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    Cupping Therapy – FAQ

    Toronto Registered Massage Therapist Sasha Marakuna answers common questions about Cupping Therapy, our newest specialty massage treatment!

    Cupping therapy is an ancient technique that was applied to treat an array of illnesses. Used for centuries, its popularity continues to grow as people seek alternative and natural methods for treatment. Cups are used to suction soft tissue, and it is this vacuum effect, or negative pressure, that produces a therapeutic result. Therapists use cups to distract congested tissue, release trigger point and myofascial restriction, and to reduce pain and stiffness.

    Benefits of Cupping Therapy include:

      • Increases circulation
      • Promotes relaxation
      • Increases range of motion
      • Decreases muscle tension
      • Breaks down fascial restrictions, scar tissue and adhesions
      • Encourages healing and immunity
      • Encourages lymph drainage
      • Aids respiratory system 

    Cupping Therapy is a useful treatment for a variety of conditions, including:

    • Scar tissue
    • Contusions
    • Tension headaches
    • Strains/sprains
    • Whiplash
    • Edema
    • TMJ dysfunction
    • Bursitis
    • Tendonopathy
    • Plantar fasciitis
    • Frozen shoulder
    • Chronic bronchitis, Asthma
    • ITB contracture
    • Scoliosis
    • Hyperkyphosis/hyperlordosis


    1. Is cupping covered by my insurance? At Anatomica, cupping therapy is offered as a Specialty Massage Treatment, and is eligible for reimbursement by plans with Registered Massage Therapy coverage. Direct billing is available on all RMT treatments, including cupping therapy.
    2. Is cupping painful?  Your therapist will check in with you throughout the treatment to make sure you are comfortable. You can expect about the same amount of pressure/discomfort as you may feel during a therapeutic Swedish massage therapy treatment.
    3. Should I take a shower or bath after a cupping treatment? It’s better to stay away from warm temperatures 2 hours before and 2 hours after the treatment as it can lead to skin damage and inflammation.You can return to all your other regular activities after the treatment. 
    4. How long will the cups remain on my body? Therapy includes static placement of the cups and as well dynamic distraction while the therapist moves them around particular areas. Cups shouldn’t stay on one spot longer than 15 min, and can be removed sooner if there is any discomfort. 
    5. Does cupping treatment include a regular Swedish massage? Yes, the therapist will also use Swedish techniques before and after the cupping application in order to warm up and flush out the tissue.  You will be comfortably draped by sheets and a blanket throughout.  
    6. Are there side effects of cupping? Yes, as with regular massage therapy and other manual treatments, some people may experience such as dizziness or light-headedness following the treatment if blood pressure is low, and there will be round marks on the areas treated. 
    7. How long will the marks stay? Cupping leaves red, circular marks that can look like bruises (but are not usually painful) These are caused by the increased circulation that the cups draw into the layers of the skin, and they usually last for around one week, sometimes a bit longer.

    Book an RMT Cupping Treatment online! 


    Welcome Adam McLaughlin, B.Sc, CAT

    August was busy at Anatomica, as we brought on three new team members! We’ll be doing a profile for each of them in the next week so you may learn more about them as therapists and the treatments they provide. We’re going to start with our new Athletic Therapist, Adam McLaughlin. 
    Adam became a Certified Athletic Therapist in 2015 after pursuing an Undergraduate Degree in Human Kinetics from Laurentian University and further continuing his formal education at Sheridan College graduating with an Honours Bachelor of Applied Health Sciences in Athletic Therapy. As an Athletic Therapist, Adam specializes in the assessment and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries applied through a sports medicine model using manual techniques and therapeutic exercise prescription.

    We asked Adam a few questions so you could get to know him better!

    1. What are you interested in learning more about?
      • Advanced Soft Tissue and Fascial Release
      • Alternative means of therapeutic exercise prescription
      • Clinicial Biomechanics
      • Concussion Rehabilitation
      • Craniosacral Therapy
      • Neural Mobilizations/therapy
    2. What are three types of treatment at which you are really good?
      1. Myofascial Release Techniques
      2. Therapeutic exercise prescription and progressions
      3. Postural Education and Injury Prevention
    3. How does an athletic therapist work with other health professional to carry out a common treatment plan?
      • I would be able to loosen up the joint/treatment area before they see another professional such as a chiropractor, and then provide therapeutic exercises and at home treatment programs to provide progression with the affected area.
    4. Something fun about you?
      • I have a goal to volunteer for the Olympics as an Athletic Therapist, and I’m a self proclaimed geek!

    We’re very happy to have Adam join us so we can provide our clients with a fully rounded rehabilitation team.

    Appointments Available Wednesdays and Alternate Tuesdays & Fridays here


    We get so many requests for Osteopathy and so many questions about it, that we thought we’d answer a few of them here for you! We offer a few options for clients interested in adding Osteopathy to their treatment plan at Anatomica:

    Classic Manual Osteopathy

    Most major benefits plans allow coverage for Osteopathy, and direct billing is available on many Greenshield and Medavie BlueCross plans. Receipts will be provided for any clients wishing to submit to other health care plans with coverage for Osteopathy. 

    Osteopaths are functional anatomists who use manual therapy and gentle manipulations to restore proper body mechanics, nerve impulses and the circulation of cardiovascular, digestive, lymphatic and spinal cord fluids. This allows the client to thrive, as the body naturally heals from injuries, illness, and trauma. All Osteopaths at Anatomica hold Masters degrees in Osteopathic Science – the highest standard of education in Osteopathy. 

    Julie Krize, M. OMSc – Osteopath

    Julie is a graduate of the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy and is a member of the Ontario Osteopathic Association. She is a Certified Yoga Instructor and Art Historian, and through a weaving of these global experiences Julie because interested in the artful mechanics of the human form, and the body’s self-healing mechanism. Julie continues to study functional anatomy, physiology and body mechanics to provide highly personalized care for each individual she treats.


    Brendan Ashman, BCSc, MH.OSc 

    Brendan graduated from Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia with a Bachelor of Clinical Science and a Masters of Osteopathy. While studying, Brendan worked as a sports trainer for AFC, where he developed a passion for treating sports injuries. back, knee and foot pain, He uses a wide range of physical therapy technique including joint mobilization, massage, stretching and rehabilitation exercises.

    A certified member of the OAO, Brendan is dedicated to expanding his knowledge and osteopathic skills to provide the best treatment, and passionate about educating his clients and giving them the knowledge, tools and support to help them on their health journey.


    View Julie and Brendan’s Schedules

    Appointments Available Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays

    Integrative Manual Treatment

    Integrative Manual Treatment is a great option if you want to experience Osteopathic theory but your benefits or health care plan doesn’t have separate coverage for it! 

     Amir Salkic, RMT – Osteopathic Candidate

    Amir graduated from Sutherland Chan in 2004 and went on to complete 5 years of study at the Canadian College of Osteopathy. He is currently writing his thesis as a candidate to obtain his Diploma of Osteopathic Manual Practice.

    Integrative Manual Treatment by RMT Amir Salkic is a unique therapeutic approach which draws on his osteopathy training and 14 years of professional massage therapy practice experience. Integrative treatment starts with osteopathic & orthopedic assessments, and may include soft-tissue release, visceral manipulation, and Craniosacral therapy, as well as precision joint mobilizations and osteopathic manipulations and techniques, within the RMT Scope of Practice.*


    View Amir’s Schedule

    Appointments available on Wednesdays, Fridays and select weekends

    *Eligible for direct billing or reimbursement under plans with RMT coverage.  Integrative Manual Treatment does not qualify for Osteopathic coverage.


    Registered Massage Therapy with Osteopathic Techniques

    Want to experience some of the benefits of osteopathy, but don’t want to “miss out” on your traditional Swedish massage session? We understand!

    Janet Alilovic, RMT – Osteopathy Student

    Janet is a senior massage therapist at Anatomica. She became an RMT in 2001 and is currently in her third year of study into the D.O.M.P. program at Canadian College of Osteopathy.

    She offers deep tissue therapeutic massage with an emphasis on orthopedic assessment, postural alignment, and trigger point therapy. Her unique approach is grounded in Swedish massage and influenced by her osteopathic training. Janet incorporates new osteopathic assessment and treatment techniques into her massage treatments as she masters them

    View Janet’s Schedule

    Appointments available Monday, Tuesday and Sunday

    What to Expect from your Osteopathy Appointment

    What is Osteopathy? The Canadian College of Osteopathy defines it as “A natural medicine which aims to restore function in the body by treating the causes of pain and imbalance. To achieve this goal the Osteopathic Manual Practitioner relies on the quality and finesse of his/her palpation and works with the position, mobility and quality of the tissues.” 

    What exactly does that mean? When you arrive at your osteopathy appointment, it’s best to be wearing something similar to what you may wear to a yoga class. Unlike other appointments, you remain clothed. You’ll start with an in depth assessment to see how your body is moving and any problem areas, ranging from your spine or ankles to your organs. Osteopathy treats your body as a whole, which means that while you’re having hip pain, you may receive treatment in your shoulders and neck which allow for your hips to move better.

    From there, you’ll receive a hands on manual treatment specific to what is going on in your body. You may receive stretching, gentle pressure or resistance; often the movements feel quite gentle, but have a big impact.

    My experience with my osteopathic treatment with Julie included decreased pain in my knees and joints, being able to breathe deeper, much improved sleep and better overall range of motion.

    If you’re interested in learning about how adding osteoapthy to your health care routine may benefit you, Julie’s schedule may be viewed here:


    We’re Pleased to Welcome Osteopath Julie Krize, M.OMSc to the team!

    JulieJulie is a graduate of the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy and is a member of the Ontario Osteopathic Association. She is a Certified Yoga Instructor and Art Historian, and through a weaving of these global experiences Julie because interested in the artful mechanics of the human form, and the body’s self-healing mechanism. Along her own journey towards health, Julie sought out conventional therapies and had no lasting results. Her own experience of an osteopathic practitioner was fascinating, balanced and effective, and inspired her to pursue her education in Osteopathy.

    Julie continues to study functional anatomy, physiology and body mechanics to provide highly personalized care for each individual she treats. Her interests beyond her osteopathic practice include zen based meditation practices, awareness around mental health, and living a socially active and engaged life.

    Julie starts with us next Thursday, April 12th. You can see her full schedule and book your appointment here!

    Acupuncture and the NFL

    National Geographic ran a series on the health care New England Patriots defensive player James Harrison receives, including our previous post on cupping.

    The most recent post is his acupuncture routine.  James reports that it has helped him with recovery after workouts and playing on the field. In this picture, more than 400 needles are being used as part of his treatment! He used to hate needles and was hesitant to try, but after his first treatment worked he was converted. So much so, that he pays for his acupuncturist to fly weekly to wherever he is from New York.


    We also offer acupuncture both either our traditional TCM treatments with Annette Lambert or an RMT treatment with Kristin Hodgen. The treatment will be custom to your body’s needs, and may involve a wide range of other modalities as well. Book online or by calling us at 416-890-1505 to learn more!

    NFL Players Love Cupping (via National Geographic)

    National Geographic’s instagram featured a picture of New England Patriots linebacker James Harrison  yesterday with his shoulders and back covered in cups. He is the oldest defensive player in the NFL. The caption under the picture relates how some people are skeptical of the effectiveness of cupping. James’ reponse? “All I know is before I get treated, I HURT, and after, I feel better.”

    If it’s good enough for a professional football player who has been on the field for nearly two decades, it could do wonders for you too! Both Annette Lambert (Acupuncturist) and Kristin Hodgen (Athletic Therapist and RMT) offer cupping as part of your treatment – if you’re interested in learning more about what cupping can do for you, book an appointment today!

    My Athletic Therapy Treatment Experience

    I spend most of my day sitting at a desk. We have set up an ergonomic space, including foot rests, adjustable chair and monitor and wrist support; yet I still find myself sitting with my legs crossed or with my keyboard too far away from me, which has led to a few aches and pains in my body.  I have been lucky enough to most of the different therapies we offer at Anatomica, which provided me with relief, but after an especially painful day at the desk I decided to visit Kristin for an Athletic Therapy session to see the benefits for myself.

    My visit started with a very thorough assessment, which included gait analysis, strength and mobility testing, and discussion on my health history and previous injuries. She decided that my wrist, shoulder and hip were the areas most needing attention. We did active release for my wrist and hip, scar tissue massage, sports and trigger point massage for my elbow, shoulder and hip, and a regimen of remedial exercises to follow to build strength and improve muscle function. I have been able to incorporate these exercises into my morning yoga routine! The benefits of being able to experience less pain is well worth the couple minutes it adds to my exercise.

    Athletic Therapy isn’t just for athletes, it’s great for anyone experiencing any type of pain in their body who wants to take a proactive approach to their health. Athletic Therapists can also do Kinesiology taping, bracing, and much more.

    You can book with Kristin here, or by calling us at 416-890-1505.

    Benefits Spending

    Fully grasping the ins and outs of your various insurance policies can be difficult, especially if you have a life. This may not be because they are needlessly complicated; it may in fact be because the designing insurance policies in the first place is a somewhat difficult matter. Trends in health insurance spending are perhaps less intuitive than you would imagine.

    Consider a 2014 report from Green Shield Canada. It seems natural that children on the edge of learning to speak should have a healthy proportion of their claims taken up by speech therapists (12.28%). This is dwarfed, however, by chiropractic treatments, which make up a whopping 35.69% of all health insurance claims by children aged 0-1. To the average schmoe, like this author, that is a surprising figure; after all, such tiny humans haven’t yet had their bodies wearied by the Culture of Uncomfortable Chairs that obtains in nearly every working environment available, or the Culture of Agonizing Footwear that characterizes all the others.  But chiropractic work can, the industry’s advocates claim, be used to treat a range of common ailments among infants, including colic, ear infections, and asthma. Though this topic merits further scientific study, anecdotal evidence among many parents may be a reason why chiropractic treatment is so popular with babies.

    In point of fact, chiropractic, massage therapy, and physiotherapy dominate plan spending in every age group, so much so that insurance companies have invented a little semi-affectionate name for them, the Three Amigos. Taken together, they represent a full 62.70% of benefits spending for 11-20 year-olds, which catapults to 72.05% by the time folks reach 50.

    This might indicate many things, not least of which being that perhaps benefit users are shifting their focus to a more prevention-driven healthcare practice; after all, an ounce of prevention and all that. As such, Green Shield Canada, for one, admits to shifting policy ratios from “what used to be a pretty traditional 70/30 cost split between drug and health benefits” to something closer to 60/40.

    Still, these changes may be coming too slowly. As the pharmaceutical company SANOFI reports in one major survey, “53% of plan members state that their health benefit plan meets their needs extremely or very well,” a reduction of 20% over the last 15 years. The presence of chronic illness – some of which can be treated by massage or chiro – is consistently underestimated by employers who offer benefits: most believe about a third of their employees have one, whereas more than half do.

    This is could be related to the overall trend discovered by Green Shield: that benefits users might be looking for prevention over cure. 62% of plan members, SANOFI found, value their plan “for its coverage of routine healthcare costs rather than unexpected costs.” It stands to reason, then, that they might prefer a drug/benefits ratio that favors expenses on more common treatments (including massage), rather than the emergency surgery to remove the bot fly larvae from their inner ear, having acquired it several weeks previous after three too many Chumbawumbas and a midnight swim in a de Janeiran “natural spa” run by the same farouche guy who sold them a pair of basket-weave flip flops, not that I’m speaking from experience.

    Overall, the increasing popularity of the Three Amigos is having a clear influence on how insurance companies design policies, and should give anyone who imagines this is an easy process some cause to reflect.

    What is Gua Sha?

    Gua sha is a therapy which involves scraping your skin with a tool to improve your circulation. This ancient Chinese healing technique is great for addressing issues like chronic pain.

    The goal is to break the adhesions formed in and around the muscles to bring inflammation to the area. The inflammation brought to the area will create a healing process that will not only heal the new micro-traumas caused by this technique; but will heal the original damaged tissue that caused the adhesions to form initially. The technique focuses on mobility and function of the body and removing the restrictions preventing the body from working optimally. It’s often used to treat ailments that cause chronic pain, such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, as well as those that trigger muscle and joint pain (including repetitive strain issues like wrist pain).  Lotion is applied to your skin, and then your skin is scraped with short or long strokes to stimulate microcirculation of the soft tissue, which increases blood flow. A smooth-edged instrument known as a gua massage tool is used for the treatment.

    Gua Sha is offered by our Acupuncturist, Annette Lambert and will be offered later in the month by our Athletic Therapist, Kristin Hodgen. You may book online with any of them here:

    Alycia Duff-Bergeron, Founder and Clinic Director

    When I opened Anatomica in 2013 as my private practice, I was committed to offering an unsurpassed level of service and care to every client.  Today I have the pleasure of working with a skillful team of therapists and administrative staff that are equally committed to raising the bar in their fields and providing exceptional treatment. Our therapists are dedicated, professional, and focused on your health. Anatomica proudly offers some of the most effective manual therapy and functional assessment techniques, performed by therapists with several years of practical experience, all of whom demonstrate a considerable effort to further their educations and understanding of current treatment protocols. We invite you to visit Anatomica to experience effective, personalized healthcare in an inclusive space, staffed by practitioners that are setting a new standard of professionalism. We are Anatomica. Welcome.