Functional assessment and dynamic, informed treatment. It’s healthcare, for your muscles.

    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?

    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.

    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!


    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:

    Turmeric Ginger Latte

    This is a caffeine free latte, perfect for warming you up on chilly, rainy fall days. Both ginger and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties, which means this soothing and delicious latte is also good for you, and can be helpful for this time of year when everyone seems to be getting sick!


    • 2 Cups Milk of your choice (I use almond milk)
    • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder or 1 inch fresh turmeric root
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ground ginger or 2 inches fresh ginger root
    • pinch of ground black pepper
    • 1 tbsp coconut oil or coconut butter
    • 1 tsp unpasteurized honey


    1. Add turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and pepper to blender along with milk and blend.
    2. Heat in pot until simmering.
    3. Pour into your mug. You may wish to strain the mixture into your mug with a wire mesh strainer but you don’t have to if you don’t mind having some grit at  the bottom of your cup.
    4. Add honey, coconut oil or coconut butter to your desired amount.



    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.


    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


    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.