Stouffville Massage Therapy

ISIDORA ROMANTINI RMT CONTACT: 647-201-6397 isidora.rmt@gmail.com

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!

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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!

 

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!

 

Migraine Relief September 30, 2009

Migraines can be a debilitating condition that can affect you for hours and sometimes, up to days leaving you in excruciating pain.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Migraines can be relieved with several acupuncture points in the skull, ears and face.

migraine

Although nothing can really be done in the midst of a migraine, this type of treatment is excellent for preventing future episodes.  Keep in mind that a mere single treatment won’t eliminate migraines – this is a type of treatment that needs to be repeated over a period of time at least once a week.  It also depends on what has caused your migraine.  Things like a  sudden change in air pressure, changes in hormone levels, diet, dehydration and stress can effect when you get your migraine and how severe it is.

If you find yourself getting a migraine, here are some things that you can do to alleviate the pain:

1)  Apply a cold compress to your neck and forehead, with the application of hot compresses to your hands and feet, keeping your head above your heart – this brings your blood flow away from your head and into your extremities;

2)  Apply pressure with your fingertips to your temples, earlobes, eyebrows and the vortex (the very top) of your skull – these are key acupuncture points

3)  Of course, rest in a dark room with absolutely no light and complete silence.

I realize that the thought of putting needles in your skull, face and ears sounds a little creepy, but there are evidence-based medical journals that have been published to prove that this treatment works, and is more effective than taking harsh medications.  Remember…..taking ANY type of medication is a bandaide solution; it’s not the answer.

Check out this study that was done in May, 2008:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/572382

If you suffer from periodic migraines, or even chronic headaches the important thing is to find out why your migraines and headaches are occuring.  Speaking with a healthcare professional like your Massage Therapist or Chiropractor will help us narrow down what the root of the problem is.  From there we can devise a treatment plan that is right for you.

 

Runner’s Stretches August 4, 2009

We’re well into the summer season, so guaranteed some of you are over-doing it.  Here are some stretches for you runners out there to prevent injury so you can enjoy the rest of the season.

Shin Stretch:  This one is really important to prevent shin splints.  Take a step forward, and with your back toes, drag them on the ground until you feel a stretch.  It is best done in either stocking feet or bare feet.

toedrag

Iliotibial Band Stretch (ITB stretch):  Another important stretch.  Often you will start to feel pain on the outside of your knee when your ITB becomes tight.  Hold this stretch and all stretches for at least 30 seconds.

ITB

Calf Stretch:  Absolutely important in keeping your calves nice and loose.  This one can be done while your taking a little brake on one of your runs!

calf2

Glute Stretch:  Your glutes work hard during those long runs.  Make sure you do this stretch and all stretches after each and every run to prevent injury.

7_glute

Hamstring Stretch:  Another group that works hard while running.  This group becomes tight very easily.

ham stretch

Quad Stretch:  This stretch will help your knees stay healthy.  This can also be done during a small break on your runs.

quad stretch

These are just a few basic stretches to keep you loose and performing at your peak.  Stretching after EVERY single run is crucial to keep you functioning at your best and doing great at that race you’re working towards.

Good luck!

 

The Effects of Stress on your Body June 20, 2009

Filed under: General Health,Home Care — Isidora Romantini @ 12:46 pm
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When somebody asks you, “Are you stressed out?” some of you will say “absolutely”, some will say “not so much”.  The reality is that our we’re all stressed at different levels.  You may not necessarily feel “stressed out”, but our environment dictates otherwise.  Gone are the days lacking blackberries, cell phones, voice mail, instant messaging and conference calling.  Although you may be content in your every day life these are the things that effect how our bodies function.

Ask yourself a few questions:

How do you sleep at night?  Do you have trouble falling asleep?  Do you wake up periodically throughout the night?

Do you find your heart races from time to time?  Or you feel you have heart palpitations?

Do you eat on the run?  ie While you’re driving?  Eating standing up?

How “regular” are you?  Do you feel bloated often?

Do you get the flu more than a few times per year?

Do you crave salty, fatty, high protein foods like meat and cheese?

If you answered yes to just ONE of these questions, chances are you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue.  It may be mild now, but if you don’t listen to your body and stop the red flags, it could become severe, if not fatal.  I’m not kidding.

Adrenal fatigue is a collection of signs and symptoms that result when the adrenal glands function below the normal level.  This is not to be mistaken with Addison’s Disease, where the adrenal glands stop functioning completely;  adrenal fatigue is a result of stress on the body over years and years, and it can be fixed.

The main hormone affected is cortisol.  Cortisol is our stress hormone.  When we’re sick, have an injury or there is an increase in blood pressure (just to name a few instances), cortisol is released to regulate the body.  Here’s the catch – cortisol is also released when we’re experiencing undue stress.  So……when cortisol is being released continually, when we really need it, there isn’t enough there to help us heal properly.  The result is things in our bodies start to shut down, your liver being the first one to go.  Of course this may not  happen over night, but slowly your body starts to “give up”.

So what do we do now?

I’m not here to prescribe supplements, vitamins, etc.  But I do have some subtle suggestions to get you back on track.

First of all, GO TO BED!  By 10pm if you can!  And make sure your bedroom is pitch black – even turn your digital clock around.

Avoid caffeine, sugar and salt.

Avoid getting over-tired.  Listen to your body!  And maybe turn that blackberry off once in a while!

Never skip breakfast.

Eat dinner with your family at the dinner table – don’t eat on the run.

Drink lots of water.

Remember to BREATHE.

Finally, let’s get to your treatment.

There are many acupuncture points on the body that literally induce relaxation.  Those include points on the scalp, the ears, face, hands and feet – sounds crazy I know, but speaking from experience, these points can really “zen” you out!  It’s true!  They’re great!

Secondly, massage along with the acupuncture can really kick relaxation into high gear.  Regular visits to your Massage Therapist will really help you manage your daily stress.  I treat many people throughout each week that benefit from this type of treatment.

Seems simple enough, doesn’t it?  Don’t wait around from something drastic to happen or to get the “wake-up call”.  Start now by making these small changes in your life and you’ll start noticing changes in your sleeping patterns and how you generally feel.

One more thing…..don’t forget to laugh!