12 Nov 2013

Massage in Hull

How good is massage?

Massage is a treatment that involves the warming, compressing, stretching and all round conditioning of the muscle and connective tissue. This is usually performed hands-on by a trained masseuse using a massage couch, towels & oils. The oils help the transfer of heat from the masseuse's hands, help the clients skin become more supple and ease any friction during the massage strokes. Alternative mediums to oil include certain creams and even powders, however most people prefer to work with oils. 

If you're thinking of booking your first massage then it pays to do your home work. Most importantly seek out those that hold an official qualified, fully insured & show references. Try to go for a masseur that operates from a professional set-up (not your home or theirs) this neutral ground will help safeguard you both. All massage techniques stem from Swedish massage but many evolve and every masseuse has their own style so is great to check with your friends and go by recommendations.

When actually attending your massage appointment, you should expect to find a smart room with clean towels / couch roll. You can also expect to fill out a health questionnaire which will give a brief medical back ground and high light anything that the masseuse needs to be aware of. If your treatment requires the removal of clothing (down to underwear level) then your masseuse will leave the room giving you enough time to get changed and place the towels (especially if they are the opposite sex). So about now your ready to enjoy your massage.

If you live in the Hull area and would like a sports massage, relaxation massage or an Indian head massage then contact MassageHull.com and book in. Click on this link below to see a 2 minute video (feel free to 'like' it):

Massage in Hull



29 May 2013

TV Dangerously gets Childhood Obesity Solution WRONG!

Hi folks,

I switched to channel 3 whilst munching my cereal this morning & there was a debate on;  Is childhood obesity is the fault of the parents?

3 mums where interviewed who said that it isn’t their fault that their child is obese, as they can’t control what they buy when away from home. Another reason or possible excuse was that their child had some sort of medical condition that causes fat levels to rise (very few conditions actually cause this). It’s worth mentioning that all these parents where also highly obese, which doesn’t really help their argument.

Then the channel had an ‘expert’ on the couch who said that it is the fault of the parents. She bluntly said that kids need to eat less & exercise more as everything you eat has to be burnt off by exercise!

Is it just me or is this giving off totally the wrong message & being of no help to viewers? Surely it’s the parents duty to teach their child about the right amounts of calories & getting it from real food (un-processed) that your body can use, whilst encouraging an active lifestyle. If we obsess over drastic calorie cutting & over exercising then this is more likely to lead to dangerous childhood eating disorders.

John Cammish, a fellow personal trainer is a fat-loss expert & recently wrote a great article on this called The Calorie Conundrum. Visit his site for more info  

Let me know your thoughts folks,


9 May 2013

Can Antibiotics Cure Work-Related Lower Back Pain?

Hi folks,

Danish studies of 162 adults have revealed that a specific type of chronic lower back pain (approx 40% off all chronic lower back pain cases) can be significantly treated with a series of antibiotics.

Which type? 
Pain caused by vertebrae swelling (caused by disease related-changes / infection in an area concerning a previously slipped disc) & it can only be detected by MRI scan.

Is this useful to us? 
If you have suffered a slipped disc & are still in pain 6 months later, then quite possibly. Contact your GP, ask them to review your records & consider further investigation / MRI.

Work-related back pain – probably not. Workplace lower back pain is down to being in a sedentary position (lack of movement) causing poor posture & associated muscle, connective tissue, & disc stress. This can only be resolved by;

1)      Reviewing options about the way you work.
2)      Potential ergonomic aids.
3)      A basic biomechanical understanding of the back & related structures & adopting any necessary exercises.

Occupational Fitness specializes in such measures & can boost your company performance by minimizing lower back pain in your workforce. Contact us for more information.



26 Apr 2013

Blame it on the Boozy!

Hi folks,

I'm bogging about alcohol this week because after many years as a personal trainer, it still surprises me how people underestimate the effects of a cheeky tipple.

I bumped in to a lady the other day that I used to train. She always trained really hard but only got limited results so I suspected that she wasn't as committed to the nutritional side as she made out. Now she looks in the best shape ever so I asked what made the difference, yep you guessed it - she cut the alcohol down & now only drinks when on the occasional night out / special occasions (I felt like screaming 'that's what I said').

When improving body shape (& health) nutrition is the main factor. Many clients realise this & make a great effort to adjust their nutrition but the thing they often seem to ignore is that glass of wine / can of beer in the evenings. Myself & fellow personal trainers know a many more gym-goer's who will willingly address everything else except their alcohol intake. There are approx 170 calories per glass of wine, so 1 glass 5 evenings per week = 850 cal which is more than an extra 1/3rd of a days food intake!

With most of us having hectic lifestyles we tend to reach for that glass of plonk at the end of a hard days work or when in party mode. Try buying in your favourite / really special brand of alcohol to use sparingly whilst using exercise as a means to de-stress & a nice meal as a means of reward instead of booze.

Remember, the first (& most significant) steps if you want to reduce body-fat are to minimise saturated fats, salt, & sugars - including alcohol.

OH & HR managers: Could this be present in your workforce? If so work performance could also be suffering from alcohol's other affects - dehydration & poor sleep quality. Contact us for more info.



18 Apr 2013

Develop Your Own Workplace Athletes!

Hi folks,

As you regulars will know, I keep bringing you blogs on the highlights of 2013's top workplace health conferences & this weeks focuses on mobile technology.

Walking around the exhibitions I came across 4 -5 stands trying to sell me little gizmo's & gadgets that track my body throughout the day (& night in some cases). The most simple & common being pedometers, but two others caught my eye.

1) A heart rate monitor to be worn 24hrs per day over a typical 3 days & the user has to keep a diary for this period. The info is then uploaded to some software where you can see if any rises in heart rate coincide with any non-physical activities = stress.

2) This looked like small pedometer that sticks on to your skin & is worn under clothing. It uses very low electrical activity to recognise how much tension is in the muscle underneath. Some muscle tension is natural but as many of us will know, physical & mental stress can cause counter-productive amount of muscle tension.

It may be interesting to ask a company CEO or director to wear one or even both of these gadgets so they can get a personal insight in to the impact of their position. However as the HSE is now taking a wider approach to stress management, it wouldn't be practical to 'hook up' every employee & monitor them. HR managers could ask for a cross-section of volunteers but results may not represent the whole workforce as stress levels depend upon stress tolerance which is very individual to each person (even when doing the same job).

It's fantastic that this technology is available & is very interesting for personal use but is not a realistic solution for workforce health & wellbeing. A company's time & money will get a better ROI if spent on the softer measures such as nutrition & exercise incentives.

Let me know your thoughts & how these gadgets may 'go down' in your workplace.


12 Apr 2013

Obesity Culture at Home (& at Work)

Hi folks,

Just last week my home town of Hull (Kingston upon Hull if we're being posh) was in the news for having some of the highest obesity rates in the country. This doesn't surprise me as our poor city traditionally seems to get more than its fair share of bad press despite us trying to shake this off through lot of recent redevelopment & investment.

Like all cities there are the wealthier areas in the suburbs, and pockets of middle-class mixed with working-class of which I live in (without meaning to pigeon-hole people). Being a passionate health advocate, when I'm out & about I tend to notice things like a young lady the other day - walking passed the local shops, 8-pack of lager under one arm & battered jumbo sausage on fork in the other. Of course this may not have been a true reflection of her lifestyle but as she was rather overweight, it probably wasn't far off. I don't mean to be snobbish or have a pop at obese people as it's their choice, but I just want to  help create a healthier Hull.

The stereotype is that the higher rates of obesity are often in the poorer areas of society, & in my experience I'd say this is true for Hull, BUT WHY? is it because...

  • Money is tight so it is spent on the cheaper highly processed foods?
  • A poorer background may instill lower aspirations, lower motivation levels?
  • This in turn goes hand in hand with lack of understanding / awareness food & drink.
  • A depressing / drab physical environment as streets & housing are often in need of maintenance.
*HR / OH managers: does your workplace display similar elements?

All these factors contribute to one key element - an underlying lack of self worth / confidence. So what are we doing to turn this around? Well supermarkets have recently started highlighting special offers on fruit, veg & fresh meat, Schools are now doing a great job of promoting the wide range of career opportunities & healthy lifestyle education, the government is advertising it's healthy eating campaign, & the local council is progressively updating street life.

So with a bigger push, it looks like Hull's bad reputation may be short-lived!


4 Apr 2013

Latest Exercise Guidelines for your Workforce

Hi folks,

Exercise is great for increasing self value, self belief & moral, for moderating stress hormones, & for decreasing anxiety, depression, confusion & fatigue BUT research shows that 60% men & 70% women are under active (80% of us overestimate how active we actually are!) It's hard to know what's right when we're constantly being bombarded with new exercise fads, fancy machines, scientific techniques & equipment so just trust 2 things:

 1) If its realistic, makes sense & makes you breathless,
 2) The latest exercise guidelines (below) for the Health & Well-being @ Work conference:

Traditionally it had been recommended that we do 30min of moderate exercise 5 times per week but this has now been reviewed. New guidelines still say to total 150 min of exercise per week, but make 30-60min (30min for beginners & up to 60min if you're pretty fit) of this an exercise of vigorous intensity, & repeat it 3-4x per week.

So in summary the main difference is that instead of more frequent light- moderate exercise, we actually get better benefits from fewer workouts but of slightly higher intensity. 

Better results in less time sounds good to me!!! To translate this in to workplace health activities then please contact me.