Review: Deep Heat Muscle Rescue

Deep Heat Muscle RescueGetting outdoors does wonders for your mind and body. Compared with sitting at a desk in the same position for 40 hours a week, I found six weeks of diving in Thailand a marvel physically and mentally.

I got stronger thanks to lugging heavy kit across sand and rocks and throwing tanks onto a boat. Of course, diving in itself put my body through its paces. The same goes for all outdoor sports – walking, climbing, canoeing, cycling… Getting in the fresh air clears the mind and shakes out your muscles.

But it can ache a bit afterwards. I’ve struggled with an aching back for years: it was particularly bad when I spent most of my life sat at a desk, getting stressed out, and the knots never went away. Then dragging said kit back and forth every day did add more strain. So when I heard that the makers of Deep Heat had created a bath soak and cream, I thought it was worth a try. And it might keep the massage bills down (not telling the other half about this review… I need the massages).

When I think of Deep Heat, I think of the distinctive smell. But the bath soak doesn’t assault your nostrils; in fact, it made me go ‘ooh’ with delight. Let’s be clear, it isn’t Deep Heat bubble bath – it contains essential oils of rosemary and orange, which instantly soothed thanks to their scent. Someone who makes a living out of this, medical herbalist Pamela Spence, says this isn’t just a figment of our imagination: “Scents activate the brain’s limbic system – where we store memories and emotions – which can influence our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.”

I was looking forward to getting in that steaming tub. My back could always do with some attention, but the night before I stupidly did a Pilates class and a Legs, Bums & Tums class back to back. I was using the bannister a little too much to get down the stairs and sitting down was accompanied by an elderly ‘eeeeehhh’. The perfect time to test the Muscle Rescue products.

Whether it’s my mind convincing me to feel better thanks to the warming smells or not, I did feel relaxed after my soak.  I tried out the neck & shoulder cream afterwards too. This is a particular problem area for me and massage therapists are always stunned by the state I’ve got in; my neck and shoulders carry all my stress and worry.

The PR line is that the product is a “soothing, warming cream”. Remember that with caution – the instructions do say to use sparingly, but it really does set on fire if you use a little too much. Start with the smallest amount and see if you react before liberally attacking all over! Yep, note to self.

The whole experience felt like I was creating my very own spa and that’s reason enough to do it at least once a week until my tired muscles are fully relieved.

You can find out more about Deep Heat Muscle Rescue on their Twitter and Facebook pages.

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The Career Adventure Girl – Becoming A Stuntwoman

When I meet people who’ve ditched the office for a life underwater, on the slopes or in the forest, I’m inspired and look at them like they’re smeared in Vaseline – as in, they’re in soft focus, not literally covered in a tub of petroleum jelly.

So when I met Anna Scott-Stephenson, I listened, gob open, to her adventurous life. She’s training to be an ass-kicking, slick-swimming, hard-nut stuntwoman. And unlike the boys in the industry, she’ll probably be doing a lot of it in high heels, looking stunning as a body double for a Hollywood actress.

Here, she exclusively tells The Adventure Girl’s Guide why she’s entering such a competitive and daredevil career, becoming one of only 100 women on the British Equity Stunt Register. And guess what she’s also training in? Scuba diving! Welcome to a new girly diver…

Anna Scott-Stephenson demos Aikido.
Anna demonstrates her skills. Do as the lady says.

This year started incredibly different to any other year of my life, as I began my training to become a stuntwoman. Having graduated from drama school with a degree in Acting & Stage Combat I had my heart set on working in the industry. Only afterwards did I truly learn how competitive it really is, being one of thousands of actresses all wanting the same thing. How many 5ft 9 brunettes just like me are out there? A lot! Having always been interested in stunts and from working on set, I started to learn more and more about the stunt world. One of the main things that stood out was that there are only around 100 women on the British Stunt Register. How many 5ft 9 brunettes? A lot less than actresses that’s for sure!

Qualifying as a stuntwoman is a huge challenge in itself. The level of skill required is extremely high and will take a great deal of time and money. However, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue, so in January 2013 I began my training.

Anna may be smiling, but there are guns in that get-up. And there's a pistol too.
Anna may be smiling, but there are guns in that get-up. And there’s a pistol too.

You need a minimum of 6 skills to join the stunt register. The skills I have chosen are Aikido (Japanese martial art), Rock Climbing, Scuba Diving, Trampolining, Gymnastics and Swimming. Each skill has its own requirements, all of which are to a very high standard. This training is far from boring. It’s more of an adventure, a journey, which is enabling me to achieve things I never thought I would. Yes it is hard, but extremely rewarding and enjoyable at the same time.

One of the skills I have chosen is Scuba Diving, which I had never done before. I was actually a little apprehensive before I started. I began in April and started progressing through the courses one at a time. The level I have to achieve is PADI Divemaster, which is a professional qualification. This is a huge challenge as I will have gone from a beginner to a pro in a relatively short space of time.

Anna Scott-Stephenson Divemaster
Well on her way to becoming a PADI Pro in the Red Sea.

I did my first three courses with a company called London Scuba, who were absolutely brilliant. I have just achieved my Rescue Diver qualification and I am due to start my Divemaster course early next year. London Scuba have helped, encouraged and guided me through my courses so far and made my training so enjoyable; they made me feel so comfortable in the water.

I wanted to get as much experience as possible so decided to book a Liveaboard holiday to the Red Sea. Owning most of my own kit at this stage, I had the most amazing week living on a boat and diving the Red Sea every day. My diving progressed so much throughout the week and I saw some fantastic sights that I will never forget… like swimming with a pod of 14 dolphins, seeing some of the world’s most beautiful reefs and exploring WWII shipwrecks.

I would love one day to be able to use my scuba diving skills in the film world, potentially doing underwater scenes, but until then my journey continues…

You can keep up with Anna’s adventurous career at www.annascottstephenson.com or follow her on Twitter. If you love sports and outdoor activities and want to follow in Anna’s footsteps, here’s some advice on becoming a stunt performer.

So when we see Keira Knightley scuba diving in a sword fight on a trampoline, it could be Anna…

Continuing The Adventure

Quote by Bryan W Proctor, photo by Karli Drinkwater
Quote by Bryan W Proctor, photo by Karli Drinkwater

I think I’m just about seeing straight again after the most amazing few months.

My last post, The Pursuit Of Adventure, made me giddy with anticipation and excitement. And the reactions to me leaving my job to discover something new warmed the cockles of my heart – I was starting a new journey with so much support.

I’ve lived abroad before and I’ve done some terrifying/exciting things, but the whole experience of travelling around, getting yourself somewhere new, deciding what to see next, where you’ll sleep next, how you’ll eat next, was liberating and made me feel alive. For the first time in a while, I felt fully calm and at ease with myself. Thinking back to my last night before flying home, sat in a bar in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, I remember revelling in the sensation that I’d truly lived and seen.

On reflection, I wish I’d taken my laptop travelling with me so I could fully update you from Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. But not having it with me meant I spent the whole time soaking up experiences, rather than tapping away. I decided to document my adventures when I could squeeze it in, on a boat, bus or hammock, old-school style – with a notebook and pen. The old iPhone allowed me to quickly send you snapshots of the places I went and the conservation work I was doing – keep up with my microblogging on Facebook and Twitter, if you don’t already. Social media plug, done.

I loved the marine conservation project and bimbling about with a rucksack so much. I wasn’t ready to go – nine weeks of travel merely whetted my appetite. I’ll be reliving some of my escapades here and, now that I’m back in the UK, I’ve been beavering away at getting my freelance career off the ground… which also means some exciting developments for The Adventure Girl’s Guide!

Are you interested in working together? Head over to the contact page and get in touch!