Product Review: Muscle Mender

I’m back with another product review. This time I am talking about Massage Guns from Muscle Mender. I was gifted one of these as a Christmas present – nice timing considering I am still recovering from an ACL surgery and doing hands on work on your own legs isn’t exactly the easiest! Muscle Mender is a muscle or massage gun that uses high velocity but low impact contact to help release tension or pressure in soft tissue areas. Like many other muscle guns, the concept is simple but its appearance is very slick, with a simple control and speed screen on the handle of the gun. Plus they are an Irish Company – it’s always good to support small local businesses!

 

It comes with a variety of head attachments, being denser, larger or pronged to be able to use virtually all over the body. Obviously you need to be conscious of avoiding bone as from my professional perspective I don’t recommend it. The tempo and impact at no point feels uncomfortable unless done over a tender, injured or bony area. It handles well and the power doesn’t decrease when a small amount of pressure is applied, unlike other massage guns. It can be used over large areas to apply soft tissue work in a quick time so is useful for recovery or with teams when time is limited. It is also very simple to use and can be thought to someone so they can use it themselves if they are educated as to how to use it. If you feel you need more than what the gun can provide please feel free to drop me a message here.

 

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If teams are interested in buying them I know they do wholesale and bulk orders over on their website. The price is fairly reasonable and they go on sale every now and again – keep an eye out on their Instagram @MuscleMender. I have found it easy enough to clean the attachments and I know that there is probably a chance to order more if you are stuck. Hygiene is very important in this business!

 

I don’t believe it will replace a Certified Athletic Therapist, or physiotherapist, using their hands, which we do for a majority of soft tissue work. Nor do I think it will be as accurate, but for speed and efficiency it really helps. Especially on people with a lot more muscle, who can be harder to work on, I think it kind of loosens people up on a superficial level before you have to go in with your hands. I would say that I have gotten the most use out of using it on myself. I think it’s a great tool to aid therapists when your hands are tired or your client wants work on a superficial level – some people come into my clinic just for massages when they are achy form their daily activities.

 

Aesthetic: ⅘.

Handling: ⅘.

Cost: ⅘.

Necessity: ⅗.

Quality: ⅘.

Product Review: Impact Gumshields

impact gumshields

I tried out the impact gumshields or the first time. These are 3D printed gumshields. The manufacturing process is pretty simple and probably takes as long as the normal molding process of regular gumshields where they are placed in boiling water and then molded in the mouth and left the cool in water so they contract and hold their new shape.

Impact does things very differently, so a small scanning machine is used to scan the exact shape of the teeth and gums as well as the palette. This takes roughly two minutes and mainly just involves keeping your mouth open while the technician does there job with the scanner. After that time you can see your scan of your mouth and then choose what colour or design you want for them.

In comparison to normal, all the work is really done by impact themselves, I was lucky enough to have a look at the set up inside their offices where I could see where my scan would be turned into my own purpose made gumshield. I was shown the various 3D printers that were specifically designed for making the gumshields where they used a specially designed shock-absorbing polymer. The link just shows a more in-depth explanation and example as to how the process occurs https://youtu.be/fuYog05y1Y4 

The gumshields are strong to touch and thankfully are one of the few gumshields I’ve had where I can talk like a normal human being while having them in. The benefits to a 3D printed gumshield other than the ability to customise them and talk more normally are that you have the scan forever so you can have them made up again to the same level and standard which is often hard to replicate with other makes. The better fitting means that they slip less making them safer for dental health.

Gumshields have in recent years, as concussion studies have increased, been shown to play a small role in their severity but this severity often occurs when they are loose and loads are sent back through the head similarly to the spaces in a helmet where forces do not dissipate immediately. This is thankfully something you shouldn’t have to worry about due to the nature of the gumshields themselves.

As such the only downside is the price for them, the price of the scan is taken into the initial price and so any future gumshields would be cheaper but they are still expensive, yet the quality and process would show that this is an understandable price tag.

Safety 5/5, Fit 5/5, Quality 5/5, Price 3/5, Timeframe 3/5.

Product Review: d3 Rigid Tape

Recently I was introduced to d3 tape products, now since college to the present day, I have used an unnatural amount of tape, from zinc oxide, EAB, kinesiology, and underwrap, as well as insulation tape but that was more for athletes to use themselves. The tape I first tried out was zinc oxide which I go through the most out of any type of tape, be it ankles, knees or shoulders zinc oxide is simply a staple when it comes to taping athletes.

Tape is definitely one of those things that as a therapist that I have an unseemingly amount of it at hand at all times. For me I always have certain criteria that I want tape to cover. It must be easy to tear. Next is that the tape will actually stick once it’s applied. Nothing is more frustrating than having to wrap nearly twice the amount of tape on someone simply because it won’t stick or because it isn’t taut enough and 10 minutes into the game it’s like a second sock slipping down their leg.

As much as I want tape to tear easy I also want it to be strong and rigid when applied, so when I first tore some tape off I was surprised as it felt very light and loose in comparison to other brands. But when applied to the skin or to underwrap it actually was quite strong, easy to tear and easy to use continuously. Once I gave it another look I noticed that it felt lighter and less rigid once torn as it was latex-free which also means it is a lot easier to dispose of. As tape goes a far more environmentally conscious choice which in this day and age is something that often comes up in the choices therapists make especially given the number of consumable products we often go through.

Another thing I appreciated was the fact that on their own website they have video descriptions of the products as well as quick video tutorials for ways to use the tapes and not overly labored videos promising the impossible but ways to best apply the tapes and at what angles and for what reason which often gets lost in translation in many taping tutorials which are all about speed and looking clean but not always why they should use that certain way of taping . As such my initial impressions of d3 and in particular the zinc oxide tape is really good, probably one of the best quality-wise I’ve used and the effort put in from their end for product description and use impresses again on a professional level. Those small details always make me inclined to lean towards one brand or another. Price-wise they are average and not more expensive than what I have seen before and they also appear to provide everything you could need to buy. I typically buy from wholesalers themselves so the price being much the same is always a plus but there is an option to buy wholesale from them also.

If I was to give the product a score for my initial use and experience I would give it 4.5/5. Strength, sticky but not so sticky that its difficult to peal, reasonably priced and latex-free with great quality service from their end. Another aspect is the wide range of colour and patterns available, obviously not affecting the quality but more something that both athletes, patients, and therapists can appretiate themselves or even for younger clients to put them more at ease. The only downside is the packaging. As I say that a latex-free tape is a nice option from an environmental point of view, there is an excessive amount of plastic packaging. As nice as it is coming in individual plastic containers, it is somewhat unnecessary but I have not bought wholesale and this may be only something that may occur when small numbers are bought which is a rare enough occurrence for these as well as the fact that the packaging is all rigid hard plastic and so can be recycled. As a whole one of the nicest tapes I’ve used and I intend to try out more of their products as soon as possible.

I am currently stocking a small amount of d3 tape in the clinic for use on patients and if anyone wishes to purchase single rolls please feel free to contact me here.

*all images are taken from d3 tape website/Instagram.

Goal setting for health entrepreneurs

Setting goals for your business is one of those things we all hear lots about when we’re setting out as entrepreneurs. Writing a business plan, knowing what you’ll be doing in 1 year, 5 years – maybe even 10 years time. That’s the right way to do things, isn’t it? Thinking big! Aiming for the stars!

But when we’re up to our eye-balls in getting paperwork for tax, attracting our first clients, watching our finances, learning how to navigate social media and everything else the shouty world of the internet tells us we need to have to run a successful business, who has time to set goals?

The thing is, setting goals for our business is essential to keep moving forward, boost our confidence and guarantee growth.

Without goals we’re all just paddling along doing the same old things, wondering why it’s (often) not working.

Here are my top 3 tips when it comes to setting goals as a health entrepreneur:

Start small when you’re at the beginning

I recently wrote a blog post about how when I started my business I tried to follow the age-old advice of planning my whole year and setting income targets for myself every month.

Needless to say, not having a clue what I was going into, I completely failed to meet my self-imposed targets by month two and ended up feeling totally deflated. Not exactly like a successful entrepreneur.

No matter what anyone else tells you when you are in the early days of your business, if everything seems new and constantly changing, try setting yourself 30 day goals, instead of 365 day ones.

This means that you can constantly evolve and move with what’s happening, and take things at your own pace. Rather than expecting yourself and your business to know what a whole year is going to look like on Day 1.

For example in Month 1 I set myself four goals:

  • Get 50 sign ups in my new Facebook group (all health and wellness entrepreneurs welcome!)
  • Finish two resource videos to help my audience
  • Secure one more speaking engagement to spread brand awareness
  • Book three clients

These were small, manageable goals and each day I could check back in to see what I was focusing on and whether I was taking action to move towards achieving these goals.

Which leads us neatly on to….

Break your goals down into easy to do tasks

Let’s take one of my goals as an example.

Writing down “book three clients” on my to-do list wasn’t going to make me very productive. My brain would totally see an enormous and overwhelming task like that on my list and immediately send me to browse around on Instagram and faff around reorganise folders on my computer instead of taking action.


Yup – a big task like “book 3 clients” would bring out my Instant Gratification Monkey. If you haven’t heard of the Instant Gratification Monkey you need to get on over to this blog post from Tim Urban at Wait But Why.

In order to take small actions that were going to add up to achieving my goal, I needed to break down the big task into smaller ones. Then I could look at my list and pick something small and manageable each day, which I knew was going to move me towards my overall aim.

Taking “book three clients” and breaking it down could look like this:

  • Write to 5 people I know to ask for a referral
  • Design some promotional graphics to put on my Instagram Stories
  • Promote my coaching services on my Facebook page
  • Send an email to my mailing list about my coaching services
  • Direct Message 3 people on Instagram to offer them a coaching package

Don’t let the Instant Gratification Monkey distract you from the task in hand. Break things down into little do-able tasks that you can happily tick off with that immense feeling of satisfaction. That’s what achieving goals is really about.

Make time to review your goals

Setting goals and taking action really doesn’t amount to much if you don’t schedule in some time to step back and assess how it went.

At the end of each month (or whatever period you’re working to) it’s essential to make time to reflect on whether you achieved your goals and really look at the actions you took. Doing this will help you make a decision about how to move forward into the next month or goal setting period.

For example with my goal of booking three clients – if I hit the target, then I can take stock of the actions I took and replicate most, if not all of them, the next month to try and repeat the same success.

I should also take a bit of time to think about how the month went with this goal. Perhaps the goal was too easy? How did it feel? Shall I aim for the same next month, or push myself to go for 5?

If I didn’t book the target number of clients – why not? What actions worked and secured clients? Which ones felt like a waste of time? What were the tasks I didn’t do that would probably have got me better results? How can I overcome my fears or break down tasks further to take more action?

If we don’t do this sort of assessment, we run the risk of just repeating over and over the same sort of activities that aren’t getting us anywhere. Whilst reflecting and assessing might feel like a distraction for the ‘real work’, it’s actually essential to setting more goals and writing better to-do lists each day. 

It’s also really important to review because if we achieve our goals then we can and should celebrate!

Celebrating and rewarding ourselves reinforces in our brains that there is a positive outcome from all the hard work and pushing out of our comfort zone. Without that reward, why would we keep doing it?

Find a way to reflect and celebrate your hard work. In my Facebook group for health and wellness entrepreneurs we have Celebrate The Wins Wednesday posts where we can share those results together, feel free to join us if you’d like a supportive community to celebrate with.

What do you think? Will these tips help you set goals in your business?

If you’re still struggling to get started download my Just Start Now Checklist of 10 things you can take action on immediately to get your business going.

BIO

Vicky Shilling is a coach, helping wellness industry entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into reality. Find out more about Vicky, dig into her extensive set of resources  www.vickyshilling.com

Setting goals for your business is one of those things we all hear lots about when we’re setting out as entrepreneurs. Writing a business plan, knowing what you’ll be doing in 1 year, 5 years – maybe even 10 years time. That’s the right way to do things, isn’t it? Thinking big! Aiming for the stars!

But when we’re up to our eye-balls in getting paperwork for tax, attracting our first clients, watching our finances, learning how to navigate social media and everything else the shouty world of the internet tells us we need to have to run a successful business, who has time to set goals?

The thing is, setting goals for our business is essential to keep moving forward, boost our confidence and guarantee growth.

Without goals we’re all just paddling along doing the same old things, wondering why it’s (often) not working.

Here are my top 3 tips when it comes to setting goals as a health entrepreneur:

Start small when you’re at the beginning

I recently wrote a blog post about how when I started my business I tried to follow the age-old advice of planning my whole year and setting income targets for myself every month.

Needless to say, not having a clue what I was going into, I completely failed to meet my self-imposed targets by month two and ended up feeling totally deflated. Not exactly like a successful entrepreneur.

No matter what anyone else tells you when you are in the early days of your business, if everything seems new and constantly changing, try setting yourself 30 day goals, instead of 365 day ones.

This means that you can constantly evolve and move with what’s happening, and take things at your own pace. Rather than expecting yourself and your business to know what a whole year is going to look like on Day 1.

For example in Month 1 I set myself four goals:

  • Get 50 sign ups in my new Facebook group (all health and wellness entrepreneurs welcome!)
  • Finish two resource videos to help my audience
  • Secure one more speaking engagement to spread brand awareness
  • Book three clients

These were small, manageable goals and each day I could check back in to see what I was focusing on and whether I was taking action to move towards achieving these goals.

Which leads us neatly on to….

Break your goals down into easy to do tasks

Let’s take one of my goals as an example.

Writing down “book three clients” on my to-do list wasn’t going to make me very productive. My brain would totally see an enormous and overwhelming task like that on my list and immediately send me to browse around on Instagram and faff around reorganise folders on my computer instead of taking action.


Yup – a big task like “book 3 clients” would bring out my Instant Gratification Monkey. If you haven’t heard of the Instant Gratification Monkey you need to get on over to this blog post from Tim Urban at Wait But Why.

In order to take small actions that were going to add up to achieving my goal, I needed to break down the big task into smaller ones. Then I could look at my list and pick something small and manageable each day, which I knew was going to move me towards my overall aim.

Taking “book three clients” and breaking it down could look like this:

  • Write to 5 people I know to ask for a referral
  • Design some promotional graphics to put on my Instagram Stories
  • Promote my coaching services on my Facebook page
  • Send an email to my mailing list about my coaching services
  • Direct Message 3 people on Instagram to offer them a coaching package

Don’t let the Instant Gratification Monkey distract you from the task in hand. Break things down into little do-able tasks that you can happily tick off with that immense feeling of satisfaction. That’s what achieving goals is really about.

Make time to review your goals

Setting goals and taking action really doesn’t amount to much if you don’t schedule in some time to step back and assess how it went.

At the end of each month (or whatever period you’re working to) it’s essential to make time to reflect on whether you achieved your goals and really look at the actions you took. Doing this will help you make a decision about how to move forward into the next month or goal setting period.

For example with my goal of booking three clients – if I hit the target, then I can take stock of the actions I took and replicate most, if not all of them, the next month to try and repeat the same success.

I should also take a bit of time to think about how the month went with this goal. Perhaps the goal was too easy? How did it feel? Shall I aim for the same next month, or push myself to go for 5?

If I didn’t book the target number of clients – why not? What actions worked and secured clients? Which ones felt like a waste of time? What were the tasks I didn’t do that would probably have got me better results? How can I overcome my fears or break down tasks further to take more action?

If we don’t do this sort of assessment, we run the risk of just repeating over and over the same sort of activities that aren’t getting us anywhere. Whilst reflecting and assessing might feel like a distraction for the ‘real work’, it’s actually essential to setting more goals and writing better to-do lists each day. 

It’s also really important to review because if we achieve our goals then we can and should celebrate!

Celebrating and rewarding ourselves reinforces in our brains that there is a positive outcome from all the hard work and pushing out of our comfort zone. Without that reward, why would we keep doing it?

Find a way to reflect and celebrate your hard work. In my Facebook group for health and wellness entrepreneurs we have Celebrate The Wins Wednesday posts where we can share those results together, feel free to join us if you’d like a supportive community to celebrate with.

What do you think? Will these tips help you set goals in your business?

If you’re still struggling to get started download my Just Start Now Checklist of 10 things you can take action on immediately to get your business going.

BIO

Vicky Shilling is a coach, helping wellness industry entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into reality. Find out more about Vicky, dig into her extensive set of resources  www.vickyshilling.com

Long Distance Running – Common Injuries + What To Watch Out For!

Potential Injuries – But don’t be deterred!

Joint damage isn’t uncommon.

Our joints, especially in our lower bodies absorb massive amounts of force when we move and do so more when we run. It’s the ankle and knee joints that bear the brunt of this impact and these joints especially can become damaged when they’re overloaded. Make sure you train in shoes made for long-distance running and that they give your joints extra support. Many athletic shoe stores will guide you towards finding the right shoe for your gait. Avoid over-striding when you run and make sure you add variation – take breaks from hard-surface running and add weights exercises, swimming or cross-country training to your programme; this will give your joints a bit of a break!

Stress fractures can happen but here’s how to minimise risk.

This is one injury many long-distance runners will be wary of. Stress fractures occur when our bones are under a constant degree of force: consistent use of and pressure on certain bones or joints means a weakening occurs and small fractures can form. Due to their typical size and position, stress fractures can sometimes take longer than a full break to heal leaving runners out of action for long periods. To avoid risk, do your best to introduce transitions (e.g. treadmill to concrete running) and higher-intensity exercise slowly; give your body time to adjust to more activity and different surfaces. Continually check your running form and equipment (shoes!) and make sure you’re maintaining good levels of calcium & Vitamin D.

Tendinopathy.

A fancy term meaning damage or injury to a tendon, this type of injury is known more commonly by terms like ‘tennis elbow’ or ‘runner’s knee’. Tendinopathies generally occur due to repetitive activity or can result from an existing injury. What you’ll typically feel is pain in a given area, accompanied by swelling and impaired function of the tendon(s). Again, making sure you have good running equipment, continually checking your form and keeping your exercise varied will help to reduce the likelihood of tendinopathy. If your body submits to this kind of injury, typically you’ll need to stop or limit exercise and complete a round of physiotherapy to address in weakness and rebuild strength.

Whatever you do, don’t let the potential of injury stop you from launching your long-distance running career! Make sure you consult professionals for guidance on running safely and listen to your body – more often than not it will give you signs of stress before an injury occurs.

The Benefits of Long Distance Running

This is the second in the series of the long distance running blogs I wrote with gympluscoffee. This piece focuses on the benefits of long distance running and how they come about.

Improved cardiovascular health

Your ticker will thank you for it! Long-distance running is the gold standard activity for improving your cardio health. Cardio training or aerobic activity is the repetitive contraction of muscle groups in your body, and that’s long-distance running basically by definition! Aerobic activity is the best form of training for your heart as it pushes your entire vascular (circulatory) system getting more oxygen into your bloodstream.

Greater lower body strength

Running is one of the most effective forms of strength training you can ever do. Different physical activities allow for different types of muscle fibres to be produced in the body. Running in particular, leads to the gain of lightweight and durable muscle fibres which means lean, flexible muscle mass. Lean, adaptable muscles are stronger and better able for endurance-based activity.

Increased stamina

Running, and long-distance running in particular, also helps to improve stamina. Stamina refers to our ability to perform at or close to full capacity and differs to strength or cardiovascular fitness. We increase stamina by training our back-up energy tank. That back-up tank, the ‘second wind’ that you get when you think you might be at the end of your endurance but somehow you manage to keep going; that’s stamina! The only way to train yourself to keep going is by getting your body accustomed to the demands of a specific type of activity, and then gently but consistently pushing a little harder. Long-distance running gives you this opportunity in spades.  

Running for Mental Health

In addition to all the physical health benefits you’ll get from your long-distance running programme, there’s now plenty of research pointing to all the mental health benefits that running can bring. Intense physical exercise like running long distances has been shown to improve sleeping habits as well as the quality of sleep you get. It aids in stress relief and release, and in some cases has proven to be as effective as certain therapy in addressing symptoms of depression

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Repost from gympluscoffee