What do Osteoptahs do? A Q&A with Fix East Village's Osteopath Laura Maidment

What do you do as an Osteopath?

Hopefully try and help people reach a goal, which they are being prevented from by a physical obstacle or pain. I treat various ailments from lower back and neck pain to headaches and overuse type injuries. I also see babies and pregnant women. My main aim is to get the body moving better and become more functional for what people want to use it for.

 

How did you get into Osteopathy?

I used to be a sports acro gymnast and was forever injuring myself and had a lower back injury when I was about 11. I started seeing a very inspirational osteopath, the late Johnaton Betser, and went to him for regular treatments. It was from there that I became very fascinated in how the body works and was always so intrigued how he could treat my foot and it would affect my back! Coming from a sporting background and being interested in the mechanics of the human body meant osteopathy was a natural career path for me.

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What is your top tip for lower back care?

Movement is key! I cannot tell my patients enough how important movement is. We are not designed to sit for 12 hours a day. Many people say that they have a great ergonomic desk set-up, which is better than a rubbish set-up, but if you just aren’t moving from it then things start to stiffen and muscles start to shorten. Even when people are in pain movement is vital for recovery, gone are the days when a neck brace or bed rest are prescribed!

 

What is the difference in your opinion between Physiotherapy and Osteotherapy?

This is the most commonly asked question I get from patients. There is a huge crossover between the types of complaints we see and many techniques we use.

However I would say the biggest difference is that osteopaths are very much holistic in their approach. We assess the body as a whole and evaluate whether one part of the body is affecting another. We mainly use hands on examinations to palpate (sensation of touch) joint mobility, muscular tension, weakness and imbalances. Osteopaths are trained to diagnose pathologies within the body and can examine other body systems. I also incorporate exercise rehab into every treatment plan, although this is where physio’s specialty is. Physiotherapy evaluates movement dysfunction by observation and functional assessment. Physios are trained more in exercise rehab and functional recovery. At fix it is great to work alongside each other as we can cross-refer when a patient is more appropriate for either type of approach.

 

What do you get up to when you’re not in the clinic treating?

I am a big foodie! I love cooking, experimenting with food and baking and trying out different restaurants and food markets. ‘You are what you digest’ is so true, so I keep to a fairly clean healthy diet and have a real interest in nutrition, although a cheeky glass of wine sneaks its way in there too!

I also love to move with yoga and pilates and keep to a regular routine, which is good for the body and soul.

 

The Ultimate Tummy Soother - Gingeroot, Mint and Red Date Tea

mint tea

This tummy soothing tea is guaranteed to leave you feeling refreshed, unbloated and balance out your PH levels. It’s great to consume it daily -  morning and night - especially before or after a meal.

Herbs and foods have been used for centuries to heal the bodies ailments, so if you suffer from conditions such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), chronic constipation or cramping, introducing this tea to your diet may help you find some relief to your symptoms. Here’s a quick list summing up the health benefits of each ingredient.

 

In a teapot place:

2 stalks of Fresh Mint

2 dollops of Honey (or enough to suit your taste!)

A square inch of Ginger

A handful of soaked Red Dates

A squeeze of Lemon juice

 

Proceed by filling the teapot with boiling water. Let brew for 7 minutes and serve.

 

Mint

It is suggested that in Morocco mint has been used as an appetiser, digestive and palate cleanser since the 12th century; it’s benefits being multifarious. Mint promotes digestion and soothes stomach discomfort, therefore if you suffer from bloating after a meal the herb can help to subdue inflammations and discomfort. Similarly, it is also effective in clearing up congestion of the nose or throat, and particularly beneficial in treating the symptoms of asthma. In Chinese medicine mint is used as a cooling agent to counteract the overproduction of heat in the body, which is said to be linked to nervousness, agitation and a hot temper.

 

Honey

If you’re used to two spoons of sugar in your tea, honey is a great alternative to satisfy your sweet tooth. Honey is a powerhouse of antioxidants, a natural cough syrup and a long term energy booster, two dollops in your teapot and you’ll be buzzing about your day like a busy bee! However, it's also great at inciting a good night's sleep, how? The sweetness of honey causes your insulin levels to rise, which in turn releases the neurotransmitter serotonin. Then, the body converts serotonin to melatonin – a chemical that helps your body sleep. Ancient Ayurvedic practice speaks of a medicinal drink called Golden Milk that uses turmeric, honey, almond milk, and pepper to help reduce inflammation and calm the body for a good night’s rest.

 

Gingeroot

Ginger first appeared in the southern parts of ancient China, where it has long been used to treat nausea and motion sickness. In Chinese medicine ginger is said to have a warming effect, promoting digestive fire and soothing gas troubles. As well as being a carminative, ginger acts as an intestinal spasmolytic and relieves stomach upsets.

 

ginger tea

Red date

Red dates or Jujube are one of China’s most popular health foods, the Chinese swear by them for curing any ailment. They are hard on the outside and soft on the inside and are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to balance the Qi. Letting the dates soak and then adding them to a tea is a great way of extracting all their goodness and this will increase the body’s serum protein levels, which in turn helps protect the liver and detoxify the body.

 

Lemon

Lemon, is a great source of Vitamin C and is also famed for supporting digestion. It is said that is also contributes to brightening the skin and maintaining fresh breath. A cup of lemon water a day promotes hydration and the intake of water. If drank first thing in the morning before any food in a tea lemon is a great substitute for your morning dose of caffeine, as it is a natural stimulant for waking up the intestine and encourages morning bowel movements.

 

Now all that’s left to do is give the tea and go and let it work it’s magic. We hope you enjoy.

Love, Fix.

red dates tea

4 step self-care routine from a Pilates professional

selfcare

International Self-Care day is all about learning to treat ourselves with love and compassion in order to improve and maintain our health. Therefore, we thought, who better to talk to about self-care than our fantastic and inspirational Pilates teacher, Eleah Waters?

Pilates is all about self-care, as it teaches people how to move mindfully and with awareness through poses and exercises. For this reason, it is great to practice Pilates alongside other more physically straining sports, as often, when we play competitive sports - such as racing or matches - we forget to listen to our bodies because we become so focused on the goal of winning. The problem being, when stop to listen to our bodies we tend to push ourselves too hard, making us more at risk of injuries. Therefore, whether you are a dancer, footballer or athlete, Pilates can be an invaluable tool in both the rehabilitation and preservation of your body.

Eleah is an amazing fount of knowledge for everything health related, so we decided to pick her brain for all the juicy details of her personal 4 step evening self-care routine that she does every night without fail. She swears by it and says it keeps her energised and bright everyday.

With these top tips and 3 pints of filtered water a day, you’ll be glowing like an Australian Pilates professional in no time!

 

STEP 1.

Decide what time you want to be in bed by early on in the evening so you can give yourself time to prepare accordingly. Eleah says she sorts out her clothes for the morning and does her laundry well in advance, so she isn’t rushing or doing it just before bed.

 

STEP 2.

If you want to be in bed by 10pm, set your alarm for the following morning an hour before and once you’ve done that put your phone on flight mode. Alternatively, you can buy an analog alarm clock and charge your phone outside of your bedroom, this way you know you really won’t touch it!

 

STEP 3.

Commence your hour of screen-free time, no phones, no Instagram, no TV or computers! Read a book, draw, write or practice a cool down Yoga Sequence, we recommend Yoga with Adrienne. Do anything that gets you relaxed and ready for bed that isn’t digital.

 

STEP 4.

Light an oil burner full of lavender, ylang ylang and chamomile and if you’re into calming teas, make a brew!

 

This wind-down time is now Eleah’s favourite part of the day, “You’ll feel less flustered and stressed and sleep much deeper” she says. “On an evening where I still feel a bit tense, I’ll do the ‘legs up on the wall’ pose for 10 minutes”, a gentle and relaxing yoga inversion. She also uses Pukka Night Time herbal supplement i she’s feeling particularly jittery, “2 capsules and I’m out like a light, and I find I wake up really refreshed.”

 

Eleah’s next 1:4 group Pilates course starts on the 3rd of August at our London Fields clinic. If you’re interested in signing up and giving it a go please give us a call on 0208986551. She also runs Pilates retreats, her next one is from the 13 - 15th of October. For more info go to http://www.eleahwaterspilates.com/retreat/.

Haul yourself up from the multitasking rabbit-hole: take time out to breathe

Have you ever felt yourself not being able to engage in a conversation without feeling distracted? At some point, each one of us has and we have our smartphones to blame. In the technological age we multitask with such unbridled adamance that it has become common to always be somewhere other than the present moment, enslaved by endless notifications and emails, restlessly awaiting the next ping and buzz from friends or colleagues; meaning all we have left for each act or person we encounter is partial and divided attention.

It's become a little too easy to accept that multitasking is the only possible way to navigate our chaotic and busy lives. But, ironically one of the most robust findings of cognitive science has been to discover that our attention is in fact limited in its capacity and that if we allocated undivided and focused attention to one task at a time our performance improves greatly.

Furthermore, considering we never actually clock off from our jobs all this technological multitasking can really take its toll on our brain function. Concerned neuroscientists say that our tendency to divide our attention, rather than focus, is hampering our ability to perform even simple tasks and this can have a very detrimental effect on our mental health, notably our attentiveness in the long term and our ability to learn. Prolonged inattentiveness due to multitasking can lead to mental health conditions such as anxiety, dementia and depression and once a person is suffering from a mental health disorder their physical health is likely to plummet too.

So, what is actually happening to our brains while we multitask?

Most actions that are performed mindlessly result from the basal ganglia, also known as the reptilian brain, which is the most primitive part of the human brain. The reptilian brain governs your physiological processes, such as the need for food and shelter and is concerned about the physical plane of existence e.g the body. However, in addition to our most basic needs, the basal ganglia also governs several other functions, such as motor control and eye movements, habits and learning through cause and effect.

reptillian brain

When we are under stress - or in a fight or flight situation - the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated by the reptilian brain and the prefrontal cortex shuts down from over stimulation, making it harder to make rational decisions. As we multitask we overstimulate our brain, reach peak levels of stress and override our rational behaviour. This inhibits us from completing tasks properly and methodically, which in retrospect can cause us to feel frustration with ourselves and become self-deprecating.

If this mechanism is allowed to happen over time it becomes ingrained through repetitive reinforcement and neurological pathways are formed creating bad habits. It can therefore seem as though conditions such as anxiety or depression were part of us from birth as opposed to being the result of our actions and choices.

Habits that persist from mindlessness are hard to break, but it is not impossible. Discoveries in neuroplasticity have confirmed that the brain does not have a strict time frame of development as it was once thought, but is in fact rhizomatic and can be rewired through mental exercises. Our minds remain the most powerful tool to combatting our struggles, therefore practicing mindfulness - as opposed to letting rogue thoughts navigate our daily lives - is key to maintaining a strong and healthy mind. Reaching this goal however, may mean taking time off from work to dedicate solely to detoxifying the brain from negative and pervasive thought patterns. After all, it’s wiser to spot fatigue or high stress levels early and take time off to fix the issue rather than letting the condition persist to full blown burnout.

Unfortunately, the majority of us don’t have the luxury to take time out so the next best option is to develop a yoga or meditation routine that you stick to. In Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Yoga is described as, “the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind” or as Pattabhi Jois says it, “Yoga is mind control” which is exercised through controlled breathing, awareness of movement and a strict routine. You may have noticed that when people suffer from panic attacks they breathe into paper bags or are asked to deepen their breathing, this is because the breath is the first point of call for regaining control over your thoughts. Breathing is the gateway between the conscious and subconscious mind.

Two great Kundalini breathing exercises you can do when you first wake up are Breath of Fire and Nadi Shodhana, or “alternate nostril breathing”. The latter restore balance in the left and right hemispheres of the brain and clears the energetic channels. The former strengthens the nervous system to resist stress.

kundalini breathing

In this way, by making the decision to get up early to do half an hour of breathing or yoga practice first thing in the morning, you start the day on your terms instead of letting the fluctuations in life gain control. There are various apps available like Headspace, Calm or Breathe that can help you develop a routine, but if you struggle with a technology addiction perhaps it’s best to organise yourself manually. Social media detoxes, meditation retreats, or talking therapy can also all be fantastic for mental health, as a reminder to exist within the present as opposed to trying to escape.

By applying these practices and avoiding multitasking frenzies each day (especially first thing in the morning) we tune into our surroundings as opposed to trying to ignore them, which in turn will benefit our minds greatly in the long term. Those who are mindful are able to do more than just pay attention; they do so on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally. This is perhaps the most advanced form of attentiveness, and it can result in optimised decision-making made in a stress-free and less reactive environment.

Fix offers a variety of weekly Yoga classes as well as talking therapy sessions with our friendly counsellor Sally. Click here to see the schedule for more info.

East London's top water-sport activities to try this summer

Improve your balance and strengthen your core by having a stab at Paddle Boarding along east London's glorious waterways.  Jason from Urban Recovery will guide you through the key techniques for gliding your way through some of London's most historical regions.  Or if you prefer to sit-down to enjoy the waterways then do so for just £9.00p/h from an impressive-looking swan pedalo, located on the Regent's Canal in the Olympic Park.

water sports swan pedalo
water boarding sports

If you prefer a bit more speed from your water-sports, then head to the Lee Valley White Water Water Centre where you can select from a whole host of daring and adrenaline-junky sports that take place in the Olympic Park's rapids.   Choose from 'tubing' where you'll be twisting, bumping and screaming your way down the white water; 'hydrospeeding' - where you'll dive head first down the rapids on a board with fins to propel and navigate.  Or, why not get a group of friends together and charter your very own raft down the white water. Prices start at £35.00 per hour. 

water boarding sports
london reservoir sports

Stoke Newington Reservoir Centre is the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of east London and pretend you're in the depths of the British countryside.  Here you can try your hand at open water swimming, sailing, canoeing and kayaking or just enjoy the action on the lake from dry-land with a cup of tea and a slice of cake from the beautiful terrace cafe.  

london watersports

Nature’s Top Three Remedies for Hay Fever

nettle alergies tea

Sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes, sound familiar? It probably does, considering the sun is out and the pollen is rife!  Sadly the festival weather isn’t all fun and games for the quarter of Londoners who suffer from Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever.

Allergic Rhinitis is an airborne allergic reaction that occurs when substances called allergens connect to allergy receptors in the nasal cavity. The body reacts by releasing a compound called histamine, which in turn causes a cascade effect of itchiness, runny nose, sneezes, watery eyes, and headaches.

13 million people in the UK are affected by the condition - which amounts to a lot of antihistamines sold each year! Antihistamines are the over-the-counter medicine most commonly used to counteract the symptoms of hay fever but often come with a series of nasty side effects, notably drowsiness, dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, difficulty with urination, weight gain and rapid mood changes.

Although many people take these medications with no problem, it’s worth considering that nature might be both the cause and cure for the condition. Therefore, the team here at Fix have compiled a list of the best natural remedies that have been proven to combat the pollen, so you can keep fighting nature with nature!

 

1. Nettle Tea

After hearing from one of our patients that Nettle tea cleared up her partner's powerful seasonal allergies, we brought it to the festival to try it out in the fields! Ironically, it turns out that 4 cups of nettle tea a day, mixed with honey and mint, tempers the ‘prickly’ sensations around the eyes and nose. Magic! For extra brownie points you could pick the nettles fresh yourself, as long as you make sure to wear gloves!

 

2. Become at one with the Bees

A great way to boost immunity to pollen is by acclimatising yourself by eating the local honey. James Hamill a 4th generation beekeeper says “Most people aren't coming in contact with local pollen and where would they ever eat it in their daily diet unless they can eat fresh local honey?”

If local honey is consumed year round, by the time the pollen season hits you’ll have boosted your body's tolerance to the pollen. For natural local honey check out Hackney Garden Honey based in East London.

 

3. Treat yourself to some Acupuncture

Acupuncture has extremely positive results in helping hay fever. Melanie Hackwell, our acupuncturist at Fix East Village explains that “In Chinese medicine hay fever corresponds to a deficiency in the Lung and Kidney’s defensive Qi systems, with a retention of Wind in the body. For best results it should also be treated out of season, with some practitioners preferring to treat one month before the season begins. However, I do both and find there are great improvements in treating just after the season as well as before”.

honey.jpeg


For information on booking acupuncture at Fix, please go to www.fixlondon.co.uk 

The road less travelled: Exploring Chinese Medicine at Fix

Just over a month ago we said goodbye to Cate Boyle, learned master in the art of Traditional Chinese Medicine, generous friend and one of our most treasured practitioners here at Fix London Fields in Hackney, as she searches for new adventures on her 6 month sabbatical. Although she will be returning to Fix soon, for the time being she has left us in experienced hands and we are proud to welcome Andy Levy and Cristina Betto to the Fix team at London Fields. Katherine Stewart, our Front of House and blogger decided to catch up with Andy last week and seize the opportunity to pick his brain about his approach to the ancient Chinese practices of Gua Sha and Cupping.

          Accompanied by a growing popularity in the holistic practices of Yoga and Tai Chi, traditional Chinese medicine has begun to attract considerable attention in the West. Hailed for its more natural health care system, it offers a holistic, ‘mind-body’ approach to our otherwise compartmentalised and sometimes alienating medical practice. The increase in its demand demonstrates that many of us are choosing to be in control of our minds and bodies, in preference to being offered pills for problems we know little about to begin with.  As a result of this popular intrigue, I decide to book myself in with Andy - our new therapist of Chinese Medicine - to get to know two of the more obscure practices we provide at Fix, Gua Sha and Cupping.

Before entering my appointment I feel rather apprehensive, as a mental image of the rather severe looking marks left from Gua Sha creeps into my mind. However, once I’m settled on the massage table, Andy’s knowledge and passion comforts me. He begins the practice by using a blunt-edged tool to press down in one-directional strokes between my shoulder blades, over which he has already applied a thin layer of massage oil. Promptly, we get onto talking about how he came to be involved in the practice of Chinese medicine, notably Acupuncture, Gua Sha and Tui Na.

“I started off my career with a Tui Na course, a form of massage therapy and one of the five limbs of Chinese Medicine” he says, “The word Tui Na actually came to me in a dream and at the time I had no idea what it meant. I thought it was a type of Italian pasta! Then one day my friend, who is a GP and also practises Chinese Medicine, mentioned it to me in passing and the hairs on the back of my neck immediately stood up, on hearing the word. I decided to embark on a course in Tui Na and then realised that the Chinese Medicine theory was the same as Acupuncture so I did the two in tandem.”

Common knowledge suggests that Gua Sha has been practiced since the first century AD. The practice is intended to create transitory therapeutic petechiae called ‘Sha’ that represent the blood cells moving to the outside of the vessels – this is called extravasation of the blood and reveals itself in marks on the skin. Although the marks from Gua Sha may look harmful sometimes even to the point of looking like lashes of a whip, the scrapping does not damage the capillaries and instead activates them.

Cupping therapy was popular with swimmers at the Beijing Olympics.

Cupping therapy was popular with swimmers at the Beijing Olympics.

The colour of the ‘Sha’ much like the colour of the mark left after a session of Chinese Cupping therapy, reveals insightful information regarding the condition of the patient's blood. In Chinese medicine this is commonly referred to as searching for ‘Sha’ stagnation. If the mark is pale red it may suggest a blood deficiency, dark red suggests static heat in the body and purple or black ‘Sha’ is a marker of chronic blood stagnation. Gua Sha and Cupping therapies work towards removing the stasis and acts as catalyst for anti-inflammatory processes to occur within the body.  The general effects of Gua Sha are to reduce inflammation and pain (sometimes instantly), increase range of movement, minimize inflammation of the liver and enzymes, improve breathing and circulation, as well as protect the body from oxidative stress and boost immunity.

As we talk, I discover that Eastern medicine has never been an entirely foreign topic to Andy, whose father was an Acupuncturist and mother is an Astrologer. “I remember being a ten-year-old and having acupuncture performed on me” he says laughing. I ask him whether he believes in the practice, and his answer is, “It’s less about belief and more about coming to realise that Western medicine is far from the be all and end all of medical practice. In the West we tend to look at symptoms and define and refine until we find our mark and ultimately kill, whereas in Chinese and even Ayurvedic medical practice everything is approached holistically. In Chinese medicine there is no absolute, everything is Yin and Yang and within the Yin is Yang and Yang within Yin.”

Light marks remain on the skin after a session of Gua Sha or Cupping. These will generally disappear within 3 to 5 days.

Light marks remain on the skin after a session of Gua Sha or Cupping. These will generally disappear within 3 to 5 days.

By this stage, Andy has finished scraping and the Gua Sha therapy has left a tingling sensation on the surface of my skin. Whereas I entered the room rather cool, my extremities are now feeling warm and comfortable and my body is emanating a newfound heat. I give Andy’s last sentence some thought and come to realise the profound nature of his statement. In the West we tend to dismiss Eastern Medicine as being wholly reliant on a belief system as opposed to empirical fact, without realising that Allopathic medical practice came about in a very similar way, preserved and proliferated in the name of ‘scientific knowledge’ but ironically, no less dependent on a system of belief than its Eastern counterpart.

While we continue to discuss the shortcomings of modern medicine, Andy begins the second part of the treatment, the Cupping therapy. “We end up looking too much at tests rather than our own observations” he says, as he places four suction cups onto what he refers to as the ‘detox points’ on my upper back. Yet, the gold standard of Allopathic medicine continues to reign notwithstanding the fact that Chinese medicine provides more holistic solutions to our problems”.

Andy explains that Cupping can be carried out in two ways, either with plastic cups and a suction pump that creates negative air pressure in the cup, or the more traditional method of fire and glass cups whereby the fire removes the air in the cup and creates suction; we were using the former. “It differs from Gua Sha in that it has more to do with muscles rather than blood therapy and skin” he explains. The cups are left to do their work for about 15 minutes, throughout which I feel the heat in my body move centrifugally towards their location. The suction force feels strong but not uncomfortable and after a while I relax into the sensation.

The ‘detox points’ are prime areas for revealing daily wear and tear of the body, as many of us retain trauma and tension in our backs, be it from bad posture or physical strain. Thus, the darker the colour of the marks left behind the greater the severity of the strain in that area. I leave the treatment room feeling relaxed and relieved at the fact that the process was not in the least bit painful. The marks on my back from the Gua Sha are visible but those of Cupping have yet to appear.

Later on, once I’m home and the blood has had the time to settle on the surface of my skin, I notice that the Cupping marks on my right shoulder are darker than those on my left. I think back to what Andy had said about the value of observation in exercising self-preservation and grab Atul Gawande’s book Being Mortal from the bookshelf. I flick through to one of the phrases I had underlined, “We always hope for the easy fix: the one simple change that will erase a problem in a stroke. But few things in life work this way. Instead, success requires making a hundred small steps go right - one after the other, no slipups, no goofs, everyone pitching in.”

When it comes to exercising awareness Chinese medicine can be an infinitely valuable tool in teaching us observational techniques as opposed to being primarily - and often solely - focused on an ideal of health and an endpoint of survival. Furthermore, Chinese medicine does show physical results, as Andy tells me that about 80% of the acupuncture induced births he has carried out have been successful and I myself have heard positive feedback from patients at Fix.

Perhaps, the reason that non-Western medicine is dismissed so easily in our corner of the world is due to the fact that we have been conditioned to remain stagnant in our thought, convinced of the myth that medicine is an orderly and professional procedure as opposed to a process that relies to equal extent on our own independent intuition. On that note, I was left with something very positive to take away from my session with Andy. This being, that the value of Chinese medicine is twofold, as it not only has the ability to release us from the toxins in our stagnant blood but from our persistent, boundaried patterns of thought.

You can catch Andy Levy at Fix London Fields on Friday afternoons. For bookings please visit https://fixlondon.co.uk

Practioner Spotlight: The Midnight Runner

Fix Osteopath and a keen surfer, Ola Daniewska, ran a Midnight Sun Half Marathon in Tromso - a city in Northern Norway - last weekend. We caught up with her after the run and talked about local food, injury control and her rather out-there choice of playlist. Read on to get the lowdown on this exciting and unusual event.

Hi Ola, why don't you tell us a little about where you've been?

I’ve been in Tromso, a city located in the Arctic Circle, where the weather was below 10 degrees and it rained a lot.

How did you find out about the half marathon?

Through friends who did it a few years ago and highly recommended it.

What was special about the Midnight run experience?

As we began the run, the Famous Midnight Sun came out accompanied by a double rainbow! I thought that was pretty special.

Wow, truly blessed. How long have you been training for the half marathon? Did you train differently for a night time marathon?

I started training in March, doing a combination of running, yoga and strength training. I am usually quite active therefore only had to add one long run to my weekly exercise routine.

It’s not all about PBs, but just out of curiosity, what time did you start and end?

I started 10.30pm and finished 00:36am

Did you have to change your sleeping pattern before the event?

I didn't change sleep patterns before the event, which I now slightly regret. I found it tough to run 21km while maintaining my usual sleep hours. We arrived in Tromso two days before the event to acclimatise and rest. Unfortunately with 24 hours of daylight it wasn't that easy to get a good night's sleep.

I bet! Did you encounter any difficulties along the way or were you dealing with any injuries? If so, how did you go about caring for these while running and training?

I developed a minor foot injury halfway through my training, which meant I had to stop running for almost a month leading up to the run. I wasn’t as well prepared for the run as I was hoping for, however focusing on Yoga, as well as Strength and Conditioning training allowed me to keep my fitness levels up and finish the race.

Is there a noticeable difference in energy levels or mood when you’re running at night?

Definitely so. I always tend to run first thing in the morning and am usually in bed by 11pm. Running a half marathon past my bedtime was tough! Add to that three days of constant daytime and my body clock was freaking out. I felt very jet-lagged, it was rather surreal.

Did you do any other site seeing of the area? Would you recommend any places in particular?

I’d recommend lovely walks down the seafront and getting a cable car from where you can see the entire Tromso area. I particularly enjoyed a coffee and a cinnamon roll in the main harbour overlooking the mountains.

My mouth watered at the mention of cinnamon rolls… I’ve heard there are people coming from all over the world to run the marathon. How do the locals feel about the marathon runners? 

People come here from all over the world and locals are very welcoming. Tromso turns into a mini festival over the weekend and the atmosphere is buzzing. Really enjoyed it, great experience!

Everyone’s got a running playlist and we’d love to know what the sweet sounds of your motivation are. What do you enjoy listening to when you run or train?

I usually listen to podcasts when running, the topics vary from science to philosophy and psychology. During Midnight Sun run I listened to Jordan Peterson, my favourite modern philosopher but for the last 3km I put on deep house to give me a little boost.

You can catch Ola at Fix at Fix on Mondays and Thursdays. For more info go to http://www.fixlondon.co.uk/osteopathy-ola/

My Reasons to Visit E20: By Alice Sims - Strength & Conditioning COACH and Nutrition Expert

Well, obviously the top one is to visit US! Our brilliant network of practitioners include physiotherapists, osteopaths, acupuncturists, massage therapists, strength and conditioning and running coaches, all working out of our spacious new clinic.  

I'll be teaching Pelvic Floor Galore on Mondays at 13.45 as well as my Flex & Flow strength, conditioning and yoga class at 18.30 on the same day. Come get some :)

Yoga Fix East Village

I love that E20 is full of independent restaurants bars and cafes so you get something totally different to your regular high-street chains.

Fix East Village is located on the edge of the 2012 Olympic Park and there are so many great open spaces for walking, running, cycling...or just relaxing!   I highly recommend going for a swim in the Aquatics Centre if only to spot Tom Daley practicing his diving (he's usually there early weekday afternoons!) Plus there's plenty of people to train with, from Bootcamps to Our Parks sessions.  I'm also really looking forward to all the events in the Active August programme - last years programme was awesome!

 

If you want a more creative (and leisurely) activity then why not walk The Line which is London's first dedicated modern and contemporary art walk. Wowzer!

Alex Chinnock's "Bullet From A Shooting Star"

Alex Chinnock's "Bullet From A Shooting Star"

The route runs between the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and The O2, following the waterways and the line of the Meridian. You'll view these crazy outdoor sculptures from internationally renown greats such as Anthony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume and my absolute favourite piece on the walk is Alex Chinnock's "Bullet From A Shooting Star". This amazing outdoor art-trail is completely FREE of charge. 

 

 

 

And, not least, enjoy incredible, tasty goodies from a superbly curated bunch of independent cafes, bars and restaurants. We're spoilt for choice! 

Hand...

Hand...

The Fix-team favourites include coffee from Hand who have just had an excellent write up in the Evening Standard...

Fresh mint, anyone..??

Fresh mint, anyone..??

 

 

Try the freshly made juices, wraps and salads from Ginger & Mint, cakes from Signorelli   and cocktails and tuuuunes at Red Yellow Blue from the people behind fave Hackney bar Jaguar Shoes. 

All in all its a great spot to work, and to hang out.  Looking forward to spending my time between there and Fix London Fields !

Acupuncture and Fertility...

Lots of people that come to Fix ask about acupuncture. They ask if it does really work and if so how. The answer to if it works is a resounding YES! How it works is a little more complicated but here is an explanation:

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), has been practised for over 2000 years, to not only restore, but promote and maintain good health.  It involves fine needles being inserted into the body which can 'open up' channels and remove blockages that have occurred in the energetic meridian system. This process then allows the body to operate at its optimum level. 

Acupuncture fertility

From a biomedical perspective, acupuncture can stimulate the nervous system, influencing the production of the body's hormones and neurotransmitters.  The resulting changes activate the body's self-regulating homeostatic systems, stimulating its natural healing abilities and promoting physical and emotional well-being.

Acupuncture can be used to improve most aspects of health, from anxiety and stress levels, to pain resulting from injury, digestive issues, sleep problems and fertility issues. Any process in the body that is controlled by hormones (read ALL!), can be influenced by the use of acupuncture.

At our new clinic, Fix East Village, we have an incredibly talented acupuncturist who specialises in fertility, Melanie Hackwell.

We asked Melanie how acupuncture works specifically for fertility:

"Ovulation can be promoted by controlling hormonal imbalances. The menstrual cycle can be regulated by bringing bloodflow and Qi (energy) to the reproductive area, and it can increase ovarian and uterine blood flow and endometrial thickness, egg production and oocyte quality.

All of these vital actions can assist in promoting embryo implantation.  

In men, acupuncture can influence quality and quantity of sperm, improving motility and sperm count.  

Reducing stress levels is essential where fertility is involved as stress reduces conception probabilities across the fertile window.  Acupuncture also focuses on regulating the body's neurotransmitters, essentially relaxing the patient."

Melanie also practices a high level of IVF support, using the Paulus Protocol. This protocol of acupuncture is used before and after embryo transfer and can increase pregnancy rates from 26.3% to 42.5%.

If you have any further questions please call East Village on 0208 555 7165 or email Melanie directly at melanie@fixlondon.co.uk.

Practitioner Spotlight: Laura Jessett Massage Therapist and Yogi

Hi Laura, tell us about your massage and yoga training, where did you train?

I completed an 18 month yoga training with Yoga Campus, London and then trained for my btec level 5 sports and remedial massage with NLSSM. 

What got you into yoga and massage?

My nan's friend Betty was a yogi! When I would visit she had me doing downward facing dog in her front room, I found the names of the poses hilarious! I came back to yoga later in life and became hooked on the benefits of a regular practice. 

I've always been interested in anatomy, and when I became a yoga teacher I noticed so many different movement patterns I became really curious to find out what was going on. After reading everything I could get my hands on I decided to study sports & remedial massage to learn more about soft tissue and how it effects movement.

What's your favourite stretch/yoga pose?

- Savasana :) 
- Arm balances, Astavakrasana (eight angle pose) is fun.
- Parsvottanasana (intense side stretch) is a great hamstring and gastrocnemius stretch.

Yoga East Village


Tell us something about you no one knows...
I have a degree in graphic design from Falmouth University, and love photography/ illustration. 

What do you dig about working at Fix?

There's a nice atmosphere, good people! Everyone here really knows their stuff; it's a very satisfying job, being able to help people achieve their goals whether it's reducing pain or running a marathon.

More on Laura and booking in with her for yoga and massage here.

 

Practitioner Spotlight: Clinical Pilates Teacher Eleah Waters...

Each month we are shining the light on one of our Fix practitioners for
special inside information and a Q & A. This month we have Fix Clinical
Pilates and posture expert Eleah Waters.

A little on clinical Pilates….

If you’re recovering from injury, pre/post natal or even a top athlete, Clinical
Pilates uses modified Pilates exercises specific to overcoming pain and getting
you back to moving with great function. If you’ve just done a course of physio
and you need some expert tuition to bring you into balance, this is what you
need.

Clinical Pilates Eleah Waters

So, where in Australia are you from?

Melbourne! Such a great city, I love to go back every year to visit family and
friends. I’ve been lucky enough to live in London for 8 years now so I feel like I’ve
done a lot of growing here. London inspires me.

What’s your favourite part of being a Pilates instructor?

Working with people from all walks of life. Listening to their stories and what
they want to achieve and then seeing their face when they’ve improved!
Teaching is a brilliant job in any capacity. I love my job.

Local Hackney recommends, please?

Climpson’s Arch for a summer evening, dinner and drinks. I love Reva Yoga for
beautiful mindful yoga with Nina. Victoria Park for running and watching the
seasons change.

Clinical Pilates Eleah Waters

What exercise (other than Pilates!) do you love doing?

I’m such a geek, I do Pilates almost every day but I also really like to run. I ran the
Hackney Half marathon last year and absolutely loved it, such a thrill. I also love
working out with my fitness buddy Alice (another Fix practitioner) we do circuits
with kettlebells and bodyweight exercises.

Fun fact:  Ilived in Moscow for 3 months where I taught at an English nursery school back
when I was training to be a contemporary dancer.

More on Eleah and booking in with her here.

Client of the Month: Crossfit Fan Helen Dwyer

"I’ve been doing Crossfit for around seven years now, alongside hiking, swimming, running and some cycling. Unfortunately though, in contrast, my day job as a graphic designer means I’m sat at a desk for 8 hours or more a day. The job can be quite stressful at times meaning my good posture often deteriorates and I end up in tense, awkward positions.  

I was advised by a chiropractor that a combination of these factors and the repetitive strain on my body culminated in me developing a pinched or trapped nerve in my neck due to myofascial build-up – my muscles were so tense and 'sticky' around my upper back, neck and shoulders, they trapped my nerve. 

I was experiencing a deep throbbing pain in my shoulder, down my left arm with pins and needles and numbness in my left hand. I attended a chiropractor for five sessions and a physio for three, both of which helped but only briefly, as the pain was reduced only for a day or so. 

 Luckily I spoke to a girl at my gym and she recommended I try Acupuncture with Cate at Fix. I decided to give it a go. 

Cate put me at ease straight away. I felt I was in good hands. At the first session we tried acupuncture with cupping. Almost immediately my tense (and I mean TENSE) muscles melted away. The cupping apparently pulled up my muscles to relieve all the pressure and tension. The pain and tingling almost vanished. I couldn't believe how quickly and profoundly it improved my symptoms in one session. There were slight circular marks on my back where the cups had been, but these faded over the following day or so. Neither were painful - I enjoyed it and felt relaxed throughout.

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In my third session we tried acupuncture with cupping and something I’d never heard of before – ‘Guasha’. I was open to trying something new. Cate applied downward strokes with a smooth implement along the muscles all over my back. It was completely relaxing and I almost fell asleep. She warned me beforehand that I may be shocked at the appearance of red stripes on my back, as the technique draws blood up through the muscles to the surface. I wasn’t bothered and it wasn’t bad at all. It faded in a day or two.

The results of all three techniques have been astounding. I've had four sessions and that's it for now. I feel so much better than before. I'll definitely return if I need to in the future."

More on Cate and booking in with her here.

January is the NEW Spring

January is the month of new years resolutions. The sacred time of year when people are exponentially more motivated to get off their behinds and finally to put an end to the mince pies. But if your Facebook feed is anything like mine you have definitely read too many motivational fitness posts already in 2017. But truth be told motivation isn't enough. We all want abs of steel and defined deltoids but motivation alone will only see you through January before you revert to winter hibernation mode until spring. Time to end all of that. 

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”


― Jim Rohn

Some things to ask yourself:

1. What is it you want?
Better health, strength, fitness, better sleep, big biceps?

2. What has failed you in the past?
Going in too strong and burning out, lack of good information, lack of motivation, lack of support?

3. What tools do you need to get closer to your goals (biceps)?
Good information on sound exercise and nutrition, coaching and consistency. The full package!


Come and get yourself booked in for some training with me!

Alice offers sessions both in the Fix studio and outdoors.

£65 per session or £550 for a 10 pack of sessions. Hello Summer '17! 

Book in here.
 

Practitioner Spotlight: Running Coach Steve Hobbs...

Hi Steve, welcome to Team FIX!

 A little on Steve…

Steve Hobbs is a fully qualified British Athletics running coach. As an experienced runner himself, Steve knows only too well the effect that injury can have and how important it is to be proactive to prevent injury and how patient you have to be in recovery. He is a keen member of the local running community, representing Victoria Park Harriers and Tower Hamlets AC in all disciplines, from road to cross country, to track.

As part of the Fix team, Steve is able to design training programmes to help you successfully return from injury and advise on technical drills to prevent re-occurrence. Steve is also able to provide technical guidance on how to reduce the risk of injury in the first place.

Hi Steve, first of what led you to running coaching?

I previously worked in the advertising industry (and still do a bit of work in that sector) and I reached a point where I decided it wasn’t all that I wanted to do with my life. I was already a keen and improving club runner and wanted to invest my time and effort in helping others enjoy and improve their running. For me, running is not just about the immediate outcome, the PBs and the race results. It’s about finding a way to release ourselves from an increasingly stressful life, and I believe that the character traits that people require to be successful in running (in whatever you way you define that) also drive success in other parts of life and I like helping others to benefit from that.

What’s your own proudest running achievement?

I am proud of running what I think is a fast marathon, but I am most proud of how I have developed as a runner and how I have been able to maintain consistency over time. Consistency is an under-rated value in life!

Top 3 running tips for those training for a half or marathon now!

1. Be patient – play the long game. Our bodies take time to adapt to training, rushing is just a shortcut to injury.

2. Be disciplined – work out what you’re prepared to compromise on and what you’re not. For example, how many times a week do you want to run? What changes in your life do you need to make to make that happen?

3. Be courageous – there are times when it will get tough and you will doubt yourself.  That’s understandable but unhelpful.  Be clear on why you’re trying to do what you’re doing, remind yourself of that when it gets tough and be brave.

What do you enjoy other than running and Fixing?

I enjoy all sport, I was formerly a keen footballer and cricketer, but mostly I now enjoy the sport of running after two small children in East London!

More on Steve's running packages here.  Book in a "one off" running assessment and plan with him here.

 

Client of the Month : Triathlete Ben Schueller

"It all began actually when I left London at the end of 2014. I had given up playing Rugby a few years previously and by the time I was asked to move to Germany for work, I was not feeling too well. I had taken up cycling to work occasionally and had done a couple of multi-day cycling trips including a ride from London to Cologne.

In Germany I was given the not so great news that my cholesterol levels were slightly above the acceptable range. That was the kick up the backside that I needed and I started running and cycling on a more regular basis, plus began a stricter strengthening programme. Most importantly I cut out alcohol and started eating much more healthily.

While I was making progress, losing weight and getting fitter, I tried out having regular sports massage which I found helped a lot.

During the course of 2015 I developed the idea of trying out training for a triathlon. A friend of mine who motivated me and helped me train in the right way was a triathlon coach so I went to the pool and tried that too. I managed a whole couple of lanes of “freestyle”… clearly that wouldn’t take me very far.

But I caught some form of a bug. I was starting to feel better, I continued to enjoy cycling, I even started to enjoy running.

That was it, I needed to try that weird triathlon thing… So I started to get really stuck in and completed my first season of triathlon in 2016 with three sprint distance and one standard distance tri, a couple of half marathons and a few other events. And finished the year with a great cycling trip in the Patagonian lake district in Chile and Argentina.

Having moved back here to London in May last year, it became clear very quickly that I needed to continue to have sport massages and luckily, I found FIX and Lex. Having played Rugby for a good few years and not being anywhere near my 20s, I have a few niggles that keep coming up time and again. With Lex’s expert help, these niggles are kept under good control and I can look forward to a new season and new goals."

To book in for a massage with Lex click here. Or call us on 020 8986 5551.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Love Team FIX!

We just wanted to say THANK YOU to you our wonderful clients, for supporting us over what's been a fantastic 2016!

Here's our opening hours over the festive period:

24th December till 27th - closed
31st-open till 1pm
1st till 2nd - closed

Wishing you and yours a VERY Merry Christmas and a brilliant start to 2017!

Love Team
FIX

P.S. Buy a massage in December and add a 1/2 price gift certificate for a loved one for Christmas!! (expires 31.3.17)

Why Real Men Do Yoga

"I'm not flexible enough for yoga", something often said but exactly the reason you should do yoga...

10 Very Good Reasons to do Yoga:

1. Mobility
Yoga is an excellent way to increase your flexibility. In yoga muscle tissue is lengthened whilst joints are stabilised which leads to great muscular integrity and strength. 

2. Strength
Yoga incorporates static and dynamic upper and lower body movements. Many yoga poses also build core strength.

3. Body Awareness
Not so much in a spiritual sense, but more in a sense that you know where your limbs are in space. Yoga promotes better coordination and quality of movement.

4. Ease of Movement
At the foundation of yoga is the breath, by learning to better control the breath we can learn to move more easily and freely. Once we learn to move well on the mat we start to move more easily off of the mat. 

5. Recovery from Training
Yoga after an intense training session will aid in reducing muscle soreness and discomfort. Sore and painful muscles restrict mobility, yoga will help get you back to training sooner. 

6. Injury Prevention
Increased mobility, strength and body awareness can prevent injury. Keeping muscles and joints supple is a way to safeguard against injury, and assist in recovering from injury.

7. Accessible
Yoga makes one of the best travel buddies. All you need is some basic poses and a yoga mat and you can yoga everywhere. 

8. More Zen
Lets face it, in this modern day we can all use a little help with relaxation, calm and focus. 

9. Break the Stereotype
We think this is reason enough to give yoga a go. For far too long yoga has been seen as a women's only zone. Strong and flexible bodies and calmed minds are for everyone. 

10. Fix are offering Classes!
Fix are hosting exclusive men's only yoga classes in Covent Garden at the Ron Dorff men's boutique. Classes are limited to 8 blokes and can be booked online here.

You can expect to be worked, stretched and calmed all in an hour... Get yourself to yoga!

Gua Sha - What's it All About?

"Gua sha means "scraping sha-bruises" and is a traditional Chinese medical treatment in which the skin is scraped to produce light bruising. Gua sha releases unhealthy elements from injured areas and stimulates blood flow and healing."

"This description doesn't sound especially appealing, plus add to that the shocking appearance of ones back in the mirror post session and it beggars the question why try gua sha?! I heard good things all the same and so went to see Cate for a couple of sessions. Gua sha can treat all sorts of ailments including muscular pains, colds and poor circulation but I went to see Cate for issues with my breathing. I had a 'normal' level of London stress and very inhibited breathing.

I had a 45 minute session and after Cate had taken my pulses, I laid on my front whilst she did her thing. As well as gua sha I had some cupping done (more on that here). At the time of the session I felt intensely relaxed, it was a bit like an unusual and intense massage. But back out on the street, following a cup of herbal tea in reception, I began to feel benefits of the treatment that went beyond feeling calm. 

The gua sha had shown up very strongly around my ribs (Cate in fact said she had only seen such prominent 'bruising' around the rib/lung area before on asthmatics, which I'm not.) I was at the time planning for a wedding and had been on a writing deadline and so had begun shallow-breathing due to stress which had then become habitual and chronic.

After the gua sha sessions I took full whole lung, diaphragm and belly breaths for the first time in what felt like months. I knew all about breathing techniques from doing yoga and some Pilates but knowing and being able to do something naturally are so different and gua sha helped me get my healthy/normal breathing back. Of course not breathing properly had impacted negatively on my energy levels too so I also had a lot more of that once I was taking proper complete breaths again. Gua sha looks terrible but feels great, I'd absolutely recommend! (Bruises generally fade after 2-3 days.)".

 Emma Silverthorn is a FIX Team member and writer.

More on Cate and booking in with her here.

Practitioner Spotlight Physiotherapist Karin Hilfiker..

Hi Karin, welcome to Team FIX!

A little on Karin…

Karin has over 10 years experience treating musculoskeletal conditions in the private sector. Karin earned her Master Degree in Physiotherapy in 2005 and completed a certification in Functional Manual Therapy from the US-based Institute of Physical Art in 2013. She recently spent 18 months in Delhi, India treating patients and mentoring a team of Indian therapists at a centre dedicated to Functional Manual Therapy. Karin has treated a wide variety of clients from professional ballet dancers, Broadway performers, recreational weekend athletes, to the more sedentary desk worker.

Hi Karin, first of where are you from?

I grew up in Washington D.C., but since then have moved around a lot within the States as well as abroad. I spent many years in New York where I did my physio training.

What led you to physiotherapy training?

I've been dancing since I was a kid including ballet, modern dance, contact improv and latin dancing so the desire to help people move better was a natural one.

Going into physiotherapy, with its heavy science prerequisites and medical training, is the long route to this but in the end I'm happy I spent the time because I feel well prepared to handle a wide range of diagnoses and situations. The trick is to then combine this medical knowledge with a more subtle understanding of how the body moves and how impairments in one area can lead to compensations elsewhere.

While injuries can be extremely frustrating, they also provide the injured person with a unique opportunity for self-discovery. When someone commits to a process of self examination and exploration, they frequently emerge from their injury with greater self-understanding and perform better than ever.

Tell us more about your time working as a physio in Delhi?

In 2013 I completed my manual therapy certification with the U.S.-based Institute of Physical Art (IPA) which is a rigorous process that took me eight year to complete! Following certification, I was given the opportunity to join a physio clinic in Delhi, India treating patients and mentoring a team of Indian therapists in the IPA approach. It was a fantastic experience to be able to live in India and still practice much as I would at home.

Fun Fact: Karin is a salsa queen! London Salsa club recommendations please?

The best salsa clubs are friendly, unpretentious and packed with great dancers from all over the globe. London has not disappointed...the best spot so far is Tito's in London Bridge.

Karin doing salsa!

Karin doing salsa!

More on Karin and Physio here. Book in with Karin here.