Functional assessment and integrative manual therapy. It’s healthcare, for your muscles.

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    What is Athletic Therapy?

    We are pleased to welcome Megan Chalmers to our roster of therapists! Megan is a Registered Massage Therapist, Conditioning Specialist, and a Certified Athletic Therapist. This means that she will be as useful to you whether you’ve had hard day at the office or if you’re recovering from a sports-related (or non sports-related!) injury.

    Athletic Therapy (AT) is a musculoskeletal system of treatment that evolved out of sports medicine. Similar to physiotherapy, AT involves itself in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries related to athletic practice, falls, workplace and automobile accidents, fractures, concussions, and pre- and post-surgical ailments. Despite their name, CATs do not solely treat athletes; their skills are as applicable the hockey player with a concussion as to the individual who sprained his elbow whilst attempting to open a jar of jam, which is something this author definitely did not do.

    CATs work according to the Sports Medicine Model, a philosophy of practice that places prevention of injury at the center of treatment, and privileges a dynamic approach to healing that borrows on multiple disciplines of care. Certification for ATs is a thorough and impressive process that requires the completion of an AT program at an accredited university or college, 1 200 hours of on-field and in-clinic experience, and a valid First Responder license. The organization which oversees certification is the Canadian Association of Athletic Therapists (CATA), which has seven chapters across Canada.

    We are pleased to offer Athletic Therapy at the same rates as Massage Therapy. Check out our website or give us a call to book an appointment!

    Importance of Assessment in Massage Therapy (Massage Therapy Awareness Week)

    At Anatomica, every treatment includes an assessment – no matter if it’s your first or your fifteenth visit. The reason for this is to help your RMT best understand your condition, and any changes to your condition, in order to provide the most effective treatment. Assessment may include verbal consultation, range of motion testing, manual resistance and other special testing, and may be done before your therapist starts your massage, or as part of your massage treatment. Assessment allows your therapist to track changes in your symptoms, so they can adjust their treatment plan as you heal.

    An assessment allows for a specialized and targeted treatment; this does more than just soothe your symptoms and allows for lasting results, including decreased pain and increased range of motion. An orthopaedic assessment is not a diagnosis, it is an evaluation of soft tissue and the implications this has for posture and function of muscle and joints.

    Assessment really is a process that allows each client to receive the treatment that they need and deserve. When assessment and treatment are two parts of one whole, it allows massage therapists to help you heal.

    This video by the RMTAO explains more!

    Massage therapists perform orthopaedic testing to get to the r…

    Massage therapists get to the root of the problem to get you back on track faster #MTAW #AskYourRMT

    Posted by Registered Massage Therapists' Association of Ontario on Friday, October 20, 2017


    Massage for Insomnia (Massage Therapy Awareness Week)

    Many people experience insomnia – according to Statistics Canada, one in every seven people have problems going to sleep or staying asleep. Chronic pain is often linked to chronic insomnia, which is something for which you may want to seek treatment from a RMT.

    Massage therapy increases the level of serotonin (a chemical produced by your nerve cells) which helps reduce depression, regulate anxiety and mood, and digestion. Serotonin is the precursor to melatonin, which controls your sleep and wake cycles.  Massage is a smart, healthy, and drug-free option which has helped many people overcome insomnia.

    Read more from the RMTAO here 

    Celebrate Massage Therapy Awareness Week – Painfree Household Chores

    It’s Massage Therapy Awareness Week! From the RMTAO website:

    “Massage therapy is a clinically-oriented health care option that can provide relief from the musculoskeletal pain and discomfort that can come from every day activities, such as sitting too much, pushing too hard at your favourite sport, or carrying around a heavy bag. Massage therapy is a regulated health profession in Ontario and massage therapy should only be performed by a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT). All Ontarians can visit an RMT of their choice, without prescription or referral.”

    To celebrate, we’ll be posting each day about the benefits of seeing an RMT.

    One thing you may seek some treatment for is strain caused by housework. The repetitive motions, twisting and turning can take a toll on your body, including the low back pain that many experience as the results of chores. You can also get a treatment plan which will reduce pain and improve function, as well as tips for reducing the strain caused by doing chores!

    Open Letter to the CMTO Council President

    Lisa Tucker RMT
    President, CMTO Council
    10 Meadowglen Drive, unit 10
    Whitby, ON, L1R3P8

    September 27th, 2017

    Dear Ms. Tucker,

    I am writing to you today to respectfully ask that The Council revisit the recent changes made to the Standards of Practice that now require RMTs to obtain written consent for the treatment of sensitive areas. It is my fear that these new requirements may have the unintended effect of preventing victims of abuse from filing charges and receiving the support they need, if the assault occurs during a treatment for which written consent was given. Knowing that their abuser holds physical evidence that they themselves consented to (any part) of the attack would be a very real deterrent to come forward following a sexual assault.

    As an RMT who has been practicing for 10 years, I understand the importance of informed consent. It demonstrates our respect for our clients, helping to strengthen trust in the client-therapist relationship. It is the cornerstone of effective treatment and ethical care. Informed consent happens many times throughout every treatment, not just prior to it. It is a natural conversation that happens when pressure or positioning is changed, draping is performed, or specific techniques applied. Informed consent can be a simple, unimposing process that serves to comfort our clients, and empower them.

    Written consent does not itself protect our clients from abuse. It does not offer more security, nor does it communicate more clearly the purpose or nature of treatment than verbal consent. It, like most waivers, conveys that there is an inherent risk to the proposed treatment plan, and in this case, that the risk is of sexual assault. It is from my own experience that I can tell you that the myriad of emotions following abuse are overwhelming, but in the aftermath, there is no confusion that what has just occurred was an act of assault. No paperwork is necessary to know when that line has been crossed. Bad touch is never mistaken for good.

    In the few days since this Standard revision has been implemented, I have seen it confuse, worry, and alarm clients. Most have expressed that they feel that it does more to protect their RMT than themselves, and not one has voiced their support. I implore the College to instead explore ways to educate the public about the clinical indications for which their RMT might suggest treating said sensitive areas, and the standard draping techniques that should be used. I believe that normalizing treatment of these areas will offer more protection to clients to know how and why the treatment should occur.

    I am a strong supporter of regulation, and it is with great respect for the College and its efforts to protect the public that I bring this concern to you. I have collected nearly 10,000 signatures on a petition calling for the amendment of this Standard, as this recent revision, though virtuous in its ideology, may be dangerous to our clients and the profession as a whole. I thank you for taking this under consideration, and for your continued commitment to our clients’ best interests.



    Alycia Duff-Bergeron RMT

    Anatomica Massage Therapy

    1302 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON


    Revised Informed Consent Standards from CMTO

    If you have visited a massage therapist in the last week, you will have had to sign a new written consent form if your treatment included the gluteals, inner thigh, or chest wall/breast tissues, due to a recent change to the Standards of Practice for Massage Therapists, as published by their regulatory body, the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO).  This new Standard was put in effect on September 22nd, 2017, and is required of all Registered Massage Therapists who practice in Ontario. The revision of this Standard comes as a reaction to Bill 87, introduced in Ontario as the Protection of Patients Act, which, among other things, calls for stricter protection of the personal information, well-being, human rights, and safety of patients receiving care by Registered Health Professionals.

    This form will be required every time a client requests assessment and/or treatment of one of these ‘sensitive’ areas, even if it has been previously consented to, as part of an ongoing effort by the CMTO to protect patients from unwanted or non-consensual touch. This change will unfortunately take away from the hands-on portion of your treatment, as these forms must be filled out following discussion and intake with your therapist, where you will decide together which areas of the body will be treated in order to meet your goals.   At each treatment, you will need to review and sign a new consent form. While this is merely a small fraction of the total time you will spend with your therapist,  Anatomica’s therapists will endeavour to make this process as seamless as possible.

    Part of any treatment with a trusted RMT includes informed consent, mutual understanding, and feedback. Clients are required to complete their health history form, which details their reasons for treatment, and any health concerns that may need to be taken into account by their therapist. As a routine part of intake, treatment, and assessment, the therapist communicates the client’s rights: to be offered alternative treatment options, to be informed of any risks and benefits, to take an active role in their treatment plan, and the fact that they retain, at all times, the right to withdraw or alter their consent. Informed consent is an ethical and professional standard that Registered Health Professionals must maintain, which was previously permitted to be obtained verbally.

    While we take the protection, comfort, and security of our clients very seriously, and are committed to upholding each and all of the Standards of Practice for our profession, this revision has caused much concern about how, and if, this will benefit or protect our clients in any way.

    The definition around which areas are ‘sensitive’ is vague, uses non-anatomical language, and leaves each RMT in Ontario to determine their own boundaries. The CMTO, not the client, decides which areas are sensitive, which may cause embarrassment by unnecessarily sexualizing or attaching stigma to treatment of these areas. There is nothing sexual about a professional RMT treatment, just as there is nothing sexual about a visit to your Doctor, Physiotherapist, Chiropractor, or Gynecologist.  In the rare and terrible event that an abusive RMT does cross boundaries, the written consent may discourage their victim from coming forward or filing charges.

    Anatomica founder Alycia Duff-Bergeron’s open letter to the CMTO regarding these recent changes outlines these concerns in more detail. If you support the amendment of this revised Standard, please consider signing our 10,000 name petition here. We encourage constructive comments about how you feel that this may affect you as a client.

    To send your feedback directly to the CMTO, please email the President of the CMTO Council, Lisa Tucker RMT.

    Physical Exercise Protects the Heart

    A study by the University of São Paulo discovered that “aerobic training facilitates the removal of dysfunctional mitochondria from heart cells”.

    What does that mean, exactly? Basically when you exercise you’re removing the bad mitochondria, which are responsible for providing energy to the cells. This reduces the production of toxic molecules, such as oxygen free radicals,  an excess of which damages the cell structure!
    Read more here 

    Studies Prove that Yoga Reduces Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety

    Anyone who has a regular yoga practice can attest to the positive impact it has on mental and physical health. Aligning breath with movement  has been shown to have a calming effect on the body and mind. Recent studies have proven that yoga is effective in treatment for depression including chronic/treatment resistant and PTSD.

    From Science Daily – “scores for depression, anxiety and stress decreased throughout the program, a benefit that persisted four months after the training”.  Many varities of yoga were studied, including various styles of hatha and restorative.
    You can read more here!

    Your Brain Needs Exercise

    Human beings evolved to move. Our bodies, including our brains, were fine-tuned for endurance activities from our history as hunter-gatherers. There is consistent findings that the brain works better after exercise, but discovering why has been more difficult.

    Exercise changes both the number of neurons in your brain and how they communicate, as well as becoming more sensitive to the world around us. It has been suggested through studies that  if the brain isn’t challenged or stressed enough it may reduce capacity to save energy as a response to inactivity.  Read more in these two articles:

    Osteopathic manipulation can improve pain in postpartum women

    Preliminary results demonstrate that osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) helps reduce acute pain in postpartum women!

    Pain is one of the most common postpartum complaints.  A study was done with postpartum patients who reported having pain received osteopathic manipulative treatment, and asked questions before and after treatment. There were a total of 59 patients included in the study.  60% of patients reported their pain lowered significantly after treatment.

    You can read more 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.