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

    NFL Players Love Cupping (via National Geographic)

    National Geographic’s instagram featured a picture of New England Patriots linebacker James Harrison  yesterday with his shoulders and back covered in cups. He is the oldest defensive player in the NFL. The caption under the picture relates how some people are skeptical of the effectiveness of cupping. James’ reponse? “All I know is before I get treated, I HURT, and after, I feel better.”

    If it’s good enough for a professional football player who has been on the field for nearly two decades, it could do wonders for you too! Both Annette Lambert (Acupuncturist) and Kristin Hodgen (Athletic Therapist and RMT) offer cupping as part of your treatment – if you’re interested in learning more about what cupping can do for you, book an appointment today!

    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: https://anatomica.janeapp.com/

    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!

    Standing Calf Stretch

    Tight calf muscles are prone to cramping: the dreaded “charlie horse” that wakes you up in the middle of the night or attacks as you move from sitting to standing.  The large muscles in the back of the lower leg are the soleus and gastrocnemius, both of which attach into the Achilles tendon and run vertically along the back of the lower leg. The soleus attaches to the lower leg bones, and the ‘gastrocs’ attach just above the knee on either side of the femur.  Because only one of these two muscles (collectively referred to as the Triceps Surae) passes the knee, to effectively stretch them both, you must stretch twice: with the knee bent to stretch the soleus, and with it flexed to stretch the gastrocs.

    Stand facing a wall, close enough that you can rest the ball of your foot against it while your heel stays on the ground.  Your opposite leg should be a step behind you for balance.  Place your hands against the wall and lean forward toward the wall, keeping your knee straight, until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg.  Hold this position for about 30 seconds or until the stretch sensation lessens.  Slowly bend the knee by lowering your body a bit toward the ground, until a stretch is felt.  This time, the stretch sensation will be closer to the Achilles.  Hold until the sensation lessens, and then repeat on the opposite leg.

    Banded Tricep & Shoulder Stretch

    This is an advanced mobility technique that uses an exercise band to increase the intensity of the triceps stretch, and helps release restrictions in the shoulder capsule – a collection of fibrous ligaments, tendons and connective tissues that form the shoulder joint.  This stretch is excellent to increase or regain range of motion following a shoulder injury, and can help combat the internal (forward) rotation of the shoulders that often accompanies a rounded upper back (hyperkyphotic) posture.

    To stretch the right side: attach one end of a heavyweight exercise band to the door knob of a closed door.  Take the other end in your right hand, wrapping the band around your hand/wrist as need to avoid slipping and increase the resistance.  Turn your body 180′ COUNTER-clockwise, fully bending your elbow so that it points toward the ceiling.  Your wrist should be behind your right ear and your back  facing the door, as if you were dragging it behind you.    To increase the stretch, take a lunge step forward, allowing the band to pull your arm back a little bit.  Keep your elbow pointed straight to the ceiling and tucked as close to your head as possible. To increase the stretch in the shoulder capsule, gently turn your palm up toward the ceiling.  Hold for 1 minute before releasing.

    To stretch the left side: Wrap the free end of the band around your left hand/wrist, turn your body 180′  CLOCKWISE and repeat as above.

    Advanced Lunging Hip Stretch

    Chronic tension in the muscles at the front and sides of the hips can contribute to low back pain and poor posture.  This stretch is particularly helpful for hip flexor contracture and ITB syndrome when combined with glute strengthening exercises.  Changing toe positions of the back foot helps target different muscle fibers for a more complete stretch!

    Stand in front of a chair, take a small step back with the leg you want to stretch, then place the opposite foot onto the chair so that you are standing in a lunge position with the forward leg elevated.  The toes of both feet should be facing forward.  Press your hips forward and tuck your tailbone under, increasing the stretch felt in the front of the hip of the back leg.  Hold for thirty seconds, then return to standing.

    Repeat the stretch again, this time with the toes of the back foot pointed out away from your midline. The stretch should be felt along the bikini line and into the inner thigh.  After 30 seconds, return to standing again and reposition the toes of the back foot pointing in toward your midline . Being careful not to lock the knee, once again place the opposite foot on the chair in front of you and press your hips forward, tucking the tailbone.  This time the stretch will be felt along the front and outside of the hip.  Release after 30 seconds and repeat all three stages on the opposite hip.

    Forearm Flexor Stretch

    If you spend long hours at a computer, this stretch is for you! The muscles in the forearm cross the wrist via the carpal tunnel; when tight, they can cause pain in the wrist and hand.  Stretch them by holding your arm out in front of you, palm facing up.  Keeping your elbow straight, bend your wrist back so that your fingers point toward the floor.  Use your other hand to increase the stretch by pulling back on your palm.  Hold the stretch for at 30 seconds or until a release is felt, then repeat on the other side.

    Nose-to-Armpit Levator Stretch

    This stretch targets the muscle that shrugs your shoulders, the Levator Scapulae.  It attaches to the top of your shoulder-blade, and to the sides of the uppermost bones of the neck.  To stretch, first side-bend your head away from the side you want to stretch, and hold for a couple of breaths.  Secure the arm on the stretching side behind your back to keep your shoulder down.  Next, gently rotate and nod your head so that your nose is pointing into your armpit.  Increase the stretch if desired by gently pulling your head farther into the stretch with your opposite hand.  Hold for 30 seconds or until a release is felt.

    Through-the-Doorway Pectoral Stretch

    The pectorals are the largest chest muscles, and they tend to be tight on almost everyone, especially if you spend long hours at a computer.  This stretch can give you relief from upper back & neck pain, which are often sore due to the opposing pull of the pecs.  Simply position yourself in an open doorway, with your elbows bent to 90′ and at shoulder height, so that your forearms are resting along the frame with hands pointed toward the ceiling.  You can choose to stretch both sides at once, or relax one arm at a time .  Step ahead and lean through the door, keeping your arms in place, until you feel a comfortable stretch across the chest.  Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds or until a release is felt.

    To enhance the stretch by targeting the slightly different fibre directions of the large pectoral muscles, repeat the stretch with your hands 1) lower, just above shoulder height on the door frame and 2) above your head on the door frame, high enough that your elbows are only slightly bent.

    Standing Quadriceps Stretch

    Target the front of the thigh to relieve knee and low back pain.  Stand with feet just at hip width.  Bend the knee of the side you want to stretch so that your heel comes up toward your buttock.  Use a towel roll tucked behind the knee to open up the joint. Grasp the foot or ankle with the same-side hand, or use a belt or towel if you can’t reach.  If needed, rest your opposite hand on a table or chair to help maintain your balance throughout the stretch.

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    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.