The Body Personified December

Happy Holidays to you and you and you and you …

crave-du-jour ‘Tis the tide of cheer, feasting, of folly and dancing …

And then my dear, the time of resolutions, twisted limbs doing the jig, and the too much eating. In a week’s time we will dust off the gym clothes, slap the track shoes against the wall to shake off the old, look down the long path and dream of a healthier 2017. And we will be right there beside you, healing and cheering you onwards or back to health.


A Special feature from Charlie Bradford:

The Body of the Blog

Firstly please may I wish all of our patients a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years for 2017. Welcome to our next instalment of the PhysioSW19 blog. The topic of choice for this segment is; Acupuncture or as some call it Dry Needling. This ancient technique is not a chance for your physiotherapist to be sadist, I promise, it is in fact a vital treatment tool, which has been researched heavily and shown promising results.

So what does Acupuncture do? The traditional treatment is to do with Qi/Ch’i, which as a direct translation means breath or air, but figuratively translates as energy flow. The acupuncture needles are therefore, supposed to help this Qi flow freely along specific pathways known as meridians. Acupuncture has been used for over 2000 years and in the last 30 years the medical profession has started to question if the traditional acupuncturists knew something we didn’t.


Figure 1: Historic traditional acupuncture meridians.

Now for the real science, I will endeavour to keep this simple/less boring but, to us physios this is pretty interesting stuff. Puncturing the skin with a needle will result in a large reaction from the body; the needle is just a sterilised bit of metal there is nothing on it or being injected by it. Due to the very small trauma created by the needle there will be a strong reaction; important hormones will be released:

1) Versions of adrenaline; which will cause blood flow to increase

2) Endorphins, a special group of hormones that effect bodies opiate receptors causing an analgesic affect, think of them as a pain killer produced by the body.

The increase in blood flow caused by these hormonal changes will bring Oxygen. Oxygen is one of the best anti-inflammatories money can buy and the anti-inflammatory action of the body is vital in the treatment of any musculoskeletal condition.


Figure2: acupuncture for shoulder and back discomfort

Now the very sciency bit and the major benefit from needling. Acupuncture causes hormonal inhibition of a particular pathway of nerves in the spinal cord and a distinct part of brain that deal with pain (for those interested: spinothalamic tract, thalamus and the cerebral cortex), this inhibition will actually reduce the sensitivity of these distinct areas of the brain and result in a overall drop in pain response. So for those of you suffering from chronic condition such as; osteoarthritis or long standing spinal conditions, acupuncture can reduce the hypersensitivity of the brain and reduce your pain levels.

So there you go, acupuncture isn’t just a chance for physiotherapists to engage their sadist tendencies it is a fantastic treatment option for a wide scope of conditions and contrary to popular belief it isn’t as painful as the deep tissue massage we perform. So next treatment ask you physio if acupuncture is something that could help you, my theory is that it probably will.


The Stretching Corner


Piriformis Stretch

The piriformis muscle is a relatively small muscle in your gluteal region (buttock) and can often be associated with causing some referral of pain into the back of the leg.

The effect of the stretch should be felt in the buttock and potentially slightly in the back of the leg (hamstring).

  1. Place left leg (ankle) on top of right knee
  2. Grab the right leg behind the right knee
  3. Pull the R leg towards your chest, this will also bring the along with it
  4. Stop when you begin to feel a stretch in the buttock
  5. Hold for 30s-1minute


Three Ways …

3 tips for an injury and pain free Christmas and New Year

  1. Stick at it: Stick to your rehabilitation or self-management plan (as provided by your physio), taking a week or two off over Christmas might put you back a few steps and lead to starting the new year on the wrong foot!
  2. Tread carefully: As the weather continues to change remember to wear appropriate footwear for exercise and any time you’re going to be on your feet for long periods. Comfortable supportive footwear with good grip will help you avoid slips, trips and injuries.
  3. Slowly does it: If like many people you’re likely to have an exercise related new year’s resolution, remember to ease yourself in gently with any new activity. Try to increase your exercise levels gradually rather than suddenly as this can lead to injuries.

For more information or to book and appointment, please contact us:



Toosie, and we all call her Toosie, is a specialist in Women’s Health . This is what Toosie says on the subject:


‘Women’s Health physiotherapy is a relatively unknown area of physiotherapy and not widely offered. We deal with a variety of conditions from pre and postnatal symptoms to stress and urge incontinence. However, we can also help when you have no symptoms but are maybe concerned about the strength and wellbeing of your pelvic floor. The aim is to promote wellness within women, and the links with other practioners in the surrounding areas make our approach to your wellbeing as holistic as we can make it. You are always welcome to have a chat with our Women’s Health Physio, who can advise you.’


Have a wonderful Season Holidays and thank you, as always for your wonderful support *****

Images Mayoed, shapeup and Foodprovider

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