Ok, so I love my job! There, I’ve said it. And I’ve got a genuine love for mankind, I think we’re amazing, and with these fantastic skills I’ve been given, I find myself on a mission to help as many individuals fight the good fight with their amazing bodies too.
I trained at the highly respected Oxford School of Sports Massage, a year of intensive study of anatomy and physiology as well as massage and advanced soft tissue techniques culminating in a level 5 BTEC Professional Diploma in Soft Tissue Therapy, one of the highest levels of clinical massage therapy currently available in the UK (unlike the more usual level 3). As well as adhoc event/group corporate work, I operate mainly out of my new home treatment room in Emmer Green near Caversham, North Reading….. introducing Mending Muscles!
Being a long term sports fanatic and Pilates advocate, and still regularly playing tennis, surfing, skiing and running, I am a firm believer in sports and deep tissue massage as a way of keeping the body functioning at it’s optimal level, whether you’re into sport or not. For years I experienced crippling neck & back pain as a result of a gymnastic’s accident, but visiting endless osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists only seemed to provide me with temporary relief. My troubles were thankfully finally solved by a talented and caring sports massage therapist who not only got rid of my pain and stiffness through muscle relaxation and mobilisation, but restored my postural functionality through strengthening, maintenance and education – looking back now, I think that was when I found my true calling as I now find myself doing all those things for others, a truly wonderful gift to have.
I’m a stickler for compliance (how dull I am!) – I am fully insured, I am a qualified Emergency First Aider and I am a member of my professional body, the SMA (Association for Soft Tissue Therapists) so all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed!
And my promise to you if you decide to come and see me? I will always be professional and caring, I will always have complete respect for you, your privacy and your body, I will use the most up-to-date and advanced techniques in my field to fix any issues I have the power to treat, and I will do it in the most effective and efficient way possible with my extensive knowledge of anatomy, posture and movement (that I would be delighted to share with you if you are interested to learn).
I look forward to meeting you.
Fees & Info
*Please note: Whilst Mending Muscles is not generally a mobile service, if clinics are held away from the Reading location by specific arrangement, each treatment will incur between a £5 and £15 surcharge to cover the cost of travel/additional time
|Treatment||Duration||Weekdays||Weekends if agreed
|Initial consultation & treatment|
(including postural assessment)
|Treatment thereafter||45/50 minutes||£45*||£53
(by specific agreement)
|Kinesio taping & strapping||15 -20 minutes||£5-£15||£10-£20
Payment: by cash or cheque only please
Opening times: Mon 10-7.30pm, Tues 8.45am-6pm, Weds 8.45am-6pm, Thurs 10-7.30pm, Friday 8.45am -6pm; Saturday and Sunday generally closed
Location: my treatment room is based in Emmer Green, RG4 8RB
View in Google Maps
Parking: there is some off-street parking available on a first come first serve basis
Telephone: 07947 828150
Cancellations: if you are not able to make your appointment, please ensure you cancel by phone at least 24 hours in advance, otherwise you will be charged the full fee as I will have booked that time out in the diary for you and potentially turned other clients away. Thank you.
What to wear: loose comfortable clothing is best – a loose pair of shorts (alternatively underwear, or a bikini if preferred for ladies) for lower back/leg treatment works well. Ladies, sports bras are not ideal if treating your neck/shoulders as they do not allow full access (whereas a normal bra does!)
Early arrivals: if you arrive early for your appointment, it is likely I will either still be in clinic with another client or I will be in transit from another appointment elsewhere. I will come out to get you at the appointed time – please wait in your car
Late arrivals: if you are running late for your appointment, please let me know and if I’m not seeing someone else directly after you or due to be somewhere else, I will try and accommodate you. Otherwise I’m afraid your session will only run until the original booking finish time and you will be charged the full fee
Contraindications: In addition to any Covid-19 symptons, the following restrictions/ contraindications apply to soft tissue therapy, and it is imperative that you tell me about any reasons why treatment should not take place prior to booking an appointment as they may spread or exacerbate the issue (feel free to discuss any such issues with me on my number above if need be)
- open wounds or cuts/scratches or skin infections including local contagious, irritable skin conditions, boils or abcess, fungal infections such as athletes foot (red flaky skin that might be contagious)
- acute inflammation (redness, heat, excessive pain, swelling in the localised area)
- bleeding disorders such as haemophilia, low blood platelet counts and by those taking blood-thinning medications such as Warfarin
- any deep vein thrombosis, blood clots or significant varicose veins (light massage may be possible if minor)
- fractures or weakened bones (such as from osteoporosis or cancer), where there has been a recent surgery or Myositis Ossificans (as a result of extended recovery from a broken bone or trauma)
- systemic contagious or infectious diseases, including the common cold and significant fever
- acute conditions requiring first aid or medical attention
- severe unstable hypertension or unmedicated elevated blood pressure
- acute flare-up of inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
- recent burn
- lymphangitis (recognisable by a dark line running up the limb towards the lymph nodes)
- uncontrolled diabetes
- cancer patients should consult their oncologist for approval before having a massage that involves deep or intense pressure
- pregnant women should also consult their healthcare provider, especially in the 1st trimester as massage is not recommended
What to wear: loose comfortable clothing is best, a loose pair of shorts (alternatively underwear, or a bikini for ladies) for lower back/leg treatment works well. Ladies, sports bras are not ideal if treating your neck/shoulders as they do not allow full access (whereas a normal bra does!) Unless you would prefer not to, I am likely to ask you to remove some items of clothing to access the specific area(s) in question, but I preserve your modesty at all times by using towels to cover any exposed areas, and of course am led by you on this to ensure you remain comfortable at all times. A face covering is not mandatory.
The assessment: as noted above, if I am treating you for the first time, I am obliged to ask you a number of questions about your medical history and lifestyle before assessing and testing you physically – all information is given in confidence, all records are kept securely and every precaution will be made to ensure you are a suitable candidate for soft tissue therapy (please note I cannot be held responsible for any reaction/ decline in functionality as a result of critical information being withheld from me prior to treatment) Once I have completed the admin, I will assess your posture, ranges of movement and pain levels in order that I may gleen more information as to any issues you may have and how best to treat them. You can be as involved in this as you like, but most people seem to quite enjoy learning about how their body works and find it fascinating, as do I – happy to share this information with you in a way you can understand, it doesn’t have to be an endless stream of medical jargon!
The treatment: likely to be a mixture of seated, lying on your back on the couch (supine), on your front (prone) or on your side. Many techniques involve your participation to move limbs/parts of your body so this is not a static/fall asleep opportunity I’m afraid! Towels are used to protect your modesty/keep you warm, and if required, I will use either massage lotion or oil to lubricate your skin whilst massaging (I will ask if you have any allergies that might affect which lubricant I use). If at any time you feel uncomfortable, I would always want you to let me know so that I can alter my methodology accordingly – it is your treatment, I am just the facilitator and it’s really important to me that you are happy with the way in which you were treated – all constructive feedback very much welcomed, I learn something new every day! At the end of the treatment, I am likely to retest certain ranges of movement to gauge any changes in pain levels/restrictions etc. before I ask you to get dressed and have a drink of water with me while I go over my findings and any treatment/exercise plan with you. Taping/strapping any injury may be an option towards the end of the session if functional/ competitive support is required.
Payment: as payment is by cash or cheque, please ensure you bring enough cash with you to your appointment if you are not paying by cheque (there is a cash machine at the Tesco garage on Buckingham Drive RG4 8RZ)
Before leaving: Home rehab/strengthening/ stretching can have a real impact on the long term benefits for your body, and I will be happy to provide you with a few exercises/life hacks/ postural suggestions post treatment. Depending on the outcome of the session, I will of course also advise you on any further action/sessions I would recommend (rarely will one treatment completely rectify a long term/chronic problem but results vary from individual to individual). In addition, I will brief you on all standard post-treatment advice (see below) and/or in the case of further investigation being required outside of my jurisdiction (eg. skeletal, x-ray, neural, GP diagnosis), I can advise on referral to other healthcare professionals. I am not a doctor, and therefore can only work within my area of “muscular” expertise.
Post treatment advice: massage therapy can be powerful, and some individuals will react more strongly than others so I would always advise you to do the following:
- drink plenty of water for at least 24 hours after massage to flush out all toxins/muscle debris etc.
- use ice/cooling gel if appropriate or as instructed
- be prepared to feel like your muscles have had a really good workout for up to 48 hours post treatment. Personally, I use anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen if I am particularly affected after a massage, which tends to happen more when I am dehydrated or a bit run down (I have been known to superficially bruise, and once experienced some slight swelling too but only minor and very short lived so nothing to worry about) – feel free to contact me if you are concerned.
Data Protection Policy
Mending Muscles fully complies with the latest Data Protection Policy & has a transparent approach to Data Processing which empowers individuals to know about the collection & use of their personal data. Mending Muscles collects data for ensuring it has the right information for assessing your suitability to treatment, completing the appropriate treatment, contacting you regarding appointments &, if necessary, for a referral to GP or other healthcare practitioners if deemed necessary.
In addition, the data may also be shared with NHS Trace & Test if required, to minimise the spread of Covid-19. Mending Muscles only collects data that is relevant to those purposes & will retain this data for 7 years. All information held will be treated as strictly confidential & will only be released to any other external party with the full consent of the client.”
Mending Muscles recommend that all clients read their Data Protection Policy & consent to Mending Muscles processing records as outlined above. Any client should also understand that they can withdraw their consent on the processing of data at any time via written communication.
I am delighted to be re-opening Mending Muscles at my new home clinic from Monday 20th July 2020 and the following information is provided to help my clients understand the changes in how appointments will now proceed in order to continue the prevention of any infection spread.
Firstly, if you are experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms, please postpone or cancel your appointment immediately – there will be no cancellation fees in this instant. If you believe you are considered a high-risk client, it may also not be possible to massage you at this time but feel free to discuss this with me before I see you.
Regarding your exposure to Covid-19, the consent questions below are for all clients, new and old to digest and to agree to prior to their appointment, so please either text or Whatsapp me your confirmation that you are happy with my terms and that you are safe to treat (I am asking people to message me in advance rather than completing hard copies in clinic due to treatment time restrictions and potential contamination of paperwork/pens etc) For your information, I take my temperature daily, I adhere to social distancing whenever I can, I always wear in mask in shops and am certainly in no rush to head back to the pub or gym so together with my Covid protocols, PPE and hospital grade cleaning fluids, be assured I am doing all I can to keep everyone safe!
In addition to any paperwork, don’t forget your usual form of payment (if you pay by cash, I would really appreciate not having to give you change to avoid unnecessary handling of notes) Please also now bring your own water if needed and do feel free to wear a face covering if that would make you feel more comfortable (this is surprisingly not mandatory as I am required to wear a full face visor but I will leave this up to the individual’s discretion). Please wear easy to remove clothing and if you can refrain from using my loo, it all helps (but please do tell me if it becomes an urgent matter!)
My treatment room is now located at 14 Grove Cottages, Emmer Green, Reading RG4 8RB and can easily be identified by it’s white picket fence to the front. Grove Cottages itself is a one way narrow road off St Barnabas Road with no parking, however there is a communal car park to the front of the row of cottages off Grove Road which runs parallel to the south of Grove Cottages so best to park there (go west along Grove Road from Evesham Road and take the 2nd right through the white garages and into the car park at the end in front of the cottages – please be considerate of my neighbours). I have decided to work from home for the time being as I am much more able to control my environment here, and with reduced appointment capacity due to additional cleaning requirements/protocols etc, my availability would have been extremely restricted sharing the room as I did with the beauty therapist at the salon. Here I can be more flexible, and I am much more able to keep us safe.
Once you have arrived, please remain in your car (or outside if walking) prior to your appointment and I will open the door and alert you as soon as I am ready to let you in – please do not use the doorbell or knocker. Please bring only essential personal possessions with you, and my number is 07947828150 if you need to contact me.
Upon arrival, I will ask you to sterilise your hands with the gel on the right hand shelving before fully entering the practice room – the less you can touch the better, and I will provide a container in which you can put your clothes when you undress. I will ask you to sit in the corner (like naughty kids!!) while we have our chat as it is over 2m away from my desk.
The treatment room will have been thoroughly disinfected and all linen/facehole coverings replaced for each client – I may be using sheets instead of towels as they are easier to wash. I myself will wear personal protective equipment which includes a visor, gloves and apron. Do not be concerned about the use of gloves, it will not affect your treatment. (This information may change as the situation regarding use of PPE is fluid).
The session will continue as usual, although I will avoid standing directly in front of you to avoid any droplet transferal. Please say if you think you are going to cough/sneeze, and ensure you cover your nose/mouth with a tissue/the crook of your elbow.
When the session is over, please leave all the linens/couch roll untouched on the couch and avoid touching anything as you leave – I will open the door for you. It is also recommended that you register for any NHS Test and Trace system if required to maintain our safety as I may be obliged to release client’s contact details to the government if required.
Having said all that, this is your time, your appointment and I will try and normalise our time together as much as I can, as we both need to feel relaxed to get the best results. I’ve really missed my work and my lovely clients so I look forward to welcoming you to my new little practice.
COVID COMPLIANCE QUESTIONS
I will require every client to read the following and confirm their compliance to the terms and conditions back to me by text/Whatsapp prior to any appointment:
- If you (or anyone in your household/bubble) currently have any of the following symptoms: a) a new continuous cough b) a fever or unexplained increase in general body temperature c) a loss or change of sense of smell or taste
- If you have you ever tested positive for Covid-19
- If you are identified as being in a high-risk group or shielding someone in a high-risk group
- If you have in the past 14 days: a) travelled outside the UK (this is acceptable providing you have been to an air-bridge compliant country but I will need to document this so please tell me b) you or anyone in your family/bubble been told to self-isolate for any reason (by the NHS/GP or just precautionary) c) had a test positive/negative for Covid-19 (if you have had an official NHS test, please provide details of the outcome of the test & the date of your test)
If you answer yes to any of these questions, then please contact me immediately to discuss and/or rebook your appointment
By sending me your consent to my terms via text or Whatsapp as requested above, you confirm that: i) you have read and understood this information provided on the Mending Muscles web page sent in a link prior to the appointment ii) any information you have provided is honest, accurate and correct to the best of your knowledge iii) you have taken the opportunity to ask any questions about its content if required and that any such questions have been answered to your satisfaction iv) you appreciate that although all reasonable steps to reduce risk of infection have been taken, including screening potential Covid-19 cases and undertaking increased hygiene and distancing protocols, there may still be a risk of infection from face to face treatment.
Thank you for your co-operation.
13/7/20 Very happy to confirm that I will be re-opening my massage doors on Monday 20th July. Frantically trying to complete all the recently released and final massage and soft tissue risk assessment protocols/client duty of care forms/PPE purchases/deep cleans etc etc as for some reason, the government chose not to give us the usual 2 week notice period, so although delighted to be given the go from 13/7/20, most therapists, myself included will not be open for a few days yet. In addition, and because I have decided to now practise from home in Emmer Green where it will be much easier for me to control my environment, it will take me a little longer while I create a nice new space in which to see you – I can’t wait, honestly, I’ve really missed my work. I already have a waiting list so if you would like to book in, please bear with me while I try to accommodate everyone fairly but bearing in mind those most in need – it’s going to be very busy for a few months with the backlog and reduced appointment capacity due to cleaning requirements between clients etc but another good reason for having a home clinic is that there will be much more flexibility during the working day as to appointment times so if you too are now working from home, please do consider a daytime/lunchtime appointment rather than having to wait weeks for one of the popular but not so regular early evening slots which will continue to take place on a Monday and Thursday only (no late Friday slots now, sorry). There will as you can imagine be a few changes with regard to compliance but I will expand on that once I have booked you in (there will be a link to this website which I will require you to read and agree to in order to keep us all safe) So thank you all in advance for your patience and loyalty, and I really look forward to seeing you soon if you are need of my services. Either way, keep safe, and enjoy the gradual unlock which seems to be making us all really appreciate the small things in life which I think can only be a good thing. Take care, Ali
9/7/20 Good news is on the horizon methinks, but just awaiting clarity from my professional association – watch this space…and everything crossed please!
28/6/20 Well that wasn’t the news we had been expecting! Sorry everyone, soft tissue massage therapists have not been included in Phase 3 of our return to work unlike hairdressers who start back on Saturday 4/7/20. Double standards and an issue with categorisation of our skillset in my opinion, and there is plenty of lobbying going on questioning the ability of physios, chiropractors and osteopaths to work whereas we can’t. We will fight on…. So sadly, I’m still closed, and until Bojo gives us a date, I am not pre-booking anyone in, although I do have a running waiting list which will take me until Christmas to get through at this rate so drop me a line if you’d like to be added! Many changes at this end on which I will expand when we have a date, but risk assessments done, new couch and lots of PPE purchased, safety advice sought directly from a Covid ward respiratory specialist – and a huge desire to return to work, but only as soon as it is safe to do so. So please be patient, and know that meanwhile, me and my magic hands miss you terribly. Stay safe, stretch more, and posture posture posture!!! Ali x
22/6/20 Fingers crossed for good news later today regarding re-opening!
13/5/20 As we move into the Stay Alert phase of easing the Covid-19 lockdown, sadly we will not be one of the businesses opening up their doors again for the time being (we appear to be included in Phase 3 of the plan under Personal Care, which may not mean being able to practise until July, but nothing confirmed yet) As our priority is always to ensure the health and safety of both our patients and ourselves, we shall therefore be using the time to prepare a risk assessement of the business and our practices, and to make any appropriate changes required to keep us all at minimal risk of infection – we will of course let everyone know of new protocols once we have the green light! If you are in pain, please do not hesitate to contact me as I am able to offer video consultation appointments (£30 per hour) which have proved extremely successful for isolating issues, self treatment options and exercise plans – please call me on 07947 828150 to book an appointment. Until we meet again, take care and stay safe. Ali x
20/3/20 – so sorry but I’m afraid Louise has decided to shut the salon and I am therefore unable to treat any of my clients until further notice. As far as we are aware we are all Covid19 free (I have been taking my temperature and generally shielding except for work for weeks now), but we realise that as different people come and go from the premises, we are no longer able to guarantee the safety of the environment for our clients despite our escalated hygiene procedures. If you are in pain or in more dire need, then please do contact me to see if I can help – I like to think I provide an essential healthcare treatment (not a relaxing more holistic massage!) and so I am loathe to abandon my clients/patients in their hour of need! Stay well and hope you manage to achieve some semblance of normal life (without going out obviously!) – I was meant to be on the slopes of St Anton this week…….but at least it’s not raining here so we must be grateful for the small things these days!! Do take care and shout if you need me for anything – 07947 828150.
9/3/20 – hygiene as well as health will always be a priority in clinic and I am happy to say that we are currently a Covid-19 virus free zone. To re-assure new & existing loyal clients, we have stepped up routine hygiene in order to further protect everyone, particularly those in the higher risk group of clients that attend the clinic, those over 70 and/or with complex health conditions & those with underlying compromised immune systems. This will also enable me to maintain my own health so I can continue to treat you!
Therefore in these unprecedented times, I’d like everyone to be honest & to follow the advice of the World Health Organisation, the British Government & the Foreign & Commonwealth Office . Therefore, please ask yourself the following before you attend for your appointment:
a) am I feeling unwell, with either a recent new cough and/or a high temperature?
b) have I returned from a trip from a high risk country in the past 14 days or been in ‘significant’ contact with someone that has recently returned to the UK from a high risk country (that may or may not be self isolating)?
c) is anyone else in my household unwell & been advised by the Government to self isolate?
If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then please get in touch to postpone your visit
I will not be charging any cancellation fees if you need to postpone last minute due to a change in health, and I would prefer that if you feel unwell or think you may be ‘at risk’, that you postpone rather than take the risk of passing on any virus to either myself or someone attending later that day or week.
I see my clinic as a low risk environment for the ongoing transmission of Covid-19, and whilst bodily contact between therapist & client is close, all contact surfaces are being regularly sanitised, hand washing is frequent & standards are in-line with clinical advice. Whilst we can’t avoid risk, these measures, I hope, will help minimise the risk of ongoing transmission.
Thank you for your consideration of others…and this page will be updated regularly should the situation change – if in doubt, please follow the recommended Government advice for Covid-19.
Wishing you all the best for what is undoubtedly going to be a difficult period for everyone, and remember I am always at the end of a phone if you just need a friendly voice or some general advice on anything you think I may be able to help with (btw I don’t do technical, baking or vegetable growing, I do do gin, sausage roll recipes and sleeping!!!)
Do take care and hope to see you soon.
Ali Tovey (owner & therapist)
(promise I haven’t just made these up!)
Eddy “I’ve known Ali for quite a few months now and I feel I could call her a close friend. She has such a genuine care for people and what she’s set out to achieve is admirable. Being a website developer, Ali & I decided to trade skills, and Ali has single handedly improved my 9 year battle with a bad knee which until now, has prevented me from walking up stairs without pain and from achieving my sporting potential. I now feel fitter, in control of my body and I feel (and hope) it has shown on the volleyball court. Absolute star!”
Vicci “How funny is this! I am a sports therapist and I am doing a review for Mending Muscles, which makes me hyper critical knowing what constitutes a good therapist! Let’s just say that Ali is GOOD, by this I mean her advanced level 5 qualification means she has a plethora of advanced soft tissue skills which means you get more than a skin polish massage, and that’s exactly what I want. Over the past year Ali has helped me manage and ease a persistent and chronic rotator cuff injury and is always on hand to provide a good deep tissue work through to help with DOMS and general muscle fatigue. I’m glad she’s based on the other side of the river from my practice in Woodley, otherwise I’d have serious competition on my hands! Thanks Ali, always approachable and friendly, your easy manner has and continues to work wonders on my tired old body!”
Dan “Hi everyone. Had an amazing sports massage yesterday with Ali @ Mending Muscles. I’m already noticing the difference with the range of movement in my shoulder & knee – I would highly recommend her. And she’s very knowledgeable too!”
Sherwin “Being a very active sports person and competitor on the UK Archery circuit, my routine massages with Ali help my bow shoulder and when overused, ensure speedy recovery. Without her help I probably would not have made my epic trip to South Korea to train under Coach Kim. Ali is really great with people and a talented sports massage therapist “
Petra “As a fellow soft tissue therapist, I can definitely recommend Ali to ease all your aches and pains and deal with any soft tissue injuries. Her wonderful treatments have kept me injury free whilst I’ve trained for various half marathons, and most recently she has been helping me with an acute tennis elbow injury, ensuring a speedier recovery and allowing me to carry on working in my own clinic. She is kind, professional and you can’t help but feel amazing when you leave her couch.”
Bianca “Ali has given me many sports massages and as the owner of a beauty salon offering massage too, I am extremely fussy! Ali has sorted out a number of my injuries, aches and pains and I am feeling much better for it. Thanks Ali, I can’t wait for the next one. Xx”
Location: Emmer Green, RG4 8RB
Telephone: 07947 828150