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The benefits of hydrotherapy and how it works

When warm water is applied to the body, it causes your blood vessels to dilate, increasing blood flow to that area. When cold water is applied, it causes your blood vessels to contract. Warm and cold water, used in an alternating manner, effectively acts like a pump. This is beneficial to your blood vessels, as it notifies them, making them more adaptable to both physical and emotional stressors.

Cold water also activates your sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for your body’s fight-or-flight response. Stimulating this system regularly in this minor way helps your body respond appropriately to stimuli: For example, when a minor stressor occurs in life your fight-or-flight response shouldn’t be fully activated, only a little activated. Changing water temperatures can impact healing time, energy, mood and many other aspects of your life. A number of studies have examined the effect of hydrotherapy on depression and anxiety, and the preliminary evidence suggests it can have a significantly positive effect.

Here are four simple techniques you can use at home to experience the benefits of hydrotherapy. (If you have any sensory deficits, please speak to your physician before trying them. If you begin to experience any dizziness, pain or discomfort of any kind, discontinue the therapy immediately and contact your physician.)

Contrast shower

A contrast shower can considerably improve your mood and energy through the day. It can also help you feel warmer during the day if you tend to feel cold.

Take your morning shower as you usually would, but at the end turn the temperature to as cool as you can tolerate—it doesn’t need to be ice-cold. Run the water over your legs, arms, front and back for a total of about 30 seconds and then shut the water off. Typically this technique needs to be done consistently for days or weeks before effects are noticed, because you are notifying the body’s blood vessels and, as with any exercise, that takes time; so don’t give up if you don’t feel a change immediately.

Contrast hydrotherapy

This technique can help improve circulation—cold feet, for example—and healing time for a specific area of the body, such as a sprain, bruise or muscle strain. You need a bowl of warm water and a bowl of cold water; you can either immerse the body part or use a wet washcloth. Alternatively, you can use an ice pack and a hot pad.

Apply warm water for three minutes, then apply the cold water for 30 seconds, and then repeat for a total of three cycles, ending on cold. This acts as a pump—the warmth opens up the blood vessels and pulls in the blood, and the cold closes them down, pushing it out. Contrast hydrotherapy can be repeated multiple times in a day.

Warming socks

Warming socks can help with stuffy head, flu, sinus congestion or headache. Before bed, take a pair of cotton socks and a pair of wool socks. Wet the cotton socks thoroughly, wring them out and put them on your feet. Then pull the dry pair of wool socks over them and go to bed.

When you wake up in the morning, the cotton socks will be dry. The cold, wet socks stimulate increased blood to be sent to the feet to warm them, which can improve body-wide circulation and reduce head congestion.

Warm bath

This bath is a variation on the warming socks technique, which can also help with stuffy head, sinus congestion or headache. Place your feet in warm water for 20 to 30 minutes. This improves blood flow to the feet and increases body-wide circulation.



Magnesium benefits

 Magnesium benefits

Magnesium has many benefits throughout all the body’s critical functions. From nerves to cells to muscles, magnesium is hard at work regulating and promoting proper function.

1. Helps Increase Energy

Magnesium is used to create “energy” in your body by activating adenosine triphosphate, also known as ATP. This means that without enough magnesium, you don’t have the energy you need and can suffer from fatigue more easily.

Inadequate magnesium intake also means you tire more quickly and need a higher level of oxygen during exercise. One study conducted by the ARS Community Nutrition Research Group found that when magnesium-deficient women exercised, they needed more oxygen to complete low-level activities and had a higher heart rate compared to when their magnesium levels were higher.

2. Calms Nerves and Anxiety

Magnesium is vital for GABA function, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that produces “happy hormones” like serotonin. Certain hormones regulated by magnesium are crucial for calming the brain and promoting relaxation, which is one reason why a magnesium deficiency can lead to sleeplessness or insomnia.

Magnesium deficiency caused an increase in the production of cortisolhormones in the brains of the mice, specifically by activating the para ventricular hypothalamic nucleus, a part of the brain that controls responses to stress and anxiety. 

3. Treats Insomnia and Helps You Fall Asleep

Magnesium supplements can help quiet a racing mind and make it easier to get a good night’s sleep. Our circadian rhythms shift, especially as we age because of our decreased nutrient consumption and a lower nutrient absorption, which puts many of us at risk for insomnia.

When 46 patients were either given magnesium supplements or a placebo over an eight-week period in a double-blind, randomized trial, the group taking magnesium supplements experienced a significant increase in sleep time, an easier time falling asleep, higher concentrations of melatonin (the hormone responsible for inducing sleepiness) and lower levels of cortisol, which are associated with stress.

Researchers who published the 2012 study in the Journal of Research in Medical Science concluded that magnesium supplementation is low-risk and effective for lowering insomnia symptoms; improves sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset; plus it aids in early morning awakening and lowers concentrations of cortisol. 

4. Helps with Digestion by Relieving Constipation

Magnesium helps relax muscles within the digestive tract, including the intestinal wall, which controls your ability to go to the bathroom. Because magnesium helps neutralize stomach acid and moves stool through the intestines, taking magnesium supplements is a natural way to help you go to the toilet.

When researchers from the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Tokyo studied the effects of magnesium in the diet of 3,800 women, low magnesium intakes were associated with significant increases in the prevalence of constipation

Another study found that when elderly patients experiencing constipation took magnesium supplements, they were more efficient at reducing constipation than the use of bulk-laxatives. 

Keep in mind, however, that if you experience a laxative effect when taking magnesium supplements, you may be taking too high of a dose. Taking the proper dose of magnesium should help you go to the bathroom easily on a normal schedule but shouldn’t cause discomfort or diarrhea.

5. Relieves Muscle Aches and Spasms

Magnesium has an important role in neuromuscular signals and muscle contractions. When you don’t acquire enough magnesium, your muscles can actually go into spasms. Magnesium helps muscles relax and contract and also enables you to move around. 

Additionally, magnesium balances calcium within the body, which is important because overly high doses of calcium, usually from supplements, can cause problems associated with muscle control, including controlling the heart.

While calcium is often taken in high quantities, magnesium supplements usually are not taken by most adults. This can result in the potential for intense muscle pains, cramps, contractions and weakness.

6. Regulates Levels of Calcium, Potassium and Sodium

Together with other electrolytes, magnesium regulates diverse biochemical reactions in the body. Magnesium plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes. This makes magnesium vital to nerve impulse conductions, muscle contractions and normal heart rhythms.

Magnesium, working with calcium, also contributes to the structural development of bone and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA and the antioxidant glutathione.

7. Important for Heart Health

Magnesium is very important for heart health. The highest amount of magnesium within the whole body is in the heart, specifically within the heart’s left ventricle. Magnesium works with calcium to support proper blood pressure levels and prevent hypertension.

Without a proper balance of magnesium to other minerals like calcium, a heart attack can even occur due to severe muscle spasms.

8. Prevents Migraine Headaches

Because magnesium is involved in neurotransmitter function and blood circulation, it can help control migraine headache pain by releasing pain-reducing hormones and reducing constriction, or constriction of the blood vessels that raises blood pressure. Several studies show that when sufferers of migraines supplement with magnesium, their symptoms improve. 

9. Helps Prevent Osteoporosis

Magnesium also plays a role in balancing blood concentrations of vitamin D, which is a major regulator of bone homeostasis. A higher magnesium intake correlates with increased bone mineral density in both men and women, according to several studies. Research also shows that women can help prevent or reverse osteoporosis by increasing their magnesium consumption and preventing magnesium deficiency.

Other Benefits

Other benefits of magnesium supplementation include its ability to improve insulin sensitivity and metabolic control in type 2 diabetics. In a randomized, double-blind, controlled study, diabetic “subjects who received magnesium supplementation showed significant higher serum magnesium concentration and lower HOMA-IR index, fasting glucose levels, and HbA1c than control subjects.” This led researchers to conclude that “oral supplementation with MgCl2 solution restores serum magnesium levels, improving insulin sensitivity and metabolic control in type 2 diabetic patients with decreased serum magnesium levels.” 

Magnesium Rich Foods



Sprained wrist

Sprained wrist

Wrist sprains injury to the ligaments of the wrist. Such sprains are a common occurrence when the hand is extended to break a fall. Ligaments are necessary for stabilisation of the hand and control of motion. Wrist sprains vary from moderate to severe, with the latter involving complete tearing of the ligaments and instability of the associated joint. The injury is common in athletes engaged in football, basketball, skiing, snowboarding, roller blading and a variety of other sports in which the hands are vulnerable.

 The eight carpal bones of the wrist are connected via complex ligaments – fibrous bands of connective tissue. Ligaments also connect the bones of the wrist with the radius and ulna and the metacarpal bones of the hand. The smooth coordination of these bones required for fine hand movement is impaired when one or more ligaments are injured.

Cause of injury

Engaging in sports where falls are common: in-line skating, snowboarding, cycling, soccer, football, baseball and volleyball. Lack of protective equipment, including wrist guards. Muscle weakness or atrophy.

Signs and symptoms

Pain with movement of the wrist. Burning or tingling feeling at the wrist. Bruising or discolouration of the skin.

Complications if left unattended

Moderate to severe wrist sprains left untreated can lead to ongoing deficit of movement and strength in the wrist as well as developing arthritis at the region of the injury.

Immediate treatment

RICER regimen immediately following injury. Immobilization of injured wrist to restrict movement.

Rehabilitation and prevention

Flexibility and range of motion exercises may be encouraged by a physical therapist, following initial recovery of the ligament. Should the ligament be torn completely, or if fracture accompanies the sprain, surgery may be required. Use of protective guards for wrists and concentration on balance during sport may help to avoid this injury.

Long-term prognosis

Most wrist sprains undergo full recovery given proper initial care and necessary healing time.






Lower back pain

Lower back pain

Sudden, irregular motion, repetitive stress or excessive load on the ligaments associated with the spine can cause a sprain or tearing of the ligaments. The resulting injury, which affects athletes in a broad variety of sports, produces pain and varying degrees of immobility.

Cause of injury

Lifting beyond normal capacity. Sudden torsion of the spine, including a fall during skiing or other sport. Unprepared movement involving the back.

Signs and symptoms

Pain and stiffness. Difficulty bending over and pain when straightening the back. Tenderness and inflammation.

Complications if left unattended

A sprain to the ligaments will generally force the athlete to rest the injury and allow healing time due to pain and stiffness precluding normal activity. Should activity be continued before adequate healing, further tearing of the ligaments and lasting ligament injury may result. A mild ligament sprain can become acutely painful and incapacitating if ignored.

Immediate treatment

RICER regimen immediately following injury. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Rehabilitation and prevention

In the case of mild to moderate ligament sprain, a few days rest should allow a return to most non-athletic daily activity. This should be undertaken to re-establish flexibility in the spine and avoid atrophy. Strengthening exercises for the back should not be undertaken until full recovery. Warm-ups and stretching prior to sports, good posture and attention to proper technique can help avoid this injury.

Long-term prognosis

Less than 5% of back injuries require surgery, and surgery is rarely warranted for ligament sprain, although 6-8 weeks of recovery are often required, sometimes longer, should the sprain be serious. Failure to allow complete healing will increase the risk of re-injury.

Do you have pain in your lower back?


Ever had a back massage? If you are one of the millions of back pain sufferers, you might want to consider sports & remedial massage to help relieve your pain. Here are benefits of massage.



There are many applications and benefits to Sports and Deep Tissue massage. It can be used for:

  • stripping out tight muscles
  • loosening restricted joins
  • warming up and stimulating the body before a competition
  • improving recovery between training and competition
  • restoring energy when fatigued
  • treating strained muscles and strained ligaments
  • helping to keep minor injury from becoming a more serious problem
  • breaking up adhesions
  • releasing tight connective tissues
  • improving lymphatic circulation
  • increasing blood circulation
  • reducing swelling
  • toning muscles
  • muscle balancing
  • treating postural deviations
  • relieving pain
  • deactivating trigger points
  • treating orthopaedic and arthritic conditions
  • enhancing body awareness
  • reducing stress and anxiety
  • providing psychological boost
  • helping to keep the athlete in peak condition
  • improving performance generally
  • injury prevention
  • general relaxation
  • increasing well-being








Injuries can be trivial or more serious, and they can be classified in a variety of ways. Injuries can be described as being intrinsic or extrinsic. They can also be classified according to the type of tissue that is injured. Soft, hard and special tissue injuries. They can be classified according to the type of insult inflicted upon the tissues, that is direct or indirect, such as with the direct impact of a hard tackle, or the indirect forces exerted during the overloading of a hamstring muscle in an explosive sprint. Injuries can be from one traumatic incident or as a result of overuse (repetitive stress). Injuries are usually described in relation to their stage of healing, i.e. acute, sub-acute or chronic. More simply, injuries are described as being mild, moderate or severe. Furthermore, injuries are described as being regional (i.e. pertaining to a particular body region, for example, rotator cuff tendinitis is a shoulder injury), sport-related (i.e. injuries common to a particular sport, such as knee cartilage injuries in football) and age-related (for example, Osgood-Schlatter’sndises, which is an injury problem affecting the insertion site of the patellar tendon at the tibia tuberosity in growing children, particularly boys, who play a lot of football).

Some sports and activity-related problems are perhaps not best categorised as being injuries, such as overstraining syndrome, but they are still problems none the less. These also include such conditions as cramp or stitch. 

Direct injury

These are extrinsic injuries, usually involving a forceful impact with an opponent or implement (such as a hockey stick or ball). Often produces a contusion, but haematoma, nerve damage, dislocation, sprain, strain, fracture or open wound are all possible.

Indirect injury

These are intrinsic injuries, resulting from excessive forces generated within. Commonly, it is the major muscles that span two joints, such as the hamstrings, quadriceps and gastrocnemius, that are strained during explosive activity. Ligament sprains and meniscus tears can also result from unaccustomed, ill-prepared or excessive movements.

Acute injury

This classification of injury is defined by the early onset and short duration of the particular signs and symptoms following the trauma. The injury could involve any one or more of the body’s tissues. Typically, the athlete is aware of how the injury occurred, and with acute sporting injury the common signs and symptoms can include immediate pain, tenderness, swelling, contour deformity or bleeding. An injury is normally described as being acute until the initial signs of inflammation have reduced, and the healing process has begun, which is normally after 48 to 72 hours.

Sub-acute injury

Sometimes referred to as post-acute injury, this classification is more related to the time-scale of repair, and typically, a sub-acute injury is the state of injury two to three days or a week after initial trauma. Obviously, the severity of the injury and the acute treatment provided affect the rate of healing and the quality of repair, but the sub-acute injury is where the inflammation has begun to reduce, and where there are gradual improvements in symptoms and function. The rehabilitation process begins here.

Chronic injury

These injuries usually have a gradual onset, resulting most commonly from repetitive minor insults, the cumulative effects often being the cause of a long-standing problem. Chronic problems often develop when motor injuries are poorly managed. Unfortunately, with more severe injuries, whether from one traumatic incident or from overuse, the athlete is often left with a chronic problem. Chronic problems usually demand management adaptations to normal daily activities.





Elbow fracture

An elbow fracture is a break involving any of the three arm bones that work together to form the elbow joint. Such fractures may occur as the result of a blunt force striking the elbow during athletics or from a fall onto the elbow. The injury is common to many sports, particularly contact sports such as football. Fractures may be classified as distal humeral fractures, radial fractures and ulnar fractures. Fractures of the radial head are the most common.

Cause of injury

Falling directly onto the elbow. Direct trauma to the elbow. Severe torsion of the elbow beyond its normal range of motion.

Signs and symptoms

Swelling and pain in the region of the elbow. Deformity of the elbow due to bone fracture. Loss of arm mobility.

Complications if left unattended 

Without treatment, fractured bones of the elbow can fail to heal properly, and at times fuse in misalignment. This can lead to long term deficit in range of motion and strength, increased vulnerability to re-injury and deformity of the joint.

Immediate treatment 

Apply ice immediately to the swollen area. Immobilize the arm in a splint or sling before seeking emergency help.

Rehabilitation and prevention 

Elbow fractures occur from sudden, accidental trauma and are often difficult to prevent. Avoiding athletics at periods of extreme fatigue and protection of the elbow with padding during athletics are both prudent.

Additionally, consuming calcium and performing bone strengthening exercises  may help avoid fractures.

Long-term prognosis

Long-term prospects for elbow fractures vary depending on the nature and severity of the fracture as well as the age and medical history of the injured athlete. Infections, stiffening of the elbow joint, arthritis, non-union or malfunction of bone are possible. In the case of less severe elbow fractures, full recovery may be expected, though the healing process often requires several months.



Fractured ankle

Fractured ankle

Due to the ankle’s involvement in all running and jumping activities it is very susceptible to injury. The majority of athletes have experienced at least a minor sprain  of the  ankle. Ankle fractures are less common  but are nonetheless more common than other fractures. Running or jumping on uneven or changing surfaces can lead to ankle fractures. High-impact sports such as football and rugby, where the possibility of forceful twisting of the ankle may occur, also have a high incidence of ankle fractures.

In an ankle fracture, any or all of the bones and ligaments may become involved. Ankle fractures  most commonly involve the ends of the tibia or fibula, or both, with some ligament stretching and tearing present was well.

Cause of injury

Forceful twisting or rolling of the ankle can cause the ends of the bones to fracture. Forceful impact to the medial or lateral side of the ankle while the foot is planted.

Signs and symptoms

Painful to touch. Swelling and discolouration. Inability to weight bear. Deformity may be present in the joint.

Complications if left unattended

An  ankle fracture that is left unattended can result in incorrect or incomplete healing of the bones. Continued walking or running on the injured ankle could result in further damage to the ligaments, blood vessels and nerves that pass through the joint.

Immediate treatment

Stop the activity. Immobilize the joint and apply ice. Seek medical attention.

Rehabilitation and prevention

While the ankle is immobilised it is important to keep conditioning levels up by using upper body exercises and weight training. When cleared for activity with the ankle, strengthening and stretching of the muscles of the lower leg is essential for a speedy recovery. An ankle brace may be needed for support during the initial return to activity. Stronger calf and anterior compartment muscles help support the ankle and prevent or lessen the incidence of injuries. Avoid running and jumping on uneven surfaces as much as possible.

Long-term prognosis

Although people who have fractured their ankle tend to have a slightly higher rate of re-injury, proper strengthening and rehabilitation usually lead to a full recovery. Compound fractures or fractures resulting in bony misalignment may require surgical pinning to hold the bone in place while it heals.





Meniscus tear

Tearing of the menisci can occur with forceful twisting of the knee or may accompany other injuries such as ligament strains. An ‘unhappy triad’ is when a blow to the lateral side of the knee causes tearing of the medial collateral ligament, the anterior cruciate ligament and the menisci. This is often seen in sports that require a planting of the foot to quickly change direction. The medial meniscus is injured much more frequently than the lateral meniscus, mainly due to it being more securely attached to the tibia and, therefore, less mobile.

Cause of injury

Forceful twisting of the knee joint, most commonly seen when the knee is also bent. May accompany ligament strains well.

Signs and symptoms

Pain in the knee joint. Swelling. Catching or locking in the joint.

Complications if left unattended

A menisci tear can cause premature wear on the cartilage at the ends of the bones and under the patella. This can lead to arthritic conditions and a fluid build-up in the knee joint. Loose pieces of cartilage and jagged edges of a damaged meniscus and can cause catching and locking.

Immediate treatment

RICER. Anti-inflammatory medication.

Rehabilitation and prevention

When recovering from a menisci tear it is important to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee to prevent the injury from happening again. Strong quadriceps and hamstring again. Strong quadriceps and hamstrings help support the knee and prevent the twisting that might cause a tear. The muscles should be stretched regularly  as well since tight muscles can also cause problems in the knee. After surgical repair of a meniscus tear weight bearing should be encouraged as tolerable, but as with any restart of activity should be done gradually.

Long-term prognosis

A tear to a meniscus usually requires arthroscopic surgery to repair. The surgery requires removal of the torn edges of the meniscus but leaves the main body of the meniscus intact. Therefore, most meniscus tears heal fully with no long-term limitations.






Bulging Disc

Bulging Disc

A Bulging disc is one that has extended outward beyond its normal boundary due to various forms of degeneration. Should the disc impinge on the ligaments connecting the vertebrae or on nerves of the spine, pain results. A bulging disc may also result when the nucleus populous pushes outward. Disc bulges may be asymptomatic, only appearing on a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.

Cause of injury

Age-related wear and degeneration. Stretching of ligaments connecting vertebrae. Successive strains from improper weight training.

Signs and symptoms

Back pain radiating to the legs (lumbar discs). Back pain radiating to the shoulders (cervical discs). Numbness, tingling or pain in the buttocks, back, upper or lower limb.

Complications if left unattended 

A bulging disc may not cause symptoms and may not be diagnosed without a medical scan. As a disc bulges more overtime, however, it may begin to impinge on nerves and cause pain. Sudden stress to the discs, as during abrupt movements or weightlifting, can cause rupture or herniation of the disc, a more painful condition requiring rest and rehabilitation.

Immediate treatment

Cessation of activity stressing the spinal discs. Rest and alternating ice and heat to reduce inflammation and pain.

Rehabilitation and prevention

Bulging disc often occur as a natural consequence of the ageing process, though in some cases they are a precursor to disc herniation or rupture. Bulging disc are an example of contained injury while herniated disc are considered injury while herniated discs are considered unconfined. Minimizing undue stress on the back may help avoid this injury.

Long-term prognosis

More severely bulging disc may in time rupture, causing the inner material to extrude into the spinal canal. In less severe cases, rest and ice are generally sufficient to restore pain free mobility to the athlete.

The good news is that sports & remedial massage can be very beneficial in treating bulging or herniated disc symptoms.  The type of remedial massage treatment will depend on the severity of the disc issue. In summary, the benefits of remedial massage for the treatment of herniated discs are:

  • decrease in pain and muscle spasms;
  • increased range of motion of the joints; and
  • the prevention of ongoing disc degeneration by restoring normal pelvic and spinal alignment.