Should you crack your joints?

Do you crack your joints? If so you’ve probably wondered if it is good for you. It usually gives you a satisfying pop or crack so it can't be that bad right. If you don't crack your joints then you probably find it horrifying that people do it.

What is cracking?

Cracking or popping of a joint is basically moving the two ends of a joint away from each other (cavitation) which will then release the nitrogen gas within it. The release of this gas creates the popping sound. It can be hard to believe that this sometimes loud sound can come from a simple gas release but you could liken it to pulling a suction cup off a piece of glass.

Is cracking good for me?

Well, the short answer is we don't really no. There is no definitive proof either way. The understanding that science has as to what happens when we crack a joint appears to be very safe. Releasing of gas from a joint appears to be a natural and normal part of everyday life. The old idea that it was the bones of the joint rubbing against each other that caused the sound is not correct. If you have osteoarthritis in a joint then it would be advisable not to crack the joints as it may cause pain, it may also release tension so this would be on a case by case basis. The reason osteoarthritis may be aggravated by cracking will be that the joint won't have cartilage to protect the bone ends so they may actually rub against each other.

What about Chiropractors?

From a Chiropractors perspective they usually advise you not to crack your own joints, especially the neck, as this can over stretch the ligaments in the joint which will make them looser and crack even more. You can then get hyper mobile joints that move too much.

While we are talking Chiros we could add that the idea of putting a joint back in or that a joint can be “out” is a bit of an outdated idea. The reality of what is happening when they “adjust” a joint is just releasing gas or tension from a joint. Once you pop a joint, you will be able to pop it again approximately 20 mins later as the gas has had time to build up in the joint. It’s like cracking your knuckles. If you crack them right now, you won't be able to crack them again straight away. Our knuckles don't crack because they are out of alignment they crack because there is a gas build up in the joint which is a natural process and by product of a synovial joint.

So there you have it if you're a joint cracker and love it then there is no real proof that it is dangerous, just be careful in the neck not to over stretch it.

Kinesio Taping For Aiding Injury Recovery And Posture Improvement

Designed by chiropractor Dr Kenzo Kase in the 1970s, Kinesio Tape has seenan increase in popularity following its presence at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Kinesio Tape (KT) is an elastic adhesive tape used for the treatment of sport injuries and a variety of other conditions including posture realignment. The tape is claimed to stretch 120 to 140 per cent of its original length and then subsequently recoil to its original length following application, thus exerting a proposed pulling force on the skin. It is suggested that KT allows a greater range of motion (ROM) than conventional tape and can be worn for longer periods of time without the need for reapplication.

In the sporting context, KT has been used to modulate pain, increase ROM, increase strength, improve proprioception  and increase muscle activity. The proposed mechanism of athletic benefits include:

Facilitating joint and muscle realignment by strengthening weakened muscles

Improving circulation of blood and lymph by increasing the interstitial space between the skin and underlying connective tissues (allowing for increased circulation of both venous and lymphatic fluid)

Decreasing pain through the reduction in pressure on nociceptors

Repositioning subluxated joints by relieving abnormal muscle tension, helping to return the function of fascia and muscle

Increasing proprioception through the stimulation of cutaneous mechanoreceptors

The most commonly researched areas for KT application include the shoulder, neck, back, knee, ankle and forearm. It is common for KT to be applied for the management of whiplash-related disorders, lower back pain, subacromial impingement, grip weakness and patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS).  Non-athletic uses of KT include the management of lymphoedema, cerebral palsy and stroke patients.

Contact us for more information and assessment of your suitability for this treatment. 

How Do I Know If I'm About To Be Injured

Sports medicine professionals are now placing a much greater emphasis on preventing injuries rather just treating them, and as the saying goes prevention is better than cure! We’re in the early stages of learning what contributes to sports injuries, but here’s a list of things that you can use to assess whether an injury is looming.

Look for specific tightness and restriction

The body is quite clever. When an area is irritated or injured the nervous system usually switches on the muscles around the region to help brace or splint the region to protect it. If you’ve ever had a wry-neck you know what I mean. This increase in muscle tone can be picked up (sometimes) before you feel any pain, and it’s usually specific to one area. So if one calf starts getting tight or you’re finding hard to stretch your lower back to the left but not the right get things checked out.

Pain is not your friend

Nature gave us pain for a reason. There is a difference between working hard and feeling a bit sore after a session and a pathological pain. Use the 3-day rule: if it’s not better after a few days there might be something going on.

Changing training, routine, or technique

Change your training gradually. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, when your body is exposed to a new physical stress it takes time for your system to adapt. And it’s not only your sports activity that you need to take into consideration. That business trip you did last week where you were in meetings all week, or painting the baby’s nursery all weekend may play a part. If you’ve changed your physical routine, pay attention to the other points in this article.

Old injuries playing up

One thing we do know from research into sports injuries is that old injuries generally have a risk of recurring, and incomplete recovery or rehabilitation can play a major role. Be honest with yourself – did I finish off everything I was supposed to do after my hamstring tear or knee operation? If not, better late than never. And if you don’t know, get a health professional to check you over.

Gaining weight

Whether you’ve eaten too much or bulked up in the gym, weight gain can be a problem. Obviously the heavier you are, the more stress is placed on your legs in particular. If you have gained weight pay attention to any niggles and try and get your weight down by eating well and low impact exercise such as cycling and swimming.

If you have any questions on this or any of my articles please do not hesitate to contact me.

Rick Southcott


Sports Massage is added to FHT’s independently accredited register for complementary healthcare therapists

Wellness Massage Therapy is pleased to announce that Sports Massage has been added to the FHT’s Accredited Register, which is independently approved by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care, a body accountable to Parliament.

FHT members (including Rick Southcott of Wellness Massage Therapy) who hold a qualification in Sports Massage, accepted by the FHT for membership and insurance purposes, will now be automatically listed on the FHT Complementary Healthcare Therapist Register, under Sports Massage.

Furthermore, the FHT’s Complementary Healthcare Therapist Register is the only Accredited Register to list Sports Massage as a standalone modality.

Practitioners listed on the FHT’s Accredited Register are part of a government-backed scheme to protect the public, which helps potential clients, employers and health and care commissioners to choose a therapist with confidence.

FHT’s President, Jennifer Wayte, says: ‘While Body Massage and Sports Therapy already appear on the FHT’s Accredited Register, we’re delighted to now add Sports Massage to the list. Not only will this offer more choice to those looking for practitioners on an Accredited Register, we hope it will also bring therapists offering this modality further recognition for their role in health and care.

‘Sports Massage has many health and well-being benefits to offer, and not just to those taking part in sporting activities’, Jennifer adds. ‘For instance, many people experience minor aches and pains as a result of their work or hobbies – from painting and decorating, to gardening and fishing. Sports Massage, alongside conventional medical care, can be an excellent way to help people address these day-to-day challenges. It can also be an effective form of preventative health care.’

For more information about the FHT’s Accredited Register, visit

The Pelvic Floor Muscles

The pelvic floor is the base of the group of muscles referred to as your ‘core'. These muscles are located in your pelvis, and stretch like a trampoline or hammock from the pubic bone (at the front) to the coccyx or tail-bone (at the back) and from side to side. 

The pelvic floor muscles work with your deep abdominal (tummy) and deep back muscles and diaphragm to stabilise and support your spine. They also help control the pressure inside your abdomen to deal with the pushing down force when you lift or strain - such as during exercise.

Pelvic floor muscles support the bladder and bowel in men, and the bladder, bowel and uterus in women. They also help maintain bladder and bowel control and play an important role in sexual sensation and function.

Working your Pelvic Floor Muscles

Although it is hidden from view, your pelvic floor muscles can be consciously controlled and therefore trained, much like your arm, leg or abdominal (tummy) muscles. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles will help you to actively support your bladder and bowel. This improves bladder and bowel control and reduce the likelihood of accidentally leaking from your bladder or bowel. Like other muscles in your body, your pelvic floor muscles will become stronger with a regular exercise program. This is important for both men and women, especially for improved recovery from childbirth and gynaecological surgery .

Contact us for more advice, 121 and small group sessions available for exercise instruction and programme design. 

Sports Massage Should Be Part Of Your Fitness Regime

If you are getting out there and exercising this winter, good on you! Perhaps you are in training for a marathon. But remember that sports massage should play an important part of your regime, whether you are an athlete or just increasing your activity levels. Massage has a number of benefits both physical, physiological and psychological for everyone. However, sports massage can help maintain the body in generally better condition, prevent injuries and loss of mobility, cure and restore mobility to injured muscle tissue, boost performance and allow you to keep exercising for longer as you age. Massage as part of your exercise regime has numerous benefits. The stroking movements in massage suck fluid through blood and lymph vessels. This is especially important in tight or damaged muscle tissue, as a tight muscle will squeeze blood out like a sponge, depriving the tissues of vital nutrients and energy to repair. Deep massage causes the pores in tissue membranes to open, enabling fluids and nutrients to pass through. This helps remove waste products such as lactic acid and encourage the muscles to take up oxygen and nutrients and recover quicker. Massage stretches muscles in ways they may not normally be stretched, and can help break down scar tissue which otherwise may cause inflexibility and areas prone to pain and injury. Hard training can make tissues hard and inelastic, all the stretching in massage helps reverse this. All these benefits also help us non-athlete types keep our muscles in top form. Massage can also be great for chronic diseases, specifically arthritis, osteoporosis, postural problems, stress, anxiety, depression, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and inflammatory disorders. Wellness Massage Therapy has a skilled therapist who specializes in sport and remedial massage and can work with those of us who are fitness freaks, light exercisers, ageing or facing any of the above conditions.

Why Everyone Would Benefit From A Regular Massage

Why Everyone Would Benefit from a Regular Massage

Although massage has been practiced for thousands of years, it is not until fairly recently that the general public has become aware of its many benefits. While those with muscular aches and pains often sought out a massage therapist to help them, it has now become apparent that the regular use of massage can promote both physical and mental health for everyone. Massage is not a luxury; it might almost be considered a necessary part of everyone’s lifestyle.

Dealing with Our Stressful World

The fast, often frenetic pace of the modern world leaves many of us feeling frazzled and stressed out. The elevated rate of depression and other mood related issues is reflected in the millions of prescriptions written every year for drugs to try to mitigate these mental problems. Often, people find it difficult to simply relax and enjoy life.

Stress can result in such negative effects as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, headaches, muscle pain, and insomnia. All of these are conditions that can seriously impact health. When we are stressed, our body releases cortisol. This hormone helps us to run faster or fight better, which is of use when running from a hungry bear or when your child is in danger. Under normal circumstances, the level of cortisol in the blood drops as soon as the crisis is over. However, in today’s stressful atmosphere, often the crisis is never over. Fortunately, massage is an excellent way to counteract stress and anxiety.

Massage therapy helps to release the body’s natural stress relievers – endorphins. These neurotransmitters are instrumental in producing a feeling of calm and well-being.
Simply being under the hands of a massage therapist causes the body and mind to relax; it’s not uncommon for those experiencing a massage to actually nod off.

Massage for Handling Aches and Pains

Although stress is a great contributor to muscular pain, there are numerous other ways that our bodies can be damaged and require the services of a massage therapist. Injuries incurred while participating in sports or work can cause pain not only in the muscles, but also in the ligaments and tendons.

Sprains are damage to the ligaments holding a joint in place and result in swelling, pain, and difficult in using the affected limb. Massage helps in healing sprains by bringing more blood to the affected area to speed healing, as well as helping to drain away excess fluid that has accumulated as a result of the injury.
Strains represent damage to muscle tissue. Overworked or overstretched muscles can experience tears in the fibres, causing pain, knotting, and stiffness. Your massage therapist will apply the proper technique to loosen up tight, stiff muscles, and the endorphins released during massage will help with pain reduction.
Exercise is instrumental in keeping both the body and mind strong, but it’s also very easy to overdo it while exercising – especially in the case of those who are engaged in bodybuilding. Both regular and deep tissue massage can help relieve pain and promote healing.

Is a Regular Massage Right for You?

The nice thing about massage is that it is never wrong. Not only is massage therapy perfect for dealing with stress and assorted aches and pains, it also bolsters the immune system to keep you healthier. The flexibility of the joints increases and more oxygen is delivered to all parts of the body (including the brain) as circulation improves.

Many people will use massage once or twice when dealing with a specific problem, and will come away feeling refreshed and revitalized. But, why wait until there is a problem to see a massage therapist? Scheduling a weekly or biweekly massage can help to keep you feeling better all the time – less stressed, more alert, and less likely to suffer from painful, tight muscles.

What it basically comes down to is this – regular massage by a massage therapist is one of the best ways to promote both mental and bodily health for everyone.


What is Hot Stone Massage?

Evidence of stone massage dates back to before written history, in fact to over 3000 years. Ancient civilizations believed that hot stones were beneficial for cleansing the body, relaxing the heart, grounding the soul and soothing the mind.

The treatment originates in ancient India and China and more recently, the North American Indians living in the southwest states. The traditions and healing rituals, in which the stones were used, including laying the stones in patterns on the body, carrying or wearing stones for health and protection, using stones in the diagnosis and treatment of disease or during ceremonies such as sweat lodges or in medicine wheels. Some native healers used heated stones to ease the discomforts experienced during menstruation, or applied cold stones to impede blood flow after giving birth.

The Roman Empire was noted for their creation of Roman baths. Many of these rituals still exist today in the form of hydrotherapy practices and the use of saunas, hot immersion baths and marble stone / cold pools. More recently, it is thriving today in many healing centres and spas throughout the world.

How does it work? 

Hot stone massage combines the benefits of Hydrotherapy and "Thermalism" or "Thermotherapy" (the use of heat applications) with massage strokes using stones to create a deep, relaxing and healing treatment.

Using the heat of the stones to warm the skin allows the skin to absorb moisturizing and therapeutic oils, while at the same time preparing the musculature of the body so the therapist can work into deeper muscle layers.

It is generally accepted that one stroke of a heated basalt stone is equivalent to 5-10 strokes of the therapist's hand.

Benefits of Thermotherapy include:

  • Increased local circulation
  • Improved blood flow to surrounding tissues
  • Greater ability to transport toxins and waste products from the area
  • Hot stones provide a fantastic tool creating a sense of depth to the massage.

Massage Gift Vouchers - Now Available

Whether it’s a relaxing hot stone massage for someone who has been under stress lately, or rarely takes time out for themselves, or deep therapeutic work to alleviate specific pain or injury, a Wellness Massage Therapy gift voucher makes for a thoughtful gift.

We offer a range of professional treatments from our well-equipped treatment room in Eltham, South-East London. Vouchers are valid for 3 months and may be used as full payment for 1 hour treatments including: Deep Tissue Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Sports Massage and Swedish Massage.

How to Purchase

Massage gift vouchers are £40 and can purchased by contacting us Payments can be made in person with cash or via BACS. Once we’ve received payment we’ll post the voucher, specifically designed gift card and personalized message to the address of your choosing. Gift vouchers will be sent out by Royal Mail. Please allow 2-3 days for delivery. If you require them by a set date such as Christmas or a birthday, then please let us know. Gift Vouchers are non-refundable.

Massage Therapy for a Healthier Winter

Having a Massage during the winter is probably more important than it is in the summer periods. Whatever the season and whether you’re an athlete or an office worker, we all should take to the table at least once a month.

As we approach winter, our immune system starts to slow with the drop in temperature, increasing the chances of catching a virus or cold. Many exercise less as the winter months decrease the opportunities to do our favourite activities.

Having a regular Massage combined with a healthy diet, can help reduce muscle aches and pains, particularly during winter as our muscles tend to stiffen up and blood flow doesn’t work as well.  Having a strong immune system during the winter not only fights of infection and keeps us well and healthy, it also maintains a strong system for continued physical activity throughout the colder months.

Some benefits of a massage during winter….

Keep that circulation flowing
Cold weather can bring on many discomforts, aches, pains and arthritis. Massage Therapy plays a crucial role in increasing circulation and providing stress and pain relief. Improved circulation increases body warmth, provides healthier blood pressure levels, and increases the flow of oxygen throughout the body

Keep the winter blues at bay
Massage Therapy creates positive changes in the endocrine system where hormones are formed. Hormones affect mood, desire, depression, alertness, sleep, hunger, sense of touch and sex drive; the balance of which are very important for the well-being. After receiving massage, cortisol levels are decreased (the hormone responsible for stress), and oxytocin levels are raised (the happy, contentment hormone)

Immune boosting
Massage Therapy increases lymph flow which is packed with white blood cells or “killer cells”. These cells fight off infections and bacteria, boosting your immune system. Your body is more prepared to defend itself during this time of year when many of us get sick.

Get a better night’s sleep

Massage Therapy can help with sleeping patterns meaning that the you can recover from activities much better, you're also less likely to have stress interfering with your sleep. People who have sleep disorders typically don't get rested when they sleep, during a massage, they go into a deep state of relaxation, and rest, which can positively affect the body similar to sleep.

Live close to Eltham, Blackheath, Greenwich? Don’t forget to book your massage this winter.

If you have any questions about Massage Treatments, please feel free to contact me.

Rick Southcott

Massage Therapist