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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! 


    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?

    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 

    Benefits of Flotation Therapy

    Floatation therapy, also known as floating, floatation, sensory deprivation involves lying in a salt-water solution in a spacious tank. It is one of the most effective means of stress relief and relaxation available. Floatation is also used to treat a wide range of ailments and conditions and has been proven to lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone).

    A study done in Australia has shown that stress, depression, anxiety, and worst pain were significantly decreased after floating, whereas optimism and sleep quality significantly increased for the flotation-REST group. No significant results for the control group were seen (half of the group received floats, the other half did not). There was also a significant correlation between mindfulness in daily life and degree of altered states of consciousness during the relaxation in the flotation tank. You can read more of the study here.

    A recent article in the Huffington Post details an experience had by one of their writers, read more here.

    Other benefits of floating:

    • Increased Blood Circulation – The weightless environment of the floatation tank allows for the muscles and joints of the body to relax, increasing blood flow and helping to accelerate repair of muscle tissues. This is especially beneficial for those with injuries or chronic pain.
    • Relaxation – Floating weightless in the tank suppresses the functioning of the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response. Simultaneously, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated which is responsible for relaxation, stimulation of digestive secretions, replenishment and general recuperation.
    • Water in the tank has the added benefit of being saturated with Epsom salts, which have well-established healing effects, helping to draw out toxins and lactic acid build-up, and speeding up recovery time.
    • The high concentration of Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) are absorbed through skin. Magnesium assists in regulating high blood pressure, preventing cardiovascular disease, preventing osteoporosis, relieving menopause symptoms, providing PMS relief, creating healthier bones and teeth, and is involved with detoxification.

    Floating is a great addition to any meditation practice.

    Have you tried floating? Tell us about your experience!

    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:


    This rainy weather we are getting in Toronto right now is perfect for sleeping!  There is a gym in England which offers “Napercise” classes, which is essentially a 45 minute mid-afternoon nap. Participants of the class will find single beds, “atmospheric” sounds and a temperature which promotes calorie burning during sleep.

    Time magazine recently called sleep “The New Health Frontier“. Getting enough sleep can help with weight maintenance, depression, anxiety, mental clarity and energy levels, so there are additional health benefits to the class as well!





    Three Benefits of Massage Therapy

    Massage can be used as a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being. At Anatomica, we believe massage to be heath care for your muscles!


    There are many reasons for someone wanting to receive a massage, including soreness, injury or the desire for general relaxation. Here are some benefits you may see when including massage in your health care practice:

    1. Decreased Stress: Massage therapy has been proven to decrease cortisol and increase dopamine and serotonin.Cortisol is thought to be increased during times of stress, and also to prevent the release of substances in the body which cause inflammation. Having a massage will decrease your cortisol levels, while at the same time increasing your dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with the pleasure centers of the brain. It is responsible for feelings related to love, joy, pleasure, reward and motivation. Serotonin is also a neurotransmitter and helps to regulate mood, irritability, impulse, obsession and memory.
    1. Natural pain relief: Massage Therapy may be useful for reducing pain for everything from injuries, muscle strain and even PMS. Massage increases circulation to the treatment area, and also relaxes the tissues, which can decrease the tension of muscles and reduce painful spasms and contractions.
    1. Reduced Depression and Anxiety: A study done over five weeks tested the depression and anxiety levels of two groups – one receiving massage and the second not receiving massage. The group who did receive massage reported lower depression and anxiety scores at the end of the five week period.

    There are many more benefits for Massage Therapy! We offer many different types of Massage Therapy, including Deep Tissue, Hot Stone, Thai Yoga and Prenatal; give us a call and see what is best for your needs!



    Take The 30 Day Whole Food Challenge!


    You! Anyone who wants more energy, less body fat, more muscle, better sleep, and an improved mood! Get your friends, family, colleagues, gym buddy, and neighbours involved — they’ll thank you for it (and your body will too!)





    30 days of eating only delicious, nutritious, Paleo-approved whole foods.  This is not a diet, it’s a system reboot! You can eat as much as you want, with no calorie counting, weighing or measuring, just stick to the enourmous list of acceptable foods.


    Everywhere! At home, work, school, social events and even restaurants. There’s nowhere that you can’t eat Paleo!


    Optimize your health by eating the way our ancestors did, and eliminating foods that cause inflammation and contain little, if any, nutritional value. Most people will experience improved sleep, energy, and mood, lose body fat and gain muscle.  People who suffer from auto-immune and inflammatory illnesses, such as asthma, allergies,  irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, eczema and psoriasis, often notice lessened symptoms. Diabetics (Type 2) often see lower, more stable blood sugar readings.  Everyone I have ever met who took the challenge felt better & healthier at the end!


    You’ll spend the next 30 days fueling your body with fresh meats, fish & seafood, vegetable, nuts and fruit! You’ll avoid all grains, legumes, dairy, sugars, sweeteners, processed meats and alcohol.  This includes (but may not be limited to) wheat, rice, corn, barley, bulgur, rye, oats, spelt, quinoa, kamut, millet, peanuts, lentils, beans, peas, butter, cheese, milk, yoghurt, cream, all sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, all artificial sweeteners and packaged deli meats.  For a complete list of approved foods, (and answers to your ‘Can I Have…?’ questions), check out


    NOW! Don’t wait, or psych yourself out. Start now. It’s not hard to follow this plan for 30 days. It will be harder to quit eating this way when you’re done the challenge, once you realize how good you can feel, you’ll never want to go back!

    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.