And how are you today?
was the last time you had your dog checked over by a massage therapist, chiropractor, osteopath
or other practitioner? And now, when was the last time YOU were treated or checked over? Sports
therapist Tamzin Grimes believes that quite a few agility handlers would benefit in the ring
from a deep tissue massage so she has set up a massage service
at various shows for those people who
don't have time to fit in a treatment to their weekdays!
In this day and age of agility we are
all very much in tune with our dogs, making sure they are jumping efficiently and keeping their
physical condition at an optimum level. But how many of us can truthfully say the same for
The emphasis of a sports massage is very much on
rehabilitation and recovery for injuries or niggles and relaxation. It works on both the
psychological and physiological levels.
Physiologically, Sports/Deep Tissue massage aids the
blood flow into damaged areas and draws out lactic acid and other waste products. It will
stretch out tight muscles and rebalance the musculoskeletal system, improving the elasticity of
the tissues and encouraging the circulation within the areas massaged.
The psychological benefits will vary
from person to person, but may include reducing anxiety, as a state of relaxation is induced.
Massage can also be invigorating, so is useful in a pre-event situation.
agility itself may not provide
any obvious repetitive injuries, think about the twisting and turning that we do as we move to
get our dog to do that out-round, or the pull in at the end of a straight line. Knees and
ankles can take some strain. And how about all the miles we put in driving to and from shows. Back neck and shoulders can get rather tight. If these problems are allowed to become chronic
they may hinder your agility runs.
Work life and day to day activity will also play a big part in not only how we are generally
feeling, but also our physical ability. Take a moment to think about some of the repetitive
movements that you may do in any one day – and now think about how these may build up over the
course of a week.
At a recent show, a gentleman came to see me with complaints of limited movement in his neck,
caused by his job as a builder and plasterer. He had thought that a few days rest over the
weekend would improve it, but instead the caravan tow had actually made it worse. We did one 30
minute treatment. The following day he had the colour back in his face and said that he felt he
was much more able to run his dog without feeling sick from the pain.
One Grade 3 handler came to see me at a
recent show on the Saturday. The previous week her dog seemed to be going in any direction
other the one she wanted. Upon assessment, I found that her right shoulder was rounded and
raised, and her lower back was so twisted that her feet weren't facing straight. One 30 minute
treatment later, and two clear rounds were achieved!
I have been treating another handler at various times this season so far. Over the past two
months, I have seen a great improvement in her range of movement and overall muscle condition.
Having come to see me at a show in April, it was obvious that various muscle imbalances were
hindering her ability to run her dog. Whilst some of this came from a medical condition, we
decided that a course of massage would help provide some relief and, hopefully improve overall
comfort. Fortunately, over a course of four treatments in the last 10 weeks this has been
achieved. I am pleased to say that our last treatment was declared 'almost relaxing!'
So, as you are sitting at your computer reading this, take a moment to really think about how
you feel physically. How do your shoulders feel? Are they rounded? Are you slouching forward
from your core? Now stand up. How easy was it? How do your knees feel? Do the same the next
time you are training your dog.
So, from now on, if you want to get the best from your agility, you should regularly review not
only your dog's performance but yours, too.'
Tamzin Grimes has been competing in agility since the age of
six! Having run
collies for her parents and their friends, she was given her own dog, a Papillion, at the age of
10. They had a lot of fun, and some success in the KCJO (now YKC) competitions, qualifying for
Crufts. During her time with the YKC Tamzin was privileged to be voted onto the Management
Board and be invited to teach at the first Norwegian YKC Camp.
Professionally, Tamzin gained a degree
and spent four years working in the media Industry in London. Having decided she wanted to do
something that gave her a greater sense of wellbeing, she completed a diploma in Personal
Training & Sports Massage Therapy and worked in the sports centre of a prestigious boys
school for two years. Tamzin has now taken the leap into being self-employed, and has
treatment spaces in Gillingham, Sherborne and Farnham, Dorset where she can offer not only
Sports and Deep Tissue Massage but also Personal Training and Nutritional Advice.
Tamzin will be at shows
throughout the season. A full listing will be on her website which will updated regularly. If you would like to have a treatment at your show,
boot camp, or looking towards winter workshops please email Tamzin at
firstname.lastname@example.org , or ring/text m. 07729 222622 or visit
Tamzin at shows at the sign of the blue Phoenix!