Stouffville Massage Therapy


The Importance of Healthy Fascia June 26, 2013

What is Fascia?

Fascia is a web of connective tissue found around your muscle fibres, muscle groups, organs, blood vessels and nerves.  It is what keeps everything in a tightly compact position within the body and allows for smooth movement within these structures.  It is extremely flexible and is able to withstand great force and multidirectional pull.  Its composition is mainly that of collagen, similar to tendons and ligaments.

Unhealthy Fascia

There is a multitude of reasons why your fascia can become “unhealthy”.  Here are the main ones:

1.  Dehydration:  When the body is dehydrated the fascia becomes less flexible and pliable, therefore restricting movement between structures.  Think of a thirsty plant – when the soil is dried out, the leaves become brittle and lose their vibrancy.  Same concept applies to your fascia!

2.  Neglected Injury:  Whether your injury has been severe, a case of overuse, whether the injury is new or old, your body reacts to try to heal that area the same way.  The brain triggers a response to send collagen to the area of injury.  Fascia is made up of collagen, so when there is an overabundance of it in a certain area, this can also contribute to a limited range of motion.  Remember!  Even an injury from your childhood that you would otherwise consider unimportant can attribute to your fascia becoming constricted over time.

3.  Emotional Trauma:  We have all read about it – “stress causes disease!”.  Whether you believe it or not, it has been scientifically proven that our bodies can suffer from emotional trauma – that means STRESS.  One of the structures that suffers first is your fascia.  This is where it all begins.  Restriction within the fascia inhibits mobility within the structures of the body – muscles, organs (including your liver!), nerves (including your brain!) the circulatory system (including your heart!) and everything in between, become severely compromised in their function.

What to do?

1.  Manual Therapy:  Everything from massage, acupuncture and myofascial release can help release any restrictions in the fascia.  The key is to catch the problems early.  If however, you’ve waited a little too long, it’s not too late!  Your therapist can still work his/her magic; the process may take a little longer.  Working with fascia usually requires a more aggressive approach.  Be patient and keep moving!

2. Do Yoga:  Your first thought is, “I’m not flexible, I can’t do yoga!”.  I give all of my student of yoga and my massage and acupuncture patients the same response, “Flexibility is NOT a prerequisite for doing yoga.”.  We all have to start somewhere!  Yoga increases blood and lymphatic flow which speeds up the healing process.  With gentle fluid movements along with controlled breathing, your fascia will be able to lengthen more efficiently.  When you feel tight it’s not your muscles that are tight; it’s your FASCIA!

3.  Drink plenty of water:  Just remember the thirsty plant, and just like that thirsty plant:  when you begin to take in more water, it will go right through you at the beginning.  Until your fascia becomes well saturated with water your body will quickly extract it.  Once all of the structures are well hydrated you won’t have to take as many visits to the bathroom!

4.  Keep moving:  Wonder why you feel tight first thing in the morning?  You haven’t been moving all night!  Your fascia has become restricted in your sleep!  As soon as you plant those feet on the floor, get moving – stretch and soften the body with gentle movements.  Your fascia will thank you for it!


Yoga is a Compliment to any Sport or Activity March 23, 2011

Filed under: Cycling,General Health,Home Care,massage,running — Isidora Romantini @ 2:23 pm
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I’ve been practicing yoga for the last 3 years, and more recently have been practicing Moksha yoga – a form of hot yoga.  To tell you the truth, I’ve never felt better.

A lot of athletes know that stretching is crucial for injury prevention, but aren’t aware that yoga is even more effective.  To incorporate this practice within your regular routine of whatever sport or workout you do, it will enhance your performance in every way.  Not only does it increase your flexibility, but it also increases your awareness of your body and expands your mind into a calmness that cannot be achieved by exercise alone.  If you’re wondering how yoga can help you as an athlete, here’s how:

If you’re a cyclist or a runner, chances are your hip flexors and your chest is constricted at some level.  Yoga helps open up your hips and chest through various poses and prevents long term injuiries.  Most of you are probably thinking, “I can’t do yoga…I’m not flexible at all!”  Yoga is a forever progressing practice and flexibility comes with time.  You don’t have to be flexible BEFORE you start practicing!

Furthermore, if you are someone who sits at a desk all day long, again, your hip flexors and chest are tight by being slumped over your desk all day long.  Yoga will help loosen your muscles up so you don’t live in discomfort at work.

In addition to opening up your body, yoga helps give you focus throughout your day – whether it be during your vigorous workouts, or helping you focus more intensely at your job.

Don’t wait until you are so tight that you become injured.  Yoga is a great way to increase your flexibility, bring your mind at ease, and strengthen your core.  With great core strength, comes decreased back pain.

Try it!  You’ll like it!


One Body, One Chance January 8, 2011

Do you remember the last time you did an oil change on your car?  When was the last time you bought yourself a new TV, car, or gadget?  As a whole, we don’t even think twice about spending money on THINGS or maintaining our cars, but when was the last time you invested in your body and health?  Phones, cars, TV’s, etc. are replaceable, but we have only one body that we have to take care of for at least 80 years.  So what are you doing to take care of yourself?  If something breaks down, are you being proactive in fixing that problem?  I’m not talking about taking medication….I’m talking about regular exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep and seeking appropriate therapy when needed.  It’s important not to ignore signs that parts of your body may be injured – whether it be something that happened recently, like a fall on ice, or long term chronic overuse injuries.

We have only one body that’s NOT replaceable.  Take care of it!


Chronic Pain/Injuries August 11, 2010

Many of you, I’m sure, have experienced and accident at some point in your lives.  Whether it be a car accident, a fall, an injury from a sport or even a childhood injury, like falling out of a tree, or falling off of your bike.  What most don’t realize, is that these injuries from YEARS ago can affect us for the rest of our lives, albeit chronic headaches, chronic low back pain, shoulder and neck pain.  YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIVE WITH IT or just DEAL WITH IT!  It CAN be fixed!

Contemporary Acupuncture in combination with soft tissue work, works unbelievably well when it comes to these sorts of problems.  First of all, the acupuncture releases endorphins, norepinephrine, seratonin – all of the healing chemicals that get released when we exercise.  This speeds up the healing process.  Secondly, the soft tissue work loosens up the muscles around the structures that are inhibited.

With a solid treatment plan in place, you can live pain free, stop taking meds and get back to functioning the way you would like to – whether that be gardening without discomfort, riding your bike for miles and miles, running that marathon that you’ve been working towards, or simply getting out of your car without feeling a “twinge”.

Don’t ignore what is ailing you.  Stop taking that advil or tylenol once or twice a day.  Those are bandaide solutions and will not fix the root of the problem.


Core Strength January 13, 2010

Core strength is of the utmost importance when it comes to athletic performance and injury recovery.  Most think that your core consists of just your abs – WRONG!  It’s not just your abs, but your hip flexors, back , buttocks, abs and pecs.  These muscle groups support your entire body.  So, when you’re a serious athlete and/or someone who is trying to recover from an injury, whether it be your upper body or lower, your core needs to be strong to help you continue to move.  Here are some simple poses and moves that you can do at home to help strengthen your core.

PLANK:  Hold this pose for as long as you possibly can.  Start off with a goal of 30 seconds.  The more advanced plank is alternating donkey kicks, holding for 30 seconds, three times each side.

BRIDGE:  When doing this pose, squeeze your buttocks and hold for up to 2 minutes.  Raise your pelvis as high as you can to the sky!

SUPERMAN:  This can be a tough one.  Hold this pose for 10 seconds at a time with a five second break in between for 5 reps.

BANANA:  Again, hold for 10 seconds with a 5 second rest in between, 5 reps.

When your core becomes stronger, you can switch back and forth between superman and banana, without using the help from your arms to turn over and over again – killer core workout!

SIDE PLANK:  With this pose, you want to start in a plank with straight arms and move back and forth from side to side, holding for 10 seconds each side – 3 times each side.  Be sure you keep your feet stacked on top of one another.

These exercises are a good start to strengthening your core.  This, along with regular treatment from your massage therapist will enhance your performance in whatever sport that you do, and will speed up the healing process with an injury.  Anyone can do these exercises!  It just takes time, patience and perseverance!

Good luck!


Why Shoulder Pain? June 29, 2009

Filed under: Acupuncture,Acupuncture and Massage,Cycling,massage — Isidora Romantini @ 1:12 pm

When you experience shoulder pain, most people think that there’s something wrong with the shoulder itself, when in fact most of the time the problem is arising from the neck.  Let me explain.

We have a nerve bundle arising from the neck called the brachial plexus.  These nerves supply the muscles and skin of the shoulder, arm and hand.  They come out of the cervical spine, travel underneath your collar bone, piercing the pecs, the deltoid and continue to supply the arm and hand.


When the muscles around the shoulder and neck are “tight”, nerve firing becomes impinged.  Think about a running hose:  what happens to the running water if there is a kink in the hose?  The water trickles or stops running all together.  Same concept with nerves that are wrapped with scar tissue or are trapped in a tight muscle – they can’t send clear signals to the related muscles.  So…..when you have pain in your shoulder, or you’re finding that you have limited movement in your shoulder, chances are you have tight muscles in your neck, or pecs, or both.  This especially rings true if you are experiencing any tingling or numbness in your hands and fingers.

Electro-acupuncture (EA) with massage is a great way to treat this type of injury.  First, with EA applied to the neck and shoulder region tons of endorphins get released along with serotonin to aid in the healing process.  In addition to that, activation of various nerve fibers will improve the nerve signaling to the areas.  Second, deep soft tissue work will loosen up the muscles to help the nerves do their job.

Keep in mind that although you may feel better after your first treatment, it may only last from a few hours to a few days.  It takes a number of treatments to completely dissolve your symptoms and everybody is different.  If you are a healthy and active individual, your body will most likely respond relatively quickly.

In addition to getting treatment, it is also really important to keep moving.  I always tell my patients, as long as you can exercise without experiencing any sharp shooting pain, keep moving.  The goal is to get you functioning to the best of your ability.

The key is not to ignore these symptoms when they start.  The earlier you get treated, the faster your recovery will be.


What do you want to know? June 16, 2009

Filed under: Acupuncture,Acupuncture and Massage,Cycling,General Health,Home Care,massage — Isidora Romantini @ 12:52 pm

So I had the honor of volunteering my services at the Ride to Conquer Cancer this past weekend.  This event was incredibly well organized, great route, great people and it was an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it.  It was a remarkable sight to see nearly 3800 cyclists united in the cause to conquer cancer.  With so many riders came many questions.  I had a line-up of people that I treated and a bigger line-up of people I didn’t have the time to treat.  While I was treating riders I was also fielding people’s questions about their aches and pains, why acupuncture, why not just a “rub down”…etc.  This sparked a thought in my mind that I should open a forum for you, my readers, to ask your questions.

Obviously it is difficult and inappropriate to diagnose without an assessment, but I can certainly give ideas and direction to any physical issues you may have.  If you have questions about massage and acupuncture as disciplines I welcome those questions too.  Any technical questions about your bike and its fit I can also answer because I work with a team of bike fitters and technical experts in my day to day practice.

To ask your questions, please use the “comment” option, and I will respond as soon as possible.