How to care for your back and body during the festive season!


Soak away the aches & tension!
My Grandma, who was a wise lady, swore by Epsom salts as a remedy for almost anything! Tummy ache, sore back and minor sprains.
Having looked into the published research, she gave great advice! It’s an easy and safe way of increasing the body’s magnesium and sulphate levels.

Why do you want to do that?

Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral that is important in more than 300 chemical reactions that keep the body working properly.

Known scientifically as hydrated magnesium sulfate, Epsom salt is rich in both magnesium and sulfate. While both magnesium and sulfate can be poorly absorbed through the stomach, studies show increased magnesium levels from soaking in a  bath enriched with Epsom salt!
Sulfates play an important role in the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins and the proteins that line the walls of the digestive tract. They stimulate the pancreas to generate digestive enzymes and are thought to help detoxify the body of medicines and environmental contaminants.

Researchers and physicians suggest these health benefits from proper magnesium and sulfate levels, as listed on the web site of the Epsom Salt Industry Council:

  • Improved heart and circulatory health, reducing irregular heartbeats, preventing hardening of the arteries, reducing blood clots and lowering blood pressure.
  • Improved ability for the body to use insulin, reducing the incidence or severity of diabetes.
  • Flushed toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.
  • Improved nerve function by electrolyte regulation. Also, calcium is the main conductor for electrical current in the body, and magnesium is necessary to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.
  • Relieved stress. Excess adrenaline and stress are believed to drain magnesium, a natural stress reliever, from the body. Magnesium is necessary for the body to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of well being and relaxation.
  • Reduced inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps.
  • Improved oxygen use.
  • Improved absorption of nutrients.
  • Improved formation of joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins.
  • Prevention or easing of migraine headaches.
Hectic week? Sore back from lugging the kids around? Need some time to relax? Right, here is your golden opportunity to luxuriate in a warm bath with added Epsom salts, soak away the stress of the silly season!
Turn the heating on, shut the bathroom door, lock it! Get the candles out, put your biggest fluffiest towel on the radiator to warm, iPod on or complete silence (!), run the bath, add 2 cups of Epsom salts and an essential oil if you want, step in, lie back, relax. AHHHHH!!!!!! Do this twice a week, every week and I bet you will doing the serene thing before you know it!

PS You can purchase Epsom salts from most chemists, supermarkets or on the internet. Its really cheap too!

Guest Expert – Rachel Law Female fitness specialist and founder of 121 Fitness.

Look after your back:
This exercise will help reverse the effects of the hunched over seated position we tend to adopt both at the desk and lifting and carrying small children
The seated row is one of the most effective exercises for targeting your back muscles. This exercise is a compound exercise, involving more than one joint, it also activates several other muscles as well..

Keep your back straight.  Sit tall in the exercise.  Don’t hunch over.  It’s okay to lean forward a little, but lean forward from your waist, don’t curl your spine.  Pull back against the band, pulling your arms back and sitting straight up.  However, your hands and arms are just something to use to hold onto the band.  The idea is to pull with your BACK, not your arms.  The best way to explain how to do this is to try to squeeze your shoulder blades together at the end of the exercise.  Many people do back exercises incorrectly because they use too much of their bicep muscles in the exercise.  If you can’t feel your back muscles working when you perform the exercise, but you can with your biceps, try again.  Really focus on pulling with your back muscles and not your arms.
Relax your back and let your arms move forward, and that’s it.  One rep done. Now do 9 more reps.  Rest for 30 seconds, and then do a total of 3 sets.  As another note, don’t just jerk back on the band.  Always use a controlled motion pulling back and relaxing forward.
A note about breathing.  You breathe out when you contract the muscles, i.e., when you pull back.  You breathe in when you relax the muscles.  You should do this for every type of exercise.

Rachel offers one-to-one fitness coaching to help you feel good, look good and improve your health. From our friendly and well equipped studio in Twickenham, West London, 121 Fitness and Health provide one-to-one personal training that produces real, long term results. Each session is uniquely tailored to your body, your schedule, and your individual needs.
Check out her website:

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