Aches and pains yacht crew can relate to, and how to ease them
Written by Sophie Allen
Last updated: 03/08/2016
Between cleaning, running, standing, hauling, heaving, pushing and pulling, being crew on board a busy superyacht can really take a toll on the body. There are a lot of pain killing gels, creams and tablets currently on the market that can help to take the edge off, but why just cover up the issue? Read the top ways to sooth your aches and pains through self-massage.
So you’ve been scrubbing the already-gleaming toilet all day. It’s so clean you could eat your dinner off it, although that’s not recommended. With perfection comes the sacrifice, and that sacrifice is your hands.
Repetitive stain injury (RSI) is something you’re bound to be very accustomed to, performing very similar tasks, in very similar spaces will result in that uncomfortable and annoying pain of RSI.
Following this, carpal tunnel syndrome, an irritation of your nerve in the wrist and fingers, can also occur as a result of excessive use of your hands in tough conditions. Read and follow the below steps carefully to help with this:
- Hold your left hand up, palm facing outward. Using your right hand, pull your fingers back slowly towards your wrist until you feel a stretch. Hold that position for 5 seconds. Repeat on your right hand.
- Press the palms of your hands together at chest height. Lower them towards your lap until you feel the stretch in your wrists. Hold that for 5 seconds.
- Spread your fingers wide for 5 seconds
- On your left hand, gently pull your thumb back toward your wrist until you feel the stretch. Hold it for 5 seconds, and then repeat the move on your right hand.
- Curl your fingers into a fist: Start with your pinky finger and gradually fold the remaining four fingers into a fist. Then curl your wrists inward until you feel the stretch, and hold for 5 seconds.
- Massage the inside and outside of each hand, and then gently shake them out.
What does a superyacht, a tennis ball and a frozen water bottle have in common? Well, long hours on your feet with little time, if any, to sit down is bound to play havoc with your feet. The best way to keep aches and pains at bay is to massage and ice those poor soles before settling down for the night.
Firstly, a tennis ball. Probably not one of the first items you would grab when packing your bags for the season, but by placing the ball under one heel, standing, and sinking your body weight onto the ball, you can greatly improve the pressure in your feet.
Once the ball is under your foot, slowly roll it from the heel to the base of the toes, spreading your toys wide when the ball passes near. Repeat on both feet for as long as you desire. A soup can from the galley or a golf ball can also work if the yacht is short in its supply of tennis balls.
Use the frozen water bottle to ice your feet down afterward, again rolling it back and forth under each foot. You may feel stupid for doing this, but you’ll be thankful in the morning.
Knotted shoulders and a stiff back
So your charter guests ask you to carry all their 30kg bags onto the yacht… All 30 of them. God forbid any of them bring children. Who knew Disney’s ‘Frozen’ had SO many toys and accessories?
Your back is killing, and it feels like there is a physical knot to the left of your spine. When you look in the mirror, you’re standing like you’re missing a hip and over all, you just want to lie in the master cabin bed and sleep.
This will not be the most angelic of solutions to solving back pain, and will probably cause a fair few looks in the crew quarters, however… He who laughs last, laughs the longest, and you’ll be the one feeling spritely in the morning.
Now grab your tennis ball and lay on the floor with it placed near the area that hurts the most, such as that annoying pain to the left of your spine.
Roll the tennis ball around until you hit the spot that’s most tender and lay there for 1 to 5 minutes, or until you feel your muscles relax. This is the kind of pain that is both excruciating and incredible to massage.
Even with the world’s most expensive stabilisers, your knees are going to take a battering from the sea. Knee injuries are responsible for a large percentage of insurance claims filed by yachties according to MHG Insurance, so make sure you look after them! You only have two.
Massaging the knee will allow blood and oxygen to get into the joint, allowing your knee to heal a lot easier. As well as this, it will help take pressure off those nerves and make your life on board just that little bit easier.
You know those foam rollers the kids play on in pools and in the sea? Go and steal one from the garage. How you sneak that into your crew quarters is your problem - often brightly coloured, these rollers are far from incognito.
Okay, so now you’ve performed mission impossible and you’re feeling all ‘Tom Cruisey’, get on that floor, it’s time to stretch that iliotibial band.
The iliotibial band (IT band) is a tough strip of connective tissue that runs down the outside of your thigh, starting at your hip bone and connecting just below the knee, when this gets tight, it leads to knee pain.
- Lie on your right side and place your right hip on the stolen roller. Put your hands on the floor for support.
- Cross your left leg over your right and place your left foot flat on the floor.
- Roll your body to the right, allowing the roller to move from your hip to your knee as it massages the entire length of your outer thigh.
- Then roll back and forth for 30 seconds.
- Switch to your left side and repeat with the roller under your left hip.
The general rule of thumb here is, if it hurts, don’t do it. If your aches and pains are more severe, simple self-massage will not be enough, so ensure you seek medical advice.
Roel from Blue Tree Massage has these easy exercises to help you keep calm and de-stress:
- Inhale deeply and close your eyes. Block your respiration.
- Contract all the muscles in your body as strongly as possible by thinking of nothing else for at least one minute.
- Release all muscle contractions and exhale as deeply as possible whilst shaking your arms and legs just like an athlete before a race.
- Repeat this exercise at least three times.
- Using your fingertips, make small circular movements by starting at the top of your nose, following your eyebrows and continuing along your face, before descending to your jaws.
- The circles need to rotate in the same direction, starting on the inside and moving towards the outside of your face.
- Smoothen your eyelids with your fingertips, from the inside to the outside of your eyes, towards your temples.