This January, many of us have resolutions to get healthier and will be starting to exercise from scratch. Others are starting training programs in earnest, many for marathons in the spring, triathlons in the summer, and various competitions for the coming year. Just as you would bring your car in for a service before a long car journey, why not book in an MOT sports massage or remedial massage to start off the new year?
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 the full session will be on the table, but if we find something we feel is particularly significant we may 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
Let’s say you’re a runner, you’ve taken it a bit easy over the holidays but the London Marathon is coming up in April and you’d like to start 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 more laterally rotated than the other, indicating lateral lower leg or hip external rotator tension. 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 include 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’ll be able to can keep an eye on your running style and make sure you stretch out your ‘lead’ side. And that’s just one example of what we might find.
Of course, there is always the possibility that your stretching routine is comprehensive and your technique is excellent, and if we don’t feel any significant tension we’ll let you know. You may be surprised, however, as 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 Massage for the Office Worker
You may not realise how much sitting in one place for an extended period of time uses our muscles. They sit, frozen, holding us up for hours on end. Muscles in a shortened state become tight while stretched, overworked muscles become strained. The stiffness slowly translates into restriction, until one day our shoulder hurts putting on our coat, or turning our head produces a sharp pain in our neck. The MOT massage for the office worker is about nipping this in the bud.
We 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, 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 sitting at your desk, 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, cleaners, to name a few. Any sort of work that is repetitive, whether repetitive stillness or movement, 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 massages. As mentioned above, MOT massage can apply to many situations. If you play a different sport or have a different job and 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.
As you dust off your trainers or your boots, or prepare to return to work after a lovely winter holiday, why not come for an MOT to start the year right?