What is Remedial Massage?

massage roomRemedial Massage is a massage wearing ninja gear.

It’s not just the soft, flowing, relaxing experience of a normal massage (though it can be part of it!), it’s much more about treating your muscular dysfunction and moving you toward a pain free existence.

Doesn’t that sound nice?

Let’s break it down.

For a muscle to contract, calcium is flooded into the muscle and then it recedes. In a perfect circumstance, the amount that flows in, flows out again. In an instance where there has been some minor trauma to the muscle, the body overcompensates flushing more calcium into the muscle and not all of it back out again. This means that a little ‘calcium deposit’ occurs – what you feel as a little lump or “knot” in the muscle. This may or may not cause pain when you press it.

Now, if we keep the “knot” description; imagine a length of rope being held up knot-free. Add a knot to it and it shortens. Add another and it shortens again. This is, in a (small) nutshell what’s happening to your muscle. With the knots, it is unable to contract OR release to it’s full capacity. Not only does it inhibit that LENGTH of the muscle, but over time this WEAKENS the muscle too.

A tight AND weak muscle = pain.

Many muscles create an action, so you can bet that even if just one muscle has knots, it creates a pattern of compensation in the body. Other muscles will try and help out, which in turn can lead to MORE pain.

This is where I come in.

Remedial massage targets these knots (also known as Trigger Points).

Remedial massage boosts blood flow into the muscles and encourages the body to wash away the debris creating the knot in the first place. By increasing blood flow, it increases oxygen delivery to the muscles, the fascia, the tendons and ligaments. This is sometimes why your muscles can look red after you’ve been massaged – this is an increase in blood flow and it’s a good thing!

Remember though, this is a process. Depending on how long this compensatory pattern has built up in your body, it can take a little while for us therapists to work backwards. Just because you are feeling pain in a particular area, does not mean that is the source of your pain. If this pain has been building up for YEARS, you may need more than one session to get to the bottom of your dysfunction.

Like your brain, your muscles have habits. They like to return to the position that is most habitual for them. Through remedial massage, you are educating the muscles to behave differently, giving them the length, strength and reason enough to change. This is how massage can IMPROVE your muscular situation and lessen the pain you’ve been experiencing.

Is that it?

Absolutely not.


– calms down your nervous system, which is why it is generally synonymous with relaxation. Even though a remedial massage can hurt, you should still feel a sense of release and relaxation accompanying your treatment

– provides lymphatic drainage

– improves sleep

– reduces stress

– can assist in emotional wellbeing

Why aren’t you booked in for a remedial massage again?


Does this help you?

Do you have any more questions about what remedial massage is? Let me know in the comments!

Why I Stopped…and Started Again.

I have no excuse, not really.

My #100daysofdance project lasted sixteen days and then *crickets*. I want to make an excuse be honest with you. I believe many people experience what I was experiencing; but it might surprise you.

It’s not because it was too hard. It’s not because I was bored, not interested, or half-hearted in this project. I stopped because the very thing I was doing worked.

InstagramI took on this 100 Day Project because dancing was unwittingly exiting my life, sneaking out the back door without saying goodbye. It’s one of my pillars, to MOVE – and dancing is the way I move best.

I’ve fought many demons in my time, but the main bodyguard to the Success Door for me is Mr. Fear. Fear of failure, judgement, perfectionism, ageing… There are many forms to this bully and I wanted to make him a little less scary. So, in this project I created another bodyguard, Mr. Action. Mr. Action (you guessed it) advocated action: 15 seconds to be precise; and hitting the “publish” button way before I felt ready to. He even buddied up with Mr. Fear and turned him into a more positive version of himself.

I started moving, the very thing I so passionately advocate to everyone because it really really does make every difference.

What happened? I attended a three hour improvisation workshop and fell in love again. This action created a small snowball that saw me turn up to a workshop audition and landed me a part in a dance performance to take place next year. I was invited to a showing where I met contacts which may start me up with a very exciting project aligning both dance and my work as a health practitioner.

All these things I wanted. They were happening, because as I predicted, ACTION BEGETS ACTION.

And BECAUSE it was working, I stopped. I was blinded by the excitement and success I was feeling and forgot the foundational steps; the steps that created action and momentum. The foundational steps that were so surreptitiously buried in my 15 second daily practice.

So I hope you’ll forgive me. I hope you’ll understand. I hope you’ll follow me on Instagram @ravogel as I pick up where I left off. The experts say it takes 66 days to form a habit, so there’s still hope left. This daily practice was doing so much more for me than I could have ever expected. It let me say “yes”, it let my battle my demons, and it aligned me on the path I wanted to walk on.

Am I alone in this? Has this happened to you before? Has something working actually derailed your ritual? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

If you’ve found this helpful, or know a friend who might, feel free to share this post with them. It might be exactly what they need to hear today.


I believe there’s a little bit of creativity in all of us.

Innovation. Spark.

Call it what you will, but even for the logical thinkers out there, you can’t deny that we all have (anatomically-speaking) a right-sided, creatively-fueled part of our brain. And this is where magic happens.

Friday’s are going to be our right-brain day. What it means to create a life you can feel connected to…proud of. The big and the small of it. Today, we start small. With me.

100dayproject Yesterday I began dancing. #100daysofdancing in fact.

This shouldn’t be something abnormal. By all accounts I’m a dancer. I’ve trained as one, I feel like one, I identify as one. But you see, here’s the thing… being a dancer isn’t a straightforward process.

Like all art, it relies on creativity, like all physical endeavors it requires fitness, but unlike many careers the possibility of it earning a living is much more…slim. I’m not going to enter the debate in this post today, but it’s safe to say that we as independent artists have a bit of tough trot when it comes to being able to express ourselves.

This fact means that I’ve leaned in to a lot of areas that highlight my strengths and circumnavigate my dance life. I’m a massage therapist, a Pilates instructor and hopefully, in the longer run, a physiotherapist. I like movement (if that hasn’t been made face-smackingly obvious yet). I’m passionate about educating you about how your body works, and how to allow it to function as it’s most efficient, optimum level. This is the value I hope to add to your life.

I also value authenticity, so I’d be remiss to neglect the very premise I preach day in and day out. MOVE. CONNECT. CREATE. Find what lights you up and go with it.

Dancing lights me up.

When i stop moving i feel stagnant; not just physically, but psychologically and emotionally. I feel stunted, caged, confused, and overwhelmed. Getting into my body is what connects me to a deeper, more actualised version of myself.

All this to say that I’M GOING TO MOVE. One day at a time, 15 instagrammed-seconds a day. It’s not going to be perfect, but it’s going to be me.

If you want to follow me on my journey, add me on Instagram… I’ve got a handy little button in the top right hand corner… see it? Yep. That one.

One last thing, I want to turn this back to you.

Have you discovered your little creative spark? Is it something you’ve thought about before? Noticed in yourself? Leave a comment finishing this sentence: I feel lit up when I …

I can’t wait to hear your answers.

Slowing Down

It’s a cold, autumnal day here in Melbourne; the type that makes you want to stay inside where it’s nice and cozy.

This is perhaps not the post you’d expect to see from me, my first post in so long… but it’s because I’m slowing down that we get to talk, connect. Five months ago I adopted this little scallywag:


Wren, in her own furry way has taught me so much about living as I’ve watched her investigate her life with all the curiosity of, well, a cat. One thing I’ve noticed (and often envied) is her ability to slow down, to switch off. She never second guesses the time she needs rest, and she’s unapologetic about letting me know when she thinks I need rest too.

Resting is not synonymous with a holiday, a bad work ethic, or laziness. Quite the opposite in fact. We rest to recuperate, to recharge, to reflect. We slow down so that we have the time to examine what we’re doing, to think about whether or not it’s working, and to either keep going or change direction. Slow down before you crash. Allow yourself the chance to wind up and wind down without having to hit the ‘on/off’ switch because you’re at capacity.

– and use if for that purpose. To think. To be. To connect with yourself.

Slowing down gives us the energy, motivation, and drive to speed up when we need to. Like a loaded spring, rest coils us into a position where we can toss ourselves into the frenzy we need to get things done, knowing that another rest is around the corner. After her periods of slowing down, Wren bolts around the house like a crazed little thing; she is the most playful and energetic kitten I’ve come across. For her, slowing down isn’t stopping – it’s the calm before the storm.

If you were looking for permission to slow down, consider this a nudge in the right direction. Slow down, rest. Coil that spring so that when you are (or have to be) motivated or inspired you can be.

(And if you, like me, want to learn more from this little kitten, you can follow some of her adventures here on Instagram.)

Dear Graduating Dance Students,

Watching dance helps me breathe. It’s akin to the breath of life, the blood that surges and courses through my veins.

So I get it.

I know why you want to study dance.

Your performance last night was fantastic, I really enjoyed it; it was creative and stimulating and you are to be congratulated. I thought, rather than critique it, I’d answer the thoughts that were streaming through my head as I was in a space that inspired so many memories. I was where you were, and I hope I can be a little useful while you’re forming your next steps.

My first piece of advice to you would be: see as many shows as you can. The perspective is invaluable. The confidence we develop to be performers can also be used against us. Instead of remaining humble in the space of experience we bolster ourselves so that we can carry on with confidence in a very uncertain profession. Still, we do not know it all, and until you see what’s out there in the greater dance world (nationally and internationally) you can create no real perspective on your own strengths and weaknesses, what it is yet you have to learn, or whom you can learn it from.

When you see these works (and don’t limit it to the big names – see the smaller, rougher works too!) form an opinion. I used to think that having an opinion closed me from certain opportunities. I imagined that my love of dancing would overrule any dissatisfaction I found with the repertoire. It’s not true. Unless you can move in a way you find joyous and stimulating, unless you feel like you are continually learning and experimenting, you will wish to move on. You’ll feel like you haven’t succeeded. Success is not in the name we make for ourselves, it’s in the satisfaction we feel in what we have done. So decide what you think about the works that you see. Did you like it? Did you not like it? Why? Be honest. Evaluate and think about it. Use this information to your advantage; it will forge where you can be of most creative use.

You may need to redefine your idea of success. Give yourself a break. You have not failed if you are not paid full time as a dancer. It doesn’t mean you aren’t one. You have the skills, the knowledge, and the knowhow to make your dance career what you will it as long as you put yourself in the driver’s seat. You must seize what you want, create opportunities when it seems like there aren’t any and it may take longer than what you ever expect. Success doesn’t happen over night, nor is it in one big thing that we do to create it. For most, it’s the determination and the persistence of the thousands of little decisions we make each day – the bravery to keep choosing this path because it’s truest to what we want as people.

It’s okay to take time. No doubt you’re exhausted. Full time dance will do that to you. Whether you still want to stay with it intensely, or whether you need a bit of time, it’s okay to step away from dancing for a little while. Trust it will come back to you if it’s really what you want to do. I thought if I stopped going to class full time I was “losing time”. What I didn’t see was that I was gaining resolve, which has much more of a shelf life than technical proficiency ever will.

Lastly, don’t believe everything you hear. My experience may not be your experience. Don’t believe you’re not good enough, that nobody will want your skills and your talent. Each dancer is shaped differently; it’s why we adopt “independent artist” as our title when we leave.

Good luck. You’re forging yourself a new pathway that’s yours. It’s different to what you’ve had these last three years or more, it’s closer to the rhythms of the way your life works, even though it may not look picture perfect.

Trust in yourself. Believe in yourself.

I wish you all the very best.

Yours dearly,


Dance Alumni 2008

The VCA Dance Graduation season runs until the 21st of November at Space 28 (Performing Arts Building) 28 Dodds St, Southbank. Admission is $22/$16. For tickets, head to http://www.vca.unimelb.edu.au/events

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