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October 31, 2017

Getting a massage can be both therapeutic and relaxing. Massage allows for time to unplug, tune in, take some time for yourself. And if you’re lucky enough to have a therapist that knows their stuff, you have the added bonus of fixing stuff while you’re there.

That being said, there are things you can do to make the massage experience better. Ready?

  1. Breathe

After the therapist has left the room and you are comfortable on the table, take the time to breathe. Not just normal breathing, but the deep belly-breathing kind. Focus on expanding your belly and filling your lungs. This will help calm you down, reduce your heart rate, and tune you in to what your body is saying.

Once the massage is in session, breathe if things get painful; this helps to release tight muscles and sore spots. Holding your breath will actually make the pain worse. Think of a labouring woman – she needs to breathe through painful contractions, and so should you.

  1. Communicate

You need to tell your therapist if the pressure is too much…or too little. As aware as therapists are to client’s bodies, we can’t always tell if you are in pain. Some people are great at showing it, some aren’t. But it may not even be pain that you are in, it could be as simple as you just like lighter pressure than what we are currently giving. Remember that they can’t feel what you are feeling. Communicating what you enjoy allows the RMT to treat you more confidently and lets you leave feeling your best.

  1. Tell us to SHUT UP

Therapists often get in a mode of talking with certain clients because that’s what we have always done with said client. So when you say “I just want to relax today,” we don’t necessarily think you mean your brain as well. So tell us to shut up! We are ok with it, I promise.

 

  1. Unplug

Ever notice how your fingers itch to check your phone if you hear a beep? Distracting. Turn off your phone so you don’t hear when a message comes in; this will help keep you in the space where your body needs you to be at that moment.

 

  1. See us regularly

Funny how your body hurts less when you see someone to treat all your finicky stuff regularly, eh? Seeing a RMT on a maintenance schedule can actually decrease your chance of injury and help prevent flare ups of pain.

BONUS!

  1. Be on time

Seems like a no-brainer, but being on time is a big deal. If you are on time to your appointment, we have ample time to treat what you need done and don’t have to rush through it. This will also help you feeling better longer. Plus there is nothing worse than being frazzled because you are late. As we said, massage is therapeutic, but if done right, it should also be a relatively relaxing experience.

 

Ready to book your massage at Whole Therapy? Give us a call!

Melissa Beals is an RMT with Whole Therapy. Melissa works extensively with athletes of all levels with a goal in mind to increase their athletic performance through education and understanding of their bodies. See more about Melissa here.

 

December 8, 2016

Mel’s Meandering: The Guilty Worry

Many of you know that I had a kid in September. I call him a kid because he was never the tiny blob that babies usually are. He was 16 days late and weighed in at 9lbs 6oz. He has had very good neck control since the beginning and has always had a grumpy face whenever he is put down. Thus, never a “baby” baby in my eyes but rather, a little man with his own attitude – I’m in for a heap of trouble.

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There was a long period in my life when I didn’t want kids. My husband and I were happy, we felt that life was complete, we had our own interests, and never felt guilty doing what we wanted nor when we wanted to do them. Then I got older….and started thinking…and started wondering…and realized I was scared. Scared of having a child.

So I started thinking some more. Will I let my fear of having a child stop me from having a kid and miss out on all the wonderful things that parenthood might bring? For a long time, the answer was a resounding YES. I was terrified. Then I grew older, maybe just a little bit wiser, more secure in my career, and switched to a clinic where I felt supported. I settled more and more into myself and more and more into realizing that having a baby wouldn’t be the end of the world…just maybe it would be okay.

nov-18-2016

I have to admit that I was very fortunate in my pregnancy. With the exception of numerous migraines at the beginning, I had very few complications and worries. My Midwives were happy, my baby was happy, and I was happy. I was allowed to continue working out as long as I didn’t push too hard and I felt comfortable. I was at the gym until I was 41 weeks pregnant and only stopped because I didn’t feel like squats were comfortable anymore.

My labor process however….that was another story. The kid just didn’t want to come out. He liked his room too much! We tried everything non-medical we could think of. So, at 42 + 1, I felt I had had enough. I asked for a medical induction. It didn’t go so well. My body started rejecting the induction which forced me back to the hospital where I was admitted.

I was given narcotics to help my CNS recover and to decrease the pain, I was put on an oxytocin drip and given an epidural. This was not my birth plan, but I accepted it. That’s the thing with pregnancy and birth – you never know what is going to happen. You come into the process saying, I want A; if A can’t happen, I want B; if B can’t happen, I will settle for C. It’s never fun having to admit that your body has failed you, or rather, that you have failed your body, but it happens and plan A may need to be changed to plan B. In the end, all plans lead you to meeting your baby so it’s all good, right???

That’s when the guilt starts – or it did for me. What if I had just held on a little longer, could I have made it without having started the induction process? Would he have come in his own time and still be healthy? Could I have made it without having to have the epidural and oxytocin? Did I somehow do unknown damage to my child by starting the induction process and having all those drugs?

I started back at work relatively early – he was only 7 weeks old – so enter in a new set of guilty worry statements. Did I go back too early? Will he be okay? If I don’t go back, will I lose clients? Will we be okay financially if I stay home longer? Will my husband be okay caring for the kid while I’m at work? I must be feeding him too much. I can’t be feeding him enough! What if I don’t pump enough to keep up with the demand while I’m gone? What if I pump too much and then I have nothing left for him while at home? I don’t want my kid to starve!!

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In the end, he will be okay. He will survive. I will survive. It will be a process to let go of the guilt and the worry of returning to work so early on, but we will be alright. It will be our new normal. He is my rainbow baby and I love him.

 

Melissa Beals is an RMT with Whole Therapy. Melissa works extensively with athletes of all levels with a goal in mind to increase their athletic performance through education and understanding of their bodies. See more about Melissa here.

Melissa

September 23, 2016

That Day in June, we had a conversation in the van.

“I think we should probably throw in the towel,” Husband Jamie said, “it’s been a long while and nothing’s happened. And I’m turning 40 soon.  I don’t think I want to start a whole fertility process.”

“It’s been almost five years,” I agreed, nodding, “and I don’t want to start a fertility process, either.”

We weren’t officially “trying”.  We hadn’t wanted to put a label on it, because it would have stressed us both out.  But the proverbial goalie had been out of the net since the littlest was born, and there had only been one pregnancy since: a five-week blip back in late 2012.  Since then, nothing.

I was pretty sure the Universe was telling us we were done.  And, despite being a little sad, I understood. I loved our family.  Three awesome kids, aged 14, 12, and 4. A great house. A wonderful extended family.  A business I loved. Life was good. It was just time to end this chapter.

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The gang

 

Flash back to That Day in June, Husband Jamie and I agreed that we would call our respective doctors to find out what was involved in the snipping/tying process. We went home to make dinner. I felt a little prickle of sadness, and then resolve; it was time to move on from the possibility of having another child.

There have been six pregnancies.  The first was a total surprise; we were living together but not engaged yet, with no plans to extend our family beyond the two from Husband Jamie’s previous marriage. And then, on the Pill, I conceived without knowing it.

 

pills

Whoops.

When we found out, it was a huge shock, but then it was over before the news had time to settle in.  There wasn’t even really time for sadness with that one – it had been so unexpected that it seemed surreal.

Once we got married, though, the losses were harder. We were planning to expand our family.  We wanted to do it in a hurry, before the kids got “too old.”  Kaity was 8 then, and Liam was 6.  I had three miscarriages that year, all before 8 weeks, and I felt helpless: why was this happening? Was it karma? Had I done something I needed punishing for?

Then, there was Molly.  A stronger plus sign on the test.  Fatigue.  Sore hips.  8 weeks came and went, then 9, then ten.  Ironically, despite my elation that the pregnancy was “sticking”, I was horrified at my changing body and resented my dwindling freedom. I felt fat, and cumbersome, and overwhelmed.

9-months-pregnant

So. Much. Belly.

My postpartum experience was full of anxiety and turmoil.  I told myself I never wanted another kid. Yet something inside me still insisted I wasn’t finished; I had an intense gut feeling that I would have another.

The years after Molly were filled with ovulation and pregnancy tests – at first to prevent pregnancy, and then, to welcome the possibility. I remained apprehensive.  There was that short short pregnancy in 2012 of only five weeks, and then nothing for four years.

~

That Night in June, I went upstairs because I had to pee. Husband Jamie was immersed in something on his phone, and Kaity and Liam were just heading to bed. I was due for my period the following day, but as a result of our conversation I wanted to do one last test, just to get it over with.

I went into the bathroom, peed in the cup, and dipped the stick, knowing that it would be negative, just like all of the months leading up to this. Relief suddenly washed over me as I waited; no more monthly testing, no more back-of-my-mind wondering if this month would be The Month.  We would be done this chapter, and I could focus on other things. I took a deep breath.  Yes. This was a good decision.  It was time to move on.

pregnancy test

Seriously, Universe?

Except there were two pink lines.  Then the second line got darker; it was unmistakable. I clapped my hand over my mouth to keep from exclaiming out loud.  Warmth flooded me.  Was I hallucinating?

I’m not sure how long I stood in the bathroom before numbly walking downstairs. Husband Jamie looked at me inquisitively.

“So… guess what?” I said.

He blinked. I didn’t even have to say it. “Are you &*%$ing kidding me?” he asked.

And then we laughed a little, for there wasn’t anything else to do. He put a hand on my belly.  “It’s a really good thing we bought a van”.

 

 

 

 

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Oh hi, #BabyDaffodil.

 

About the Author: Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

April 7, 2016

Mel’s Meandering: Getting Started

It’s that time of year again. Runners are pounding the pavement, fair-weather sports are starting up, and everyone is peeking outside their windows and doors to see if it’s nice enough to just be outside. It’s glorious.

Spring, with it’s promise of change and renewal, is a great time of year to start a new exercising  regime. I was recently inspired by a friend doing just that, and I wanted to share her story.

“I was athletic in high school and was on several school sports teams, but when I went to university, I stopped almost all physical activity and predictably gained the Freshman Fifteen (more like twenty).

“Two years ago I stepped on the scale and seeing how close I was to 200lbs hit me like a ton of bricks. I decided that I needed to make a change and I started going to the gym. I would do some random combination of strength training and cardio exercises and clearly I didn’t know what I was doing or have a plan; I just moved some weights around for a while and then jogged on the treadmill.  I found I didn’t exercise regularly and couldn’t stay in the gym for longer than 30 minutes without becoming anxious and so bored that I had to leave.

“Recently, I went to a gym with a group of friends, and challenged myself to set a new Personal Best for deadlift. I ended up lifting three times more than I had ever lifted before! I felt so alive. I wanted to start being dedicated to training and getting stronger.

“Not long after that, my husband started training with his friend; after seeing how quickly he was making gains and how happy he was with the progress, I decided to do the same.

“I have been training for five weeks and I have seen such amazingly satisfying improvement. I feel stronger, I don’t have any back pain (for the first time in nearly ten years), and I have so much fun doing it.

“In a month I get to test my Personal Bests again and I cannot wait to see what happens.

 

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“I would recommend strength training to anyone because I have never felt so strong and fit. It can be intimidating to start a strength training program but if you have the right trainer (like I do) it is accessible, exciting and instantly gratifying!”

Knowing this woman is amazing; she inspires me with her tenacity and drive. I know that she has days where she doesn’t want to go to the gym, but she shows up anyway. After each time this happens, she always says “Man that was great, I’m really glad I came even when I didn’t feel like it.”

So what drives you? What will push you this spring to get yourself moving again? Are you going to join a league? Get a personal trainer? Find a friend who will join you for weekly trips to the gym, or even evening walks? Whatever it is, get out there and MOVE, your body will love it.

 

Melissa Beals is an RMT with Whole Therapy. Melissa works extensively with athletes of all levels with a goal in mind to increase their athletic performance through education and understanding of their bodies. See more about Melissa here.

Melissa

March 30, 2016

I believe in signs. I think that if we are open to receiving signals from the Universe (or whatever you believe in) we will find our path more clearly laid out for us.

What is a sign, really? It’s either the confirmation we are on the right track (I signed the lease for my new apartment and I found twenty bucks outside right after!) or a wake-up call saying that we’re not (every time I make a date with Joe Schmo I end up getting sick right beforehand).

Belief in signs can range from the cautiously indifferent to the hysterically fanatical.  I consider myself to be on the low end.

what if the absence of signs is a sign

A few months ago, I went to the bathroom at work. It was a Monday morning. I was not in a good mood, which is unusual for me; I was distracted and morose. I chose my usual stall and went to sit down, when something shiny caught my eye.

There were these little trinkets in the toilet!

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Well hello there.

Little copper pieces, a couple of miniature screws, and some other little sparkly metal bits littered the bottom of the toilet bowl, too heavy to flush away.

It was almost as though a little fairy had been making a miniature sculpture and had discarded her remnants there.

Startled, I actually laughed out loud, then leaned in for a closer look. My mood instantly lifted, and something sparked at the back of my mind. These trinkets were a sign. A warm flutter blossomed in my chest; a confirmation from my intuition that I was right.

I thought about those trinkets in the toilet for the rest of the day. They intrigued me, made me wonder where they’d come from, and at the same time filled me with a strange and concentrated sense of hope. I felt a little crazy, but I believed those trinkets had appeared to show me something important. But what?

A week went by. The trinkets in the toilet remained, greeting me on my bathroom breaks. I smiled as I saw them, still deeming them hopeful beacons. I went about my daily life.

I should mention: As this all was going on my life was in utter chaos. Work was stressful; I had a contractor in the fold that wasn’t working out. I wasn’t sure what to do about it. At the same time, our family life was doubly busy, with my step-kids having moved in full-time just a few weeks prior. Life was nuts. And I was feeling out of control.

out-of-control

Another week went by, and I began to feel differently about those trinkets, most of which had still not flushed away. Unexpectedly, I began to resent them: what were they really doing there? Why hadn’t anyone cleaned them up? Why hadn’t I figured out their meaning? Would they ever reveal their secrets to me?

I felt tired, suddenly, and overwhelmed by all of the decisions I needed to make. I sat on the toilet and sobbed.

After crying myself out, I stood up to leave, and took one last glance down into the toilet. Three trinkets remained, stubbornly refusing to flush.

And suddenly, I understood. It was MY responsibility to fix my life. All of it! Why did I need the cleaners to remove the trinkets? Why did I need to agonize over work and family life decisions when I knew, in my heart, what to do about them? Why was I looking for answers outside of myself when I had all of the answers inside?

I hesitated only a moment before plunging my hand into the toilet. The water was freezing, and I quickly scooped up the remaining trinkets before I could fully process that I was inserting my hand into a public toilet bowl.

I stood there, victorious, my hand dripping water, and looked more closely at the trinkets. They didn’t shine anymore; they had dulled. Their purpose had been served.

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Carefully, almost tenderly, I wrapped them in toilet paper. I dropped them back into the toilet. And I flushed them out of my life.

Then (after thoroughly washing my hands) I returned to work with a new sense of purpose. I made some decisions. I pushed ahead, following the inner voice that knew what to do the whole time.

The trinkets in the toilet were, as I had thought, a sign of something important:

I am in control of my life. I am in control of how I perceive things. I can change my situation. Sometimes change involves doing un-glamorous things, and getting our hands dirty.

Sometimes, when we are overwhelmed, changing anything feels like beginning a thousand piece puzzle after pulling an all-nighter. We’re tired. We don’t have the energy.  But deciding to just do the crappy, hard thing is sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself.

Take a deep breath. Stick that hand into the toilet. Journey on.

 

About the Author: Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

Posted in Uncategorized by Jen Wright
March 8, 2016

Today is international women’s day, and we wanted to ask our own Tara Hagan-Fields, RMT a few questions about what it means to be a Women’s Health focused practitioner.

Why did you decide to focus your practice on Women’s Health?

I chose to focus my practice on Women’s Health because at the time I truly felt that there were too many therapists that were focusing in on general health and wellness.  There weren’t enough therapists with a voice and a specialization in anything specific, especially not in the women’s health field.

I was a new grad in a world of many RMT’s.  I graduated with 30+ fellow colleagues in 2006, we all had the same level of training and the same knowledge base that we had learned while in school.  I immediately needed to separate myself from the group as an individual who understood something more then the rest.  I had developed a passion for the treating of pregnant women while in school, so after graduation, I immediately went after more courses! I felt I needed to learn more!.  Along the way I grew as a therapist and as a woman.  I recognized my passion was more then just treating pregnant women;  It actually was more about treating all women, and women’s health related issues.

Today I am completely centered on Women’s Health.  I am different than most Massage Therapists in that I specialize in Myofascial Release and use those protocols to help every single woman who enters my treatment room.

Why does women’s health need a category of its own?

For years, there have been “fringe” conversations about women’s health related issues, but it has always been a very whispered conversation.  The topic seemingly taboo.  NO MORE! We as women have very specific health issues and they should never have to be whispered about.  Incontinence, painful intercourse, mastitis, endometriosis,  and infertility just to name a few. The list is long!  Women should continue to demand better advocacy and better research on these and other important areas of Women’s health.

More practitioners are starting to dive in to niches and truly specialize in specific fields like Women’s Health, but more are needed.  I look forward to the day when no woman needs to medicate because of conditions they are experiencing, where they can self treat and or go see their RMT to help rid of the source of pain.

What kinds of treatment do you provide specifically for women?

I do treat women of all ages, from babies to geriatric.  Most of the women I see are looking for another kind of care.  Something that will help them with conditions that they are currently experiencing, or ones they have had and suffered for years with: Chronic pelvic pain, jaw pain, headaches, endometriosis, infertility, breast pain, chronic back pain, scar work (laparoscopic, c-seciton, mastectomy, augmentation), pre- surgical care, fibromyalgia, incontinence, painful intercourse, post partum care, latching problems.  My approach to massage therapy through myofascial release will help!

March 2, 2016

Join us for another informative evening with our very own Jill Detlor as we discuss the importance of hormonal balance.

When your hormones are out of balance, you may experience many uncomfortable symptoms. Symptoms such as depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, difficulty losing weight, an increase in belly fat, lack of energy, lack of libido, hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings to name a few. The endocrine system, consisting of all of our glands, works synergistically to provide us with a well-balanced metabolism. When those glands are not fed adequately, they do not produce the proper amounts of hormones and thus, the symptoms begin. Learn how to bring them back into balance and feel great!

Jill Detlor is a registered nutritional consulting practitioner who works with a variety of people to help bring balance and wellness into their lives.

“The human body has the innate ability to heal itself if you feed it the right things.
We need air to breath, water to drink and food to eat in order to develop and maintain a health body. If you feel you are not healthy, the first place to look is at your food. Is it clean? Is it the right food for you? Each of us are biochemically individual. You need your own personal plan to succeed as a healthy person. It is my passion and pleasure to provide that for my clients.”

WHEN – Thursday, 31 March 2016 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT) Add to Calendar
WHERE – Whole Therapy – 2650 Queensview Drive. Suite 212. Ottawa, ON K2B 8K1 CA – View Map
TICKETS – Click Here
Posted in Uncategorized by Pat Moore
February 25, 2016

Q:  How do you feel about massaging women?IMG_3313

A:  Most of my clients are women. I feel that I’m able to give a good, therapeutic, intuitive massage. I’m not judgmental of women’s bodies; I treat all of my clients with the respect they deserve.

Q:  And how about massaging men?

A:  In my experience, men who ask for a male therapist usually want deeper tissue massage, which is great for me because that’s what I like to do! Deep tissue focuses on the therapeutic aspect of massage. It’s a major part of what I do.

Q:  What are your feelings about being a gender minority in the massage world?

A:  I look at my job from the perspective of a massage therapist, not from that of a man. Unfortunately, massage therapy is still confused with intimacy, which it is not. It’s assessment, it’s treatment of soft tissue injuries. It’s an hour on the table working on your muscles. It’s therapy. Your therapists sex has nothing to do with it.

Q:  What would you say you focus on during treatments?

A:  Pain is often what brings clients in.  I always address pain first – it’s a symptom that shouldn’t be ignored. Once the pain goes away, I focus on function.  If the body isn’t functioning well, pain is always around the corner.

January 15, 2016

breast cancerPain and tightness suffered post mastectomy/ lumpectomy can limit one’s life drastically. Myofascial Release can help create vast changes by softening dense scars and fibrosed fascia that remain unchanged with traditional therapy and stretching.

 

Axillary Cording

Axillary cording is a web of thick, rope-like structures under the skin of your inner arm. These cords usually start near the site of your scarring in the underarm region and extend down the inner arm to the inside of the elbow (sometimes they can continue down to the palm of your hand, or in to the chest wall instead of, or in addition to, the inner arm.

Traumatized tissue can have a cascading effect on the body.  Locally, tightened and fibrous fascia can restrict blood flow and lymphatic flow resulting in lymphedema.  Auxiliary cording can also occur, causing a significant loss of range of motion in the shoulder, leading to a loss of function.  Pain and weakness can occur in the shoulder, arm and chest wall.  Burning, pins and needles, numbness, or spasms can also occur in these areas.

Tightness, with time, can start to effect areas not associated with the scar even if these areas are far removed from the local site.  Symptoms not “normal” to mastectomy, lumpectomy, reconstruction, or augmentation can start to occur.  Headaches, jaw pain, low back pain, pelvic pain, digestive issues, postural changes, hormonal imbalances, etc, may become a “common” occurrence for you.

The inability to move, or the pain suffered with common range of motion and activity can become debilitating.  This might happen immediately, or it might occur 6 years down the road.  In real life it might look like the inability to wash your hair in the shower, get dressed in the morning, pick your child up out of the crib, hug a loved one, carry your groceries, drive your car, work at your computer, or reach up and grab the sugar out of the cupboard.  No matter the role you have as a woman – mom, worker, grandma – your life is impacted.

breast mfrPain management and rehabilitation using Myofascial Release can help.  Gentle and slow work done at the fascial barrier (on the scar and surrounding areas) can assist in restoring functional patterns by decreasing the restrictions.

Whether you had surgery, chemo, or radiation last month or 10 years ago, Myofascial Release should be added to your recovery process.

 

 

IMG_8104cropbwTara Hagan-Fields is an RMT with Whole Therapy. Tara is a Women’s Health Specialist and Myofascial Release Therapist.  She focuses on the body as a whole and teaches you to do the same.  More about Tara here or find her on Facebook Tara Hagan-Fields RMT

 

November 27, 2015

The Holiday Season is just around the corner, and we’re all looking forward to it. The greatest thing about the Holidays is the opportunity it affords us to give. Unfortunately, our giving feelings are often replaced with negativity, as people everywhere begin to feel the stress of the season. Concerns over money and time can turn giving into a chore. What’s the solution? Over the next 6 weeks, we at Whole Therapy are going to get into the giving spirit by launching our ‪#GiveBack‬ campaign. We will be sharing stories of selfless deeds, stories that show peoples’ good sides, and stories of charity and compassion. We will also be sharing our stories of personal experiences – as well as YOURS!

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Let us know when you spot people giving back in some way. Post on our wall using hashtag ‪#‎WholeTherapy‬. We want to share good things with the world, and here is a good place to start!

 

Posted in Uncategorized by Pat Moore