Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Mel Collie | No Pain No Gain

Mel Collie | No Pain No Gain

If you are of a certain age and go to the gym, you will have heard the “no pain no gain” phrase..and believed it. However, the more I practice as a therapist and Pilates teacher, the more pain I see as a result of too much gain.

That means that the lie the fitness industry has fed you for years that you have to feel pain, push harder and do more reps to get results is the norm…

In my therapy clinic I often see inhibited core muscles. This means they arent working as you think they should be, this means that something else has to work harder to stabilise, like the neck (neck pain doing core exercises anyone?) or the diaphragm when the breath is held.

Try this. Lie on your back. Lift the legs and arms like in the picture below. Move the opposite arm and leg away from each other, now bring them back, then change sides. Note how many reps you can do with the following:

A relaxed jaw-  so you arent clenching your teeth.

Shoulders down your back so you aren’t using your shoulders

Glutes relaxed so you aren’t clenching

Breathing fully as you move so you aren’t holding your breath

Tip – place a folded towel under your lower ribs, ask someone to hold one end and to pull it as you work, that towel should not move…

Note when your body has to move into a “cheat”

Regress to progress, if you want less pain in your neck, back, hip, shoulder, stop using them as compensation patterns and start to do the exercise correctly with the correct muscles.

If this means you may only do one rep in the beginning, whats the point in doing one right and 3 – 5 wrong? do you think that will make you stronger? It only strengthens the compensation patterns.

 

  1. If you have pain, stop going to a general class in a gym with 30 people in it and a teacher that doesn’t correct or spend time with you. If the pain is persisting, you need to get assessed and see what your compensations are. You may just be surprised that your core isn’t as strong as you thought.
  2. Years ago I attended a Pilates class for 2 years in a gym, that sometimes had 30 people in it. I thought I was at an intermediate level, I went twice a week and I attended other fitness classes..every day, sometimes twice a day. When I trained to be a Pilates teacher, I was upset to learn that I was back at beginner level because I knew nothing. I had no stability in the easiest of moves. I had to start over. Weak glutes. Weak Core. Tight neck. Tight shoulders.
  3. Speed hides need. If you are speeding through an exercise with no attention to form, you are compensating. Your speed hides your compensation. Slow down, Take it ultra slow, its really hard ..and thats where the magic happens.
  4. Listen to your body. What does that even mean? well, if your hips are tight, they could be compressing for stability because you have none from your core. Same goes for your lower back and shoulders.
  5. Final top tip – core exercises –  If your head is tilted back and your ribs are lifted , even if your toes are scrunched up- you aren’t doing core work – you are doing future pain work, compensation work. Re check your compensation patterns by building your awareness.

Mel

Pilates & NKT therapist.

Mel Collie | How can you improve your arm movement in Pilates?

Mel Collie | How can you improve your arm movement in Pilates?

In this mornings class we practiced arm stick ups – so named as it looks like you have a person holding a gun at you and been told to stick your arms up..

 

Elbows bent at 90 degrees. back of hands as close to the floor as you can get without cheating..so no lifting of the ribs ( we did this on the floor with knees bent) and no lifting of the chin so you arent looking behind you, the eyes are looking up or slightly towards your knees.
So if you tap at a keyboard or have a job that tightens up the front of the body as you sit, the pec minor gets tight.


Its tight in many shoulders, however, that doesn’t mean it should be released, it may be tight, and weak, of course I’m going to recommend that you  best get it checked by someone who knows muscle testing.

So both clients had restricted movement in both arms, but more on the right side.
I had a lightbulb moment – and if you have read my FB post today about me thinking it was Thursday, (its not…its Wednesday..) ..I’m amazed this happened in class today…doh!
Wednesday morning class is only meant for a maximum of 3 people, as are most of my sessions, but Wednesdays has a deeper focus on rehab aso I include more NKT (neurokinetic therapy)corrections

I was able to test and release both right sided pec minors in both clients at the same time , as we had only 2 clients today in class, whilst they were doing the stick ups with both arms.
Over the space of about 5 – 8 reps of the stick up, the arm gradually “let go” and moved back further, allowing more space in the shoulder joint, so movement was improved. This is fast because the brain was happy it had enough stability to allow this to happen. If its not happy, it wont allow it.
Amazing stuff , but just identifying a relationship between a tight front muscle and a weaker rear shoulder muscle, which could have been a mid or lower trap or a rotator cuff, who knows what it was or what it was called, it worked and thats all that matters.
Homework – of course, as self care is vital to maintain results – release the pec minor with gentle slow massage with your fingers for about 30 seconds, ( I did the right side as its common that its this side..do the other side if its tighter on you) follow it with stick ups – 3 – 5 reps, depends on how many you can do before you begin to compensate.

Most of us are unaware of our compensations, as we are so used to them. So attending an exercise corrective class or seeing a physio/chiro/NKT professional (for example..) can help you understand where our brain is picking up the slack.

Mel

www.melcollie.com

Level III Pilates Instructor

Level II NKT therapist

 

Mel Collie | Feet and Knees

Mel Collie | Feet and Knees

Gait

Feet and knees – very important joints in your body, yet two that are neglected until they are painful. The feet have 33 joints in each, thats a lot in one little foot. ..each foot has 26 bones…how much time to you spend on your feet?

If the big toe isn’t landing when you walk, the rest of the leg wont be working too well, leading to other compensations up the body, in the hip, back, shoulder and neck.

We overlook the foot because we have been told the sight of pain is the problem when in truth, the sight of pain is telling you there is a problem , its working too hard, you need to look elsewhere for the issue.

Take a look at your shoes, where do they wear out the most> On the inside edge? Outside edge?

Take the shoes off and stand up, close your eyes, where do you feel you place the most of your weight, where do you feel you are touching the floor more, front foot? back foot? right toe? left mid foot?

These are all clues to help you understand where your body compensates as you stand, walk, run.

When the knee hurts I look at the foot.

When the hip hurts I look at the foot.

I check the ankles movement, does it know how to pronate and supinate?

Usually its doing one more then the other, this will affect the knee and hip joint, all the way up into the neck.

You are amazing.

Your brain is an amazing thing, it knows how to move and how to compensate, even if it brings you pain, it doesn’t care, all it wants to do is survive.

Look at your feet, understand them more, or get assessed and walk pain free using the whole of your foot.

Mel Collie

www.melcollie.com

 

Mel Collie |Bunions

Bunion - BeforeMel Collie | Bunions

 

Bunions, or Hallus Valgus to you and me though..! Hallux means big toe , its often believed to be the case for Bunions that the big toe moves laterally when pressure applied from the side, so when ill fitting shoes are worn or shoes are worn too early from childhood.

Anyway, many of you have them..and many of you don’t like them, they change the shape of the shoes you are wearing, shoes don’t fit properly and you don’t really want an operation because it doesn’t change the foot mechanics, just removes the callous/bunion, and so they will come back if you foot mechanics don’t change. There photos are of my mums bunions, she had both of them operated on about 20 years ago now, they both came back, because her gait wasn’t assessed , she continued to walk the same way, she pronates, those bunions re appeared…thats normal, the brain just doing what its used to doing, an operation may not change that unless to show it a different way.

So, I used NKT on my mums foot

Two half hour sessions over the space of 3 days

An here was the result, a straighter big toe, which will help her use the inside line of that led more when she walks , which helps the glutes work better to help the hip extend as she walks, which helps the rotation of the ribs and the shoulders move well, which helps reduce tightness in the shoulder and neck. All of that in just 2 sessions, goes to show what can be achieved in 4 sessions, which we didn’t have time for as she was here on her holidays…time went by too fast!

 

Bunion - after

Assessments for your gait and bunion treatment can be booked here by emailing me:

melcollie@gmail.com

Call 07800 797300

4 x 30 minute bunion specific treatment sessions – £120

(course must be taken over the space of 4 weeks and from my home clinic in Portreath, North Cornwall)

Includes posture assessment and videos to follow on home treatment for continued success.

Call now to book your feet in and start correcting your gait patterning and foot function.

Mel Collie

www.melcollie.com

Mel Collie | How to get rid of shin splints

Mel Collie | How to get rid of shin splints

 

My client has shin splints..if you’ve ever had these you will know that they are very painful, but why do you get them?

Maybe through sport like running or climbing, or even walking fast uphill, or wearing new trainers, theres quite a few different reasons, however, what can you do about it?

Using Neuro Kinetic therapy protocols, it makes common sense to look for the cause, otherwise you just keep on placing a plaster on the issue and it just keeps on returning, so thats why we test whats going on, however, shin splints can usually be treated this way:

 

Massage the tender area on your shins, usually its the Tibialis Anterior, so gently press around the area until you find that tender spot, and massage it for a minute. tibialis-anterior,

 

Check your feet out whilst you do this, as you may find that your foot tends to be supinated…have a look at your shoes… see if you wear your shoes out more on the outer edge than the inner. This also contributes to shin splints.

Then strengthen the side of your leg, the TFL . Lie on your side, lift the leg to the height of your waist, and bring it forward 30 degrees, then slowly lift and lower the leg 3 – 5 times, rest, repeat a couple more times, ensuring good alignment throughout. tfl

 

Above all, if you can, find an NKT therapist to assess you to see if your issue is the above, as this was the issue for my client, and has now been pain free for a while now after having shin splints for years.

Mel

www.melcollie.com

Assessments from my home clinic in Portreath, North Cornwall.

Email: melcollie@gmail.com

Tel: 07800 797300

First assessments 90 minutes £49