Women’s AFL

Womens AFL

With the AFL season just around the corner, football hype is starting to ignite again. However, in comparison to previous years, there is something new and exciting happening in the world of AFL; this year marks the inaugural year of the Women’s AFL. Women’s football has been steadily on the rise for the past 10+ years and was bolstered when brought to the public’s attention in 2013 with the first Women’s exhibition match between Western Bulldogs and Melbourne Demons. The teams were made up of players from all over Australia and the game was held at Etihad Stadium prior to the E J Whitten Legends match. Over the next 3 years they continued to hold exhibition matches with the final match between the two exhibition sides televised at the end of 2015.

In 2016 it was announced that there would be a AFLW competition in 2017 comprising of 8 teams (Melbourne Demons, Western Bulldogs, Carlton Blues, Collingwood Magpies, GWS Giants, Brisbane Lions, Adelaide Crows and Fremantle Dockers). The competition began on Feb 3rd with old foes Collingwood and Carlton opening the competition. The game exceeded all expectations both on and off the field; it was a hard hitting, fierce contest with Carlton running out winners after gun forward Darcy Vesico kicked 4 goals. Outside the ground spectators had to be informed by AFL chief Gill McLaughlin that the ground was full to capacity and was in fact a lock out! Television ratings were impressive as well and that trend continued over the weekend.

It is a seven round competition held in conjunction with the NAB cup. Some games have been played as the opener to a JLT cup match whilst others are stand alone matches at local footy grounds. Channel 7 has committed to televising one Saturday night game per week with Fox also televising all of the matches. The final will be played between the top 2 sides at the end of the seven round season and will coincide with round 1 of the mens AFL competition. All games are free (apart from those held as the precursor to a mens match) and I encourage anyone who is interested to get down and watch the girls battle it out (you may be surprised at the intensity/ferocity that the girls show out there as well as their skill and passion for the game).

I myself will be helping out at the Collingwood vs Fremantle match at Bendigo Bank Stadium on the 4th March (in Collingwood colours – which as a Carlton fan is going to be very painful to do!)

This competition just adds to a multitude of women’s sport that is taking off in Australia, in the past few years we have seen the success of the women’s BBL, Netball Australia has become the first female professional sport in Australia (not including tennis), the women’s soccer team got deep into the finals at the World Cup (which succeeded all expectations) and our women were dominate at the 2016 Olympics winning 5 gold medals out of the total 8 won for Australia and who can forget the memorable Melbourne Cup win for Michelle Payne.

Women’s sport is on the rise in Australia and I can’t wait to see what else we achieve in the coming years!


Dry Needling

Dry Needling
Dry Needling
Dry Needling

Acupuncture, or Dry Needling as we sometimes refer to it, is starting to become common practice amongst Physiotherapists today. At Enhance Physiotherapy all our Physiotherapists are trained in the use of Dry Needling and we use it on a daily basis to help manage pain and muscle tightness amongst other things. But what is Dry Needling? How does it work?

Although there are differences between the terms ‘Acupuncture’ and ‘Dry Needling’, we will use them interchangeably throughout this information. In practice we use Dry Needling, but often refer to it as Acupuncture so people know what we’re talking about.

Dry Needling involves inserting a very fine needle into a muscle. Once the needle is in position it is left in the muscle for a short period of time (normally anywhere from 5 seconds to 15 minutes) before it is removed. Your therapist may choose to adjust or ‘twirl’ the needle while it is in place to maximise the effects. Sometimes your therapist will insert just one needle or they may insert several, depending on the area being treated and the desired effect.

Myofascial Trigger Points (MTPs), more commonly known as ‘knots’ in a muscle, are a common cause of pain and disability in the neck, shoulders and lower back. But they occur naturally in all muscles. When a muscle is put under stress, either due to poor posture or from excessive workload, these trigger points become exacerbated and increase in tension. What this means is that the muscle fails to relax adequately and remains active. This overall increase in muscle activation depletes the muscles energy, which can lead to further muscle tension as muscles require energy to relax.

Dry Needling helps by breaking this cycle of muscle tension, fatigue and aching. Inserting a needle into these MTPs elicits a twitch in the muscle which helps to release the bonds between muscle fibres, allowing the muscle to relax. Dry Needling also causes stimulation of nerves which transmit pain. This activates cells in the brain and spinal cord to suppress pain signals. As well as breaking down trigger points and suppressing pain signals, Dry Needling also triggers an increase of blood flow to the area being treated. Adequate blood flow is essential in the healing of body tissues because it supplies nutrients and blood cells to allow healing to take place, and it removes debris and dead cells caused by the initial injury.

Is Acupuncture safe?
Yes. Dry Needling is an EXTREMELY safe form of treatment. Side effects include:

  • Bruising: Occur in 3% of treatments
  • Infection: very rare; occur in 0.014% of treatments
  • Fatigue: prevalence not known (but in our experience is uncommon)
  • Fainting: very rare, but can occur particularly in patients who have never had it before and if patients are afraid of needles in general.

All our therapists are trained in the proper use of dry needling and we use sterile, single-use needles only to avoid side-effects.

At Enhance Physiotherapy we use Dry Needling on a regular basis, but often in conjunction with other therapies or treatments to form a holistic treatment approach. We think acupuncture/dry needling is a fantastic tool to have at our disposal. For those clients who feel anxious or uncomfortable about the use of needles in their treatment we will always be able to provide different forms of therapy to effectively manage their injury.

If you would like to give dry needling a try, or have any questions about needling then ask your Physiotherapist.