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

 

April 29, 2015

It is the last weekend of April and as you know, the theme of April is “Letting Go”. I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about some of my bad habits because physiotherapists are people too! In the spirit of starting fresh this coming May, here are some of MY bad habits which some of you may relate too! And try not to hold them against me! Haha

1) Chewing my nails. Disgusting, I know. I don’t even know I’m doing it. I’m pretty sure I chewed my nails in the womb, that’s how bad this habit is. Have I tried to quit? Yes. Have I been successful? Not even a little bit. So if anyone has any suggestions on how to quit, leave a comment!

What have I tried? Well my parents offered me $1000.nail biting meme00 to quit for a whole 12 months when I was much younger. I was able to go about 8 months before my nerves got the best of me. I was participating in a cross-country race in The Grove located in my hometown of Arnprior, ON. Fortunately (or, unfortunately) I won the race, but lost the war when it came to my nails. It just took one race and my nails were GONE! I have also tried using that disgusting stuff that makes your nails taste terrible, and guess what? I got USED to the taste and just kept on biting. Biting and biting and BITING. Now, I have no nerve endings left in my fingers for me to even feel pain! Talk about hopeless!

2) Slouching. Ironically, I’m the self-proclaimed posture police when it comes to my clients. I’m especially strict when it comes to my clients who sit at a desk all day! Slouching can lead to loads of dysfunction in your neck and shoulders. Take my shoulder for instance: My poor right shoulder has been getting quite “ouchie” over the last few months. This is because I tend to sit/stand with my shoulders in a forward, rounded position. I am also right hand dominant, making me more inclined to use my right hand for essentially EVERYTHING. Because my shoulders have been creeping forward, the back of my right shoulder has gotten pathologically tight. As a result, my ability to put my hand behind my back is restricted and painful. Overhead movements can be often uncomfortable.

Thankfully, I work with a great team who is able to help me restore my passive accessory movement back to normal. Even though I’m a physiotherapist, sometimes you just need another set of eyes and hands to help resolve some of your issues!

3) Don’t wait! Procrastinate now! Take this post for instance: My boss likes me to post things every Wednesday morning. Heaven forbid I try to have something written BEFORE Wednesday! I like to think I thrive under the pressure of having a deadline. Realistically though, instead of “thriving” I often find myself stressed! There is enough stress in the world without procrastination. My goal in May is to try and set aside some time each day to do something productive (i.e. study for my Level 3 Manual Therapy Course). A half hour is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Maybe my goal should be to de-activate Pinterest? I’m sure I’d get a lot of my life back after doing that!

Keeping it real everyone! With the warm weather approaching, now is the time to make those much needed changes to better yourself! I’m going to try, so should you!

Bailey Gresham is a registered physiotherapist for Whole Therapy. She specializes in manual therapy and movement-based therapy. She likes bridging the gap between rehabilitation and performance training and has really really REALLY short nails.  More about Bailey here.

Bailey

 

April 20, 2015

I’m staring at my feet.  I’ve been staring at my feet for the last two minutes, trying not to distract myself.  My feet are planted into my vibrant purple yoga mat.  My knees are bent just a little, and my upper body is flopped over, my arms hanging down by my feet.

Context starts to creep in: wow, I really need a pedicure.  How long have I been in this pose? Sounds like that baby outside is pretty unhappy…

No.  I give my head a teeny shake to empty my mind of chatter. I focus on the exquisite sensation in the back of my legs. Breathe in: focus on tension.  Breathe out: let tension go.  I repeat this breathing pattern until I feel the rigidity in my hamstrings start to slacken. Ahhh.  But I still need a pedicure.

Becoming a yoga instructor was not something I thought would ever happen, but here I am, three days into Yin training, learning the (y)ins and outs of poses such as Rag Doll, Hero, and Smiling Cow Face (yes, seriously).

smiling_cow

“This grass is udderly delightful”

 

Why am I here?  The first time I tried Yin yoga was during my first foray into running, and my hips were tighter than the lid of a pickle jar.  I sought relief from the discomfort in my body.  Now, almost ten years later, I seek relief from the discomfort in my mind.

Like many people I know, I’ve gotten used to being distracted by the context – while driving to work I seek distraction from the radio.  While waiting for anything (even sometimes a pot of water to boil) I seek distraction in my phone, with texting, emails, or social media.

I’ve forgotten how to focus on what my Instructor calls The Essence.

When we allow our minds to focus inward, we are able to listen to the language our body is speaking to us.  A tight muscle here, a wayward emotion there, maybe even a genius idea budding in the corner of our mind.  If we are constantly entertaining ourselves with outside noise, we miss all of the wonderful things our insides are trying to tell us.

So I’m feeling the feelings.  Tension is melting away at the base of my neck as my head hangs upside down.  My chest and stomach feel wonderfully heavy against my thighs now, when at minute one my hips resisted that position.  Breathe in: focus on tension.  Breathe out: let tension go.

Will I ever be able to be fully mindful and poised? I have my doubts.  But I’m open to learning.  In the meantime, I’m using my body to train my mind, and I’m open to possibility.

The journey continues.

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

March 19, 2015

Mel’s Meandering Massage Mind: Are you a….Desk Potato??

deskpotato

Mr. Potato Head has a new job!

Often, we go from sitting at work all day to sitting on a couch all evening. Desk potato to couch potato.  I haven’t worked in an office setting in a long time, but I can remember the endless hours at my desk, followed by the long seated car ride home, followed by the ‘down time’ in front of the computer or TV at night. I was sore and tired A LOT. Sound familiar?

I say we take the opportunity to start fresh this month. Take those resolutions that you have forgotten about from January and restart them now. For those of you still going strong on your resolutions; re-evaluate them, see where you have come from and where you want to go, then adjust accordingly. Do something! Change something!

Don’t let yourself be a Desk Potato anymore. Maybe you can’t change jobs, but you can make the best of your situation. Your lunch hour is the perfect time to step outside and go for a quick jaunt around the block, have a dance party in your office (maybe close the door for this one), or you can put up a sign to see if anyone wants to have weekly lunch hour yoga sessions.

Spring begins tomorrow. It’s a great time to kick potatoey habits to the curb.

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

February 25, 2015

So you’ve gone and hurt yourself, huh?  You’re a gung-ho weekend warrior with a twinge in your back and aren’t sure what to do about it.  This isn’t unusual.

We get all kinds of people coming through our doors who’ve injured themselves in brilliant and creative ways.

As I sit here compiling this literary masterpiece, a client walks in with back spasms that are causing him visible discomfort.  “How’d that happen?” I say.  “I was choking on some long grain rice and coughed so violently that I threw my back out” he replies.  Believe me when I say we’ve seen and heard it all.  You may find yourself asking “What kind of treatment am I supposed to get?”  With all the various types of sprains and strains you may be unlucky enough to receive, where to start can be an overwhelming decision.   Here are a few things to consider:

“Yer aff yer heid!”

1.What is your level of pain?

If you’ve got a full-scale broken back, you’re going to want the emergency room and not deep tissue massage.  An honest evaluation of the pain you are in/damage you have done is important at this stage.  Open wound?  Hospital.  Arm dangling at a weird angle where you KNOW there isn’t a joint?  Hospital.  Tightness in the lower back after trying the caber toss for the first time?  Whole Therapy!  While our therapists are often told that they have magic hands, they cannot perform lifesaving surgeries or repair broken bones.  We’ve had people come in to see us that could barely move let alone stand being touched or physically manipulated in any way.  Not being a hero at this point and seeking medical attention is best.  On the reverse side of the coin, going and waiting in an ER for 10 hours only to have a Dr. tell you to see a physiotherapist isn’t a lot of fun either.

It can be tricky sometimes to gauge the type of potential damage that may have been done after you landed on your back in the middle of the Rideau Canal whilst distracted by that delicious Beaver Tail in your hands. We get that.  While it’s always best to err on the side of caution, be realistic.  The hospital staff won’t thank you either for taking up their time with a minor scrape or the proverbial bobo.

Now that you’ve determined you don’t require immediate medical attention, you’re looking for some pain relief, rehabilitation, and a plan of action for your recovery.  The next step is to..

2. Consider the type of injury.

Chances are, if you’ve rolled your ankle you’re going to want a more rehabilitative and active treatment; most likely a visit with our physiotherapist, or our chiropractors.  If you feel the situation is more muscle or tissue related, you could also consider our team of massage therapists.

One of the great things about our multi-disciplinary approach is how perfectly our services complement each other.  We often have clients come in for “the double”.  This usually consists of a massage treatment to soften you up followed by a chiropractic adjustment to straighten you out!   We also double up on the physio and acupuncture fairly often.  Perhaps the most effective combination of all though, is the combination of our minds.  Each practitioner here will view things in a slightly different way as their training and expertise dictates.  It’s common practice amongst them to pick each other’s’ brains for answers to tricky questions involving your rehabilitation.  It’s this collaboration upon which the Whole Therapy philosophy is based.

3. What can I afford?

Another thing to consider when booking an appointment is your insurance coverage.  Many of you will have private insurance that allows for some spending on different types of clinical services.  Maybe you’ve got coverage for physiotherapy but not chiropractic.  Perhaps it’s the other way around.  Perhaps you’ve only got coverage for one type of service or perhaps you’ve got everything under the sun covered.  It’s worth finding out before you call in so that we can better serve your budget AND your needs.  That being said, sometimes your maintenance program will continue after your benefits have expired.  Don’t worry.  We want to see you as little as possible but as much as necessary.  That means finding out together what a maintenance plan looks like for you.  The initial treatment and following few appointments will likely be closer together, but as you progress from injured to pain-free to functional, the frequency with which you attend will likely decrease. Benefits are wonderful in that they can mitigate the cost of rehab, but they should not dictate the extent of your rehab.  Consider this.

So don’t worry.  Hurting yourself happens, whether it be from coughing up rice, tossing around cabers, or falling while skating.  We’ve seen it all, remember?

Hopefully this information helps you figure out where to start.  If you’re still stumped, give me a call. We can figure out together how to get the ball rolling.

Pat Moore is the office manager at Whole Therapy.  Pat works alongside a team of dedicated professionals and is here to help ensure that your visit at Whole Therapy is as pleasant as possible.  For more about Pat, click here!

Pat

February 5, 2015

Ladies ladies ladies! Let’s talk about bras and how they support us, or don’t.  They are meant to aid a beautiful part of our body!  However, I have been seeing a running theme in my practice lately and even out and about on the street.  Ladies, why are you wearing ill-fitting bras with absolutely no support?

I hear all the excuses…”oh this is just my lazy day”, or “this is my bad bra”, or “my other one is in the laundry”, or “I just came from a work out”…again, all the excuses! Bras that you bought 10 years ago, throw them out! Even ones you bought 2 years ago, look at them closely! Does the elastic still support you the same way? Does the cup?  Have you washed them…and dried them?  How many do you have in a rotation?

Why do I bring up this subject? We can’t take our breasts off like we can our bras.  We need to support them!  We honour our bodies with exercise and nutrition, so why do our breasts hang low and depressed!? If you have not been fitted, go get fitted!  If you continue to wear the ill fitting bras, the drag will exacerbate poor posture, which can put aberrant stresses on your neck, shoulders and back. Poor posture can also impair breathing capabilities.

There are some wonderful places here in Ottawa that are both fabulous and more importantly educated on proper fitting.  Check out Brachic (www.brachicbras.com), and Mariannes  (www.mariannesboutique.ca) for more information on how to get your fitting underway.

Whether you’ve just had a baby, have goals to get back to a certain size, or are in the process of losing weight, have ongoing neck and shoulder pain, or headaches…whatever the reason, if you have never been sized by a professional, set up an appointment and go.  If you were sized 5 years ago, 2 years ago, go again.  I promise you, the relief of a proper fitting bra is worth it! And the satisfaction of looking good is even better! No more excuses!

 

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

Tara3