November 30, 2018

Trying to motivate yourself to run throughout the winter months can be a struggle, but trying to stay injury free while you run throughout the winter months can be even more of a challenge! Check out these winter running tips that should help keep you running consistently all year long without pesky injuries slowing you down!

 

Temporarily reduce your weekly mileage with the first snowfall.

When you are running on snow as opposed to a hard, slip free surface you are using stabilizing muscles you haven’t used in a long time. This places you at increased risk of injury. Week 1 run 50% of your normal weekly mileage. Week 2 increase to 75%. By week 3 you should be able to return to your normal weekly mileage.

Avoid switching to the treadmill for 100% of your winter running.

First of all running on a flat uniform surface involves repeating the exact same movement over and over again which increases your risk of repetitive strain injuries like achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.  Second of all when the snow melts and you switch back to running outdoors you will have to drastically decrease your mileage or you’ll risk injury. Running on the treadmill does not mimic running outside! The impact force from running outside is much greater than on the treadmill. Also on the treadmill you are trying to keep up with the track as it glides under your feet, whereas outside you actually have to propel yourself forward. It’s very different therefore your body needs to be allowed the time to adjust!

Make sure your important stabilizing muscles are strong!

Running on the snow and ice demands more muscle effort than running on the treadmill or outdoors on dry pavement. Especially from the glutes and core. (See previous glute strengthening blog!)

Wear the proper footwear!

Yaktrax

Either wear sneakers that are meant for winter running and have soles with studs or spikes, or purchase an ice traction device such as Yaktrax that fit over your sneakers.

Warm up!

Warming up is more important during the cold winter months. If you are standing in a parking lot waiting for others in your group to show and you are shivering and chilly, your muscles are tight and cold as you start to run which can put you at increased risk of injury. Jog on the spot, do high knees or bum kicks, or wait in your car with your heat blasting!

Ignore the pace on your watch!

Focus on effort level as opposed to pace if you are used to running with a running watch. You will run slower in the winter months. If you try to maintain the same pace you did on the clear dry pavement you could end up with an injury. Use the rate of perceived exertion scale. Perceived exertion is how hard you feel your body is working. These feelings are not objective like monitoring your heart rate, but they can give an estimate of your heart rate and your exercise intensity zone.

 

 

 

Try snowshoe running!

It’s a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the snow covered trails. You have to make some small technique adjustments such as running with a slightly wider stance and lifting your feet higher. This will challenge your hip abductors such as your glute med and min and your hip flexors so make sure you ease into snowshoe running gradually. It is much slower than road/trail running so don’t focus on pace. Again use the rate of perceived exertion scale above! Also, purchasing snowshoes that are designed for running such as the Atlas snowshoes shown below can definitely improve your comfort level and speed while snowshoe running.

 

November 12, 2018

 

The main goal of an initial assessment is to determine possible causes of your injury or impairment. We also ask: What can we do to remove or alleviate the pain?

One thing to keep in mind is that sometimes, you may be a bit sore after an assessment.  This is largely due to the fact that we’ve probably just moved your body in ways you’ve been avoiding due to discomfort or pain.  In order to determine a course of action, we as therapists trust in functional movement assessment techniques to help us get you back to the best version of yourselves as quickly as possible!

Physiotherapy Assessment

 

What to Expect

  • Our initial assessments typically consist of a 1 hour one-on-one session with a therapist, and 99 percent of the time, treatment will be provided on the first visit as well.

 

  • The therapist will review your health history as well as pose a series of helpful “red flag” questions with the purpose of eliminating any sinister causes as the root of your injury/impairment.

 

  • Expect to move!  Our bodies were designed to do so and chances are, you’re here to figure out what is keeping you from pain free movement.

 

  • It’s always a good idea to come dressed in non-restrictive clothing so that when a therapist is assessing your squat for example, you’re not going to be doing so in a suit or skirt.

 

  • If you have any diagnostic imaging available to you (x-ray, MRI), we will be happy to have a look at that with you.

 

  • Homework is probably going to be assigned.  Getting you back to feeling great will require your active participation and expectations will be set out for you by your therapist.  We are always available by phone or email if you ever have any questions or need clarification on what your homework is.

The initial assessment is the first step in getting you back in action.  Just remember, we want to see you as little as possible, but as much as necessary to get and keep you pain-free and functioning well.

July 10, 2018

Lower back pain. Every branch of medicine seems to have a different take on what to recommend. A new study published in the May 18th edition of JAMA Network Open sheds light on the subject with a direct comparison between usual non-chiropractic care, and usual care with chiropractic.

Dr Christine Guertz DC, PhD and colleagues enrolled 750 American active duty military service members with lower back pain from three different military bases. 375 members receive medical care as usual from their physicians. The remaining 375, received up to 12 chiropractic treatments of the lower back and surrounding areas along with usual care. Chiropractic care sometimes involved the use of the additional tools and techniques often utilized by chiropractors in their practice.

Analysis of the data showed that the addition of chiropractic lead to significantly greater benefit than standard medical care alone. This new data reinforces the recent recommendations put forth by the American College of Physicians. They now recommend inclusion of spinal manipulation along with other non-drug treatments often used by chiropractors as first-line therapy for both acute and chronic lower back pain.

If still considering whether to try chiropractic, Dr Rory Turner, Dr Damien Marion, and Dr George Surko of Whole Therapy are all highly skilled and experienced chiropractors who would be happy to answer your questions.

Yours in good health
David Gilbert – Integrative Therapist.

 

Author: David E P Gilbert. David is a highly experienced Integrative Therapist specializing in anxiety/depression, stress, burnout, grief, trauma, Post Concussion Syndrome and self-sabotage. He’s based at Whole Therapy and ECOSYS Wellness Center in Ottawa ON. Canada. Being trained in a number of modalities including Emotional Freedom Techniques and PTT (Picture Tapping Techniques), he works with clients both in-office and via phone or video cam across North America. Work so powerful it’s guaranteed
June 19, 2018

Molly helped me run the hills today (in her snowflake jammies)

I’m training for a spartan race in July. It’s a bigger one than I’ve done in the past – 15 kms instead of 5. The race takes the participants up and down Calabogie Peaks, winding through 25 strategically placed obstacles along the way.

I will have to scale walls, crawl through mud, carry sandbags, throw spears, and climb ropes in my quest for the finish line.

This race will mark my return back into the realm of Being Strong, as it’s the first true test of my endurance and overall fitness since having my daughter, Finley last year. I was sedentary most of the pregnancy due to an SI joint injury, and my postpartum recovery was long and tedious as a result. There were many times over the last year when I worried I’d never be able to feel strong again. I heard a lot of “Well, you HAVE had a baby…” and “Your body really isn’t ever the same”, and “You ARE 36 now, that’s quite a few years since the last baby…”

Despite the naysaying (from others AND from myself) I pushed on with my training, stubborn in my resolve to feel capable like I once did. I looked to Trainer Jamie for help with strategic strengthening. I relied on my workout partners Bailey, Ana, and Yvette to set the bar high and motivate me with their own fitness levels. And I used my colleagues at Whole Therapy and their various chiropractic, physiotherapy and massage skills along the way when I inevitably needed my joints and muscles worked on.

And here I am, at 7am on a Saturday, 6 weeks from Race Day, with my running shoes on and my water pack on my back, looking up Mooney’s Bay hill. I’m “sprinting” (read: sloooowly running) up the hill ten times, which will likely make me want to barf. But I’ll do it anyway. Because so far, even with the obstacles of having a baby, being injured and out of shape, and being older, being strong is so much more important than giving up.

Most journeys feel metaphorically like they’re an uphill battle. This one literally is. But with a lot of training, and a little luck, I can use my success with this upcoming race to prove to myself that not only am I physically Strong Again, but I’m also mentally able to bounce back from a weak mental state to a strong, confident one.

Wish me luck.

 

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.

May 17, 2018

Stay energized throughout the day by feeding your ‘fire’.

Ever go camping and wait until the fire is nearly out before putting on another log? Ridiculous. It just smolders and smokes a whole lot, but doesn’t catch fire. You sit there, frustrated, wishing you had not waited so long. Your body is the same: waiting until you’re really hungry and going hours without food, will cause your metabolism to extinguish rather than keep your fire burning with a constant glow. Instead, keep your flame burning bright with healthy snacks! You will avoid the lows and curb the temptation to binge on those irresistible, high-sugar, high-fat holiday treats.

 

Apple slices with almond butter? Yes please!

Here are some easy snack ideas to get you going:

  • Apple slices dipped in almond butter or sprinkled with cinnamon and chia seeds
  • Nut and seed mix (almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds)
  • Dates stuffed with crunchy raw almonds (take out each pit and replace with an almond or almond butter & cinnamon)
  • Hard-boiled egg with raw veggies
  • Avocado with sunflower seeds & sea salt (remove pit and replace with seeds & dash of sea salt)
  • Celery sticks with natural peanut butter

Happy snacking!

May 10, 2018

Hits to the head may seem like no big deal at the time. The problem is that the symptom(s) don’t always show their face right away. What happens is that any significant force to head or torso can cause:

  • Joint restrictions in the neckcranial adjustment
  • Blood and nerve supply problems to and from the brain.
  • Brain stem compression
  • Headaches
  • Cognitive changes in the brain

Cranial adjusting is the new method of treating head injuries and concussions. The approach focuses on the areas of the head and neck that have been knocked out of place. Research has shown that the plates of the skull are not fused and that a very small space exists to allow for slight movement of those plates. Therefore, when a high amplitude force hits the head, the placement of the bones can shift. This shifting can change the pressure within the skull affecting the function of different parts of the brain.

By applying a constant pressure on the areas of the skull with cranial adjusting, this can relieve the stress caused by hits to the head and restores the proper functioning of the brain.

Say “Goodbye” to headaches, brain fog, uncontrolled emotions, poor concentration and lack of energy.

April 19, 2018

With up to 70% of our bodies made up of water, it is a vitally important nutrient and one which many of us do not get enough of regularly. Water plays many important roles: It helps to remove toxins from the body; it nourishes our body’s cells and enables many chemical interactions to take place. Water also helps to regulate the body’s temperature. Efficient waste removal is essential for a healthy mind and body and will also help with weight loss and clearer complexion. Even if you do nothing except to increase your water intake, you will help your body remove excess toxins and waste.

On the contrary, if you do not drink sufficient water, you will become dehydrated and may feel more tired, lethargic and unmotivated. Many of us are dehydrated and don’t even realize it. The next time you have a headache and want to reach for the Tylenol, try drinking one to two glasses of water and waiting 30 minutes to see if your headache goes away. I bet you it will!

How much?

As you’ve probably heard before, you need between 8 and 12 glasses of water daily – even more if you exercise. To be more specific, take your body weight in pounds and divide by two – the result will be the minimum amount of water that your body needs (i.e. 120 Lbs ÷ 2 = 60 oz of water) daily. Of course if you exercise, you will need a bit more – approximately 500 ml per hour of exercise.

What type?

In addition to quantity, quality is also important.

Tap water purity can vary from location to location and many chemicals are added in order to render it fit for human consumption. Tap water is a source of chlorine, aluminum and in some areas, lead, radon and nitrates may also be a concern. To be on the safe side, you would do well to consider one of the following filtering options:

  • BRITA (or similar): Brita filters use tiny charcoal fragments to filter your water of many hazardous chemicals. Brita pitchers and filters are easily obtained at most stores. It is very important, however, to change your filter regularly as failure to do so can allow other harmful bacteria to proliferate in between all the tiny charcoal granules.
  • Bottled water: A popular option for many but the source of such water is sometimes questionable and it is also difficult to know how long the water has been sitting in the bottle and in which conditions. Many studies have shown that plastic can leach into the water over time and we also have to figure out how to dispose of the toxic plastic bottles.
  • Reverse Osmosis: Considered by many to be the best source of pure water but a drawback of this method is the amount of water that must be wasted during the filtering process.
  • Block carbon filters: My favourite. These are easy to install under your sink, water quality is good, there is minimal water wastage and they are more economical over the long-term than Brita filters. You can find a wide range of options at your local hardware store, e.g. Canadian Tire or Home Depot.

 

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.

 

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.

IMG_4123

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”.

 

 

 

 

dafodil

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.

 

IMG_0706

“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