignment, and imparts flexibility to the tissues.

Techniques of De-Stressing from Around the World

When stress hits, you can either lose your marbles or handle the overload with grace. Try one of these effective stress-busters from around the world.

Sweden: Taking a Sweet Pause Every Day

Your “coffee break” may consist of an out-and-back sprint to grab a latte to-go, but in Sweden, the institution of the coffee break, usually around 10 a.m. and another at 3 p.m., is a sit-down mini-meal that dates back to the 1700s. It’s called fika, and it involves leaving the workplace with a friend to have a cup of coffee and, usually, a sweet treat. Schedule an afternoon fika into your busy day, and invite friends to join you for you can’t fika solo.

India: Getting a Massage—Above the Shoulders

Indian head massages date back thousands of years, according to Ayurvedic texts, and are believed to not only balance the chakras, or energy centers, but also alleviate stress, stimulate the lymphatic system and relieve migraines. While some versions of this therapy can put clients to sleep, others can induce heightened alertness and concentration, which can make you eager to dive back into a project.

Japan: Going Shoeless at Work

We’ve heard about the habit in Asia of taking off shoes before entering the home, but in Japan, it’s also common for professionals to kick off their stilettos when arriving at the office. They store their “outside shoes” in a vestibule, cubby or locker and change into inexpensive slippers to pad around the office and settle in at their desks. Being comfortable not only helps people to better focus on their work and not the throbbing pain in their big toe, but, for women, it also helps eliminate calf and ankle cramps from wearing high heels.

West Africa: De-Stressing to the Beat

Focusing on participating in group drumming has been shown to improve mood and decrease stress. Another study suggests it can also strengthen the immune system. If you don’t think you’ll ever be comfortable dropping in on a drum circle in the park, which may seem like a free-for-all jam session, seek out a more structured African-drumming class in your area. African djembe drums are almost always found beside bongos and congas in modern drum circles, but in West Africa, the djembe drummer is usually a solo storyteller who sets the rhythm and structure for a celebratory dance. You’ll feel a strong sense of unity while pounding away with the other drummers, an appreciation for a different culture’s rhythms and a sharpened concentration while trying to follow the beat.

 

Three Popular Essential Oils and Their Uses

Essential oils carry the physical properties of flowers and plants in a highly concentrated form. They are, in short, the essence of the plant and can provide therapeutic benefits in very small amounts. The particles in essential oils, which come from various parts of the plant such as the flowers, twigs, leaves or bark, can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin. Most essential oils have antibacterial qualities and have varying physical and emotional effects depending on the oil, such as stimulation, relaxation, pain relief and healing. Here are three popular essential oils and their uses:

Lavender

It’s calming properties relieve tension, headaches, hypertension, stress, depression, anxiety and insomnia. Lavender improves memory, mood/emotions, circulation, digestion, skin problems, earaches, hair loss, respiratory problems, and a number of women’s health issues. As an antiseptic and anti-bacterial, lavender can be applied directly to burns and stings, where it will cool the pain. It will also stimulate blood flow to the affected area, to aid healing. It is the most versatile, all-purpose essential oil available. It is inexpensive, and can be applied directly to your skin, if necessary.

Peppermint

With its natural mint flavor and scent, peppermint is useful in a number of personal body care recipes and around-the-house mixes. Peppermint’s powerful scent can change the environment and air quality very quickly thus acting as an air deodorizer. Peppermint also has an amazing ability to increase alertness to aid with concentration. In small doses, peppermint has a cooling, soothing effect, and when combined with lavender it can be useful in treating sunburns. As an astringent, peppermint is good for bacterial or viral infections of the mouth, as well as a variety of digestion issues, nausea and diarrhea. It is also beneficial in treating osteoarthritis, cramps, muscular relaxation & sprains, and lower back pain, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties. Peppermint is an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and an expectorant that is especially helpful during coughing attacks. It can also relieve itching from allergies and is frequently used as an insect repellent.

Sandalwood

Reduces anxiety and depression through its relaxation properties and helps with stress, nervous tension, tearfulness, and insomnia. It helps relieve coughing, nasal mucus, and a number of respiratory ailments, thanks to its antiseptic, antibacterial, expectorant qualities. As an anti-inflammatory antispasmodic, and analgesic, sandalwood is good for treating arthritis and lower back pain, as well as muscle cramps and varicose veins. Its aphrodisiac qualities help to increase libido, and it’s good when you are having difficulty concentrating. It is very useful with a number of skin conditions, including dry skin as well as oily skin and acne. It also eases night sweats due to menopause and encourages peaceful sleep.

Basic Techniques of a Thai Massage

Thai massage is usually given only by licensed massage therapists who have had specific training in Thai massage. This type of massage relies heavily on stretching, compression and yoga-like body manipulations. These movements are meant to elongate the muscles and increase blood flow throughout the body. These are a few Thai massage techniques that we practice at Thai Odyssey.

Working the Lateral Torso and Shoulder

The therapist stabilizes the client’s arm over their leg while compressing the lateral border of the shoulder blade. This technique can relieve shoulder pain originating in the latissimus dorsi, serratus anterior and teres major muscles.

 

Knee Press the Glutes in Folded Leg Position

The folded leg position shortens the gluteal muscles. This pose compresses the piriformis and other glutes while also stretching the adductors. It is a very effective pose for piriformis syndrome, hip pain, sciatica and other complaints stemming from trigger points in the glutes and rotators of the hip.

 Backbend with Feet on the Back Lines

In this pose, the therapist compresses the spinal erectors while leaning back to bring the client into an assisted backbend. The spinal erectors often limit extension by painfully contracting when they are asked to shorten. Pressure from the therapist’s feet provides feedback to the shortening muscles and disables the normal pain reflex.

 Foot Press the Posterior Leg – Locked Position

This is a very efficient and strong pose for the therapist, making it possible to lean back and use body weight to bring the client’s leg into the foot pressure. A very effective technique for trigger points in the medial hamstrings and vastus medialis.

 

Elbow Press the Anterior Lower Leg while Shortening

As the therapist leans back, the anterior muscles of the leg are shortened. This is a very effective and powerful way to treat tibialis anterior and the long extensors of the foot. Shortening the muscles makes them more responsive to pressure and provides retraining so the muscles learn to shorten gracefully.

All therapists in Thai Odyssey are well-trained and have more than 5 years of experience in providing traditional massages. Thai massage should never be painful. We encourage open channels of communication during the massage so that you receive the best experience at all times. Give traditional Thai massage a try – your body will feel its soothing benefits.

Practicing Yoga Before Sleeping

We’ve all been there — rolling around in bed at night, replaying the day’s craziness and mentally going through tomorrow’s to-dos. Before you know it, it’s 2 a.m. and you’re still counting sheep. Sound familiar?

A person who’s deprived of sleep should avoid large meals before bed, limit intake of caffeine, create a soothing atmosphere and take a warm bath. But if you say, ‘been there, done that,’ take advice from the yogis who suggest courting sleep by working with your subtle energy. In other words, forget the sleeping pills or the babbling brook; a few simple yoga moves might be all you need to summon the Sandman and enjoy a night of quality sleep.

Yoga can help tackle sleep related problems through tension releasing exercises and poses that loosen up the tight muscles and put you into a deep state of relaxation. A relaxed session of yoga helps to calm the body, mind and spirit. This helps to quiet the constant thought patterns that can rob you of sleep. Combine yoga with a short meditation practice to enhance this benefit.

Inversions, twists and relaxation poses are combined to release tension, relax the body, improve circulation and sleep easily. Here’s a video on yoga poses you can do before going to sleep.

http://youtu.be/ixIWDMokjoE

Practicing Yoga in the Morning

Practicing yoga in the morning reduces your stress, which improves your focus for other tasks such as work or school. A research reported that one hour of morning yoga practice, including meditation, reduced stress and improved confidence, leading to better performance throughout the day. There are so many awesome reasons to practice yoga first thing in the morning.

Yogic breathing stimulates your body and mind. All that fresh oxygen wakes up the brain like a jolt of caffeine. Yet, unlike coffee, the energy boost from deep-breathing lasts all day. Morning yoga will help you to feel more energized, helping you to be more productive during the day. After your hour-long practice, you’ll feel increased clarity of mind, ready to face your day brighter and more alive. This means that you will be able to accomplish more in less time during your work day.

Practicing yoga early in the morning will also set the tone for your whole day. It will calm and center you before you have to step out into the chaos of life. You will be ready for any situation that comes your way. That traffic jam? – No worries, you did yoga. Grumpy boss? – Just remember to inhale and exhale. Each early-morning session will remind you to set an intention to practice kindness, compassion and love. Others can feel that, and the world will start to reflect that peace back at you.

Aside from that, the stretching in yoga makes your body tighter, lighter and brighter. It raises serotonin levels, endorphins and other feel-good chemicals and that will all show up in the glow of your skin. Studies show people who practice yoga can actually slow down the aging of the heart, liver and kidneys. All of your insides will reflect on the outside. You eyes will be brighter. Your skin will have a glow. Your body will feel taller and longer. Your immune system will be stronger.

In addition, yoga also helps speed up your metabolic rate, which means that you can eat more and burn calories faster. When you practice yoga early in the day, you improve your digestion and food will burn up faster, and more nutrients will move through your body. When you have enough nutrients moving through efficiently, then your body metabolizes fats and carbohydrates faster and your insides will be running at tip-top speed and efficiency, so you can have that second bowl of granola and don’t sweat it!

Here’s a video of morning yoga poses to get your engine started early in the day.

http://youtu.be/dBw37_jmy_M

Importance of Sleep to the Body and Soul

Do you often wonder why you feel tired sometimes or maybe even all the time? Since the invention of the light bulb people sleep much less, approximately 500 hours a year, or 1.25 hours a day. While the exact mechanism of sleep and how it impacts our brain function, it is clear that science knows that sleep is one of the body’s most important processes.

Overnight, the body’s cells are renewed, the body’s digestive system is at rest and the brain becomes only partially active which is why we feel so refreshed after a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation is the cause of many physical and mental problems including poor concentration, digestive problems, depression and accelerated aging. Over time sleep deprivation can also result in blurry vision and impaired judgement, while severe sleep deprivation can result in hallucinations, mania and nausea. Usually getting a good night’s sleep alleviates these symptoms but chronic sleep deprivation (such as night shift workers such as doctors and nurses, or mothers with newborn or sick children), may require longer periods of sleeping.

The way in which you treat your body can have a profound impact on your body, mind and soul balance. The body has its own natural rhythms that are designed to uphold its state of balance. This includes the natural cycle of sleep.  If our bodies are not functioning properly, it is a sign that there is disharmony in our body, mind and soul.

Here are some helpful tips you should remember the next time you sleep.

  • As a general rule, you should aim for 7 hours sleep a night. If you know you require less, make sure you get your minimum sleeping hours so that you are fully functioning during waking hours.
  • Have a routine for sleeping hours and try to stick to it.
  • Make your bed and your bedroom enticing to go to sleep in. Make sure it is quiet, dark and warm.
  • Do some form of relaxation before going to sleep. Yoga, stretching, meditation or reading can help orient the body and mind for sleep.
  • Don’t do any computer work directly before going to sleep. The brightness of computer monitors stimulates the brain.
  • Avoid large meals just before bed. Try to keep your dinner portions to a minimum and eat at least 2 hours before going to sleep.

So get the right amount of sleep to bring harmony with your body and soul!