Stouffville Massage Therapy

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

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!

 

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.

brachial-plexus

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.

 

The Effects of Stress on your Body June 20, 2009

Filed under: General Health,Home Care — Isidora Romantini @ 12:46 pm
Tags: , , , ,

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!

 

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.

 

Acupuncture FAQs June 8, 2009

Filed under: Acupuncture,Acupuncture and Massage,massage — Isidora Romantini @ 6:51 pm
Tags: , ,

When to consider electro-acupuncture  (EA)?

Generally the application of EA stimulation greatly enhances the effect of needling therapy and can increase level of analgesia and significantly extends the period of treatment effectiveness. Many practitioners apply EA as a primary modality for acute and chronic pain and musculoskeletal problems because of its ability to produce a strong analgesic effect. The application of EA is a primary consideration for pain, muscle spasms, numbness, treating nerve dysfunction, paralysis, and atrophy.

Why electro-acupuncture?

Acupuncture and electroacupuncture therapy have been utilized to treat a broad spectrum of illnesses and injuries, and have proven particularly effective at treating anatomically localized neuromusculoskeletal (NMS) injuries caused by repetitive stress or trauma. The anatomical NMS injuries that are most typically treated by acupuncture and electroacupuncture are due to trauma, sports injuries, auto accidents, and work-related repetitive stress injuries of the tendon, ligament, and bursa, and injuries in and around joint areas and the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, etc) surrounding the spine. Acupuncture and electroacupuncture are also commonly used to treat chronic or post-operative pain, headaches, nausea, menstrual-related pain, and other conditions that may be anatomically, neurologically, or physiologically based.

Severity and Duration of Conditions

Conditions of illness and injury are generally classified into three or more categories, depending upon severity and duration. The commonly used descriptions of the stages of illness and injuries are acute, sub-acute, chronic, and recurrent.

How often should I get treated?

This is strictly a guideline base for treatment.  Individuals will vary.

Does it hurt?

Needle insertion is painless.  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) declares otherwise – that it should be painful, otherwise it is not effective, but in the case of EA, the entire process is painless.  In saying that, sensations such as a deep ache within the muscle may occur, which is expected and means that the treatment is working.  Other feelings some patients have reported are sweaty palms (an involuntary reaction from your sympathetic nervous system), mild nausea, and fatigue.

When the electricity is attached to the needles, a sensation of light tapping within the muscle is the best way to describe it.  Again, it is not painful.

Basically, EA used in conjunction with other modalities such as massage therapy, chiro and physiotherapy as an effective way of treating various types of injuries.  It is important when looking for a therapist that he/she is  open to working with other healthcare professionals.  I have always found it crucial in building a team of professionals to get you back to your peak performance and functionality.  Acupuncture is a great addition to various therapies; keep in mind that it is not the ONLY therapy to get you functioning to your full capacity again.

The great thing about ELECTRO-acupuncture is that it speeds up the entire process of healing.  I could go on and on about the chemical chain of events that take place in your body from this type of treatment, but the bottom line is – it works.

If you have a provider of Contemporary Medical Acupuncture near you, you should try it!

 

Cycling Stretches June 1, 2009

Getting a lot of miles on the bike accomplished?  I bet you’re not stretching as much as you should!  Here are my top 10 stretches for you cyclists out there.

1.  HIP FLEXOR STRETCH:  This is great for your low back.  The most effective way to achieve this stretch is to place your front foot on the third or fourth stair in your home and lean forward.  Hold for about 30 seconds.  Don’t forget to stretch both sides!

psoas stretch

2.  NECK STRETCH:  You can do this stretch at different angles – ear to shoulder looking up and looking down.  Be sure to hold each angle for 30 seconds, both sides.

neck stretch

3.  WRIST FLEXOR STRETCH:  This stretch helps after being on the road for long hours.  Keep your elbow straight out in front of you when you do this stretch.

wrist flexor stretch

4.  GLUTE STRETCH:  This is great if you’re experiencing low back pain after a ride.

7_glute

5.  HAMSTRING STRETCH:  This is an essential stretch pre and post ride.

ham stretch

6.  QUAD STRETCH:  Another essential stretch.  Always make sure that the knee that you are bending stays parallel to the floor, otherwise you could injure yourself.

quad stretch

7.  TRICEP STRETCH:  This stretch can be done pre and post ride as well.

tricep

8.  SHOULDER STRETCH:  When doing this stretch, be sure to keep your shoulders relaxed and bring the shoulder that you’re stretching underneath your chin, keeping your head held high; don’t bring your head forward or do a chin tuck – you’ll strain your neck.

delt

9.  LAT STRETCH (BACK):  After being hunched over for hours at a time, this will feel marvelous!

lat

10.  CALF STRETCH:  You can do either of these techniques to stretch out your calves.  The one on the stairs is a little more advanced for those that are more flexible.

calf 1calf2

Remember to always hold your stretch up to 30 seconds.  If you are extremely inflexible, take your time and work up to 30 seconds.  Always perform any exercise or stretch within your pain threshold.

Keep riding and stay safe!

 

Headaches May 21, 2009

Filed under: Acupuncture and Massage,Cycling — Isidora Romantini @ 1:05 pm
Tags: ,

So……whether you’re an avid athlete or one that likes to take care of your overall health, we still from time to time suffer from headaches.

There are many types of headaches, but if you’re active chances are you’re suffering from a muscular/trigger point headache.  Trigger points are hyper-irritable points in the muscles that refer pain to other distant points in the body.  The most common trigger point is in the trapezius muscle – the highest point on your shoulder, causing referral pain into the ear and eye.  Most of us naturally “squeeze” this area to relieve tension, and this is where headaches can begin.  In saying that, get treatment the minute you feel tension in that area.  For myself, acupuncture combined with soft tissue work is the best remedy in melting that tension away.  Don’t wait…..it’ll just get worse and lead to chronic headaches.  Don’t let those headaches stop you from having fun!

Keep moving and stay healthy everyone!