Flip Flop Your Way to Pain

August 2nd, 2013

There is a reason you can buy flip flops for a few bucks…..there isn’t much too them!  They offer no arch support, heel cushioning or shock absorption and provide no protection for your feet.  Wearing flip flops for extended periods of time can cause over pronation, muscles and tendons to work over time and changes to your gait, all of which can lead to knee, hip and back pain.  Everything in moderation is the best approach when wearing the basic flip flop type sandal.  Wear them for heading to the beach, washing the car, swimming pools and health clubs.

If you do love this style of footwear however, like I do, choose a supportive style and brand that can be worn for longer periods of time.  Birkenstock, Keen and Orthaheel  are all excellent brands that will provide the support you need while staying reasonably fashionable.  Wearing a solid brand day in and day out can still cause some lower leg pain due to those calves working so hard.  Regular massage therapy can relieve that pain and help to restore the balance in the muscles of the legs, hips and gluteals.  A massage therapist can go over stretches with you as well as other self care techniques, such as foam rolling and strengthening exercises so you can enjoy a pain free summer!!!

Come to Forces of Nature soon and treat your hard working calves to a massage.

Even The Young Love Massage!!!

June 21st, 2013

It is the first day of summer, the sun is shining and school is wrapping up. Kids of all ages have a little more time on their hands, whether it is between play dates or  relaxing a little before pounding the pavement trying to find  job.

It is no secret that the youth coming out of high school, college or university have a challenge on their hands with the youth unemployment rate at 14%.  They have been under a huge amount of stress writing exams, submitting their last papers and now job hunting.  Chances are your kids are still living with you as they try to find work and they might still be on your health benefits package too.  If they are, send them in for a massage treatment!!!  It will help to normalize their posture from spending hours at the library and manage the stress of trying to find their dream position.  It could be a wonderful reward for the hard work your son or daughter put into their education.

Even the young kids enjoy massage and can gain positive benefit from one.  They are so busy with activities, playing and helping around the house, why not book a massage for them too!  I also see many small people carrying backpacks that are way to heavy for them, with the ridiculous amounts of homework these days.  Having a massage can be a great way to check in with your child and assess posture and possible muscle imbalances.

We love kids at Forces of Nature and would love to see more of them at our clinic for massage!!!

Massage Therapy No No’s

June 11th, 2013

For those of you who receive regular massage therapy treatments, you know the amazing benefits it can provide.  If you are fortunate enough to have a health plan that reimburses you for your massage treatments, you are, as I am sure you know, incredibly lucky.  Hopefully we can keep this good thing going for many years to come!

The massage association, also known as the RMTAO, works very hard with insurance companies to give massage therapy a bigger piece of the insurance coverage pie.  Some of my clients have $350 worth of coverage per year, some $500, others $1000.  The more the better, so the people who use massage can continue with treatment and so brand new patients can give it a try.  Unfortunately, insurance fraud in our industry in a very BIG problem and sort of threatens all of the work the RMTAO is doing.

I know, it seems absolutely crazy that such a terrible thing can exist, but it does.  You may have even committed fraud yourself and not even know it.  Here are some examples of fraud and how you can help us put a stop to it.

A client is scrambling to use up his or her benefits by the end of December before they renew and can’t fit all the required appointments in.  The client asks the therapist and/or receptionist to post date the insurance receipt until January so it can be claimed the next year.  Innocent enough eh??? Nope. Fraud.

A client’s health benefit package only covers up to a certain amount per treatment.  The client asks if an hour long massage they have just received can be divided into two 30 minute treatments instead of the hour. You guessed it, fraud.

Jimmy’s Aunt Molly gave him a gift certificate for a massage for Christmas this year, but Jimmy doesn’t dig massage.  Jimmy heads to the clinic where the GC was purchased and asks for an insurance receipt for a massage he doesn’t intend on having.  The clinic issues that receipt with a dollar amount on it instead of making it clear it was paid by a gift certificate.  Jimmy submits that receipt and scores the cash. Fraud.

Husband comes into the clinic for a massage as per usual.  When the treatment is complete, he states that he has tapped out his coverage for the year and to just put his wife’s name on the receipt as she never goes. Fraud.

A strapping young lad has just started a new job, past his probation and the health benefits are now active.  He notices he has $500 worth of coverage for massage therapy, however, he doesn’t like to be touched and will not be using the coverage.  He could use the money though and approaches his neighbourhood clinic for help.  He asks the receptionist and RMT at the clinic to issue receipts and falsify other records so he can get reimbursed for massage treatments he didn’t and will never have.  Fraud.

These things are happening all the time and we need to work together to put a stop to it, or at least reduce it drastically.  Do not frequent clinics or spas that behave this way and educate your friends and colleagues that have made these requests as to why this is wrong.  Let’s keep massage therapy alive and well for generations to come and respect those who work so hard to help you!!!  You can contact the CMTO for assistance if you suspect or witness insurance fraud.

At Forces of Nature, all of the practitioners follow the rules and do their part to keep their professions strong.  This way, we can continue to our best work for all of our clients, so come and see us soon!!!!


Massage Isn’t What You Think. Or Is It???

May 24th, 2013

I just had a massage treatment a few short hours ago and I feel great!  I have had hundreds of massages in my life and today’s session, not unlike any of the others, instantly lightened the load in my body, but also in my head.  Releasing pain and soft tissue dysfunction in our body somehow allows us to reconnect with our minds in a healthy way. We often do not realize how much of the tension we are holding in our bodies actually stems from stress, fear, over thinking, etc.

What is my point exactly??  We have a choice.  We can choose how we let stress, other people and situations affect us.  We don’t have to clench our jaws, strain our necks or draw our shoulders up to our ears when we are experiencing some emotion.  We CAN just let it roll off our backs and maintain good posture while at work.  Or not hang our head low while a relative is sharing an embarrassing story about us.  Maybe you grip your purse tighter when you are late and rushing?  Is this making sense?  Can you think of a time when what you were feeling in your body was directly related to the thoughts you were having?

I often suggest that my clients take note of what is happening in their lives when they are feeling tense or experiencing some pain.  This helps to build awareness, which can lead to making positive changes to our health and well bing.  Another exercise I give and also do myself, is taking note of tension while laying in bed at night prior to sleep. You know, when you can’t settle down because your mind won’t stop working, either from going over the day that has just passed or worrying about the day that is to come?  Feel where the tension creeps up in your body while you process things in your mind that upset you, make you feel anxious or stressed.  Go into the feeling and then try to let it go!!!!  If you can learn to make that choice while laying in bed, you will have a better chance of doing it successfully during the day.  Give it a try!

Massage therapy helps to develop this very same awareness as you learn where tension resides in your body.  As a massage therapist releases trigger points, fascial restrictions and hypertonicity, you will feel a mind body connection that will improve your general health immensely.  Once that nagging neck or back pain is gone, you will be amazed by the positive change in your mood as well as you body!!!

Call Forces of Nature to book a massage today and learn what it can do for you.  (416) 481-0222 or www.forcesofnature.ca



The Benefits of Benefits

April 5th, 2013

With the loss of 55,000 jobs in this country last month, you can’t help but wonder if you will be next?  The stress of working in an ever changing economy and all that comes with it can take it’s toll on hard working Canadians.  Rumours of downsizing, one person doing the job of two, budget cuts and poor morale can make us feel like we are in transition when we really aren’t…..yet.

Appreciate the job you have now and use all parts of that job to the fullest!  Whether you are paying into your medical benefits or they are part of your salary, use them!!  Get to know them, understand them, love them and take advantage of them, now.  It blows me away when I hear people say they don’t use their  benefits or even know what they cover for that matter and I just can’t understand this.  Massage therapy and the other forms of health and wellness that are covered under your plan, will help you to manage your health through the ups and downs of your career.  Who knows?  Maybe using your coverage could lead to a career change you never thought of!!!  It did for me and I have never looked back.

The next time you put off using your benefits yet again, think of those who have already lost their jobs or the self employed folks who pay out of pocket for much of their healthcare.  If you do happen to lose your job, make sure you know what your severance package includes, as many benefits will last 3 to 6 months.

Start using what is yours today, enjoy good health and encourage your friends and loved ones to do the same!  Call Forces of Nature and book with Kristie or Helen at (416) 481-0222.





Getting The Most Out of Your Workout

March 1st, 2013

March is here, the sun is shining and we are spending a little more time outside.  Visions of the summer are in our heads and this can motivate some to get in shape!  After a few months of hibernating and perhaps eating a little too much, the fast approaching spring can give us the energy we need to push ourselves and achieve our fitness goals.  The choices we have for exercise have become overwhelming and it can be difficult to find something we like, can benefit from and most importantly, stick with.  Yoga, pilates, running, martial arts, infomercial DVDs, bootcamps, the list goes on and on.

How does massage therapy fit into our exercise regime??  Let me say right off the bat, massage does not reduce cellulite, build muscle, burn fat or miraculously turn your body into something you have always dreamed of.  It can though, help you understand what is happening in your body and perhaps why you aren’t getting the results you are working so hard for.  Every body type is not meant to do every kind of exercise due to a plethora of reasons.  Injury, muscle weakness or imbalances, health conditions and so on.  Finding what works for you is paramount if you want to succeed and change your body for the better.  We can re-train our bodies to move correctly and more efficiently and this is where massage therapy can make all the difference.

A massage therapist can help improve the function in any area of your body that is not cooperating.  Lets look at the glutes for example, we all want a nice tush correct?  If your hip flexors are tight and over developed, it will be tricky for your glutes and hamstrings to join in and benefit from a squat.  The strongest muscles will always take over and prevent others from building strength.  Tight pectorals and weak lateral shoulder rotators can prevent the arm from getting the most out of a backhand in tennis.  Perpetually tight calf muscles can limit range of motion in the ankle, cause pain in the shins and prevent you from meeting your running distance goals.

A massage therapist can help you get your body doing what you want it to do and keep it that way!  Call Forces of Nature today and unleash your potential with a great massage.  Call (416) 481-0222 or visit www.forcesofnature.ca to book.





How To Prevent Low Back Pain While Shovelling

January 2nd, 2013

Winter is here and I have already treated several low back injuries due to shovelling the white stuff.  Since last winter was unusually mild, we are definitely out of practice and need to ease back into this favourite winter activity. Here a few tips to keep you pain free all winter long!

Firstly, warm up.  This is especially important because you are exercising in the cold.  A few laps up and down the driveway or a snowball fight with your kids will do.  Use the right shovel for your height and level of strength.  A lighter shovel is better and the bent shaft style seems to be most comfortable for the average snow clearer.  The most important thing though, is your body position and technique.

Bend at the hips and knees, not the low back.  Rounding the low back causes our erector muscles to disengage and the innocent little stabilizer muscles take over.  These tiny muscles can not handle the load and will fatigue very quickly, sustain injury, ultimately causing pain.  Maintain a neutral spine which is your tallest position.  Lift the snow with your legs and hips while bracing your core which includes your glute muscles!  Brace yourself like you are about to be socked in the stomach and toss that snow into the neighbour’s yard!

Strengthening exercises like squats, deadlifts and planks can help you maintain great technique for the entire season.  Stay hydrated and take breaks even for the little snowfalls.

If you do run into trouble and find yourself injured or just want to reward your muscles after the next big storm, come in for a massage therapy treatment!  Call Forces of Nature and book with Kristie or Helen at (416) 481-0222.




Water and Massage – Is There A Connection????

August 28th, 2012

I think we all know why drinking water is wonderful for us and necessary to consume, especially when it is hot outside.  As summer is drawing to a close though, it is important to remember that we need to drink it all year round.  Here are a few reasons to keep sipping away as we move into autumn.

It  regulates our body temperature, helps our liver and kidneys flush out waste products and carries nutrients and oxygen to our cells. It keeps our memory sharp, our mood stable and helps us stay motivated!  This is especially helpful to children who are going back to school soon and want to perform to the best of their ability.  It also can help prevents muscle fatigue while exercising and keep our joints lubricated.  It is free, tastes fantastic and is calorie free!

Does it benefit our bodies after a massage????  We don’t really know to be honest.  Many massage therapists insist that having water post massage can help to further release toxins, but there doesn’t seem to be any concrete proof of this.  Massage can be dehydrating just like a workout, so water can help to re-hydrate and reduce to potential for pain and soreness in the days after the massage.

What we do know is that a cold glass of water after a massage can help bring the client back to reality from the blissful world of massage. You know, that kind of dazed feeling of complete relaxation.  Of course you need to experience massage to know what that is like.

So, call Forces of Nature today and book an appointment with Kristie of Helen!  (416) 481-0222


Massage: Does It Really Work???

June 19th, 2012

Yes it does!  This doesn’t seem of to be enough of an answer to get some folks to give it try though.

You know, I hear the above and many other questions and comments about massage therapy on a daily basis from friends or family who have never received a massage therapy treatment.  Even many of my clients share with me some interesting comments they hear from people in their lives about massage.  What is it that prevents people from trying such a wonderful thing with endless health benefits??  Here are a few of my favourite comments or objections:

“I don’t like people touching me” – Really? Is that really the issue?  I find the individuals that say this are the ones asking their wives, husbands or kids to rub their aching bodies!  The kind of touch that massage entails is very comfortable if you find a therapist that works for you.  Don’t be afraid to try a few out until you find someone you can trust and build a healthy client – therapist relationship with.

“It’s girly” –  The most common comment from men, hands down.  A woman might perform your massage, but that’s about as girly as it gets, especially if you choose a clinic environment.  Massage can help you recover from your workouts, improve your range of motion, improve circulation, muscle firing and body awareness.  All of these fabulous things can therefore improve your golf swing, your skating stride, speed on the  soccer field or race day, and your reaction time on the tennis court.  The list goes on and on!  More goals, more speed, more glory, and improved performance overall.  There is nothing girly about that.  It might even make you feel like a man.

“The therapist will judge my body” – The most common comment from women unfortunately.  The therapist will make you feel comfortable, answer any questions and make sure you get what you need.  We are looking at your body in a whole different way to be honest.  We assess which muscles are short, long, weak or strong, and holding tension.  We are focused on anatomy, your response to the body work and the result of our efforts.  It also gives women the opportunity to forget about their body image issues for awhile and feel good in their own skin.

“It will hurt” – I am not going to lie about this one!  Yes, it could hurt, however, it is a good hurt and any discomfort felt during a massage is most likely helping to eliminate the pain you come in with!!!  The therapist should coach you through any uncomfortable treatment and not take things further than you, the client, is willing to go.  The therapist should also give you the appropriate self care to do at home which will help to minimize pain the next day.

Come and see Kristie or Helen at Forces of Nature for a great massage therapy treatment soon!





What’s An IT Band?

April 11th, 2012

You may have heard of the IT, or Iliotibial Band (also called the Iliotibial Tract). So, what is it?

The IT band is a thick band of connective tissue that runs along the outside of the leg from the hip all the way down to just below the knee joint. It primarily acts as a stabilizer for the knee.

Overuse, such as with running, can cause the IT Band to become irritated and cause pain, usually around the outside of the knee. If pain does develop, there are a few things that can be done to help:

1) Rest- or easing up on your training schedule can help.

2) Massage Therapy- RMTs are trained in myofascial release (fascia is another name for connective tissue) and can use these techniques to effectively loosen adhesions and make the IT Band more ‘flexible’.

3) Stretching- The IT band is not a muscle, so it can’t be stretched in the same way a muscle can- the tissue is non contractile. However, there are ways to ‘stretch’ the IT Band- ask your RMT for a demonstration.