Massage therapy is the perfect complement to Osteopathy, Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, Personal Training and Pilates. It is also a superb treatment on its own or as part of a regular maintenance program to promote optimal tissue health. Taking time away from your computer, phone and other life stressors and simply focusing on your breath, listening to your body’s subtle messages of vitality, joy and relaxation help restore your mind and body. The ancient Chinese, Egyptian, Indian, Greek and Roman civilizations all reference the use of massage techniques as playing an important role in the healing process. With good reason, as there are countless proven and perceived benefits of massage such as improved sleep, reduced muscle tension, improved joint mobility, improved posture, better lymphatic drainage, decreased stress hormones, reduced inflammation and pain along with improved immune function.
3 Wellness Enhancing Benefits of Massage Therapy
1. Improved athletic and fitness recovery
The ancient Greek athletes used massage pre-& post exercise, a theory still practiced today. A decrease in swelling and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) by 30% was found in a 2005 study on The effects of massage on delayed onset muscle soreness, swelling and recovery of muscle function. “This suggests that a massage performed post exercise but before DOMS develops can alleviate soreness, no matter how the massage is performed”. Interestingly, the upper arm circumference was measured pre and post massage and the treated arm had a significantly smaller increase in circumference, demonstrating a prevention of swelling
2. Improved immune function
In a 2010 preliminary study by Rapaport et al, a 45-minute massage therapy vs light touch therapy group found “the data do support the notion that a single session of Swedish Massage therapy may have fairly profound acute effects on the immune system” compared to baseline results and a light touch control group. There was a decrease in cytokines, interleukins, cortisol and vasopressin, and an increase in the number of lymphocytes (white blood cells).
3. Shift towards a more Parasympathetic (Relaxation) state
Are you stressed?
Do you live in sympathetic overdrive?
Our autonomic nervous system consists of the sympathetic nervous system (“Fight or Flight”) and parasympathetic nervous system (“relax and digest”).
A 2009 study by Diego and Field, from The International Journal of Neuroscience reported the 1st half hour of moderate pressure massage calms the sympathetic nervous system and shifts to a more parasympathetic state vs the light pressure group which provoked a shift towards a sympathetic response.
So, consider a regular maintenance massage as less of a luxury, and more of a necessity for your physical and mental well-being.
Written by Ashly Metcalf, Registered Massage Therapist & Osteopathy candidate
1. Zainuddin Z, Newton M, Sacco P, Nosaka K. Effects of Massage on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness, Swelling, and Recovery of Muscle Function. Journal of Athletic Training. 2005;40(3):174-180.
2. Rapaport MH, Schettler P, Bresee C. A Preliminary Study of the Effects of a Single Session of Swedish Massage on Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Adrenal and Immune Function in Normal Individuals. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2010;16(10):1079-1088.
3. Miguel A. Diego & Tiffany Field (2009) Moderate Pressure Massage Elicits a Parasympathetic Nervous System Response, International Journal of Neuroscience, 119:5, 630-638
ImPACT: Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing
What is ImPACT?
ImPACT, or Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing, is a computerized test used in Toronto Physiotherapy at Ace Sports Clinic. It is an objective measurement tool used in the assessment and management of concussion and post-concussion syndrome (PCS). It is a scientifically validated and FDA-approved test that allows clinicians to track progress of neurocognitive symptoms throughout the management of head injuries. ImPACT should be accompanied by a full clinical evaluation of PCS symptoms.
What does ImPACT assess?
ImPACT involves a variety of computer-based tests that assess domains such as visual and verbal memory, reaction time, and visual motor speed, all of which can be affected with PCS.
What does ImPACT involve?
ImPACT can be completed as a Baseline test (pre-injury) or as a Post-Injury test. Baseline testing is done to determine values for the domains listed above prior to head injury and is highly recommended for athletes that play contact sport. Post-Injury test scores can be compared with the athlete or client’s own Baseline scores, and/or within population normative values (if Baseline data hasn’t been assessed). The computer test takes approximately 30-45 minutes to complete; however, may take longer depending on symptom severity with head injury.
What occurs after ImPACT?
Your clinician will use the values from the ImPACT test to help guide treatment, and can compare values as a means of objectively measuring improvement by completing a second or third test throughout the course of recovery.
For more information, please visit https://impacttest.com/.
Sources: Shift Concussion Management, Inc.
ImPACT Applications, Inc.
Picture Source: www.britannica.com
1. Develop a strong core: deep support for a healthy spine
Low back pain affects up to 80% of people at least once in their lifetime. And that pain can keep people from being able to complete normal daily activities, including work. A recent study published in the Lancet medical journal reports that the best cure for most people with back pain is regular movement and exercise. According to Doug Gross, a co-author of the study and a professor of physical therapy at the University of Alberta, exercise might even help to prevent low back pain.
A stronger core equals a better back. Pilates promotes a healthy spine by strengthening deep postural abdominal and spinal muscles to create a strong corset of support.
2. Create an evenly conditioned body
Pilates exercises load joints efficiently and focus on the balanced development of muscle strength and flexibility. While it is good to find movement through a variety of activities, many popular workouts often work the same muscles and reinforce similar recruitment patterns repeatedly. This can lead to muscular imbalances, a primary cause of injuries. Pilates conditions the whole body, from head to toe. By creating support in a balanced way, movement is more efficient, daily activities and sports are performed with greater ease, and there is less chance of injury. That’s why so many professional sports teams and top athletes use Pilates as a vital part of their training regimen.
3. Reduce stress
Breathing and concentration are two important Pilates principles. With focused, deep breathing, blood is better able to deliver oxygen to muscles and organs, tension in the body releases and lung capacity increases. Deep breathing has been shown to reduce stress levels and blood pressure, enhance mood, and improve sleep.
4. Improve posture
Pilates encourages body awareness, especially in relation to posture and how it affects how we move and find support. Many people spend the majority of their time sitting, often in a slouched, forward-flexed position. This can lead to imbalances throughout the body and pain. There is no “one size fits all” work in Pilates. Movements are specific to individual imbalances and weaknesses to help build meaningful strength and support. One-on-one Pilates sessions are important to learn about individual posture and movement patterns. Small group classes are a great way to reinforce new movement patterns and awareness.
5. Better balance
Pilates exercises focus on core strength, proper skeletal alignment, and efficient muscle recruitment which allows for enhanced static and dynamic balance control. Better deep postural support equals better control and coordinated movement throughout the whole body.
The spine is comprised of 33 vertebrae: 7 cervical vertebrae (your neck), 12 thoracic vertebrae (your mid-back), 5 lumbar vertebrae (your low back), 5 fused sacral vertebrae and 4 fused coccygeal vertebrae. The spine consists of natural curvature throughout its length, and the structure of the vertebrae help to contribute to natural movements of the spine. These include flexion (bending forward), extension (bending backward), side flexion (bending to both sides) and rotation (turning to both sides). Joints between each vertebral segment should contribute to these movements to effectively move the spine and contribute to movements of the pelvis and limbs as well.
The 21st century necessitates that we spend most of our time in excessive thoracic flexion or bending forward. Think how much time you spend sitting at a desk, at your computer, commuting, driving, texting, watching Netflix (who doesn’t love Stranger Things??), compared to how much time you spend moving your spine. There is likely a huge imbalance! This is NOT to say that bending forward is bad inherently, but repetitively prolonged forward flexion of the thoracic spine can and will result in structural adaptations over time.
Limitations in thoracic mobility can limit many things:
Shoulder movement: try excessively bending your upper back forward as if you have terrible posture, and then raising your arms all the way overhead. Now try the same movement with your back straightened upright. Feel the difference? Imagine what a difference this can make in overhead work, serving in tennis or volleyball, throwing a ball, and many more!
Neck movement: excessive rounding or forward flexion of the thoracic spine commonly contributes to forward head posture and the multitude of dysfunctional issues that come along with this like headaches.
Squat: excessive rounding or forward flexion of the thoracic spine can limit movement of the lumbar spine, hips, and pelvis, which can affect squat technique and depth. This, in turn, can limit the amount of weight you are able to safely squat.
Breathing: your lungs lie within your ribcage, which attaches to the vertebrae in the thoracic spine. Excessive thoracic flexion can limit the depth to which lungs can be filled with air when taking a deep breath.
Many more! Limitations in thoracic movement can lead to many more dysfunctional issues throughout the body, which can be discussed with your healthcare provider at Ace Sports Clinic!
What should we do?
The short answer is move! Schedule yourself short breaks throughout the day to move your spine and body into different positions than sitting in thoracic forward flexion all day. More specifically, here are a few mobility exercises you can include daily for thoracic spine mobility:
- Cat and Cow: a useful mobility drill for moving between spinal flexion and extension. Allow yourself to feel each vertebrae contributing to the movement, rather than the entire spine moving as a block.
- Quadruped Thoracic Rotation:
in quadruped position, movement must come from the spine rather than the hips or pelvis. With one hand behind your head, rotate through your spine to bring your elbow across your chest, and then up towards the ceiling; repeat on both sides several times.
- Hang! Not only does hanging result in thoracic extension (slight bend backwards in mid-back), gravity also causes a traction force on the spine, which helps to create a bit of space between your vertebrae. You can hang from a pull up bar, tree branch, door frame, or monkey bars at the park for 10 seconds. Ever see an orang-utan with back pain?
For further information about thoracic spine, and spinal mobility, speak to your healthcare provider.
- source: http://www.firstaidforfree.com/first-aid-for-spinal-neck-and-back-injuries/
- source: http://www.bodiempowerment.com/neck-stiffnes/
- source: https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Back-Workout-Routine-31023713
- source: https://redefiningstrength.com/quadruped-thoracic-rotation/
- source: https://blog.paleohacks.com/pull-up/#
- source: http://www.dive-the-world.com/creatures-orang-utans.php#prettyPhoto
Dry, dehydrated skin may be one of the most common client complaints, especially in winter, when the weather is cold, dry and windy. The first step in addressing this problem is to differentiate between dryness and dehydration. It is important to separate these two issues initially in order to determine potential causes. Once this has been done, the whole picture can be evaluated to develop an effective treatment plan.
Even oily skin can experience dehydration. Dehydration is a lack of water, not oil. This means sebaceous oil activity can still be normal or even overactive in dehydrated skin. One of the biggest consequences of dry, dehydrated skin is an increase in sensitivity, as dryness and dehydration are precursors to sensitized skin. Addressing it quickly can help stave off issues of sensitization.
Get a thorough skin analysis today!
Both dry and dehydrated skin can experience:
• Irritation, inflammation, itchiness and sensitivity
• A feeling of tightness or tautness
• A look or feel of roughness
• Slight to severe flaking and scaling
• Fine lines, redness and cracks
Fortunately, there are a range of modalities available from traditional treatments to cutting-edge technologies to help comfort and treat both dry and dehydrated skin.
Facials can help!
A facial is essentially a multi-step skin treatment that is one of the best ways to take care of your skin and to preserve a youthful look. A facial cleanses, exfoliates, and nourishes the skin, promoting a clear, well-hydrated complexion and can help your skin look younger. You also receive advice on the best way to take care of your skin. A facial works best when it is part of an on-going program of skin care.
How do I select the right Facial for my skin type?
OxyGeneo treatment provides the only 3-in-1 super facial. Patented and clinically proven OxyGeneo technology results in unparalleled skin nourishment and exfoliation for smoother complexion and younger looking skin. Results are seen after only one treatment.
What makes OxyGeneo a Super Facial?
OxyGeneo provides 3 effective facial treatments simultaneously. It combines gentle exfoliation, natural skin oxygenation, and a deep facial rejuvenation with the infusion of essential revitalizing nutrients.
• Plump and hydrate
• Restore skin volume
• Renew youthful glow
• Revitalize dull complexion
• Reduce appearance of wrinkles
• Firm skin and tighten pores
• Improve skin cell production
How often should I get a Facial?
How often you should get a facial depends on several factors—your skin type, skin condition, skin care goals, age, conditions where you live, even how much you care about your skin. If you want to take good care of your skin, getting a professional facial once a month is ideal. Why? The skin is a living organ, and it takes about 30 days for the cells to move up from the dermis to the surface, or epidermis, where they flatten out, die and slough off. Giving it a boost every 30 days is what your skin needs to look its best.
Ace Sports Clinic is pleased to introduce “Spa by Ace”. Extending our committment to positive personalized care, we now offer luxurious wellness treatments provided by our Medical Aesthetician. Relax, unwind and bring balance to your body and mind within the “Spa by Ace”. Book your session today.
Winter weather can pack a punch and, with the season’s heavy snowfalls, injuries often result. Improper snow shovelling is often to blame.
But shovelling out after a storm doesn’t have to leave you stiff and sore. With a little know-how, you can clear your driveway without the all-too-common back, neck and shoulder pain cramping your style. Here’s how, courtesy of our friends from Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA):
Before You Start
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as big an issue in the winter months as it is in the summer.
- Dress in several layers so you can remove a layer as you get warm.
- Wear proper footwear. Shoes and boots with solid treads on the soles can help to minimize the risk of slips and falls.
- Pick the right shovel. Use a lightweight, non-stick, push-style shovel. A smaller blade will require you to lift less snow, putting less strain on your body. An ergonomically correct model (curved handle) will help prevent injury and fatigue. Also, if you spray the blade with a silicone-based lubricant, the snow will slide off more easily.
- Before beginning any snow removal, warm up for five to 10 minutes to get your joints moving and increase blood circulation. A brisk walk will do it.
All Set to Go
PUSH, DON’T THROW.
Push the snow to one side and avoid throwing it. If you must throw it, avoid twisting and turning — position yourself to throw straight at the snow pile.
BEND YOUR KNEES.
Use your knees, leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting while keeping your back straight.
WATCH FOR ICE.
Be careful on icy walkways and slippery surfaces. Intermittent thaws and subsequent freezing can lead to ice building up underfoot, resulting in nasty slips and falls. Throw down some salt or sand to ensure you have a good footing.
Once you’ve mastered safe snow shovelling techniques, you’ll be free to have fun and stay fit all winter.
Contact Ace Sports Clinic in case you have questions regarding an injury as a result of snow shovelling.
Myth #1: You have to be flexible to do yoga
I often hear people say, “I can’t do yoga – I’m too inflexible”. Clients will warn me about their inflexibility as though it is a force to be reckoned with! To be honest, I get excited when I hear someone say that, because to me, they are the perfect candidate for yoga. The idea that you need to be a pretzel in order to do yoga is possibly the biggest myth out there. If you are stiff, that is exactly why you need to do yoga. The irony is that yoga classes are full of flexible people who should integrate some more strength and conditioning into their training regime, while gyms are full of stiff people who need some flexibility! A great yoga instructor will meet you at your starting point, and help you to move with ease.
Myth #2: Yoga isn’t a workout
Yoga classes can be relaxing, but it can also be as energetic and challenging as you like. A strength based yoga program will challenge both your mind and your body. You’ll find yourself sweating in poses that are harder than they look! Yoga is unique because each pose requires you to focus on form and alignment, activating muscles from head to toe. You may wake up the next morning feeling sore in muscles that you didn’t even know you had.
Myth #3: Yoga is a woman’s game
Many yoga classes are tailored to suit the majority of the participants, which tend to be women. On average, women tend to have more range of motion in the hip joints, while men are stronger through the upper body. So, when a man steps into a yoga class for the first time and feels too inflexible to get into half the positions, one of two things may happen. The first is that he may try to do the pose anyway and get injured – which defeats the purpose. The second is that he may leave the class feeling discouraged and thinking to himself, “Well, I’m never doing that again.” The solution is to find an instructor who will design a program that works for your body.
Myth #4: Yoga is for hippies and vegans only: keep out!
Some people go to yoga classes with the expectation that it will be all meditation and soul searching, or worry that they will be judged for not living the ‘yogic’ lifestyle. But yoga is non-judgmental. It is called a ‘yoga practice’ because there is no performance element – each time you step on the mat you do whatever works on that given day. Yoga is really about meeting you wherever you’re at. There is no prerequisite for self-learning and self-reflection!
Myth #5: You’re not missing much
People typically start yoga for a reason – they want to improve their flexibility or heal an injury, and then move on. But more often than not, they realize that yoga is invaluable for so many things. Stress relief, ease of movement, mental clarity and balance are just a couple of reasons to give yoga a try. Yoga can truly change your life.
Do your hip flexors always feel “tight”? Have you been performing the same hip flexor stretches everyday without any improvement?
Although the stretches may feel like they are working and are releasing some of the tension, in most cases of hip flexor tightness the issue is often due to the hip flexors being overworked as a spinal stabilizer. Therefore, it is perceived tight because if you are in an anterior pelvic tilt (refer to figure 1), then your core isn’t in a position to stabilize the spine, thus, the overworking of your psoas to take up the slack. With that said, in order to ensure that their is not a fundamental shortness in the tissue or some other neurological driver causing the “tightness”, it is important to first visit a healthcare practitioner (i.e., Physiotherapist, Osteopath, Exercise Physiologist etc.) to assess the hip joint and the surrounding tissues.
Our hip flexors attach to our femur with several other parts up the chain, eventually connecting to our lumbar spine and diaphragm. The specific muscle I am referring to is called the Psoas. As seen in Figure 1, the psoas flexes our femur, tips our pelvis forward (Anterior Pelvic Tilt) and can externally rotate our femur (turn the femur out), which are all important functions during walking.
When I tip my pelvis forward (Refer to Figure 1) the psoas becomes short, and in order to maintain some semblance of stability, it pulls the lumbar spine forward (extension). This in effect causes our abdominals and deep spinal stabilizers to be weak and elongated, The Psoas now has to pick up the extra work to stabilize the spine so that we can stay upright.
So, why does this matter? Well, by performing all of those hip flexor stretches, you are attempting to lengthen a muscle that seems to be the only thing stabilizing your spine! This can lead to back pain, anterior hip pain, knee pain, and other possible pathologies.
However, if the muscle is not tight, then why do you feel like you need to stretch the hip flexor all of the time? You may feel tightness in the front of the hip, especially when extending your leg because you are lengthening a muscle that is stabilizing the spine as mentioned previously and this action causes the psoas to contract as a protective strategy in order to prevent you from stretching the muscle further, and possibly to the breaking point. Think of the muscle as an elastic band, what is happening is like pulling an elastic band as much as possible, and then trying to pull it even more. Eventually the band will reach a point where it can’t be pulled any further without breaking.
The question now becomes, if I am not supposed to stretch, then what should I do?
Firstly, we need to restore the position of the pelvis in more of a posterior tilt (belt buckle to the ceiling, which flattens out our lower back, and exhale through the mouth to drop the rib cage towards the pelvis. This posterior tilt and rib cage position will now give the abs and deep core muscles leverage so that they can stabilize the spine and restore the psoas to its optimal position.
After restoring position of the pelvis and restoring the optimal length of the psoas, we also need to strengthen it as it has been overworked and we want the body to remember this position so it does not default to the anterior pelvic tilt.
With all of this in mind, give these three exercises a try instead of making stretching your go to:
90/90 Hip lift 2-3 sets of 4-5 full breaths:
- Lay on your back and place feet on bench/wall/chair with hips and knees bent at 90 degrees
- Place Foam roller/rolled up towel between your knees and squeeze
- Inhale through your nose
- Exhale through mouth, press lower back into ground, drive heels into bench and tilt pelvis while maintaining the lower back on the ground
- Hold this position for 4-5 breaths trying to go further and further without compromising position
Deadbug with reach 2-3 sets of 6-8 reps on each side:
- Lay on back, arms reaching up with knees and hips bent at 90 degrees
- Reach long through the arms towards the ceiling
- Before you move any limbs exhale to bring the ribs down and press your lower back into the floor maintaining this position the whole time
- Inhale through the nose without losing back position
- Extend your leg then Exhale through the mouth, letting all the air out of your lungs
Front plank 2-3 sets of 8-10 full breaths:
- Start on elbows and knees, extend legs back, knees straight (can perform this on your knees)
- Make sure palms are on the ground, and reach through your forearms, slightly rounding the upper back
- Tuck the pelvis (belt buckle to ceiling) as much as you can while keeping abs tight
- While maintaining the previous position, as you exhale try to reach longer through your forearms (push ground away and fill upperback) each time
- theptdc.com/2014/06/5-steps-dealing-anterior-pelvic-tilt/ Figure 1 Diagram of Pelvic Tilt
Visit us today: Ace Sports Clinic