Skiing injuries and protecting the ACL


Most common of all Skiing Injuries- knee ligament sprains and strains

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears

These occur most commonly when you’ve twisted your knee whilst ‘sitting in the back seat’  ie, leaning your weight back over your heels which puts the ligament is on full tension and risking a tear when you then put another (rotatory) movement through your knee.

If it’s a serious tear, and your knee swelled up, and still feels very unstable, its advisable to get a scan to identify if you’ve fully ruptured the ACL and if there’s merit in surgical repair. We can refer you for a private scan if needed.

If your knee is swollen and painful and feels a bit precarious but not very unstable, you may have a partial tear or strain and you’ll need to start some gentle stabilisation exercises and progress onto strengthening exercises.

Exercises to protect the torn ACL

Here’s how you can improve your quadriceps muscle strength so your kneecap slides evenly in its groove:

  1. Sitting or lying: place a rolled up towel underneath your knee to bend it slightly (around 15 degrees). Gently straighten your knee to press the towel down and hold for 10 seconds then release. Repeat 10 times per 2 sets (of 10). Your vastus medialis obliquus (VMO) will thank you for this – it is active in the last 15 degrees of knee straightening.
    excercises for skiing injuries
  2. Lying on your back, point your toes up and outwards (very important when targeting vastas medialis), lift your whole leg about 6 inches from the floor and hold the position for 10-20 seconds. Repeat 10 times per 2 sets.  Priming the injured knee muscles to help you balance and reduce risk of re-injury
    Excercises to prevent skiing injuries
  3. Single leg stands (as long as this is not too painful and/or you haven’t been advised otherwise by a traumatology consultant): stand on both feet with a minimal degree of bend at the knees. Slowly lift the non-injured leg off the floor while you make sure the hip level stays even on both sides. Maintain the balance for 10 seconds, repeat 10 times.
    leg stand exercises for skiing injuries
  4. Squat against the wall (you will feel your quads): stand with your back against a wall with your feet pointing forward on a hip wide stance. slowly slide your back downwards allowing for a gradual knee bend. You will find yourself in a sitting position but don’t go too low (keep your hips higher than your knee) otherwise coming back up will be too strenuous! Hold the position for 15-20 seconds and slide up again. Repeat 10 times.
    Squats to protect your ACL - skiing injury
    Feeling stronger?
  5.  Sideways lunges (more dynamic yet not straining your ACL): stand with your feet close together, aim for a side step and alternate this on both sides for 10 times (don’t  cheat – this means 10 sidesteps per side so count 1 every other step!). Don’t aim for a sharp angle of the knee when you lunge sideways, especially at the early stages – increase the knee bend of a few degrees per day.


All of the above exercises should be performed daily or twice a day if possible. This doesn’t replace a full physiotherapy rehabilitation protocol but it is a great, simple backup routine.

If you would like to know more or book an appointment please use the form below.  Or tune in next week for more insightful info on the type of services we offer.



Skiing Exercises to Avoid Injury


Do you change your exercise with the seasons?

We get a lot of calls from patients with long-term injuries in January and February a week or two before they go skiing who are desperate to know whether they are at further risk of injury if they ski.

Common Injuries

Here are some of the most common injuries that are likely to occur if you ski and HOW TO AVOID THEM….

  • Knee sprains leading to injury of the following ligaments: lateral and/or medial collateral ligament, anterior and/or posterior cruciate ligament, meniscal tears.
  • Arms/wrists and coccyx fractures which occur from falls. The answer? Don’t fall!! So get an instructor to improve your technique if you are a beginner and take it easy on the first day while your body remembers what skiing is all about.  

5 Easy Exercises

Here are five easy exercises to perform daily to strengthen your hips, knees and ankles and to improve your proprioception to limit the risk of falling.

  1. Reaches: Standing on one leg with a minimal amount of knee bend, lean forward reaching with your arms in front of you as you stretch the other leg backwards to counterbalance your weight. Glut workout on extended leg, stability and proprioception on the weight bearing leg.

    exercises for avoiding skiing injuries - reaches

    1. Reaches

  2.  Squats: Take 6 seconds to descend into full squatting position, hold for 1 second at the bottom, come up in 2 seconds to standing position. This type of timing will strengthen your hamstrings in the descent phase as well as improve your explosive power (during the squatting to standing phase). 3 sets of 10

    exercises for avoiding skiing injuries - Squat

    2. Squats

  3.   Squat hold on tiptoes: position yourself into a semi squat so that the angle at your knee is about 90 degrees, then raise your heels off the floor to reach a tiptoes position and hold it for 10/15 seconds for 5 times.

    exercises for avoiding skiing injuries - Squat hold on tiptoes

    3. Squat hold on tiptoes

  4. Core stability: do some gentle crunches, do them with a twist, do them with your belly button pulled back, with a leg in table top … the more regularly, the better!
  5. Muscle length as well as strength, joint mobility and overall flexibility are a must to enable your body to cope better with potential falls or traumas, so regular yoga and pilates are super useful. Join a class, do them at home (the NHS website has some great 30-minute and 40-minute classes), do them with friends. And remember, frequent exercise matters more than the duration of each session!

If you would like to know more or book an appointment please use the form below.  Or tune in next week for more insightful info on the type of services we offer.


4 surprising conditions Pilates helps treat!

Welcome back to our blog where we aim to educate and inform about all the goodness Kennington and our services have to offer.  This fabulous Friday we would like to let you know about 4 surprising conditions Pilates can help treat and then some real life stories of how it has helped.

Conditions Pilates can help

  1. Hypermobility syndrome
    A multi-system disorder affecting joint flexibility, proprioception (your knowledge of where you are in space) and is associated with anxiety and the fright-fight-flight responses! Pilates retrains movement patterns, muscle initiation and sequencing and improves proprioception to foster a sense of centre and internal stability and calm the nervous system. It creates new neuromuscular connections.


  1.  Pre- Surgery Pilates helps Post Op Rehab
    Studies have shown that pilates can help build flexibility and muscle bulk before you have hip or knee replacement surgery as well as in the initial phase of rehabilitation after joint replacement before your full return to sports.


  1. Muscle Strength in the Elderly
    Pilates based exercises improve dynamic balance, reaction time and muscle strength in the elderly as well as younger people and have been demonstrated to reduce the propensity of falls in older women.


  1. Osteoporosis
    Pilates is recommended by the NHS as part of the recommended approach to managing osteoporosis as it is strength training as well as encouraging endurance, balance and flexibility.


And finally, loads of people use Pilates to get beautifully toned abs. The amazing thing about Pilates’ trained fab abs is that they’re not just for the beach, but for life.


Real Life Pilates Stories from our Reformer Instructors

  • 1-2-1 Reformer Instructor Katie has used Pilates all her life as a professional ballet dancer. Pilates method helped her return to ballet as a stronger dancer with more control of her movement. She believes her practice of Pilates allowed for the longevity of her career and healed her from the injuries doctors deemed as career ending.She is a fully certified STOTT PILATES® Instructor (Level 3 REPs) in all levels of mat and equipment.


  • 1-2-1 Reformer Instructor Amber felt the benefits of Pilates to help her strength and flexibility during her dance training, but developed a commitment to Pilates for healthcare after seeing the positive effects the training had on her mother after a disc herniation and later during recovery from breast cancer.  She is a fully certified STOTT PILATES® Instructor (Level 3 REPs) in all levels of mat and equipment, Injuries and Special Populations, as well as further speciality training including, Osteoporosis and Flexion-free.

If you have any questions relating to this post or others please do not hesitate to contact us or book an appointment please use the form below.




5 Things you didn’t know about Acupuncture and Dry Needling!


Our acupuncture and dry needling sessions are very popular and deliver successful results.  However many new clients are unaware of what acupuncture can do and what it actually is.  So we have collected together our 5 top things you may not have know about acupuncture and dry needling.

  1. Acupuncture represents only one part of the ancient healthcare system known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM also includes herbal medicine, Chinese massage and Chinese exercise (tai chi, qi gong..).
  2. Acupuncturists diagnose the state of different organs by palpating of the radial pulse on both wrists. There are about 29 different pulse qualities that can be assigned to a variety of pulse positions which together identify the health of different organs.
  3. Because of their location over arteries and nerves acupuncturists can use some powerful acupuncture points to enhance the beneficial effects of their treatments. Some martial arts practitioners make use of these powerful acupuncture points for precisely the opposite purpose – to enhance the effects of their combat. Dim Mak is a martial art that makes extensive use of certain acupuncture points to devastating effect!
  4. Osteopaths and physiotherapists often practice dry needling acupuncture, also called medical or western acupuncture. This application of needles is determined by the musculoskeletal system. Although it can affect the nervous system it does not target energy imbalances in the body as TCM does. So dry needling uses similar techniques to TCM but doesn’t share TCM’s  philosophical beliefs.
  5. Dry needling can be used to treat conditions such as fertility, by utilising an overlap in the central nervous system between internal organs and musculoskeletal structures that share the same nerve root. This overlap explains why a heart attack might feel like a pain in the arm or jaw. It also explains why applying dry needling to the abdominal wall or feet can affect the nerve supply to the ovaries.


If you would like to know more or book an appointment please use the form below.  Or tune in next week for more insightful info on the type of services we offer.


Health Benefits of Yoga

Stretching? Strengthening? Tightening your bhanda?

Health benefits of Yoga in KenningtonThroughout time yoga has inspired love and devotion from the health conscious and the body conscious. Apart from Yogalates, Pilyoga and a few other marketing mashups, yoga remains untainted by mechanisation and industrialisation. It continues to adhere to the original principles of 5th century devotional practice. And not only does yoga predate dualism (Descartes’ erroneous separation of mind and body), it continues to promote spirituality as an integral part of humanity. As such it is one of the few truly holistic practices.

The Benefits

Modern yoga fans makes some big claims — from weight loss, to improving sleep to making you feel younger. Numerous  studies demonstrate that yoga can help prevent heart disease, by lowering blood pressure and blood sugar, it reduces the risk of atherosclerosis.

The Research

Research reveals that yoga can moderate your reaction to and perception of stress. Yoga bumps up levels of the neurotransmitter GABA which both lifts mood and reduces anxiety.

A 2010 study published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine found that active stretching (where the muscle opposite the one being stretched is contracted, as is often the case in yoga poses) resulted in lasting, improved range of motion, while passive stretching actually decreases range of motion.

The Evidence

As a firmly evidence-based practitioners we cannot help but be pleased by the evidence accruing in yoga’s favour. As well as all the demonstrable benefits for wellbeing, it just feels good.

It seems likely that the researchers will catch up with yoga devotees eventually. By starting the practise younger and continuing until we’re much, much older we can genuinely limit the number of invasive medical interventions we undergo in our lives.

Health Benefits of Yoga

Click the image to download our 5 Tests of Flexibility

Try Yoga in Kennington

We are delighted to be able to offer lots of yoga inspiration and classes for everyone. Follow the link below!

In fact, we have such deep respect for the benefits of yoga that we are offering free classes to our staff not once, but twice a week! If you aren’t able to make evening classes and a lunchtime class might suit you better, please call our reception for details (we might have a spare mat for you!)

Call us on 020 7735 6813

And finally for anyone out there wanting to test their own flexibility – please click on the image to find out more.


Pilates for scoliosis, how does it help?

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Pilates for scoliosis, how does it help?

– by Chrisen Hall

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine. The severity of the curve differs from person to person and scoliosis is very common in the UK and it affects all ages. According to the NHS UK, around three to four in every 1000 children need treatment for scoliosis. The degree to which scoliosis will affect a person’s daily life depends upon how serious the curve is in their spine as everybody is very different. Scoliosis can be very mild, or significant and potentially disabling. If somebody is living with a severe scoliosis, it will affect the entire alignment of bones through the body. Not only does scoliosis impact your vertebrae, but it will also impact the structures around it. Scoliosis can shift the height of hip bones, resulting in two different leg length, it can shift the height of the shoulder blades and it can torque the rib cage, which can affect breathing.

As you could imagine, this can create pain and discomfort in the body. In particular it will reduce range of motion in areas of the body which can lead to complications in traditional exercise modalities and can limit a person from exercising as freely as they want to. There are not many things that will straighten a scoliotic spine after the spine has fully matured in an adult and Pilates is perfect for reducing the pain and discomfort associated with scoliosis. Unlike traditional exercise modalities, Pilates is low impact on the joints and it works to pull and glide muscles and bones into more of a natural alignment. The Pilates Reformer machine is perfect for exercising with scoliosis, the machine supports the body and teaches you quickly how to find proper alignment without strain.

I have worked with many clients who as as a symptom of their scoliosis hold tension in their back and neck, are stiff around the thoracic (mid back) and rib cage area. My goal in developing a Pilates program for scoliotic clients is to create more symmetry throughout the body to reduce daily discomfort and improve quality of life. We will achieve this by stretching the muscles out that are excessively weak, and by strengthening the muscles that are weak due to the scoliosis condition.

How does massage help PTSD, stress and anxiety?

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How does massage help PTSD, stress and anxiety?

– by Kimberley Pledger

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is classified as a mental health diagnosis for which the primary treatments are anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medication and talking therapies.

Despite its classification, PTSD is a prime example of the body and mind working as an integrated whole, where changes happen in tandem on a mental, physical and physiological level. In other words, PTSD exists in the mind and the body. This means that the current treatments for PTSD, based as they are on an outdated idea of a separation between the functioning of the mind and body, overlook the physical symptoms of this disorder.

Recovery from PTSD is not just about minimising or eradicating the psychological symptoms, it’s also about feeling yourself again, which means feeling in charge of your body and being able to trust it again.  This article will review the physical symptoms of PTSD and consider how touch therapy (massage), as a complement to medical and psychotherapeutic treatment, can help you regain your sense of self.

The Physical Symptoms of PTSD

There are ten physical symptoms commonly associated with PTSD so lets look at each of them in turn and consider how regular massage can help to address them.

1. Insomnia
Insomnia is itself a symptom of the hypervigilance experienced with PTSD — it stands to reason that if you’re always on guard and you never switch off then you’re going to struggle to get to sleep and stay asleep. The physiological reason you are hypervigilant is that your sympathetic nervous system is in overdrive. The sympathetic nervous system is made up of the parts of your brain and body that kick in when you’re in danger and control whether you fight back, flee or play dead. Positive touch stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system — the parts of your body and brain that are activated when you are relaxed and experiencing something that gives you pleasure. The rhythmic stroking and kneading of the body that takes place during massage activates the parasympathetic nervous system and induces a feeling of sleepiness. This feeling normally starts a short while into a massage and is accompanied by a sense of well-being which should last for several hours after the massage has finished. In fact, it is not uncommon for a person to feel the effects of a massage for a few days afterwards so you can see how regular massage could really help someone with PTSD to overcome insomnia.

2. Exhaustion
Exhaustion as a symptom of PTSD is partly the knock-on effect of insomnia, but also a result of the body being stretched to its limits because it is always on alert.  Massage deactivates the parts of the body and mind that are stimulated when under threat and effectively reverses the effects of hypervigilance. Instead of feeling wide awake and jittery you feel sleepy and calm; instead of working in overdrive your body moves into cruise control and eventually slows down into sleep. If this happens regularly it reminds the body that rest is possible and desirable so over a period of time you start to wake up feeling refreshed instead of exhausted.

3. & 4. Accelerated Heart Rate and High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
In order to maintain the heightened state of readiness demanded by the sympathetic nervous system in a person with PTSD, the heart beats faster so it can quickly pump blood to where it is needed most — the larger muscles to get them ready for fight or flight. One of the factors in high blood pressure is an accelerated heart rate, which is why hypertension is commonly found in people with PTSD.

Massage effectively switches off the sympathetic nervous system and activates the parasympathetic so the heart slows down, breathing becomes deeper and a feeling of wellbeing spreads through the body. There have been several studies showing how regular massage can help to keep blood pressure at lower levels.

The hormone cortisol is known to be a factor in hypertension and is also evident in high levels in people with PTSD. Although it is not yet fully understood how cortisol contributes to either PTSD or high blood pressure, what is known is that cortisol levels drop following massage.