We originally introduced this to our clinic in January 2013. Below is an amended version of the original post.
What Is an MOT Massage?
An MOT massage is an hour or 90-minute session to check the general state of the muscles you’ll be using while you’re training or that you use day-to-day. While with other sessions we may focus solely on one specific problem (i.e. right shoulder pain), in an MOT session we try to cover as much as possible to give you a full picture of where your muscles are tight and overworked and/or of any imbalances in muscle tone or tension. Armed with this information, you can adjust your stretching routine or check your technique to help you improve and hopefully prevent injury.
Each session starts with a postural assessment and a review of what you’re training for, or what you’re planning to do, so we know which muscles to look at. During the session you’ll get a running commentary on what’s tight, what’s loose, where there’s a difference on one side to the other, and the possible implications. Generally most of the session will be on the table, but if we find something we feel is particularly significant we will leave some time at the end for a specific stretch or exercise. You don’t need to be an athlete for an MOT – it can be useful for occupational tension as well. To give you a better idea, here are a couple possible examples, one for a runner and one for an office worker:
Sample MOT Session for a Runner (aka Sports-Related MOT)
Let’s say you’re a runner. You’ve taken it a bit easy recently but you’ll be starting to train for an event and increasing your mileage. We start the session checking your posture – your hips may be forward of your ankles, indicating hamstring tension. Or perhaps one of your feet is turned out, indicating tension in the side of the lower leg or muscles in your hip. We’ll talk to you to get an idea of your training program, including any non-running activities you do.
Once you’re on the table, we’ll cover the basics: quads, hams, calves, ITB’s, achilles, glutes. Some runners get lower back pain or neck and shoulder pain while they run, so if that’s you we’ll try to check that as well. What might we find? Well, did you know most runners don’t use their legs equally? It’s not uncommon to find one leg is generally tighter than the other, which can eventually lead to fatigue, soreness, or even injury on that side. If we find this is the case for you, we’ll let you know and you can keep an eye on your running style and make sure you stretch out your ‘lead’ side. And that’s just one example.
Of course, there is always the possibility that your stretching and conditioning routines are comprehensive and your technique is excellent. If we don’t feel any significant tension we’ll let you know. You may be surprised, however – there have been a number of runners (and triathletes, and cyclists, and footballers, and badminton players, and cricket bowlers) who came in just because they heard sports massage was good generally, and walked out feeling lighter, looser, and reporting better results with less effort at subsequent training sessions.
Sample MOT for the Office Worker (aka Occupational MOT)
You may not realise how much sitting in one place for an extended period of time can fatigue/tighten up your muscles. They sit, frozen, holding you up for hours on end, usually not in an optimal position. Muscles in a shortened state become tight, while stretched, overworked muscles become strained. The stiffness slowly translates into restriction, until one day your shoulder hurts putting on your shirt, or turning your head produces a sharp pain in your neck. The MOT session for the office worker is about nipping this in the bud.
We again start with a postural analysis – people who spend a long time at a desk often develop a semi-permanent hunch, with shoulders rounded forward and head slightly in front of shoulders. We also get an understanding of your regular day-to-day activities, even if that is just 10 hours at a desk. Usually office workers need focus on the upper body and back, so an MOT session for you would include tops and backs of shoulders, upper and lower back, chest (as in, pectorals), neck and base of the head. We also like to check for tight forearms and stiff hands/wrists (RSI anyone?). Again, we will tell you as we go, what’s tighter, what’s looser, and how things compare from one side to the other. Hopefully after your MOT you’ll have a better understanding of what your muscles are doing while you’re stationery and a few simple fixes to make it easier to ward off later problems.
In addition to office workers, we’ve found ‘occupational’ MOT’s can be helpful to teachers, those in the construction industry, students, jewellers, and cleaners, to name a few. Any sort of work that is repetitive, or requires holding yourself in one position for a prolonged period of time, can cause an imbalance in the muscles, which is where the occupational MOT massage comes in.
Other MOT Massages
These are just two examples of MOT sessions. An MOT can be useful for anyone who wants to see how their muscles are doing. You can have an MOT every once in a while to check in, or you can make it a regular thing and turn it into a maintenance massage. If you would like more information about an MOT massage for yourself we are happy to provide information specific to you. Just get in touch using your preferred contact method and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
Prices/How to Book an MOT
The prices for an hour or 90-min MOT is as per our 60/90 minutes SRMT sessions, which you can find on our fees page here. To book an MOT, you can call our booking line Mon-Fri 8-6 on 020 8185 7364 and request a 60 or 90 minute MOT, or book a 60 or 90 minute session online and add the note ‘MOT’ when booking.