Friday, November 30, 2012

Kinesio Tape

On Tuesday I drove through rain and heavy traffic to attend a one-day workshop on k-tape applications. We covered about 17 different applications from achilles and plantar fasciitis to shoulders and lateral epicondylitis. Lots to take in, as is typical I guess of these things, and it was really about seeing the range of applications and getting the opportunity to try them out rather than trying to commit them all to memory.

The basic principle was to either preload the target muscle or tissue and then apply the tape with little or no stretch, or to stretch the tape. The tape can be stretched to between 0 and 100% of its capacity and the trick is to make sure the end is anchored before you stretch other wise it peels straight off! 

There are lots of videos on Youtube and elsewhere showing different applications and I guess you can get quite a long way just watching them, but there's really no substitute for working with an experienced practitioner.

So, all I need now are a few guinea pigs with issues that might benefit from taping to see if it works. 

My one-day course was run by John Gibbons and you can find details of future courses on his website.

My thoughts on the press and regulation

I am not a journalist, just to make it clear that I am not writing as someone with a vested interest in the "Where next?" debate about press regulation, but I am concerned. I find myself caught between questions about privacy and wondering how far we should go down a road that could make it easier for stories that should be told to suppressed.

Without trying to stir up some sort of hornets nest, recent revelations and allegations about abuse by high profile political and other figures highlights the issues. Some stories were made up and should never have been told, others were true and were not told. Or go back a few years to the infamous Iraq dossier scandal. How would any proposed regulation have affected that story? Would we have found out about the inaccuracies and inconsistencies? MP's expenses, drug taking in sport, corruption and cover ups by multinational companies, are just a few examples of stories that need to be told. On the other hand, I'm not sure that I need to know about the sordid affairs of so-called celebrities.

What bothers me about statutory regulation is the thought that powerful people will find a way to manipulate it to their benefit, and those editors and journalists who break the law to get a story, any story, surely won't be overly worried about another layer of regulation.

Maybe, more than regulation, we need to find a way to stop feeding the animal of curiosity and gossip that has dragged both our press and our society towards the gutter. Perhaps we have the press we've created.

There are always going to be times when someone's privacy has to be invaded (I use that term cautiously) in order for the truth to be discovered and revealed. The choice is about what truth is in the public interest and how best do we protect both the rights of the individual to privacy and the rights of good journalism to investigate. Not easy.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Towards the future

I've been thinking about names for my business as I get closer to completing my course. without presuming success, I came up with In2Motion as a name and with the help of my daughter have designed the following logo for the job:

It's going to be tough to try and grow a business having never done it before. Hopefully I can quickly establish a reputation for doing a good job as a therapist and trainer. It's really easy to think negatively about one's skills and to focus on what you don't know. But I was watching a programme the other day about a particular sporting figure who had experienced  lot of success and a few failures along the way.

Someone observed about this person that they always seemed to take whatever happened to them and turn it into something that made them better at what they did. Instead of thinking about how bad they were at something, they though about how it could help them become better.

As we've been learning our therapy skills I've had many days when I've thought about how bad a therapist I am and am likely to be. I've thought about how little I know and how much I need to know, about what I've learned and what I've forgotten. But maybe I need to change tack and simply ask how to become a better therapist. Think about how to use my lack of knowledge as a spur to improve learning and my forgetfulness as a drive to improve my retention and recall.

I don't know how to do this, at least not yet. But I do think that forwards is better than backwards or stationary! Maybe you need a new mindset too. Perhaps it's better to have failed at a lot of things rather than never having ventured far from your comfort zone.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Foam Roller!

I've heard one or two people mention using a foam roller so I thought I'd give it a try. You can do all sorts of exercises using a roller, but most people use them for self-massage particularly if they have what they perceive to be a tight ITB (Iiliotibial band).

For those who don't know, your ITB runs from your hip to your knee down the outside of you thigh. It's a band of connective tissue that contrary to popular belief doesn't stretch. What it does seem to do is get stuck to the muscles and other soft tissue around it. If you get pain in the outside of your knee when you run, then you might have an issue with your ITB.

Anyway, I got hold of a roller and tried it out earlier this week. Lying over the roller with my outer thigh on the roller I began to roll up and down along the length of of my thigh. Some areas were rather painful, and if you're not ready for it, it can be really painful. Moving slowly and carefully is the key to using a roller effectively. Knowing something about massage and anatomy probably helps to understand what you are doing and what it should feel like. You can reduce the pressure by controlling the amount of body-weight that goes through the roller, but it's not easy. Rollers come is different densities, so if you find the one you first try too hard, a less dense model might be better.

I experimented with accessing the side, front, and back of my thigh, and it worked quite well. I also had a go at my notoriously tight peroneals (outside of the calf).

The jury is still out on the effectiveness of the foam roller for self-massage, I've only had a couple of goes with it, but it may prove to be a useful tool to have to hand. There are lots of ways you can use the roller for exercise too, so it's not just a instrument of self administered pain!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Daily prayers & daily exercises!

None of us need reminding about the importance of either daily connection with God or daily exercise. okay, so for some the former is not important, but for those of us who share a faith perspective, prayer is a vital element in our daily lives. So how come we struggle with both?

Time, discipline and motivation are probably the three mot common factors for our reason for not doing wither thing well. And they are interrelated. without the discipline we don't find the time, without the motivation we don't choose the discipline and we don't make the time, with the time we lose our motivation. So what can we do?

Probably the best first step in either area, prayer or exercise, is to stop beating ourselves up about why we don't do and start getting disciplined about what we can do. I have days when I lie in bed looking at the clock that ticks away on the wall opposite me trying to work out how much time I have before I need to get up. If I apply a bit if discipline, I just get up and get started. If there's time left over after I've done whatever I plan to do, then that's great. But I'd rather that than waste the time before I start. It doesn't always work, but it's what I aim to do.

The other key factor is to have a plan. Getting up and not knowing what your exercise plan is can be just as big a time waster as staying in bed. So get a plan. The same goes for prayer. Have a plan. Not too complicated, just a simple plan. How about praying for specific things on specific days or following a simple rule like the ACTS pattern. Keep it fresh by experimenting.

The same goes for exercise. If you're going to get any benefit from regular exercise, then it needs to be varied and changed from time to time. And keeping pushing, and keep getting back on the wagon when you fall off.

Write your plan down. Don't try to hold your plan in your head. You can't, unless it's the only thing you do and you have perfect recall of every detail. I have a card with a series of exercises written on it. it acts as a prompt. The same goes for prayer.

And if you really struggle with motivation and discipline, then seek out a fellow traveller. I wish I had an exercise partner as well as a prayer partner. I know I'd be more disciplined if I had one.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

A Living Wage?

Yesterday's discussions in the media about the concept of a living wage produced the usual crop of well-worn free-marketeer commentaries about where the money will come from to pay for such an outrageous suggestion. We heard the usual observations about taxes, profits and prices, but no one seemed ready to suggest that maybe executive pay or reducing the income of high earners was a possible source. Surprise, surprise.

A report this morning on the news suggests that senior executives have seen an average 27% increase in their remunerate packages this last year. How many more people could a company employ if the rate of pay for the the CEO was more realistically related to the average across the company. There are of course some exception where CEO's don't take large salaries, but they are rare.

Perhaps it is time we said enough is often more than enough for the few and the many deserve better. If it's possible to calculate a living wage, then why would any employer not want to pay it? Can profit ever outweigh equity and fairness towards both employees and clients?