Is poor SLEEP impacting your success?

Sleep is often underrated, yet most of us who don’t sleep well, crave sleep! Why is that? If you aren’t making sleep a priority then you may be damaging your health more than you know.

A good quality night’s sleep will determine the quality of not only your health but your career and relationships. Poor quality sleep may also cause:

  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Overeating
  • Plateau or decline in athletic performance
  • Lack of concentration
  • Lack of motivation
  • Low mood and energy levels
  • Increase risk to heart disease, stroke, Type 2 Diabetes
  • Decreased immune system

It may be frustrating to some when they don’t even know the reason behind their poor quality sleep. Here’s a few tips on how to get the most out of your important down-time:

    • Creating a cool, dark, quiet space to sleep is extremely important
    • COOL: the National Sleep Foundation recommends 15-20 degrees Celcius (60-67F) for optimal sleep.  Keep your room temperature cool and adjust blankets around it for comfort.
    • DARK: even small amounts of light effects our brains ability to stay asleep. This means any light from your windows or even your electronics can have a profound impact on your sleep. Buying a good quality eye mask (ask me about purchasing these) is important and blackout curtains for your room is recommended.
    • QUIET: in areas where you cannot seem to have complete silence, it is highly recommended to invest in some good quality ear plugs or a white noise app on your phone.
    • It may be surprising to most people about the quality of sleep they are actually getting. It is important to know how much sleep you are getting on average and be aware of your quality of sleep.
    • A simple sleep app will help you be aware of your sleep patterns
    • Your activity levels and quality of movement during the day will determine your quality of sleep at night.
    • Try to keep your exercise to early morning or early afternoon to allow for good quality of sleep.
    • Try not to substitute sleep for exercise – if you want to exercise you are better off going to bed earlier and waking earlier than stressing your body out late at night
    • Natural light exposure, particularly in the morning has great brain benefits – it will also regulate your sleep-wake cycle
    • Try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Your body loves to have a regular rhythm.
    • GET ENOUGH SLEEP! The recommendation for sleep duration sits between 7 and 9. Everyone’s sleep needs differ and it may also differ at different points of their life. Use the monitoring of your own sleep cycle to adjust and determine the amount of sleep that is optimal for you.
    • Napping can be beneficial at times, however, try to limit your naps to under 30-60 minutes. Napping for too long will effect your sleep.
    • Try to avoid screens at night, if you must use screens limit your blue light exposure
    • “Blue light is a colour in the “visible light spectrum” that can be seen by the human eye. Blue light has a wavelength of between approximately 380nm and 500nm; making it one of the shortest, highest-energy wavelengths” – Blue Light Exposed 
    • Turn off your electronics, dim your screens if possible (if you really want to reduce blue light set night shift on your phone – check Neurohacker Collective’s post on how to do so), invest in anti-blue light glasses if avoiding screen time is not possible
    • Avoid caffeine (4-6 hours) and alcohol (2 hours) before bed. Often people who can have a coffee and fall straight asleep say “coffee doesn’t affect me”. I challenge you to monitor your sleep with and without coffee after 12pm. Let me know how you go!
  6. ROUTINE: 
    • Just as it is important to got to bed and wake up at the same time each day for your quality sleep, it is equally important to have a settling routine before bed.
    • Plan your next day, read a book or have a bath before bed.
    • Avoid social media, this may cause more stress for your sleep!

If you have:

  • ongoing persistent pain
  • a decline or plateau in your cognitive function
  • a decline or plateau in athletic performance

Then commit to introducing ONE of these tips into your life. Begin with SMALL changes and implement these tips for a few months to get your sleep back on track. Slowly introduce changes each week but don’t overload yourself. It’s hard for us to know how good we can really feel when we have never felt it. Commit to 30 days of improving your sleep and notice the change in your business, your relationships and your workouts!

Structural Integration 12-Series

Our therapist Sophia has completed her 31-Day intense training and is now a FULLY qualified Structural Integration Practitioner!


Natalie & Sophia at Anatomy Trains Headquarters in Fremantle, WA.

Natalie & Sophia are the FIRST Structural Integration Practitioners in South Australia!

So what does this mean?

Sophia will now be offereing what is known as the Structural Integration 12-Series.


Structural Integration (SI) is a type of bodywork that aims to improve human biomechanical functioning as a whole rather than treatment of a particular symptom. SI was developed in the mid to late 20th century by the late Ida Rolf. Ida’s ideology was driven by the, belief that due to gravity’s unrelenting force, the human structures (aka fascia) must adapt accordingly throughout the lifecycle. Through Anatomy Trains, Thomas Myers has developed this ideology and created a 3-session protocol (known as a “3 series”) of deep, slow fascial & myofacscial manipulation.

What is a 12 SERIES?

The 12 Series involves 12 treatments up to 90 minutes involving deep, slow fascial manipulation with movement re-eduction. Our lifestyle choices from what we eat to how we do or don’t move, determines our postural habits. Sit down all day? Your tissues of your fascial system will adapt to a seated position. Spend most of your day standing? You’ll adapt to a lengthened standing position.

How can SI help you?

Sometimes we can get “stuck” in our regular postural positions. When we try something new, in a different position, the body is unable to cope and injuries may occur including pain, muscle tears and/or herniated discs. At times these little injuries can lead to chronic pain and become normalized with the explanation “I’m just getting old”. Our lifestyle, posture, emotions and character as an individual, shape our posture and some postures don’t serve us well.

The SI 12-Series aims to balance the body from the ground up starting with Session 1 that allows lift through the Superficial Front Line. The 2nd and 3rd Sessions balance the Superficial Back Line and the Lateral Lines. Session 4 enters into the lower Deep Front Line. Session 6-8 balance the breath all the way to the neck. From there we contiue on to balance the other fascial lines around the breath and the Deep Front Line. The whole entirity of the fascial system is the balanced with session 9, 10 and 12 have a strong integration focus where we integrate the bodywork from previous sessions. SI is refined, intentional touch that may assist the body to move more freely and adapt to different positions.

The 12-Series is an exploration of movement and exploration of self. I want you to experience your body differently and by feeling a sense of openness you may have not felt in a long time!



What no one tells you about your shoulder pain

95DC07F3-5C71-402D-9719-3BEE2046F13DShoulder pain is very rarely a shoulder problem. Persistent shoulder pain or injuries could be a sign of a postural imbalance throughout your rib cage, pelvis or even feet!

Your body does not work particular parts in isolation. When we have a restriction in the ankle joint we may see issues such as pain higher up the body. Similarly if there is restrictions of movement in the neck, we may see issues in the lower back.

A healthy fascial system distributes load throughout the entirety of the system. Prolonged exposure to stress from your job, type of exercise, poor posture, relationships or lifestyle choices will cause tension in your body. This tension over time may cause your body to distribute load inefficiently.

A perfect example is “sleepy glutes” that are a result from prolonged sitting. When you sit on your glutes they become ‘inactive’ (and usually) and when you stand up and take these sleepy glutes into walking or exercise (particularly lifting weights) your body will start moving differently to compensate that you have ‘no glutes’! Your glutes are extremely important for hip stabilisation, without them you become tighter in other places to stabilise effectively. Often times people who move less throughout the day go to the gym and suddenly overload their fascist system and make matters even worse. This build up of stiffness, soreness and lack of natural glute activation can quickly lead to injury.

“extreme soreness has become a celebrated experience in our culture, but pain is often an indication that you’ve gone too far, too fats” Katy Bowman

When we experience trauma or injury to an area, the body is extremely good at doing whatever it can to keep functioning the best way it knows how. The areas of trauma or injury often become tight and restricted but the rest of your body will compensate. Add in stressors such as your job, relationships and types of exercise, pain can often surface in different areas of your body with no explanation.

Shoulder injuries are often a results of poor postural patterns taken into repetitive movement. Some times we can create change and provide relief by focusing on the shoulder through massage or physio, however, if you are getting treatment for your shoulder injury and your therapist has not looked more globally – you may not see long term results.

Structural Bodywork at Muscle Sense aims at treating your whole body, not just symptoms. Do you want to get back to pain free movements that you love? If your niggling shoulder isn’t getting any better, it might be time to take some time to commit to some different treatment.


Insane FACTS about FASCIA

If you haven’t heard the term or you have heard it LOTS and you still have no clue what its about, take a read of my blog post  or watch this clip for a more simplistic explanation.

Fascia is really the “forgotten scaffold” of the body. Let’s nut out a few interesting facts about fascia:

  1. There are SIX to TEN times more machanoreceptors in fascia than in muscle tissues
    • This means your fascia is WAY more sensitive to touch and it can detect mechanical sensations and differences in pressure
  2. Mood influences fascia
    • From The Endless Web: Fascial Anatomy and Physical Reality (North Atlantic 1996) – “The physical response to emotion is through the soft tissue…the fascia is the emotional body. . . . Ideally, feelings are felt in the total body—emotions travel through the fascial web. We then interpret the physiological sensation as anger, affection, love, interest and so forth. . . . The reason your neck can’t straighten and lengthen may be because of the shock of being continually bullied in childhood. Physical work will only partially open that problem unless there is recognition that there may be an emotional origin.”
  3. Fascia is multi-layered
    • Fascia has superficial and deep layers, depending on the amount of pressure applied determines which layers are targeted.
  4. Healthy fascia distributes load evenly
    • Fascia can become “stuck” and prevent the load distribution which in turn causes pain
  5. Recoil allows for ‘free energy’
    • The fascial tissues load and un-load. They allow the body to use what we call “recoil” to act similar to a rubber band or spring to propel the body in one direction
  6. Fascia takes twice as long to heal and adapt than muscle
    • Your muscles may be growing but your fascial system is still catching up. Often times athletes or people trying new loaded sports such as Crossfit or weightlifting find that after 12-18 months they get injured or feel sluggish in their training.
    • Recovery is KEY! Read my article here 
  7. Fascia connects us head to toe
    • You are not made up of lots of different muscles that work independently. You are connected by connective tissue. Just like we cannot live with some kind of symbiosis with our external environment, our internal environment is the same. Move more often and move ALL of your body!



Key benefits of Structural Bodywork

What is Structural Bodywork?


Structural Bodywork (from Anatom Trains Structural Integration) is a type of manual therapy and sensory education for your body that aims to improve human biomechanical functioning as a whole rather than treatment of a particular symptom.


Developed in the mid to late 20th century by the late Ida Rolf. Ida’s ideology surrounded her belief that due to gravity’s unrelenting force, the human structures (aka FASCIA) must adapt accordingly throughout the life-cycle.


Spend most of your day at a desk? You’ll adapt to a seated position. Stand all day? You’ll adapt to a lengthened standing position. Spend most of your day upside down doing handstands? Your tissues will change to suit this position!


Sometimes we can get “stuck” in these positions. When we try something new, in a different position, the body is weak and injuries often occur, pain, muscles tears, bulged discs etc.

Benefits of Structural Bodywork:

  1. It is ALWAYS personalized – no two treatments are the same
    • We are unique just like our posture, Structural Bodywork sessions are tailored to each individual client
  2. Conserves energy making movement effortless
    • This may lead to increased power, stability and strength during exercise
  3. Aligns the body
    • Alignment allows an ease and fluidity in movement
  4. Deeper and fuller breath
    • Breathing also becomes effortless – deeper breaths can be taken with little effort and tall and open posture is easily maintained to allow for ongoing open breath
  5. Reduces stress & tension within the body
    • Some massages may leave you feeling groggy and spacey depending on intention. Structural Bodywork often allows the client to feel lighter and energized post treatment

Structural Bodywork is refined, intentional touch that may assist the body to move more freely and adapt to different positions. If gravity is defining you, what shape is your body most comfortable in?


Our Remedial Therapist, Sophia  is one of the few therapists in Adelaide trained in Structural Bodywork. If you would like to know more – get in contact!


Prioritise your RECOVERY

Are you trying to get stronger? Or are you trying to get faster or better at a particular skill?

Perhaps you’re going for a big lift, or you’re training for your next race. Is your priority your training, or is it your recovery?

Your brain & body are hardwired for continual growth, they are constantly learning and adapting. However, your brain & body cannot develop if you don’t have enough adequate quality recovery.

Your brain& body develop during the recovery phase, during sleep. If your sleeping pattern is off due to high stress hormones (cortisol), then your ability to grow and recover is stunted. Massage is one of the ways you can recover faster and more efficiently by allowing your body to fully relax during & after the treatment. If you want to excel at anything, you need to recover effectively. If some form of manual therapy is not part of your recovery routine – it ought to be!

Sleep better, recover faster, perform better!

Massage & Cardiovascular Disease

Australia spends $28.6 billion dollars each year on health. This includes $3 BILLION in hospitals, $5.5 BILLION on dental care, and $11 BILLION on medications.

The TOP 3 medications dispensed in 2015-2016 in Australia include:

  1. Atorvastatin: A cholesterol-lowering medication to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke
  2. Rosuvastatin Used to treat high-cholesterol and reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack. Commonly sold under the Crestor brand name
  3. Esomeprazole Commonly sold in the form of Nexium tablets. This drug helps treat heartburn and acid reflux, among other things

Two of these drugs (and arguably all three) are related closely to heart disease. Heart disease is the most common cause of death in Australia, 45,392 people died from heart disease in 2015. Major risk factors include smoking & high blood pressure.

How does MASSAGE fit into this? A regular massage regime (once or twice a fortnight or month) can significantly reduce your blood pressure. It does this by reducing cortisol levels (aka the stress hormone) and it allows you to get out of your head and into your body.

For some people, that 60 minute session can be the only relaxation they ever get. Often we are so wired, so stressed that we never ever get any downtime – your body cannot heal or develop if you don’t have adequate rest. Massage can help with this.

Want to get off the medications? Try massage! Want to avoid taking costly medications for the rest of your life? Try massage!


Remedial Massage vs Relaxation Massage

Often people ask what Remedial Massage means and how does it differ to Relaxation Massage? So, whats the difference?

Remedial massage is the systematic assessment and treatment of muscles, tendons, ligaments & connective tissues of the body to assist in rehabilitation, pain & injury management. If you have particular muscle tension or chronic pain, remedial massage may be more appropriate for you. Your remedial massage therapist will assess and prioritise your treatment for the session. A remedial massage therapist will employ a range of different techniques including deep tissues work, kneading, effleurage, sports massage and joint mobilisation depending on the treatment needed for each individual client.

Relaxation massage is exactly that – it’s relaxing. This type of massage is often gentler and is effective to help de-stress and loosen up the entire body. The treatment consists of flowing strokes, kneading and gentle manipulations of the muscles. A relaxation massage should be pain free and will help decrease stress and improve sleep.

Like every massage, it is important to communicate and identify with your Remedial Massage therapist what it is you really want out of your session. If you prefer a firm pressure, communicate that, if you just want to zone out for 60 minutes, that’s okay too!

Why REGULAR massage?

The truth is, you cannot survive on your own. You eat well, you exercise and yet you might find you are still not sleeping well or recovering like you use to. Your body is extremely good at healing itself, and if it can’t do that, it will normalize the deficiency by masking it. This masking is often manifested through lethargy and pain. This lethargy and pain can often stay “stuck” in your body and without the correct manual therapy to help release these ailments the body can then compensate with a range of health issues such as high blood pressure, inflammation, pain or high blood sugar.

The body needs a few things to survive well:

  1. Movement
  2. Good nutrition & hydration
  3. Manual therapy & touch

I get it, massages in Australia can be expensive. The thought of spending $80-100 on an hour’s worth of work can be a little daunting. However, you don’t get to choose another body – you’re stuck with this one! With increase in busy and stressful lifestyles, something usually has to be sacrificed and unfortunately its often your health!

There’s one unique thing that happens during a massage that cannot be replicated by a machine, a massage ball or a foam roller. It’s called CONNECTION. This connection between two human beings is imperative for survival. A 2015 study from Brigham University showed social isolation, loneliness and living alone can increase mortality risk by 29%, 26%, and 32% respectively! This is just as destructive to your health as smoking & obesity!

There is one major key connection hormone at play here, that is, OXYTOCIN aka the love drug. You may have heard me mention this before as it is released through touch and human interaction.

This leads me to one of the many reasons to get REGULAR massage:

  1. Reduce stress & anxiety
    • Massage can reduce cortisol aka the STRESS hormone and if you’ve already guessed it, it has partly to do with the fact that oxytocin the LOVE hormone is being produced.
    • Live a highly stressful lifestyle? Massage can help with that!
  2. Increases Immunity 
    • So $80-100 may be costly as a per hourly rate, but what if it could replace that hefty pain medication, high blood pressure medication bill? Long term, regular massage can be more beneficial for reducing blood pressure among many other health issues
  3. Prevent Injury 
    • Do you rely on physical labor for work? How long do you anticipate you will need to keep working for? Regular massage can help prevent injury through keeping soft tissues adaptable so postural variations do not cause injury.
    • If you’re a gym goer or play sport, it is important to remember your muscles will recover quicker when coupled with massage

This list could go on and on…

We are adaptive creatures and our body’s adapt to the environments extremely well. If you want to invest in your health, invest in some kind of manual therapy. I talk a lot about massage in this article but there are so many different ways that a hands on therapist can help your health with something so simple like TOUCH. Find a good manual therapist who is really genuinely motivated to do the best for you and that $80-100 is an INVESTMENT in your health. Remember not to just make your diet & exercise a priority – add TOUCH to your list!


Is inactivity the cause of your PAIN?

How many hours do you spend sitting each day? At work or school, in the car, on the couch? Now, how many hours are you asleep, perhaps 6-9 hours? How many hours are you at the gym? Do you sit between sets or intervals?

Let’s say you’re the typical office worker who sits from 9am to 5pm, who gets up to the printer or to grab a coffee perhaps every couple of hours. And let’s say you go for a 30 minute walk on your lunch break. So that’s 8 hours of work and 6.5 hours of sitting time (on a good day).

Now you leave work, get in your car, or on the bus/train – sit down and travel for an hour (don’t forget you’ve spent the morning getting to work and this has also cost you another hour in sitting time). Perhaps you get home, and you head to the gym – 15-20 minutes travel time spent sitting in the car. You spend a couple of hours there lifting weights or maybe you’re doing some cardio. You may sit around and chat to some friends or perhaps you rest between sets.

Now you’re at almost 9 hours sitting time.

You get home, eat something, perhaps you play with the kids for a bit, or do you head to the computer to do more work? Or does the couch look more appealing? You’re exhausted from your day, you’ve done your work out – you sit on the couch and watch some TV to unwind. If you’re like most Australian’s you cook dinner and eat in front of the TV. This may take up 2 hours of your day – so let’s be generous and give you another 1 hour sitting time.

You get home, you’ve done your workout, you’re feeling exhausted and its about 10-11pm, you head to bed.

10 hours total sitting time now turns into 7.5 hours sleeping time. Your body most definitely needs sleep but now it’s combating hours of inactive sitting time. You toss and turn a few times, but mostly your body is motionless.

You wake up, hit snooze a few thousand times and finally you get out of bed and feel stiff, sore & you just want more SLEEP! Your legs feel heavy or maybe your shoulders and neck hurts from sleeping in an awkward position all night.

Sitting and sleep now account for 72% of your total day. That’s ¾ of your total life where your body isn’t moving. Your body is designed for MOVEMENT. If you feel like you’re doing everything right, yet you’re still stiff and sore, perhaps you’re not moving ENOUGH.

My point is, western culture is an inactive one. The idea of modern exercise isn’t enough – run, walk, play, crawl, climb, have FUN with movement and your body will thank you a thousand times. If your body isn’t used to much variety of movement you’d be surprised in what small 5-10 minute changes will have on your overall body health. Compliment this movement with regular massage or body work and notice the change in energy levels, stress reduction and increased flexibility!