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 treatment room based on Donkin Hill in 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 Caversham 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||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 10-7pm, Tues 8.45am-6pm, Weds 8.45am, Thurs 8.45am & 4-7pm, Friday 8.45am and 5-7pm; Saturday and Sunday generally closed
Location: my treatment room is based within the Hair @ 51 salon, 51 Donkin Hill, off Henley Road, Caversham, North Reading, Berkshire, RG4 5DG (next to Dream Doors, near Caversham Tiles/A W Cycles)
View in Google Maps
Parking: there is some off-street parking immediately in front of the salon, otherwise street parking is available on Donkin Hill itself
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 clinic elsewhere. So if the salon is open, please feel free to come in and take a seat whilst waiting for me – if the salon is not open, I will come out to get you from your car at the appointed time
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: 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.
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! y
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 only, 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 nearby Co-op @ 124 Henley Road)
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.
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
Friday 20/3/20 – so sorry but I’m afraid we have had to make the decision to close the salon for the time being. 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. And so we are cancelling all appointments until further notice, I’m so sorry.
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.
Monday 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: within Hair @ 51, 51 Donkin Hill, Caversham, North Reading, RG4 5DG
Telephone: 07947 828150