LifeHappy Chats: We Talk Biomechanics & Sports Massage With Will Goodbourn

What is biomechanics? How will it help improve your game and overall wellbeing? To answer our questions, we interviewed Will Goodbourn, a Sports Massage Therapist & Biomechanist operating within the East Midlands.

What is Biomechanics?

Will: ” Biomechanics is the practice of human engineering.  It involves the study of human bodily alignment and motion, for example walking and standing posture. 

A key component of the field is the analysis of sporting techniques to improve performance efficiency and reduce the incidence of injuries.  For instance, each sport has an optimum way of how its key skills should performed (e.g. high jump technique), just like there is an optimum way of walking and running.  Therefore, there is a wide range of different walks of life where the field is useful. 

An analogy I often use to explain Biomechanics is comparing the human body to a car.  A car is made up of lots of moving parts, such as the chassis, wheels, engine, and gearbox.  The human body is the same – we have our own chassis (i.e. the skeleton), and all the things that come off this frame, e.g. muscles, tendons and ligaments, with the brain acting as the overseer.  All these things work in tandem to bring about a coordinated movement. 

However, if a car had a wonky wheel, it would not drive very well – excessive pressure would be put onto the wheel itself, as well as other areas of the car due to this misalignment.  Unfortunately, due to modern-day lifestyle habits; such as prolonged sitting and excessive mobile phone use, the quality of human posture is in decline.  This creates many muscle imbalances in the body, pulling the skeletal structure out of alignment and giving us this ‘wonky wheel’.  Chronic skeletal misalignment puts the body under increased stress, creating many challenges for our long-term postural health which may see people developing conditions such as osteoarthritis in the joints. “

Unfortunately, due to modern-day lifestyle habits; such as prolonged sitting and excessive mobile phone use, the quality of human posture is in decline.

How is Biomechanics practiced?

Will: “Many different methods can be used in order to practice Biomechanics.  Personally, I often use a combination of postural assessments, and gait analysis; which is the observation of an individual’s walking or running technique.  These highlight any imbalances that might exist between one side of the body and the other, and areas where the individual may be lacking in terms of skill development (e.g. sporting techniques).  Based on these observational findings, it is then possible to create an aftercare plan to rectify these problems.  Effective aftercare plans can involve strength and conditioning, increasing flexibility, and improving specific areas of skill development.”

How does Biomechanics tie-in to Sports Massage?

Will: “Sports Massage is a very widely practiced discipline.  It can be used to treat or prevent injuries, increase flexibility, and reduce stress, amongst other things.  Biomechanics knowledge is not a pre-requisite in order to practice in this field. 

However, I feel that only by combining the releases from the Sports Massage with Biomechanics, can a proper, thorough benefit to an individual’s long-term joint health be achieved.  For example, let’s say you suffer with lower back pain; which is a very common ailment.  You could always have a massage in order to release off the area, and it may be very effective in reducing the pain. 

However, what if there isn’t anything wrong with the back itself, and the problem is coming from elsewhere?  For instance, you may have weak abdominal muscles, which causes a misalignment around the pelvis, resulting in an overworking of, and increased pressure around, the lower back.  Therefore, by only massaging the back, you are not addressing the underlying cause of your pain, as you are simply treating the symptoms. 

In fact, I think this is a very unhealthy way to live, as the dysfunction is still there, and the longer your specific issue is present, the more chance it has of compromising your long-term joint health.  After all, there wouldn’t be too much difference between this, and taking painkillers in order to mask the discomfort!”

How did you get into Biomechanics?

Will: “I have been involved in sport for most of my life.  I started running when I was eight years old, and still do it today, along with multi-event athletics.  When I became a bit older (into my teenage years), I started wanting to take the sport a lot more seriously and become more competitive.  However, whenever I tried to increase my training load, I would always break down part-way through each season with injury and have to miss a lot of training and competitions as a result.  This also became worse over time.  This of course was very frustrating and upsetting for me, especially as I visited countless experts who couldn’t really offer a proper explanation of why it was happening, or a proper solution. 

It did spark an interest though, as this inspired me to learn more about injuries, why they kept on happening to me, and to help others to avoid the torment of not being able to do the thing they love doing.  Therefore, I studied a degree in Sport and Exercise Science at Loughborough University, and this was where I started to become interested in the Biomechanics, due to my fascination of how the body works, and the potential of the field to treat and prevent injuries.  

Upon graduating, I then completed a Biomechanics-related masters degree, and at the same time, studied for my Sports Massage Diploma.  While at the time of writing, I am not completely injury-free, I feel I have made significant improvements, and since starting my own business in 2017, I am happy that I am starting to make a positive change to other people’s lives.”

What sort of clients do you see?

Will: “Since starting my business, I have seen clients from many different backgrounds across a wide age range.  As you can imagine, most of my clientele have a sporting background.  So far, I have treated athletes from sports such as: running, cycling, triathlon, multi-event athletics, football, horse riding, martial arts and bodybuilding.  While it is not possible to be an expert in every sport, I do feel that my background in running offers me a distinct advantage.  After all, even if you are not a runner, then the chances are that if you are involved in a sport, then you participate in running in some capacity.  For example, a footballer will spend a lot of time running around a pitch.  Many athletes from other sports also likely run in order to work on general fitness also.  Therefore, these athletes will need to run efficiently to reduce the likelihood of getting an injury.  Hence, I always consider running to be the foundation of nearly any sport. 

The standard of participation has also varied from absolute beginner, to international standard.  However, this does not mean that you need to be an athlete in order to benefit from Biomechanics or Sports Massage, as I also see many people who do not do any sport at all.  After all, you don’t need to be an athlete to suffer from aches and pains!  This may include people who have a physically demanding job, or suffer pain when carrying out everyday tasks.  Therefore, whatever goal you have, Biomechanics can help!”

Will Goodbourn
Sports Massage Therapist & Biomechanist

To find out more about Will Goodbourn BSc MA Dip, Sports Massage Therapist & Biomechanist, visit his website or Facebook page or get in touch with Will via email at willgoodbourn95@gmail.com or by phone at 07715 418013.

LifeHappy Chats: An Interview With an Acupuncturist

Interested in having acupuncture or want to find out a little bit more about it? We interviewed Catherine Musgrove, Registered Acupuncturist TCM at Hyde-Barker Podiatry, based in Newark, to answer your questions on this amazing complementary therapy.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Catherine: “I am a fully qualified acupuncturist having studied traditional Chinese acupuncture for three years at the University of Lincoln. I am a member of the British Acupuncture Council, a governing body that ensures a strict and high standard of practice and conduct. Prior to my acupuncture training, I have worked as a holistic therapist in reflexology and aromatherapy massage, gaining invaluable experience in this field. I am committed to providing the highest quality personal acupuncture treatment, and my aim is to improve quality of health and life through the application of traditional Chinese acupuncture.”

What is acupuncture?

Catherine: “Acupuncture is a tried and tested system of complementary medicine. The Chinese and other Eastern cultures have been using acupuncture to restore, promote and maintain good health for thousands of years.”

How does acupuncture work?

Catherine: “Traditional acupuncture works to maintain the body’s equilibrium by focusing on all aspects of wellbeing: physical, mental and emotional. Through the insertion of extra-fine needles at chosen points along the channels of energy, the aim of acupuncture is to stimulate the body’s own healing response and restore its natural balance.”

Who should think about having acupuncture?

Catherine: “Many people come to acupuncture for help with specific symptoms or conditions, and some because they generally feel unwell. Others choose acupuncture to enhance their feeling of wellbeing. Acupuncture is considered suitable for all ages, and can be used alongside conventional medicine.I see a wide variety of patients, with a range of different conditions and symptoms.”

Can someone have acupuncture if they are on medication?

Catherine: “If you have been prescribed medication it makes sense to tell your doctor that you are planning to have acupuncture. I ask my clients to let me know about any medication they are taking as this may affect their response to the acupuncture treatment.”

How long is a session and how regular are acupuncture treatments?

Catherine: “Frequency and length of treatment depends on your individual condition. Some change is usually felt after five treatments, although occasionally only one or two treatments are required. Some patients may need treatment over several months or long-term.”

How does acupuncture make you feel?

Catherine: “After treatment, patients are left with a feeling of relaxation and a sense of wellbeing. One can also feel quite tired too, and are advised to go home and rest, drink plenty of water and avoid strenuous activities.”

Catherine Musgrove, Registered Acupuncturist TCM

To find out more about Catherine Musgrove, Registered Acupuncturist TCM at Hyde-Barker Podiatry, visit the Hyde-Barker website or get in touch with Catherine via email.

The Benefits of Weighted Blankets for a Good Night’s Sleep

These amazing blankets provide you with the sensation of being hugged or embraced through deep touch pressure, increasing serotonin (happy hormone), oxytocin (hug hormone) and melatonin (sleep hormone) levels in your body as well as reducing the stress hormone, cortisol.

For a lot of us in today’s society, getting a good night’s sleep can seem like a distant, dreamy reality. Whether you are affected from stress or mental health issues, or you suffer from a chronic condition with ongoing symptoms that disturb your slumber, a weighted blanket could offer some significant benefits in aiding you on your journey into tranquillity each night.

What is a weighted blanket?

Put in simple terms, a weighted blanket… is a blanket that’s weighted! Typically, they are filled with glass beads, plastic pellets, rice or millet to provide this additional weight.

These amazing blankets provide you with the sensation of being hugged or embraced through deep touch pressure, increasing serotonin (happy hormone), oxytocin (hug hormone) and melatonin (sleep hormone) levels in your body as well as reducing the stress hormone, cortisol. The result is a euphoric feeling of relaxation for your body and nervous system, enabling a delightfully peaceful night’s sleep or even a calming sensation when you’re sitting comfortably on the sofa.

What health conditions can weighted blankets help with?

Whilst weighted blankets can significantly help with insomnia as an isolated symptom or condition, they have also demonstrated benefits with a range of different health conditions.

Weighted blankets can be of great help to children and adults with sensory processing disorders such as autism and ADHD. The release of all these wonderful hormones can help a child to feel calmer, and individuals with autism also tend to have low melatonin levels, which weighted blankets can help to alleviate. This helps to encourage a more regular sleep schedule, and are even useful in situations such as car journeys, reading time or transitioning from one activity to another to reduce anxiety. Textured and patterned weighted blankets make for great sensory inputs too!

Individuals with debilitating chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia can also benefit from weighted blankets, as these individuals tend to have lower serotonin levels. With higher serotonin levels, fibromyalgia suffers may experience less fatigue and improved energy levels. Weighted blankets are also said to be great for those with Restless Leg Syndrome, as the deep pressure can be a wonderfully satisfying release from symptoms during bedtime.

For those with mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder, PTSD and OCD, weighted blankets have demonstrated a true benefit in reducing intrusive thoughts and encouraging a sense of relaxation and tranquillity – just what you want for a good night’s sleep!

What weight blanket do I need?

The classic rule of thumb is to order a size that’s approximately 10% of your bodyweight, and no more. So if you’re 80kg, try an 8kg blanket – and this rule works for children and older adults too. However, if you’re finding your blanket to be a little too intense, going lighter is better. However, based on relevant studies on weighted blankets, this may not have the same benefits as a blanket 10% of your bodyweight.

If you fall between standard blanket weights and are unsure whether to go down or up in weight, experts recommend going for the heavier option. However, make sure you base this opinion on your own personal requirements. If you, or the person you think would benefit from a weighted blanket, have a frailer frame, it’s suggested to select the lighter option.

What size blanket do I need?

This decision is based mainly on your own personal preferences. Consider both the size of your bed and the height – you want to feel covered and comfortable, but your bedfellow may not want to use the blanket too. As such, you could either get a blanket the same size or slightly larger than you, or a blanket that matches the size of your standard duvet or bed size.

Which weighted blankets do we recommend?

We’ve listed our favourites below:

Our all-time favourite, this super-cuddly weighted blanket from Auria Naturals come with a free washable plush cover to save you just that little bit extra versus most weighted blankets which don’t include a cover. Offered in two weight points of 4.5kg and 6.8kg. Even better, this lovely weighted blanket comes with a free 100 day risk-free trial, with all returned blankets donated to charity.

This premium weighted blanket from Senso-Rex comes in Grey and Dark Grey and is manufactured from 100% cotton. Measuring 150x200cm and offered in weight options of 4kg, 6kg, 8kg, 10kg, and 12kg, this blanket is filled with tiny glass micro-balls, and is totally hypoallergenic. Also available in a range of different patterns and sizes including a funky blue anchor print, gorgeous light grey star print and pink unicorn print!

Please note, weighted blankets are not indicated for safe use with babies or toddlers, and children must be able to easily handle, carry and move out from the weighted blanket for safety purposes.

Best Electric Toothbrushes for a Healthy Smile

For years, you will have seen or heard countless adverts promoting the use of electric toothbrushes. The science behind this is relatively simple, in that a significant amount of people don’t brush properly and/or for long enough with a manual toothbrush. In comparison, an electric toothbrush does most of the hard work in a fraction of the time. On this basis, an electric toothbrush promotes better oral health.

Interestingly, good oral health directly impacts other areas of the body, most importantly it reduces our chances of heart disease. However, the price leap between a manual and an electric toothbrush is considerable. As such, we’ve prepared a list of the top toothbrushes available, so you’re not making this investment more than once.

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean

One of the pricier additions to our list, but well worth the money. With smart sensors and its own customer app to show your progress, accompanied by 5 cleaning modes and a notably stylish look, you can’t go far wrong with this electric toothbrush.

Oral-B Pro 2 2000

No doubt if you’ve done your research you will have encountered many value offerings that make you question not only why some are so expensive, but indeed which is the best value. If you’re looking to avoid a hefty outlay, the Oral-B Pro 2 2000 does the job handsomely, a simple but effective electric toothbrush without the bells and whistles.

Foreo Issa 2

This funky design will certainly catch your eye. On closer inspection of the reviews it will do much more than that. With an all-silicone build, it’s more soft in your mouth, and has an interesting perk of drying significantly faster than its counterparts leading to much less bacteria. If you aren’t looking for fancy apps or modes, but are prepared to pay for a bit more than for a value electric toothbrush, then this is for you.

Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100

Whats the difference between DiamondClean and ProtectiveClean? I’m about to tell you! The market leader for quality, this electric toothbrush not only has different modes, but different intensities for those more sensitive or tougher gums. Philips also boast not just cleaner, but whiter teeth within one week. As before with the previous Philips electric toothbrush, your budget will need to be a tad higher than for its competitors.

Oral-B Genius 9000

An impressive electric toothbrush. Long battery life, several modes, comfortable, options on brush heads and much more. Whilst the app leaves much to be desired, the quality of the toothbrush stands on its own.

It can be frustrating seeing reviews for 5 star related products and then seeing the price is well outside your budget. However it’s easier than ever to compare pricing, and more often than not sites such as Amazon will discount them by more than half, so it’s certainly worth checking them out.

The 5 Best Protein Bars After a Hefty Workout

For many years now, supplements such as protein bars have been available to streamline your progress, and for the most part this is true. Companies have created a plethora of tasty, healthy and convenient snacks allowing you to improve whilst leaving you with more of the most precious commodity – time.

Exercise and a healthy diet go in hand-in-hand, whether you’re looking for that summer bod or making small changes to improve quality of life.

For many years now, supplements such as protein bars have been available to streamline your progress, and for the most part this is true. Companies have created a plethora of tasty, healthy and convenient snacks allowing you to improve whilst leaving you with more of the most precious commodity – time.

But who should you trust with your hard earned cash? Which protein bars will push you to greatness, and which are simply expensive sugar canes? We’ve broken down the 5 best protein bars to chomp down on after those hefty workouts.

1 – Grenade Carb Killa Go Nuts

Vegan friendly, gluten free and containing no artificial additives, the Go Nuts bar from Grenade covers all bases. 10g of protein is smaller than we normally see from Grenade, however with only 2g sugar and 178 calories in total, we’re sure your body will thank you for this choice.

2 – PhD Protein Flapjacks Peanut Butter

The PhD Flapjack range is quite simply delicious – especially the peanut butter bar. 19g protein in a 75g flapjack make this offering more specific to those serious about building muscle and cutting down on carb and fat intake. Whilst arguably being a little too moreish and higher in calories than other bars, this vegetarian-friendly bar will fit in well with your nutritional plan.

3 – Maximuscle Promax Lean Cookies and Cream

For those of you with a sweet tooth to satisfy, this bar is for you. Maximuscle Promax Lean bars feel more of a treat than many of its competitors, however this comes at a price for its relatively high e-number count. At 55g per bar with 20g protein, it suits well as a mid-way house for regular trainers looking to minimise sugar intake.

4 – Amfit Nutrition Chocolate Caramel

Amazon’s value offering might surprise you as a sought-after option. The Amfit product range competes well in protein amount (19g), bar size (60g) and sugar content (2g). However many reviewers mention its high fibre content and how it affects them post-workout, so these must be taken with some small caution.

5 – Trek Protein Flapjacks Cocoa Oat

For the most organic and healthy choice, Trek have a truly “free from” protein bar to settle your cravings. A much higher sugar content of 28g per 100g bar may swerve your attention, however for long distance runners and the like this little treat may come in handy.

Before buying any nutritional supplement, you must first choose your goals: Am I looking to bulk? Am I trying to improve endurance? Lose weight? Whatever you decide, your diet and protein bar choice must align with your target. For more help on your fitness plan, take a look at The Fitness Mindset by Brian Keane.