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

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    STWM 2018 – Marathon Recovery Tips

    Whether you are relatively new to running or a seasoned racer like Tsegaye Mekonne, if you are one of the 26,000 people who ran in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon events this weekend, what you do after your run has a big impact on your recovery. Here are a few tips for recovery:

    At the finish line: Your body will cool down swiftly.  Using the reflective blanket provided at the finish line and continuing to walk for at least 15-20 minutes can help prevent a sudden body temperature drop, and help your heart rate and breathing to slowly return to normal.

    20 minutes post run: You’ll need to restore electrolytes and fluids. Adding a pinch of salt to your water or making your own natural sports drink (recipe below) will help your body retain more of the fluid you drink, and reduce the risk of hyponatremia (low blood sodium) as you rehydrate. Electrolyte gels and salty, starchy pretzels are a great snack after you’ve cooled off a bit. Bone broth is an excellent recovery drink due to its natural mineral content and collagen for tissue regeneration.

    One hour post run: A high carb meal with a generous amount of protein will give your body the fuel to start replenishing glycogen and repairing muscle damage. Potassium rich high-carb whole foods such as squash, sweet or baked potatoes, lentils and bananas are good choices to refuel while further restoring electrolytes. Magnesium, available from fatty fish, broccoli, spinach, nuts and chocolate, helps regulate muscle tone and prevent spasm. It may be tempting to celebrate your victory, but alcohol should be avoided as it can dehydrate you further.

    Four hours post-run: A warm bath can help relax sore muscles and calm the nervous system, but be careful not to run the water too hot after a long run, as it can increase your blood pressure and cause you to sweat (and therefore dehydrate) even more. Some people swear by Epsom salts to reduce soreness, but they should be avoided if they irritate open blisters or sores on the feet.

    Twenty four hours post run: Active recovery measures such as walking or biking, swimming, foam rolling, stretch and mobility exercises will help reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Keep your effort low and your warm ups long.

    Forty eight hours post run: You may want to schedule a massage for a day or two after the marathon to relieve discomfort and muscle tension. Plan to recover for at least three days before feeling ready to return to more intense exercise or strength training.   Incorporate dynamic mobility and gentle stretching daily to maintain flexibility as your muscles heal.

    Greaterade Recovery Drink

    1. Juice 3 oranges and 2 lemons,
    2. Stir in 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt,
    3. And 1/4 cup maple syrup until well combined.
    4. Mix with 2 liters of spring or mineral water
    5. Adjust salt and maple syrup to taste.




    Post Training Recovery – Hot Tubs not Ice Baths!

    Athletes and anyone involved in sports training, from marathon running to yoga, have likely heard certain ideas regarding recovery after training sessions. Ranging from icing muscles to taking supplements and everything in between, there have been numerous studies completed regarding the best techniques. It has been found that taking ibuprofen can actually slow your recovery, and that icing doesn’t do anything to reduce inflammation in tired tissues.

    Heat and carbohydrates, however, have been proven to speed up recovery of muscles after working them out. The Times writes about it here, and you can also read the original study here!

    What’s your favorite way to recover from a workout?

    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.

    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!

    Five Tips to Help Strengthen Your Posture

    Many of us spend hours at our desks, hunching over while texting or laying around watching Netflix – which can have repercussions on your posture. If like most people you have less than perfect posture, there are some things you may do to help strengthen your form:

    1. Wall Angels – Stand with your back to a wall so your heels, buttocks, shoulders and the back of your head all lightly touch the wall while you keep your core engaged. Take three slow breaths, feeling your body’s best posture. Try sliding your arms up the wall overhead (like making a snow angel!) while maintaining your breath and posture.
    2. Ergonomic desk set up – see yesterday’s post for a diagram on the ideal set up
    3. Support your posture from the ground up – fashion doesn’t have to be painful! High heels can cause the hips to rotate forward and down, increasing the low back curvature and weakening the abdominal muscles. Shoes with poor support can allow your hips, knees, and ankles to develop restrictions that can further lead to core weakness and poor posture.
    4. Work on your core strength – Exercises that strengthen your core will help you stand taller and help you maintain the proper posture, offering more support to your low back and taking the strain off of overworked neck muscles. Yoga emphasizes body awareness and diaphragmatic breathing, and Pilates is a great option to learn to control the deep core.
    5. If you can’t put it down, hold it up! – Constantly craning the neck down to stare at our phones isn’t helping. Try holding your phone straight in front of you instead of bending your head down, and similarly propping your tablet up perpendicular to the table if you’re just reading.

    Your massage therapist can help give you more tips, as well as work with you to reduce pain caused by incorrect posture. Book your massage therapy appointment online for an individualized assessment and treatment to help you reach your goals.

    Stand Up! (Massage Therapy Awareness Week)

    Some people compare sitting to smoking in terms of how it is for your health. It may not necessarily be that bad; however, it’s also not harmless.

    Many people who work office jobs are sitting for the majority of their day, which may cause neck and lower back pain along with other musculoskeletal  discomfort. There are many ways you are able to reduce the strain on your body, including adjusting the height of your chair and monitor, adjusting the arms on your chair and taking breaks! Taking breaks to stand up and stretch will also help reduce fatigue. It may be helpful to set a timer for every 30 minutes reminding you to get up move around for a minute.

    Ergonomic Desk Set Up


    Massage can help if you’re already experiencing pain related to sitting too much.  In a recent study, individuals with back pain who received massage therapy had less pain and were better able to perform daily activities than those who didn’t receive massage. Your range of motion may be increased, which will allow you to perform your daily tasks with a lot more ease and comfort.


    Five Benefits of Restorative Yoga

    Here in Toronto we’re lucky with the wide variety of yoga styles available to us, ranging from Hatha and Vinyassa to Yin and Kundalini. We’ve started offering Restorative Hot Stone Yoga at Anatomica, a style which offers a wide range of benefits, including:

    1.  Soothing to the Nervous System –  The slower pace of a restorative yoga class triggers the parasympathetic nervous system. This activation helps to mitigate the effects of the regular fight-or-flight stress response that can be damaging to your physiology and well-being. The overall calming effect on the nervous system sets a deeply relaxing tone for the class that comforts your mind and body down to the cellular level.
    2. Deepens Self-Awareness –  Restorative yoga classes can help you draw attention inward and away from external events of the world. Restorative yoga opens us up to deeper contemplation.
    3. Encourages Mindfulness – By moving slowly and through fewer poses, you become more aware of your body and the thoughts which arise.
    4. Find out Where You Hold Stress – Since all of the poses are supported with props, you’re able to deeply relax into each pose and discover spots of tension in your body. The props allow you to start to release the tension
    5. Benefit from Full and Deep Stretches –  You don’t always need an active practice to get benefits! The supported poses, held for longer times, allow your body to soften and deepen into stretches.

    Our sessions also offer the benefit of Hot Stones. Hot stones encourage blood flow throughout the body, which promotes healing and deeper relaxation.

    You can learn more or book a session here:

    Age is Just a Number – Five Senior Athletes

    When people think of seniors, they may think of sweet, grey haired grandparents. Yet, there are many seniors who are inspirational athletes, breaking records and competing at a world level. Here are five may help you find some motivation to commit to your fitness practice!

    1. Madonna Buder, 87  – known as “The Iron Nun”, Madonna is a Senior Olympian Triathlete. Sister Madonna chose a life as a Roman Catholic nun and only began running at age 48, when a priest suggested she take a jog on the beach.  She’s the oldest person to ever finish an Ironman Triathlon in under the 17-hour time limit. She’s even forced the Ironman organization to create new categories — 75 to 79 and 80 to 84 age groups. She also broke the finish time record for the latter age group, completing an Ironman in 16 hours and 32 minutes.

    2. Paul Tetrick, 86 – Paul has won more than 12 USA Cycling Time Trial Championships, a road bicycle race where cyclists battle the clock instead of racing at the same time as their competitors. In October 2013, Paul crushed his previous time trial record of 34:37.5 in the 20K race, racing and beating his granddaughter.

    3. Tao Porchon-Lynch, 98 – the world’s oldest yoga teacher started practicing more than 70 years ago while growing up in India. She still teaches six to eight classes a week in New York, and leads programs across the globe.
    4. Irene Obera, 83 – an American track and field athlete, specializing in sprinting events. Over an extended career, she has set numerous world records and has won numerous world championships. She is currently a member of the W70 world record holding 4×100 metres relay team.She also holds the current American record in the W60 and W75 100 metres and the W75 200 metres.
    5. Ed Whitlock, 85  – He’s the oldest person to have run a marathon in under 4 hours. His ability to race without a trainer, in 15-year-old sneakers, and set records (2:54:48 marathon at age 73) has doctors and scientists studying his physiology.

    Cat-Cow Spine Stretch

    If you have ever been to a yoga class, you have likely done cat/cow. This yoga essential consists of moving the spine from a rounded position (flexion) to an arched one (extension). It’s a basic motion, but one that is enormously beneficial in preventing back pain and maintaining a healthy spine.  If you spend a lot of time sitting, you will find adding this to your daily routine very helpful.

    1. Start on your hands and knees, aligning your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.

    2. Start with your spine in a neutral position, picturing it nice and flat

    3. Keep the neck long, as the natural extension of the spine.


    1. Tilt your pelvis back so that your tail sticks up.

    3. Let this movement ripple from your tailbone up your spine so that your neck is the last thing to move.

    4. Your belly drops down, but keep your abdominal muscles hugging your spine by drawing your navel in.

    5. Take your gaze up gently up toward the ceiling without cranking your neck.


    1. Tip your pelvis forward, tucking your tailbone. Let this action move up your spine.

    2. Your spine will naturally round.

    3. Draw your navel toward your spine.

    4. Drop your head, and take your gaze to your navel.

    Repeat the cat-cow stretch on each inhale and exhale, matching the movement to your own breath.

    Here’s a video we created to help show you what it looks like!



    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 

    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.