Tag: massage therapy

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.

August 16, 2018

I’m not easily motivated anymore. I used to snap to attention the minute I saw a quote – any quote. The door of my room as a teenager was full of silver-penned wisdom in a spiral pattern. I gobbled up inspirational speeches like I was starving.

These days, it takes more to move me. I’ve become a little desensitized to the parade of stock photos and inspirational phrases marching across my social media feeds. I understand that I Am Worthy. I get that I have to Persist to Succeed. So now what? I need some more good life lessons to chew on!

When I decided to go to the Can Fit Pro Fitness Conference this year, I was apprehensive but excited. Surely someone there could motivate me. I wanted to be moved.

I wasn’t disappointed. Having trouble being motivated? Try this:

  • Surround yourself with ‘better’ people. Stronger people. More flexible, more educated, more worldly, more affluent. It’s true what they say: if you’re the best in the room, you’re in the wrong room. I took an advanced flexibility class. I took a Pound: Rockout/Workout class. I learned about reflexive stabilization during the gait cycle (I know, sounds intense!). All of these seminars pushed my comfort zone, challenged my brain, and reminded me of how much I don’t know. It was bliss.

If you’re the best in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

  • Watch other people get motivated. Five of us shared an apartment. We were able to have some down time in between sessions together, sharing what we learned from our various experiences. The excitement in people’s faces and voices when they just clicked with some piece of knowledge or resonated with someone’s lecture is amazing. It’s like watching a kid open birthday presents. I get filled up by that glow, and I saw it everywhere. Lightbulbs were almost literally going off in people’s heads everywhere I looked. Looking at the ways others were moved lit me up.

Meeting of the nerd-minds between sessions.

 

  • Hit all the senses. Simply reading motivational quotes doesn’t do it for me now. But sitting in a room hearing Petra Kolber talk about Detoxifying Perfectionism using her own real life examples as well as motivational quotes is. Listening to a pump-me-up song is fine, but what’s better is holding onto a pair of RipStix and drumming the ground like a seasoned Rockstar while the music thumps through the room. Watching a Zumba class from outside the gym studio is cool, but feeling the collective energy of the dance and the music as you pass by one on the trade show floor is So. Much. Better.

    Waiting to rock the Pound class.

While I didn’t digest major life-altering messages this weekend, the content within the CanFit conference left me with lots to mull over. And despite my sensitization to motivation, I found that I was definitely spurred into action by what I saw, heard, and experienced.

 

Until next year, CanFitPro!

 

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.

March 15, 2018

Did you know that you CAN exercise while pregnant, even if you haven’t really been that active prior to pregnancy? We just have to ADJUST what you will be doing.

Important factors to keep in mind while exercising:
✔️ check your intensity – target heart rate zones should be on your radar
✔️ your intensity should be somewhat hard
✔️ you should be able to carry on a conversation throughout your workout.

FYI: Target Heart Rate Zones based on your pre-pregnancy fitness level:
❤️ low or active- target 130-145 BPM
❤️ fit – target 140-160
❤️ obese – target 100-120

💡Remember: do NOT do Valsalva manoeuvre (holding your breath while you are exerting yourself ie, lifting a box off the floor) as it can increase your blood pressure and increase your chances of non-functional diastasis recti. Instead, exhale on exertion and inhale on relaxation.

‼️Important! You are not training for a competition, YOU ARE WORKING OUT TO MAINTAIN YOUR FITNESS LEVEL.

Working out during pregnancy will help you during your labour and delivery, but it has also been shown to have positive effects on your baby and their APGAR scores!

📣Disclaimer!! STOP if you have shortness of breath, chest pain, painful uterine contractions, vaginal bleeding, gush of fluid, dizziness or faintness.

Click Here for more practical tips and helpful info on your pregnancy!

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 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!

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

 

September 10, 2015

Every April, I pull out my Slo-pitch ball bag.  Curse at myself for not having done it in October… Curse some more because that’s where my shirt went, or my favorites socks…. and then….curse some more because I left everything in the bag wet…. OOOOPS!  I start the process of airing out the equipment, oiling up the glove, make sure there is a ball for every league, 11 inch for ladies, 12 inch for mixed.  My warmup balls, one heavy, one regular weight.  My bats are all cleaned up. My cleats cleaned and sprayed to rid of the smell.  That’s my routine.

I am a full time athlete only part of the year, because I only play ball from May to October.  But, during my season I go all-out. I play on 3-4 teams, leagues and tournaments…. then the rest of the year is for rehabbing nagging injuries that happened during ball season.

BUT… this year has been a little different.  This year, instead of worrying about old injuries or worrying about a tweak here or there, I have been very worried about a new injury.  One that impacts my game so much, that I have pulled myself from my line ups, just so I can rehab it to play in the year end tournaments. One that prevents me from lifting heavy objects, or thinking about how might I move my body during a treatment so I don’t feel this discomfort I am constantly feeling.

I am often asked “who takes care of you?” and jokingly I reply “I get around”. The honest truth…I struggle to even get my own treatments at times.  Until recently! I have had to make it a priority to get in and get treated.  And I’m not being easy in just finding any therapist to treat me, I am being very specific in who I see.  I fully believe in Myofascial Release and how everyone needs it and that it will help everyone.  I also know the people I work with are awesomely gifted in what they do.  So in the past four weeks, I have been seeing my fellow colleagues here at Whole Therapy and some other MFR therapists here in the city, and I have also been self-treating!

4 weeks in a row, I have focused on getting someone else to touch and treat me.  And 4 weeks in a row, I have focused on treating myself.  Two weeks ago, after a great treatment and some self care that night, I felt a shift.  I woke up for the first time and the pain wasn’t a burning sensation in my forearm and elbow.  For the first time, I felt a good heat in my elbow rather than a horrible one.  I’m feeling less nerve pain and I can hold my own coffee mug (you all know how much I love my coffee!).

My lessons are many this year…I need to take care of me (so our #ChangeOneThing challenge could not have come soon enough)! I need to make the time to get my own care even if I have to push something else aside to do it.  I’ve always been a believer that no matter what it costs, we should take care of ourselves.  This ball season, I feel it has cost me a lot; I have missed out on playing the sport I love with the people I like most.  I have even come to the point that I don’t want to play ball because it hurts too much and my play has been impacted.

I am not invincible. I really need to practice what I preach about self-care and maintenance.  I really have to be that athlete that gets treated regularly because my fascial restrictions have prevented me from doing what I love to do.

So my first #ChangeOneThing is to look at my schedule and put treatment into it for the whole rest of the season.  That’s happening today.

What step are you taking in the name of positive change?

 

Tara 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 me on Facebook Tara Hagan-Fields RMT

 

tara_bio

August 24, 2015

Husband Jamie and I took the kids wilderness camping at Algonquin Park a few weekends ago; it was their first time, and they loved it.

Gorgeous weather as we set out. What's not to love?

Gorgeous weather as we set out. What’s not to love?

When camping, one has a singular purpose: to survive.  There’s no luxury to camping in the wilderness, save for a decadent square of dark chocolate at the end of the evening, or a luxuriously dry pair of socks when your body is damp to the bone.

We pushed on, canoed until our arms and shoulders ached, carried our canoes and packs on our tired backs, found a place to rest, set up camp and made food to fuel us.  We slept when it darkened.  Then we woke up and did it again.  In between, we swam and laughed, interacted with each other (without the distraction of electronic devices), made up stories, sang songs, and observed the wonder of nature.  It was amazing.

Yes, the pack IS as heavy as it looks.

Yes, the pack IS as heavy as it looks.

The rhythm of camping and portaging is simple, satisfying.  I felt better about myself camping (dirty, calloused and aching) than usual, and I didn’t touch a phone or look into a mirror in over 72 hours.

That’s not an accident.

I was able to really feel my body on our trip. I felt the strength in my legs and back as I hefted my 65-pound pack (and added Little One’s pack to it as well, when she tired).  I felt my hunger rise up as we finished setting up tents: a natural reminder to eat for fuel rather than out of habit or boredom.  And I sank into sleep each night, sardined in with Middle and Oldest, I felt heavy and worked, and grateful to be lying down, and even though a thermarest is hardly a plush mattress, I slept like the dead.

If only life were so simple, I thought as we travelled – a clear purpose, a drive and need to succeed.

Reflecting on life in my journal.

Reflecting on life in my journal.

But life is so many shades of camping – not quite urgent, or so much more so, not quite survival, but living “to the fullest” – whatever that means.

Everything in nature does its best to adapt.  Not like humans, who try and shape the world around us to fit our own needs.  In nature, even an acorn blown by mistake to the edge of a cliff will grow sideways and thrive as it reaches for the sun.

img_0198school

We need to learn to grow sideways.

 

In this way, the simplicity of the wild is so much more advanced than our technologically brilliant society; we, in the acorn’s position, would look for a better, more advantageous spot to grow, and though we may grow straighter, taller, we would miss out on that amazing view. Not to mention, we would miss finding out what we are made of.

I thought about that acorn, and survival, a lot on our trip.  Obviously we were close enough to civilization that most emergencies could be easily rectified.  But most of our creature comforts were taken away: no couch to laze on. No phone to surf Facebook.  No coffee maker, no takeout, nothing quick. If I wanted a meal I had to work for it. If I wanted to be entertained I had to use my imagination.

Little One hams it up in the tent.

Little One hams it up in the tent.

There was no passivity, no boredom.  Only a deep sense of appreciation for the skills and strength I possess, my family, and all the beauty nature has to offer.

And now that we’re home, and continuing our journey here, I’m more than content with some wine, some good conversation, and a sunset.  More rolling with the punches, less trying to shape the world to my whims.

I want to see the view from the side of the cliff.

 

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

June 18, 2015

In April I had the opportunity to speak at a Women’s Business Network breakfast, and I spoke about a topic that I deem extremely important.  Read on to find out how to start listening to the language of your body.

Your body is great.  I’ve said this before in another blog post, and I mean it.

Listening to the language your body speaks enables you to give it what it needs.  When you respect your body’s needs, you can nourish it in the right ways, and be healthier, more functional, and overall happier with life.

Too often we ignore the little signals our bodies give us.  Headache?  Just pop a pill.  Tired?  Just one more hour on the computer.  Stiff?  Ignore the discomfort, it’ll eventually go away, right?

Nope.  The body has the amazing ability to speak to you louder and louder until you get the message.  Eventually, it will make you pay attention, even if it has to shut you down with extreme pain or limitation.
outoforderWhen learning to listen, it’s vital that we deem ourselves important enough.  If we don’t, we’ll never understand our body’s language because that would mean we’d have to listen!  Many people get by on “good enough” but is that really okay?  Would “good enough” be an adequate health status for our children?  Our significant others?  No way!  Would you drive a vehicle every day that was only “good enough?”  Probably not.

And yet we “drive” our bodies around in that state all too often.  You are important.  Make sure you know that.  Because “good enough” within our own selves does not lead to greatness in our family lives, our relationships, or our businesses.

So how do I know what my body has to say?  Here are the steps to follow:

Tune In.dog-food-meditating-dog-medium-18624

What is your body saying?  Start simple.  How is your temperature right now?  I ask my clients this before every massage, and it tunes them in right away.  Too warm? Sweaty?  Chilly under a vent?  Just perfect?  Take a second and tune in to what your body feels about temperature.

Then, move on to discomfort.  Start from your head and work down to your toes.  Are you uncomfortable anywhere?  Are you extra aware of one side of your neck versus the other?  Are you sitting in a way that’s making your back hurt?  Are your knees creaky?  Discomfort and pain are often ignored because we feel we don’t have the time for them.  However, to paraphrase an oft-used quote, Those who think they have no time to deal with discomfort will sooner or later have to find time to deal with injury.

Once you have tuned in to your body’s sensations like cold/hot, hunger/satisfaction, or discomfort/pain, you’re on the right track.  Sensations are important because they connect you to what your body needs right now.

 

For use elsewhere.00_01_35_02.Still021

Honest assessments to get to the root of the issue.

Assess.  Why am I feeling this way?  It’s important that you assess without judging too much (it’s hard, I know).  Judging can lead to runaway emotions and turn small problems into big ones.

For example: The sensation of being too hot can lead to annoyance – I hate having these hot flashes! Stupid body!  Instead of judging, ASSESS: do you notice that they happen more often when you’re stressed?  More often in the morning? Can you see a pattern?  If you can, you’re closer to understanding your body’s language, and it can help with your emotional response.

The sensation of pain or discomfort can lead to anxiety – what’s wrong with me? Is this serious? Is it just a headache or something worse? Instead of judging, ASSESS: Why is my head hurting?  Am I dehydrated?  Have I been staring at this screen too long?  Did I sleep funny?  Asking simple questions can sometimes reassure you when it comes to pain.

 

takeaction

“Action always beats intention”

Take Action:  Now that you’ve discerned what your body is trying to tell you (or you’re on track), you need to take action.  It’s important not to tell your body to “shut up.”  Eventually, your body will make you listen, even if it has to shut you down in the process.

If you don’t know what action to take, that’s okay.  Asking for help is perfectly fine.  My colleagues and I help people learn to interpret their body’s language every day.  It’s a process of trial and error.  But you have to take some action, or nothing will happen at all.

If, while practicing, frustration creeps in, remember that’s normal.  We all want instant gratification:  I want my body to just be good! I want there to be no pain or discomfort!

Well I want my business to make a million dollars this year, and I want my kids to pick up their clothes without me asking a million times… but it doesn’t just happen!

You have to learn how to ask if you want results.  Learning to speak back to your body is as important as listening to it speak to you.  We’re not going to live healthy into our eighties by eating crappy food and being sedentary.  When we eat crappy food, we’re telling our bodies “Here, this is your fuel.”  When we exercise, we’re telling our bodies, “Get used to this; adapt; be stronger.”  By comparison, if you tell your body, “this computer posture is normal” eight hours a day, your body will adapt to that!

Remember that you are speaking to your body as much as it is speaking to you.  You can get help learning to listen to your body’s language, but for the most part, it just takes practice and perseverance, and an intuition that I know we all have (we are women after all!).

To recap: In order to be better at listening to the language of your body, first, TUNE IN to the physical sensations and the emotions that your body is presenting to you.  Tune in often.  Scan your body often.

Second, ASSESS why your body is speaking to you.  Why am I feeling this way?  If you can’t figure it out, ask for help.

And third, TAKE ACTION when your body speaks to you.  Take action in a timely manner, and use intuition as your guide.

Remember: even though it might not always feel like it, your body is great.  It’s great.  And it’s talking to you.  Make sure you listen.

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