Extend The Benefits Of Your Massage

April 5th, 2012

Wouldn’t it be great to get massage every day? You could hold out until you win the lottery, or you could follow some simple steps to extend the benefits of your massage.

1) Stretch! Your RMT isn’t suggesting stretches just for the heck of it, we believe that they will help you to feel better, and keep your muscles looser for longer.

2) Move! You don’t have to start training for an “Iron Man” or anything, just start making exercise a part of your life. Start slow if you need to, but exercise helps. If you strengthen muscles that are weak, your body will be more in balance, and you will have less pain.

3) Relax! Stress is a huge factor for many people in contributing to muscle tension, if only you could extend that sleepy, dreamy post-massage feeling. Well you can try. There are many ways to reduce stress in our every day lives. Start with something simple like deep breathing, or meditation. Most importantly, find something that works for you and stick with it.


Don’t Be Part of The Hunchy Bunch!

February 28th, 2012

Nowadays, it seems like bad posture is more common than good posture, probably due to the time we spend sitting at our desks.  I am not suggesting that you go out and get a new job or anything, just try to be more aware of how you are sitting!

When we sit with our shoulders hunched or rounded forward, not only do we look unattractive, we can cause some serious health problems.  When we are hunched our chest collapses, which restricts our breathing, not a good thing.  Hunching also causes forward head posture, dysfunction in the shoulder joint and eventually severe neck  and back pain.  As our chest muscle become shorter and tighter, our back muscles continue to lengthen and weaken.  The more we sit with poor posture, the more more work it takes to sit up straight!

Make sure you desk is set up properly at work and at home.  There are plenty of resources out there to help with this, some might even be in your own workplace!  Use post it notes, pictures, whatever you can think of, to remind you of your perfect posture goals.  Try sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair for a few minutes a day in order to get familiar with what proper sitting posture feels like.  There are some other posture braces and gadgets on the market that can force you into the ideal position. Try to get up from your desk every 30 minutes to stretch and walk around a little bit.  Make good posture part of your workout routine too!  Strengthening the back and lateral rotators of the shoulder can improve posture, along with stretching out the chest muscles and keeping our core good and strong.

Try to be aware of other times you hunch your shoulders, driving, playing the piano, out in the cold, etc.  So many activities in today’s society can lead us to hunched shoulders, but we can change this if we are aware and a little diligent with it!  Massage therapy can get us on the right track to proper posture.  A massage therapist can assess your posture, lengthen the shortened muscles and educate you on the appropriate strengthening exercises to help bring the shoulders back!

Please contact Forces of Nature to book your massage therapy appointment today! www.forcesofnature.ca or (416) 481-0222

Sit up straight.  Your back will thank you!



Do You Know Where Your Pain Is Coming From???

December 12th, 2011

Is it just me or is there an abundance of commercials for muscle and joint pain medications these days?  Every time I turn on the T.V. there is a fancy diagram of a back with a red area representing the pain.  There are definitely many medications of this type on the drug store shelves for us to choose from, but do you ever wonder why you are reaching for them???  You are in some kind of pain, yes, but what is the underlying cause of this pain?  Your body is trying to tell you something!

Taking pain medications can be a quick fix to get through a day or event, however, eventually you want to know what is causing the discomfort.  You could be pushing a muscle or joint beyond its range of motion, overloading a muscle or compensating for a weak muscle.  The reasons are endless really, but these are pretty common ones.

A massage therapist can work with you to try and narrow down what is causing the pain, help to eliminate it and prevent it from coming back.  Where you feel your pain is not always the source of pain, go figure!  Massage therapists are knowledgeable on many pain referral patterns and where to look for the many causes or pain and altered sensation.  The therapist can help you stretch, strengthen and develop new habits to help manage your pain.

So, instead of taking a pill and pushing through pain, learn why it is there and where it is coming from!!  Who knows? You might learn another thing or two about your body by booking a massage appointment!  Give it a try and stay healthy this year.

You can find out more information at www.forcesofnature.ca or call (416) 481-0222 to book an appointment.  We hope to see you soon!


Stretching: Are You Doing It Right?

November 29th, 2011

From what I see people doing at the gym, I’m not sure that everyone is properly informed on how to stretch properly.

Here are some tips:

Do not stretch unless your muscles are warmed up. If you’re not going to warm up before your workout, then just stretch afterwards.

Make sure your stretches are pain free- you should feel a gentle stretch, but if pain or discomfort is present, either you’re doing it wrong, or there’s another issue. Be sure to talk to your RMT if you experience pain with stretching.

Once you have reached a gentle stretch, hold it for 30 seconds, at least. This allows the muscle time to stretch out properly. Repeat any stretch that you’re doing three times, and if applicable, on both sides of the body.

Most importantly, if you are unclear on how to properly perform a certain stretch, don’t be afraid to ask for a demonstration. Your RMT will likely demonstrate the stretches they give you, but if they don’t, or if you forget, please ask to see it again.

Happy Stretching!




Make Massage Therapy A New Year’s Resolution!

November 16th, 2011

I know we are still a month and a half away from making our list of resolutions for 2012, however, now is the time to start thinking about what will be your favourite one!!!!  Chances are your health benefits cover massage therapy, so why not use up this year’s coverage before the end of December???  You will get a taste of the wonderful benefits massage has to offer and begin planning how to incorporate it into your schedule in the new year.

Massage ties in beautifully with all the common resolutions people tend to make and you know you will make at least one of these.

Quitting smoking equals stress and massage is a fantastic way to help manage it.  Spending less money, especially after the holidays, is on everyone’s mind.  So why not use what is already part of your salary for something that is good for you?  Starting a new workout routine will most likely come with some unwanted muscle soreness; massage is the answer.  Trying to get more restful sleep each and every night? Massage is a sure way to make this happen with ease.  Shedding a few unwanted pounds is probably the most common resolutions these days!  Even though massage itself with not help you lose weight, it can be a great way to reward yourself for all your hard work and discipline.  Improving your sports or activity performance is another common goal for the new year and massage can help.  It can improve range of motion, recovery time from exercise and correct muscle imbalances.  Lastly, trying new things and exploring the unknown are great resolutions.  If you have ever wanted  to try massage and not done so because you weren’t sure what it would be like, go for it!  Learn what you have been missing out on and bring something new into your life.

You can find out more information at www.forcesofnature.ca or call (416) 481-0222 to book an appointment.

Piriformis Syndrome: Why Should You Care?

November 2nd, 2011
If I had a nickel for every time a client self-diagnosed their leg pain as “sciatica”, I would be able to buy a few more fancy coffees every week. Okay, so the point is, sciatica is a real condition, but it’s a general term. Conditions that affect the sciatic nerve are referred to as “sciatica”. But the term doesn’t differentiate between inflammation of the sciatic nerve, compression of the nerve in the lower back, in the buttock, or any where else along the nerve pathway.
Piriformis Syndrome refers specifically to compression of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle- a muscle that attaches from your sacrum (the flat bone in your lower back) horizontally to your femur (the leg bone that attaches to your hip bone). The sciatic nerve travels under the piriformis muscle, and in some people through the piriformis.
If the piriformis is tight due to trauma, over-use, and postural problems, it can develop trigger points (painful “knots” that can refer pain). Trigger points can cause further shortening of the muscle which can lead to a very unhappy sciatic nerve.
So the good news? Registered massage therapy can be very effective in treating and relieving trigger points, and tight muscles. That’s what we do! RMTs are equipped with the skills to release your poor trapped sciatic nerve.
Your RMT cannot diagnose your condition (only your Doctor can do that), but we do have the knowledge to test for specific conditions such as Piriformis Syndrome, but if you’re in doubt, please see your Doctor.

Massage After Your Marathon Helps Speed Recovery

October 26th, 2011

There are so many feelings a runner goes through after running a marathon or any other long distance race for that matter.  The mind and body are pushed to a point that is far from comfortable.  How should one recover you might ask?  First of all, try to keep upright, it will be easier to receive that congratulatory hug that way!  You should also take a moment to pat yourself on the back and enjoy this most recent accomplishment.  Yes, your legs might feel like rubber, you may feel like crying or perhaps have to use the porta potty, but still take the moment to soak up the glory of finishing the race.

Recovery should begin as soon as possible after the above mentioned things are taken care of.  Take the weird looking blanket they give you.  Yes, it looks like a cape, however, it will keep you warm and feeling like a superhero.  Hydrate and refuel; even if you don’t feel like it.  Most race environments will have a full supply of easy to absorb foods like bananas and bagels, so eat up.  Start sipping water or any recovery beverage of your choice.  You can move onto some more exciting food once your body has settled a little bit.  Keep moving as you eat and drink as your body needs a cool down period.

Hopefully you do not require the services of the first aid tent, but perhaps the massage tent is calling your name.  Proceed with caution!  Most massage therapists providing post race treatments should be trained appropriately, just make sure to do what is right for your body.  Your muscles are damaged and very angry with you, so be nice.  The massage should be short and sweet, that’s it, that’s all.  The pressure should be incredibly light and some passive stretching should be incorporated.  Now that the party is over, go home and rest.  Avoid heat and embrace the cold if you can handle it.  Ice baths are extreme I know, but they can make the world of difference in your recovery.  The cold will force your blood vessels to constrict, forcing lactic acid and excess fluid out of legs.  An ice bath can help reduce inflammation and speed up the recovery process.

Once a few days have passed and you can walk without yelping and feeling older than you actually are, head to your registered massage therapist.  Booking a massage 2 to 3 days after your race will be an immense help to your recovery and future races.  A massage will relieve the soreness, shorten recovery time, remove adhesions, and improve range of motion.  You may even discover things about your body like muscle imbalances or other hidden injuries you never knew existed.  You can work with your massage therapist throughout your recovery and training  in order to optimize your athletic performance.  Massage is a wonderful way to become aware of what is going on in your body and help you reach your full potential!

Therapeutic Massage Benefits Chronic Neck Pain

October 20th, 2011

A 2009 randomized clinical trial of therapeutic massage therapy like we do at Forces of Nature Wellness suggested that massage is safe and may have clinical benefits for treating chronic neck pain at least in the short term.
Source: Clin J Pain. 2009 Mar-Apr;25(3):233-8.

Tempted By Massage Coupon Deals? Here’s Why You May Want To Reconsider

October 14th, 2011
Yes it’s tempting, you see those coupon deals being offered everywhere now. Hey, who wouldn’t want to get an hour massage at 50% off?
But you may not be getting a Registered Massage Therapist, and unfortunately, in a lot of cases, you get what you pay for.
Registered Massage Therapists in Ontario have what is considered some of the best training in the world. We go to school for two years, that’s 2200 hours of intensive schooling. We get this training because we are regulated by the government and are held to a very high standard. Upon graduation from a massage school, in order to become “registered”, all RMTs must pass a provincial exam.  The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario requires that RMTs complete a certain amount of continuing education once they begin practicing. And the College keeps tabs on RMTs by performing  Peer Assessments to make sure we are upholding the standards of the College.
The benefits of massage are many, and being treated by a Registered Massage Therapist is the best way to ensure that you will be getting a safe and effective treatment. That’s worth paying for!
In some cases there are RMTs that offer these coupon deals. The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario states specifically that RMTs are not allowed to discount our services.  Coupon deals and discounting undervalues RMTs’ expert knowledge and our role as health care professionals.
Massage therapy is often more effective if it’s done regularly. Coupon deals tend to be a one time thing. Having an RMT that you know and see consistently is of great benefit to you and your health. Your RMT gets to know you, your  life, and your concerns. You get to know us, and have a space in which to ask questions and get a better understanding of your health. In turn, we are better able to treat you effectively when we have the whole picture of your health.

How Massage Helps TMJ Dysfunction

October 7th, 2011

The Temporomandibular joint connects the mandible, or “jaw”, to the skull.  It is the hardest working joint in the body, moving over 2000 times a day.  Like any other joint,  muscles surround and work to move this joint, but for some reason we don’t take care of these muscles.  We take care of our teeth and gums with brushing, flossing and visits to the dentist every 6 months.  However, nothing like an hour long sit in the chair for a root canal to cause some pain in the muscles!

Dysfunction can be unilateral or bilateral and can be brought on by smoking, gum chewing, jaw clenching or teeth grinding during sleep, also know as bruxism.  Overworked muscles, increased stress levels and postural dysfunction such as hyperkyphosis, can also cause problems in this area.

Muscles of the face, neck, and jaw can develop trigger points, nasty little knots, which can cause pain, decreased range of motion, weakness and heat and cold sensitivity.  Massage therapy can help to eliminate trigger points and help manage stress which could be the underlying cause.

How do you know if you have TMJ dysfunction?  You may hear some clicking or popping in your jaw, have pain with opening or closing your mouth, or have sensitive teeth.  Your massage therapist can assess this and nearby joints in order to pinpoint the root of the problem.   So,have your RMT  include TMJ massage at your next treatment!!