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Archive for the ‘massage therapy’ Category

Relaxation massage: how it helps your body & mind

Posted on: May 24th, 2017 by Mariano

Modern life is replete with sources of stress – everything from jobs with unrealistic expectations, to the demands of a busy family, to the overabundance of technology and stimulation. So much is happening and the pace is so fast, sometimes it feels like there’s too little of us to go around. More people are suffering from stress-related conditions than ever before – conditions that impact physical as well as mental and psychological health.

With the distractions and constraints that the constant pressure in our lives creates, it can be hard to remember what simply being alive and fully present in our bodies is supposed to feel like, or to make space for re-grounding ourselves.

But life balance is essential to maintaining ongoing health and wellness, and while we cannot control many of the pressures that bombard us in our daily lives, we can control the steps we choose to take to counteract their negative effects.

One of the best and simplest ways to manage stress and become more present with the inner self is relaxation massage.

The benefits of relaxation massage therapy:

  • Relaxation massage lowers stress levels by reducing the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, removing tension, creating a feeling of ease and mental clarity, and uplifting the mood.

 

  • Relaxation massage reduces muscular tension. The incorporation of deep diaphragmatic breathing during the session enhances this result.

 

  • The relaxing tempo and longer strokes of relaxation massage promote increased cardiac return and lymphatic flow, bringing freshly oxygenated blood to all the muscles and fascia of the body. Improved circulation promotes tissue healing and overall health.

 

  • When the body relaxes, troublesome areas become more apparent and easier for the therapist to access and address. The therapist can use deeper pressure to work on the problem areas in the course of creating full-body relaxation.

 

  • Touch is therapeutic. Many of us have a shortage of physical contact in our lives. Massage addresses the primal animal need for touch and creates a profound sense of well-being.

 

The state of relaxation and enhanced self-awareness that is achieved after a session has far-reaching benefits that have a positive impact on all areas of your health and your life. It’s important to regularly re-connect with yourself through massage.

If you feel that work or life is becoming too demanding on your body, or if you feel you need a space to be calm and relax and clear your mind, consider the benefits of a full-body relaxation massage. It’s an important part of taking good care of yourself.

portrait-emily

Emily Kaminsky, RMT

Emily is part of the team of Integrated Therapies. Read more about her here. If you like to book a session with her you can do it online or call the health centre at (780) 432-4803

Effectively treating low back pain with acupuncture & massage

Posted on: March 12th, 2017 by Mariano

by Mariano Torres, R.Ac / director of Integrated Therapies

 

I have been a bodywork therapist for more than fifteen years. My expertise includes Shiatsu, Thai Massage and Tuina. I am also a registered acupuncturist with additional training in sports medicine acupuncture for orthopaedic disorders.

One of the most prevalent and debilitating conditions I treat is lower back pain. Here’s a brief overview of how I address and resolve lower back pain problems with acupuncture and bodywork.

This is by no means intended to explain either every step of every treatment or the intricacies of Chinese medicine and acupuncture, but only to illustrate typical treatments for lower back pain.

Acute vs chronic back pain

When addressing lower back pain, it’s important to differentiate between acute and chronic conditions. An acute condition may be an injury that happened a few days or weeks ago or a sudden pain that started recently. A chronic condition is pain that is recurrent or constant and has been present for more than three months.

As a rule, acute issues are easier to treat because the body is still strong and hasn’t been debilitated by ongoing pain. A body with chronic pain is weakened both by pain and by compensatory abnormalities or restrictions in movement. Chronic lower back pain may be the result of an old injury, bad posture, improper diet, stress, lack of exercise, or digestive or menstrual problems. All applicable causes must be addressed to correct the condition.

Once we assess and identify the type of pain, we can decide what kind of treatment is appropriate.

The assessment

assessment of sacroiliac joint

assessment of sacroiliac joint

Assessment starts with diagnostic questions then moves on to orthopaedic and muscle imbalance testing. Diagnostic questions explore the history of the pain and identify symptoms and lifestyle considerations. The orthopaedic assessment addresses the alignment of the hipbones and sacrum. In 90% of cases where lower back pain is present, there is a structural misalignment that needs to be addressed.

We first check the position of the hipbones. They may be tilted to the front (figure 1), which causes constriction of the lower back, or to the back (figure 2), which causes weakness and poor stability in the lower back.

We then test the sacroiliac joint for movement. The sacroiliac joint connects the sacrum bone to both hipbones or iliac bones (figure 3). It is often locked on one or both sides when lower back problems are present.

Finally, we conduct muscle testing to reveal which muscles are weak or not firing well, and which muscles are working

hip alignment examples

hip alignment examples

harder to compensate, causing fatigue, weakness, pain, and misalignment. Muscle malfunction can be either the cause of the problem or the result of an alignment issue. For example, if the gluteal muscles are weak, the hip will tilt forward because they cannot hold it in the correct position.

The treatment

In Chinese medicine, we address acute pain as “Blood and Qi Stagnation”, which is a lack of movement of blood and flow of energy. The stagnation of energy and blood is caused by a blockage in the injured or painful area, and treatment is focused on re-establishing the movement of blood and energy to remove it.

In the case of chronic lower back pain, we primarily address the kidney energy in the body. A common symptom of deficient kidney Qi is lower back pain. In Chinese medicine, kidney energy is the main source of strength and the capacity to thrive. By strengthening that energy, we help the body to heal itself.

Acute lower back pain usually requires one to two treatments weekly for a few weeks, while chronic pain might need one treatment every ten days for up to several months.

Each ninety-minute treatment works toward correcting the issues identified during the assessment and addressing any constitutional issues that are present.

A typical example

A client complains of being tired and having pain in the right hip that radiates down the leg (commonly called sciatic pain). During the orthopedic assessment, we discover that the client’s sacroiliac joint is locked on the right side, and that the right hip is tilted forward. Muscle testing reveals that the gluteal muscles are weak and the psoas muscles are not functioning well, especially on the right side.

Treatment includes:

Acupuncture

  • unlocking the sacroiliac joint by inserting needles at key points
  • resetting muscles by inserting needles in the motor points to restore firing
  • addressing the anterior tilt of the right hip by inserting needles in specific point combinations
  • releasing the root nerve of the psoas and gluteal muscles by inserting needles close to the vertebrae
  • addressing the constitutional issues with point combinations that correct weak kidney energy

 

Bodywork

  • deep tissue massage in the area
  • stretching and decompression of the lower back, legs and feet (Thai Massage style therapy)
  • acupressure in certain areas of the hips and back (Shiatsu style)

 

After the initial session, we will conduct a reassessment to see if the alignment has changed, and make recommendations for a treatment plan.

Read more about Mariano

If you like to book a first treatment and assessment with Mariano please call the clinic at (780) 432-4803 or book online: “Acupuncture first treatment and assessment” he will combine acupuncture and massage.

 

 

Portrait of Mariano Torres

Mariano Torres R.Ac/ director

Some client comments:

“Mr. Torres is an individual with the power to enhance, or change your life. His knowledge and skill with the mind and body of a patient provide relief from discomfort, peace of mind, and nurturing for the soul. In my times of pain he has been a provider of wonderful relief, spirit, and positive energy.

He is well versed and skilled in traditional western therapies, as well as traditional healing techniques – and whether you are a believer in alternative medicine and therapy or not, Mariano is a practitioner of great warmth. He is truly one of the healers who has made a direct and lasting impact on my quality of life.

I cannot recommend him highly enough – as a practitioner, or as a person.”
Greg Scratchley

 

“I have had various treatments recently at Integrated Therapies and would highly recommend the therapists that I have had treatment with :-
Mariano Torres treated me for pain in my lower back that was becoming so intense, any kind of movement was difficult. He has a warm, kind manner that with his sensitivity and knowledge of Acupuncture – holds a safe and caring space in which I could trust and totally relax.  My back pain was greatly helped in the first appointment, and a day later, with rest, the nerve pain had completely gone. Mariano is a master in his field.
Kim Reimnitz

 

“When I came to integrated therapies, I had been experiencing pain in the left side of my lower back for over two years. I had seen and followed treatment with a physiotherapist and a chiropractor, but they were not able to really diagnose what was causing the inflammation. They were treating my symptoms and as soon as I would stop going, the pain would come back. When I started seeing Mariano, he found the root cause of my pain the very first day and worked from here. After a couple of sessions my pain started changing and then slowly releasing. He did not only ease up the pain, but taught me to create more awareness with my back. I am happy to say that I finished my treatment with him almost two months ago and I am pain free. Not only that, I can keep up with all my physical activities and not worry about how I am going to wake up the next day. He is really magical with those needles. I experienced him as very knowledgeable, kind and professional. I highly recommend him to anyone.”
Gabriela Touma

 

“True healing experience with a true doctor! I had so much trouble with my back pain. I have gone to a drop-in clinic doctor for three months, a chiropractor, a physiotherapist (expensive and very well-known) and a masseuse. Nothing made changes. The back pain has only got aggravated over time. And I met Mariano and I finally feel that he really cares for me and is willing to work this out. I have no doubt that with his treatment I will get better and get back to my normal active life. He focuses not only on the regional pain you have, but also on the general wellness and balance of your body. If you are seeking for a more mindful, integrated approach to treating your pain, this is the right place.”
Karen Kang

 

“I had my first acupuncture appointment with Mariano. My pain relief wasn’t instant but by the end of the next day, my pain was gone! I will make acupuncture with Mariano one of my “must have” treatments! Thanks Mariano! “
Audrey M.

 

“Mariano is an exceptional practitioner of acupuncture and massage. He is highly skilled at assessing where the problem lies and how to approach treatment. I have had several types of treatment for physical problems and his technique is definitely superior. I have felt significantly better and look forward to more treatments. Thank you so much Mariano.” S.D.

Golden Milk, a recipe for inflammatory conditions and much more.

Posted on: November 4th, 2016 by Mariano

Golden Milk recipe Golden Milk recipe
Its great for you! Start drinking it every evening before bed.

Golden Milk is an Ayurvedic recipe. I started recommending Golden Milk to some of my clients that suffer from inflammatory conditions in the joints, from just muscle tension to more serious condition like cartilage degeneration.

Now I recommend this “magic potion” to all my clients because it has amazing benefits:

  1. It’s an antiseptic and an analgesic, so it helps with pain relief
  2. It detoxes the liver and helps to purify the blood
  3. It helps your digestive system
  4. It’s great for joint problems, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  5. It works well for different skin problems.
  6. It offers a general immunity boost and provides you with a good dose of antioxidants.

 

I recommend to drink Golden Milk before bed. It will help you sleep as well. My wife and I drink it every night.

The recipe is divided into two parts. First, we’ll look at how to make the turmeric paste. Then, we’ll use the paste to make the golden milk.

Turmeric paste
½ cup of clean water
¼ cup of turmeric powder
½ teaspoon of ground pepper

Put the pan with water in it on a medium heat setting. Add turmeric and pepper and stir well, so you create a smooth paste. It takes about 7 to 9 minutes to get the paste properly cooked. If it becomes too dry, you can add some more water.

Allow the mixture to cool down and then place it in a glass container with an airtight lid. The paste will keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks.

Some people take this paste directly, without making it into a concoction. It’s good for pain relief. For severe pain, it’s recommended to take half to 1 teaspoon of turmeric paste a day.

Golden milk recipe
¼ teaspoon (or more if you can tolerate the taste) of turmeric paste
1 cup almond milk (you can also use organic cow’s milk or other milk substitute)
1 teaspoon of coconut oil (you can also use sesame oil or sweet almond oil) – get unrefined, cold pressed oil
Some honey (or use another natural sweetener such as maple syrup, stevia)

Put milk and turmeric paste in a pot and cook on medium heat. Heat the mixture until steaming but not boiling. Remove from heat. When the drink cools down, add honey and oil. The oil supplies you with healthy fats and further increases turmeric absorption. It helps with joint lubrication and promotes cellular function.

Enjoy!

Mariano Torres / director at Integrated Therapies

A therapist’s guide of Integrated Therapies

Posted on: April 21st, 2016 by Mariano

Have you ever asked yourself which therapist is most appropriate for your current needs? Here are brief descriptions of the qualities that we see in some of our team members that will help you choose the right therapist for each visit.

 

Marina Sokalski, Massage Therapy StudentMarina is our newest massage therapist. She is still a student who will finish her course in a few months. We decided to hire her prior to graduation because she is exceptional. She has the hands and presence of someone with many years of experience. She knows how to deliver a deep and healing treatment. Because she is still at school her fees are almost 30% less than the rest of the massage therapists.

“I saw Marina and I was in pain with a sprained muscle in my lower rib in my back. I loved it, I felt so relaxed and felt better in 2 days. She had just enough pressure and gentleness for the whole body. I will definitely be back :)” Lindz

Read about Marina

 

Frank Lai, Registered Massage TherapistFrank is one of our popular registered massage therapists. People love his sessions. He has an innocent gentleness in his personality. His sessions are strong and sensitive at the same time.

“I went for Massage Therapy with Frank Lai annoyed by my neck pain and he reduced it so much that next day I was already back at the climbing gym. I was amazed by how good he is and how professional. It is a gem you shouldn’t miss.” Anna Viladoms

Read about Frank

 

Peter Lee, AcupuncturistPeter is our newest member. He is a registered acupuncturist and excited to be working in our team. His knowledge and skills are outstanding. He will make a precise, detailed diagnosis of your concerns and deliver a treatment that will address your problem. He has no reviews because he just started with us. His fees are 25% less for a limited time.

Read about Peter

 

Anne Liebhart, RMT, Craniosacral TherapistAnne is our most experience registered massage therapist. Her 30 years of experience, her physiotherapy background combined with a wide variety of subtle energy work makes her a popular and uncommon massage therapist under Canadian standards. She loves what she does and it shows.

“I have had 2 sessions with Anne and both were equally unique and wonderful. Anne is extremely knowledgeable and intuitive. She has a genuine interest in working with you to improve all aspects of your health. Trust me, do yourself a favor and book an appointment with her, you will know what I am talking about!” Rhonda

Read about Anne

 

And here is one more review for your enjoyment… or mine:

“If you are looking to be treated well from beginning to end, I recommend you visit Integrated Therapies. The staff are friendly and the atmosphere is comfortable and inviting. I have had Acupuncture and massage with Mariano. He is a master of his art! During each of my many appointments over the past few years, I have felt that Mariano has heard my concerns and has put both his heart and great expertise into his treatments. I always feel much better after a visit to Mariano. I have also seen Frank for massage. I feel very comfortable asking for what I want with Frank – more or less pressure, for example, and I find Frank to be very responsive. As with Mariano, each time I have seen Frank I have left feeling well taken-care of and relaxed. And Kim at the front desk is absolutely lovely! She is so very friendly as well as efficient at what she does. It is always nice to come in and have Kim greet me! Going to Integrated Therapies is a gift I am grateful that I give to myself!”
Jill Koziey

 

Thank you for reading,
Mariano/director

The power of suction cup therapy with massage

Posted on: October 30th, 2015 by Mariano

by Frank Lai, RMT

I have been aware of suction cup therapy since I was a child in Taiwan. My father is a doctor of Chinese medicine and he uses this ancient technique every day in his practice. I am a great believer in its benefits, and use it where appropriate to enhance both relaxation and therapeutic massage treatments.

The therapy has two stages: assessment and treatment. Once assessment of the patient’s condition has been completed through questioning and physical testing, the cups are applied to the areas requiring attention and left in place for five to ten minutes. The vacuum created by expelling air from the cups creates suction which mobilizes blood flow and promotes healing. It also resets the fascia if they are compressed or misaligned.

Cupping is often used on the broad areas of the back, and is a wonderful addition to any massage.

The treatment is sedating, and people will often descend into a profound state of relaxation. Larger cups may be used on the back for a stronger effect. The strong vacuum mimics the rolling action of deep tissue massage without the discomfort. The movement may be long and draining, or circular and stimulating, for stubborn knots and areas of rigid tissue.

 Cupping can also be used to treat:

  • blood disorders such as anemia and hemophilia
  • rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia
  • fertility and gynecological disorders
  • skin problems such as eczema and acne
  • high blood pressure (hypertension )
  • migraine
  • anxiety and depression
  • bronchial congestion caused by allergies and asthma
  • varicose veins

 

It can have minor side effects, including:

  • mild discomfort
  • burns
  • bruises

 

Cupping should not be used on:

  • pregnant or menstruating women
  • people with metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread from one part of the body to another)
  • people with bone fractures or muscle spasms

 

and must not be applied to sites with:

  • a deep vein thrombosis
  • an ulcer
  • an artery
  • a pulse that can be felt

 

Read more about massage therapy with cupping.

Frank Lai, Registered Massage Therapist

 

Frank is a registered massage therapist at Integrated Therapies.

If you would like to experience the benefits of massage therapy with cupping,

book an appointment to see him. Call (780) 432-4803 or book online.

 

 

 

Acupuncture and massage for pain

Posted on: May 8th, 2015 by Mariano

Did you know that pain does not necessarily come from where you feel it?

Pain experienced in the lower back or neck and shoulder may in fact have its origin in the spine. All muscles in the body are innervated by spinal nerves – so every muscle is linked to the area of the spine where its root nerve emerges.

If a tree’s roots are well-nourished and not cramped, its branches and leaves will be healthy, strong and flexible; similarly, if your spine has space between the vertebrae and your root nerves are not compressed by other tissues, the muscles they serve will be nourished, supple and balanced.

If there is an anomaly of the root nerves, however, because of a narrowing of the inter-vertebral spaces, there will be compression of the nerve root, and you will experience shortened muscles, pain in the body, weakness and tingling sensations. The muscle whose root nerve is compromised is like a leaf that can’t get enough nourishment because the tree’s root is cramped – both become small and pale.

Inter-vertebral compression can be caused by an injury to one or more vertebrae, repetitive stressing activities, or an imbalance in the interconnection of the vertebrae, and it results in both a shortening of the paraspinal muscles – the small muscles that connect to the vertebrae above and below – and compression of the nerve root.

What is the treatment like?

Treatment focuses on assessing the muscles involved in the pain pattern and identifying the corresponding root nerve in the spine. Using acupuncture, we activate the nerve root and access and relax the deep paraspinal muscles to open the intervertebral space and release the constricted nerve root.

Using massage, acupressure and movement, we soften and stretch the tissue and joints around the spine as well as the affected muscles, creating a real and sustainable change in the condition.

Pain or imbalance that originates not in the nerve root but in the muscle itself also benefits from this treatment – treating the nerve root causes a reset of the muscle innervation and initiates a healing process in the painful muscle.

My work is focused on addressing the root causes of your health challenges and empowering you to become and remain well through enhanced understanding and lifestyle modification.

Western medicine typically offers medication to temporarily suppress or alleviate symptoms of illness, both physical and mental. While allopathic care is certainly warranted for acute and life-threatening conditions, it fails to offer effective or lasting solutions to people with chronic stress-related issues like anxiety, insomnia, pain, and digestive disorders.

Such health problems are a message from our intuitive core that we need to change our current way of doing things. Learning how to thrive in your life starts with learning from your symptoms, not just pushing them away or judging them as negative. When we approach these matters mindfully, we can achieve true healing and genuine balance.

Call the clinic at 780 432-4803 to discuss your healthcare needs and set up an appointment for acupuncture and or massage integration.

A client review on massage therapy.

Posted on: April 28th, 2015 by Mariano

I depend on reviews when researching services, hotels, restaurants etc. thus this is one review I must give.

Late last year I started having a recurring pain down my right leg from the hip which woke me up at nights. Other issues like knee pain and a nagging lower and upper back pain also bothered me.

I went to see Anne at Integrated Therapies, had an assessment and four treatments just before Christmas 2014. Anne was very thorough, read everything I wrote on the form, evaluated me and after the first treatment, I slept without the leg pain waking me up…first time in a long time. I did the home exercises she showed me to do. It seems as though she “listened” to my body, and with her “healing hands” did some magical manoeuvres to help my body heal itself.

She combines her knowledge and experience from her Physiotherapy training in Germany, with her Massage Therapy techniques to provide this wonderful healing experience that I’ve never encountered before. She’s very generous with her time and her unique, specialized exercise program, is an extra bonus which will continue to help my body throughout the years.

I will highly recommend Anne.

I feel so much better now, that I had to take the time to write this review for anyone needing help.
I am so fortunate that a friend referred me to Integrated Therapies where I able to access the kind of therapy that really made a difference in my life.

Thank you Anne.

VP