50 Bob Charles Drive, 
Botany Downs, Auckland

Tel 021 95 95 95
or 09 273 7092


April 2004


There are 639 named muscles in the human body.  The muscular system is made up of about six trillion muscle fibers.  Each fiber is thinner than a human hair, but can support up to 1000 times its own weight. 

When should you NOT have massage?

There are times when it is best to defer your massage session - where having massage could actually make you feel worse rather than better.  And there are times where you can have massage, but the therapist may need to modify the session.

When you have a cold or flu, massage can make you feel worse - alot worse!  It tends to overload the body systems, and seems to send those germs scurrying around the body faster than ever.  If you have a decent cold coming on, then having a massage will generally accelerate the process.

We do not generally massage acute injuries - acute generally being within the first two or three days, although this can depend on what the injury is.  An exception to this is where I will sometimes do some very light touch work to help reduce swelling on say a badly sprained ankle, followed by icing.

Acute bruising (hematoma) - where there has been internal bleeding and blood is trapped in the tissues.  In the early stages following injury, massage can reinjure the tissues and cause further bleeding.  Later on massage can be used to help break down the residue of the hematoma that sometimes remains.

An example of the need to modify the massage session is where a client is taking a blood thinning drug like Warfarin.  People taking Warfarin bruise very easily, so we need to ensure that we only perform light touch massage for these clients.  There are a number of other drugs which necessitate a modified approach to massage, and this is one of the reasons why the client information sheet lists so many conditions.


Vouchers are available for half hour or one hour massage sessions.  They make a great gift for everybody -

- the person who "has everything" and you don't know what to get them
- the athlete training hard or struggling to overcome injury
- stressed out, overworked individuals who never take any time out
- or just to show you care J

Calf stretches are the stretch that I most commonly recommend to clients.  They are one of the most effective methods for treating achilles tendinopathies, according to a study cited in the American Journal of Sports Medicine in 1998.  I have also found them to be effective for those with sore calves, achilles, or shins, and also for those with "creaky" morning ankles and feet.

Stand on a step, with the balls of your feet on the edge.  On a slow count of three, lower your heels gently until you feel a light stretch.  On a slow count of three, rise up onto your toes.  Repeat, gradually building up to 3 sets of 10, and then graduate onto doing them one leg at a time.

But the real trick is to also do sets of this exercise as above, with a bent knee.  This ensures that both calf muscles receive the stretching and strengthening benefit of the exercise.

The Rotorua-Taupo 100k flyer www.100kflyer.co.nz was bigger than ever this year.  Conditions weren't quite as favourable as last year, which was reflected in the slighter slower times that were posted.  We treated the usual complaints in the massage "tent" - sore legs and backs of course!

During April I also worked at the World Masters Non-Stadia Athletics Championships.  There were athletes competing from a number of different countries, and some of them were just amazing.  He wasn't fast and was half the size of everyone else, but the 75 year old doctor from Calcutta completed the 10k walk, the 30k walk and the 50k walk all in the same week.  And then he popped up running the half marathon on the last day as well!  Then there was Colin from Whangarei.  He is 80.  I massaged him after he ran 2hrs 13 for the half.  A week later I massaged him at the Rotorua marathon where he told me he was a little disappointed that he didn't go under 5 hrs - "I felt good aerobically ,but my legs were abit tired - I think it might have been from the half last week" .  I'm planning on seeing him at the Kerikeri Half later this year - he reckons might beat me and on current form he's probably right!

The 40th running of the Rotorua Marathon took place on Saturday 1 May.  The conditions were drizzly and cool - some thought they were perfect running conditions, others just thought it was cold and miserable.  One thing to note - NEVER do a marathon underprepared - these are the people we see really suffering afterwards in the massage tent.  It was once again great to see lots of Botany Muscle Therapy clients competing - you all did really well.

The duathlon series starts this month - check out www.duathlon.co.nz . These events are held in South Auckland, and consist of a run, bike, run, with a choice of long or short distance.

This coming weekend I'm back in Rotorua, working at the Cateye Moonride 24 hour mountain bike event www.moonride.co.nz .  We are all hoping the weather will be a little drier than it was for the marathon!

Good luck to all those doing the Albany Pak n Pedal ride on May 16.  I hear they have a change of course this year, which should result in a more enjoyable ride due to a little less traffic.

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Rachael Button
Botany Muscle Therapy
50 Bob Charles Drive, Botany Downs, Auckland