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    How Exercise Changes Your Brain


    Being physically active has many benefits, including reducing the odds of heart disease, stroke and diabetes; and helping to lower blood pressure. Studies have also proven that regular exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills. Researchers found that regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, which is the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.

    With dementia diagnoses on the rise, exercise is a promising strategy for  combating cognitive decline, by improving both brain structure and function. How is it that exercise impacts the brain? The direct impacts are through the way it reduces inflammation, reduces insulin resistance and and stimulate the release of the chemicals in the brain which  affect the health and growth of brain cells. Indirectly, exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment.

    So what kind of exercise do you need to do to improve your brain? Anything that gets your heart pumping is recommended. Ideally half an hour four to five times a week. But if you’re just starting, start small if that works better for you! Try going for a brisk ten minute walk each day, and work up to more. If you want a low impact option, try swimming, elliptical machines, rowing, bicycling, or water aerobics.

    This TedTalk is another great resource to learn more about the benefits exercise can have for you!

    Happy 2018!

    First, thanks to everyone who contributed to our Winter Warmer Fundraiser! Thanks to your help, we were able to build 150 kits to hand out to the marginalized members of our community on December 20th. These kits included toques, ski gloves, chapstick, soap, socks and menstrual hygiene products – essentials to those without stable housing.


    A New Year often means resolutions! Many people make goals to work out more or eat better, or just take better care of themselves overall. Personally I have recommitted to my physical yoga practice, making more food at home, and improving my mediation practice.

    Increasing physical exercise can be challenging when it’s cold outside; however, there are many benefits including increased serotonin (which helps those who are affected by SAD), increased immunity and also increased your body warmth! You can get these benefits through outdoor winter activities either alone or as a group (cross country skiing or snowboarding, for example), or even just getting on your yoga mat at home.
    What healthy habits are you trying to build this year?

    We’re Almost There!

    We have just $200 left to reach our goal for our Winter Warmer Fundraiser!

    We have started building the kits, and are looking forward to going to the Bloor-Lansdowne Fellowship on Wednesday  to hand them out to the marginalized population in our neighbourhood. Thanks to The Reading School and NutHouse for donating socks and feminine hygiene products, and to everyone else who has contributed allowing us to buy the toques, Toronto Winter worthy gloves and toiletries we are packing the bags with. We’re hoping to still pick up a few small toiletries still, so your donation will help us to brighten up someone’s holiday season.

    If you’re able to donate to help us reach our goal, please either consider adding a few dollars to your next treatment, or follow this link

    Happy Holidays Everyone!

    Four Ways to Make the Holiday Season Less Stressful

    It’s already December, and the Holiday Season is here! Here are some tips to help you stay calm and centered this holiday season.

    1. Get Organized

    Whether you are an old fashioned list writer or electronic calendar fun, set aside some time to get clear about everything you need to complete this holiday season. Try breaking each item into smaller tasks with realistic due dates.

    2. Schedule Self Care 
    Often the times when we are our busiest are the times we need self care the most, so be proactive and schedule your self care in advance! Register for a yoga class, book a massage and put it in your schedule the way you would any other task you need to complete. Massage releases stress fighting hormones, and will help you return to your to-do list more grounded.

    3. Practice Kindness

    The holidays are a tough time for many people – see if there is a way for you to give back or do a kind gesture for someone this holiday season. Don’t forget to be kind with yourself too!

    4. Try to keep a Healthy Balance

    The holidays are typically a time to indulge. Make sure you eat at least one healthy meal each day, drink enough water and rest enough to help keep your body healthy over the holidays!

    What are your favorite ways to stay grounded over the holiday season?

    Giving Tuesday

    After the big consumer events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it makes sense to have a day for people to think about giving to organizations that are making a difference. We like to look for places that spend most of their money on programming as opposed to administration.

    Our Winter Warmer Fundraising is donating 100% of it’s profits to buying supplies to build survival kits for the marginalized members of our neighbourhood, you may donate here if you’d like!

    What are your favorite non-profits and charities?


    Bloordale Winter Warmer Fundraiser


    As the colder weather sets in, we are acutely aware that there are many members of our community that need support. We’re collecting donations over the next few weeks to put together care packages for #Bloordale residents in need, and we’re urging other local businesses to join us in fundraising.


    Our goal is to fill 150 stockings with essential winter and personal care items, which we will distribute on December 20th, 2017,  to each attendee at that week’s community dinner hosted by the Bloor Lansdowne Fellowship Centre*.

    At a cost of approximately $30 per stocking, we will be able to include:

    • Winter hats and gloves
    • Socks and underwear
    • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
    • A towel, soap, and shampoo
    • Razors, deodorant, and toilet paper

    Please consider adding a $2, $5, or $10 dollar donation at your next appointment, to help support financially insecure and homeless members of our community. 100% of the funds we collect will go to filling care packages with essential items. As always, our heath care providers and therapists will decline any offered gratuities, but if you’re feeling generous after your massage appointment, our front desk staff will collect your donation.  If you don’t have an appointment scheduled, you may also donate online through Pay Pal by following this link:


    HELP SPREAD THE WORD! If you are unable to contribute directly to the fundraiser, please help us reach our goal by letting your friends, clients, customers, and neighbours know about the initiative, including how they can donate! Thank you for helping us give back to our community this holiday season. Every bit helps!



    *This is an initiative by the staff at Anatomica and local Bloordale business owners.  We are not affiliated with the BLCF, but we respect the work they do.  With the support of members of our neighbourhood like you, we can build a stronger community together!


    The Wood Wide Web

    Back in June of this year Anatomica adopted a tree, a handsome if uncooperative Freeman Maple which quickly lost its leaves for reasons beyond human ken. Trees are mysterious this way. The adoption program, which runs across the Bloordale Village, is part of an initiative by the organization Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests (LEAF), thanks (in part) to whose efforts Toronto’s percentage of green space to non- is around a healthy 13% – more than Amsterdam and Tokyo, less than New York or London.

    The benefits of green space to those of us who inhabit the cities are widely documented: aside from the obvious aesthetic value, one Torontonian study found that “having 10 more trees in a city block, on average, improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $10,000 higher median income or being 7 years younger.” If, like this author, you feel you could rather do with an extra ten grand a year, this is a fairly staggering statistic.

    This is a matter of perception: trees make us feel better about our lives. Money may not grow on trees, but trees themselves may prove an acceptable substitute, at least insofar as one does not actually need a 65-inch TV screen, however else one may feel when in possession of an especially good remaster of Apocalypse Now. Perception, however, is only half the story: the Japanese, characteristically ahead of the curve, have been in the habit of practicing shinrin-yoku, “nature baths,” since as early as 1982. An eight-year study of the health benefits shinrin-yoku found a marked increase in the activities of those cells most responsible for immune system integrity and cancer prevention.  They also found that regular practitioners also had lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol. To fell a tree is to harsh a mellow, burn a wad, and increase one’s risk of cancer all in one go. And here I called ours “uncooperative.”

    This is all more than enough to make us love our little tree, which, though bald, is virile. But the special mystery of trees runs quite a bit deeper than all that, as it turns out, and we mean this literally.

    Astonishing studies conducted in forests across Europe and the United Kingdom have found that trees – especially old-growth forests – are intricately bound to one another in vast social networks facilitated by tiny, fibrous fungi that grow in the underground tangle of tree roots. This network is properly called the Mycorrhizal Network for the species of fungi that compose it, but has earned the more affectionate name of Wood Wide Web (WWW).

    The trees and fungi exist in perfect symbiosis: the trees provide the fungi with sugars they process via photosynthesis, and the fungi keep the trees fed with minerals mined from the earth. More amazingly, the fungi also provide a kind communication platform through which the trees can “talk” to each other – and more. Researchers found that trees within a WWW can lend each other food they have stored; a dying tree can bequeath its surplus food to a younger sapling, or warn its neighbors about incoming aphidian invaders.

    And this happens across species! Trees have been found to store extra food energy for consumption by younger, hardier trees which are more resilient to the effects of global warming, as if there exists some collective, topiary effort to preserve the forest against the threat of environmental cataclysm. The trees ought to be good at this by now: the Web is over 450 million years old.

    We at Anatomica are not arborists; we can’t say that this constitutes intelligence. But it sure sounds like it does.

    For all the benefits our trees give us, caring for our little maple seems a petty price; still, mutual aid is a better relationship than outright exploitation. These days we water our Freeman a little more reverently.

    Who knows what it may be saying about us to the others, when our door is closed?

    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


    Big on Bloor!

    We’re back at the Big on Bloor Festival this year! From their website:

    “The BIG on Bloor Festival of Arts and Culture is an exceptional community and city-building festival presenting hundreds of culturally significant events, activities, displays and exhibitions. Organized by BIG (the Bloor Improvement Group), the festival is a two-day summer event presented along a car-free stretch of Bloor Street West between Dufferin and Lansdowne Streets to celebrate local arts, culture and community. It has drawn up to 100,000 people.”

    We’ll have a space with some interactive demos, including kids yoga, 3-d foot scans and acupuncture, along with a raffle to win ONE YEAR OF FREE MASSAGE (along with other great prizes)! Tickets are $15 each or three for $40.

    Come stop by and say hi, and see if you can win a free year of massage.

    Hope to see you there!

    Bloordale Adopt-a-Street-Tree Project

    We’re very happy to be a supporter of the Bloordale Adopt-a-Street-Tree project! We have a beautiful Freeman Maple Tree in front of our clinic which we take care of as part of the project.

    This Saturday (June 10th) at 2pm there is a walking tour of interesting trees in the neighbourhood, for people to learn more about different tree species in the community and learn a bit more about how we can help care for our trees!

    Here is their Facebook event page to learn more!



    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.