It's finally spring!
Mostly. Almost. Sort of..
Winter/Spring 2016 updates
It was a busy winter for the OOST team! The OOSTers were in and out of the clinic on all sorts of international adventures.
> Mike was in Taiwan from December until February, visiting family, touring the country, and giving his mini-me a full taste of the Taiwanese culture!
> Christian spent a week in France, also to see family, and even got a chance to go ice skating on the 1st floor of the Eiffel Tower!
> Emily travelled down to the Patagonia region of Chile, and spent a week hiking and horseback riding through Torres del Paine national park (including an ice hike on a glacier!).
> Richard had a busy February/March travelling with Rugby Canada. There was never a dull moment as he was medical staff throughout the Americas Rugby Championship tournament. The tournament took them from Victoria, BC down to Rosario, Argentina, and then over to Santiago, Chile! After a hard-fought tournament, Team Canada finished tied for 2nd in placement, and ended up 3rd overall in the standings.
It's been a busy few months, but everyone has returned and is back in the clinic and back in action!
The best posture for: Spring cleaning!
Welcome, Spring! The arrival of nicer weather usually means it's time to do a big spring clean. Keep these things in mind as you tackle your tidying:
Try to avoid reaching or bending, and stay upright as much as possible. Use a long-handled mop instead of getting down to scrub, or a long broom instead of bending over to use a brush and dustpan. If you need to fold clothing or laundry, try to do so on a taller table or surface that keeps you in a good posture without hunching over.
Always lift heavy items carefully. Lift with your knees, and keep the items close to your body as you're lifting. Avoid twisting your back to the side while holding a heavy item - turn your whole body instead.
The less twisting, bending, reaching, or straining your body has to do, the happier it will be!
Get some plants. Plants are good.
There are many studies that show the outstanding benefits of having plants in offices. From increasing productivity to decreasing headaches and fatigue, having a plant around your home or office has been shown to improve mental and physical health.
The benefits don’t stop there: air-purifying, oxygen-increasing, and humidity-boosting, plants can help you feel less stressed, more focused, and can increase your creativity. Plants have even been found to reduce pain and decrease surgery recovery times in hospitals. Plus, there’s no better way to beat the winter blues then to have pretty flowers around!
Insider Tips from a Registered Massage Therapist
By Dominique Labre, RMT
After years of working with Ottawa’s active community, there’s one thing that stands out: everyone could benefit from incorporating stretching into their workday.
Stretching is an important part of maintaining a healthy body. After a hard workout or simply after many hours of inactivity (sitting at a desk), the muscles tend to become tight and restrictive. These tissues may need to be released before they become overly tight and painful.
The tenderness we experience during massage to release those tight areas is the fascial tissue surrounding the muscles, joints and bones elongating. The treatments also release trigger points and adhesions that have been building up in our hard-working muscles. This tightness and discomfort can easily be decreased by one simple and effective self-treatment technique: STRETCHING!
Common workplace-related pains & their solutions
Here are the three most common workplace ergonomic mistakes, along with the stretches that will help to resolve the aches and pains.
Problem #1: Rounding your upper back and shoulders. You start your day full of energy, and next thing you know 3 hours have gone by without a break. You may start to notice some discomfort in the triangle between your spine, your shoulder blade and the base of your neck. This indicates a tightness building up in the chest (pectoral muscles) due to the forward-leaning posture when using your keyboard. This is especially prominent if your chair is low and your forearms are angled upward, where you’ll find yourself shrugging to help maintain your arms in better typing position. When this happens, it is important to adjust your chair so that your forearms are parallel to the ground.
To release this kind of pain in the neck, try these two neck stretches & pectoral stretch:
Neck Stretch 1: Stretch the side of the neck in a seated position by simply tilting your head to the side while focusing on an object in front of you. Bring your ear to your shoulder with your nose straight ahead. Hold this position for 30 seconds or more, then rotate your nose to your armpit (this is Neck Stretch 2). This stretch will focus on the muscles behind the neck toward the shoulder blade. Repeat on the opposite side to ensure a balanced neck release.
Pec Stretch: Find a door frame and arrange yourself so that both shoulders and elbows are bent at 90°. Let your body slowly fall into the door frame as you lean into it, with your forearms supporting your body weight. Hold for 30 seconds then slowly come out of it. This will help in relieving the tightness that pulls the shoulders forwards.
Problem #2: High chair = knee & hip pain. Another common workplace problem is having a chair that is too high, causing feet to hang a few inches above the ground. A quick solution is to place your feet on the wheel base of your chair – however, this causes your knees to bend past the 110° mark, which makes the knees very unhappy. This also has a problematic effect on your quadriceps by over-elongating them for a long period of time. The quads become weak and tired, resulting in tight hips and sore knees. The best tip is to keep those feet on the ground!
Hip/Quad Stretch: To help stretch out your hips and quads, hold onto a wall or stable chair for balance. Then bend your knee, bringing your heel to your bum. Do this one leg at the time and hold this position for 30 seconds, or until you feel a release.
Problem #3: Bending forward = low back pain. Last but not least is a very common mistake that results in lower back pain if not corrected. The culprit? Sitting on the edge of a chair while leaning forward, hunched over a desk. It is important to have proper lumbar support when seated for a long time. Without support, we start to slowly move our bodies closer to the edge of the chair. In this position, the muscles surrounding the spine work extra hard to keep it up right and stable. While the spine is bending forward, a significant amount of pressure is put on the disc between the vertebrae, resulting in painful muscle spasms and lower back pain.
Lower Back Stretch: A simple way to relieve this pain is a common yoga pose called the Cobra Pose (also known as the Sphynx). To achieve this release, lie on your stomach and relax for a few seconds. Slowly bring your forearms to either side of your shoulders and gradually elevate your chest upwards, away from the ground. Keep your hips flat on the ground. Maintain this position for one minute, then take a 10 second break. Repeat this 4 times.
By arching your back, you’re relieving the pressure on the disc, the bone of the spine and shortening the muscles that were in spasms. This will help eliminate the lower back pain we often experience while seated improperly.
These helpful tips and stretches will have you on your way to becoming pain-free and productive! If you’re still experiencing some pain, book an appointment for massage therapy. There are many treatment techniques that will help to undo the aches and pains of working at a desk all day.
A complete workout with ONE simple item
No time for gyms? Looking to save some money?
If you're looking for a nice, whole-body workout that you can do anywhere, anytime, and with minimal equipment, why not try a Thera-Band or Mini-Band workout!?
Check out the endless possibilities of using resistance bands for your training:
Theraband Larger Version
Mini Band Larger Version
We sell a variety of Theraband and Mini Band resistance bands at the clinic, with resistance levels ranging from Light to Extra-Heavy. Stop by today and get started on a workout program with maximum portability and affordability!
The Lowdown: Frequently Asked Questions about Massage Therapy
The things you've always wanted to know, but never wanted to ask.
"Do I have to be an athlete to get massage therapy?"
Absolutely not! Although our massage therapists are experienced in treating recreational and professional athletes, they are also thoroughly trained in a wide variety of techniques and regularly treat infants, kids, teenagers, adults and seniors. Their treatments are versatile, and can benefit individuals with any activity level. Our RMTs also have additional experience specifically treating pregnant women, individuals with autism, the elderly, and those living with diabetes.
"Are your massage therapists registered?"
Yes, all of our massage therapists are registered with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO), and go by the designation 'RMT' (Registered Massage Therapist).
"Can my son or daughter get treatment?"
Yes. From babies to teenagers, massage therapy can be very beneficial. Babies and infants are most often treated for muscular troubles, such as torticollis, and can also be treated for issues like reflux or gassiness. The treatments are VERY gentle, and can provide relief for a variety of conditions. We also treat kids and teenagers for sports- or school-related injuries, or even for stress and anxiety. Parents are always invited to sit in on the treatments.
"Should I tip my massage therapist?"
Massage therapy is a regulated health profession, with massage therapists providing safe and effective healthcare treatment. They are not part of the service industry. As such, we do not accept tips.
"It hurts when I lie down. Is there a way to have a treatment without lying down?"
Absolutely. Treatment can easily be modified so that you're sidelying or sitting. Our adjustable treatment tables make it easy to accommodate different positions.
"Can I leave my clothes on?"
Yes. We will never require you to dress less than you are comfortable with. Although less clothing will allow better access to the injured/affected area and will help your practitioner to more effectively assess and treat the issue, we encourage you to dress to your comfort level, and will always modify the treatment approach to suit your level of dress.
Are there still questions you've always wondered about but haven't asked? Send us an email and we'll provide a prompt, honest answer!