Feel Better than Normal

human-body-systems

One of the key qualities I recognize in my patients that come regularly is that they are in tune with themselves. They know their bodies.

When a patient comes to me for the first time they are always surprised at how many things I can help them with. Many of the pains and symptoms that people exhibit they have learned to live with. They are “normal” for them. They don’t realize that most people don’t have that problem. They don’t think there is another way.

When they experience what is to live without those pains or problems they gain a heightened sense of awareness. Their perception of “normal” changes and they want to keep feeling better.

I sometime chuckle to myself because my some of my regular patient know my drill so well I don’t have to ask them where the problem is, or what’s wrong. They often tell me they have done a scan of their body or come to me with a list in hand of the things they want to feel better. Simply having that appointment in the calendar is enough for some people to have them pause to reflect on their own health.

If you think you’re feeling fine I challenge you to have a look through our Health History Form. The second page of my form is broken down into systems of the body. Each of those boxes are samples of things you might feel stuck with, but they are just SOME of things we can help you with.

So as you lunge into 2017, take a moment to remember the last time you felt your best, and what you need to feel even better. Do a head to toe scan. Ask yourself what is limiting you. Or come in for a general assessment and see how we can improve your everyday quality of living.

About the author ...

Stacey Ayres, Osteopath Manual Practitioner, Registered Massage Therapist, is the owner of Better Health Clinic, She is a member of the Canadian College of Massage Therapists of Ontario as well as the Ontario Association of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners. Stacey has a particular interest in pediatrics, chronic pain, post trauma and surgery rehabilitation, and fertility.

Anatomy of the Bag

bag-xray

After having a new baby, I started to look at new diaper bags. The thought came to me, “maybe I should just get a bigger purse so that I don’t have so many bags to carry”. I was also in the market for a backpack for my oldest child who was starting school. It was my concern for him that brought me back to the ergonomics of a good bag.  

In my Osteopath practice, I have to say I’m quite effective at resolving back pain, shoulder pains, neck pain, headaches and that shooting pain down the arm. When it keeps coming back I start to question what it is in everyday life that could be provoking it. Repetitive and persistent issues that keep reoccurring often come back to something we do habitually. They aren’t caused by trying to move furniture all on your own, or that  time you tried to drywall the ceiling. More often it’s something you don’t even think twice about. Something like carrying your purse or lap top bag. 

 

So I thought I’d share:

  1.  Whether you’re looking for a backpack or a purse get something with wide straps. Preferably padded straps. A heavy bag from a thin strap is just going to dig into your shoulder
  2. I love the look of leather, but practically speaking, choose a bag that is made of lighter materials. This means avoiding chains, or accessories that to the weight of the bag.
  3. Adjustable straps is a must. And when you’re choosing a bag adjust the straps before you buy it too make sure it fits the way it should. The back pack should sit no higher than your shoulders, and should rest above your pelvis. The purse should hang at the level of the belly button so not to pull away from your centre of gravity.
  4. Fits snug against the body. This means choose a bag that will contort to your body when you wear it. Boxy, ridged bags won’t do this as well. For purses try to get it to rest in that sweet spot between your waist and elbow so your arm hangs naturally. For backpacks, try to find one that has added lumbar cushioning and look for a waist strap to better distribute the weight.
  5. Lots of compartments. This keeps things from moving around so you can evenly distribute the weight. It also makes thing easier to find!
  6. I’m sure you’re waiting for me to say bigger isn’t better, but this isn’t necessarily true. The important factor is that you don’t carry too much weight. With the big mom bags, the tendency is to carry more with you. The bag shouldn’t ever weigh more than 10% of your body weight, 15% if you have a backpack. 

Always pack the heavy things closest to your body. When you look in the mirror your posture shouldn’t be altered by the bag. If it is, the strap is too long or your carrying too much.

After re-thinking the importance of a good bag, I got my son the best backpack I could find, and one for myself too. Well for the baby actually. I find it much easier, to carry the baby gear in a backpack than an over sized mom bag. I can fit all my essentials in it and still have my arms free to chase, hold, or carry my kids.

About the author ...

Stacey Ayres, Osteopath Manual Practitioner, Registered Massage Therapist, is the owner of Better Health Clinic, She is a member of the Canadian College of Massage Therapists of Ontario as well as the Ontario Association of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners. Stacey has a particular interest in pediatrics, chronic pain, post trauma and surgery rehabilitation, and fertility.

Pedicure aren’t just for pampering

feet

Now that summer is in full swing, the sandals are out and with that comes a change in footwear, are your feet ready for the change?

We keep our feet bundled and contained in shoes for most of the year, that when we do get to slip into sandals we notice the heavy wear and tear we’ve put them through. If we don’t take the time to properly care for our feet it can be harmful and small problems can lead to bigger medical issues.

Pedicures are a great way to provide basic care for our feet – and the plus side is that pedicures are not just for women they are for anyone and everyone who wants to take care of their feet!!! A pedicure is beneficial not just aesthetically or cosmetically – if performed by a trained professional such as a Podologist you can take a pedicure above and beyond and receive a well-rounded treatment and learn a lot about your health!

A Podologist looks at the skin and the nails and can provide you with a treatment that is above what a regular salon can provide based on the specific training they receive. They can treat your callus, corns, ingrown toenails, fungal toenails and more with their knowledge and help you understand the health of your feet.

In addition there are several benefits to regularly getting a pedicure:

  1. Early detection of problems – A podologist can help you catch the early signs of corns, bunions, and fungal infections. These conditions are very easily treatable, especially when identified in the early stages.
  2. Decrease changes of infection – properly cutting, filing, and cleaning the toenails can prevent them from growing inward and can eliminate infection. Removing dirt and bacteria from your feet can also help prevent nail diseases and disorders such as fungal toenails. Keeping the nails at a healthy length can also prevent trauma to the nail which can also lead to infections.
  3. Helps to preserve the skins moisture – by soaking in warm water and essential oils or salts can help preserve the moisture and integrity of your feet. Moisturized feet are less prone to blisters and cracks. Keeping cuticles moisturized can help prevent against ridges and splits in the nails edge which people often see causing the nail to lift out of the nail beds.
  4. Exfoliates the feet: removal of the dead skin prevents skin from growing hard and thick causing callus or corns which can end up causing a lot of pain and discomfort. Removal of dead skin on the heels especially promotes healthy cell growth and encourages smoother skin.
  5. Increases circulation: After a pedicure a podologist will massage cream into your feet which will increase blood circulation. This can help reduce pain and help warm up your entire body.
  6. Relaxation. The best part of all of having a pedicure is that it can be very relaxing. It can ultimately help reduce stress and can be very therapeutic.

Getting your feet pampered is beneficial to your whole body and should be something we implement into our lives to promote overall good health. We spend a lot of time on our feet and they carry us where we need to go, so we should take time to take care of them! Getting a pedicure at least once a month can help your feet stay in good health. 

About the author ...

Stacey Ayres, Osteopath Manual Practitioner, Registered Massage Therapist, is the owner of Better Health Clinic, She is a member of the Canadian College of Massage Therapists of Ontario as well as the Ontario Association of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners. Stacey has a particular interest in pediatrics, chronic pain, post trauma and surgery rehabilitation, and fertility.

9 Tips for Pain-Free Exercise

Everyone knows that fitness is important to health. Wanting to be fit is highly desirable. However, if you have slipped away from regular activity, or are wanting to try a new, or harder type of exercise there are often some obstacles that get in the way

The biggest challenge is usually just getting started. You CAN do it!

The next barrier that many people come up against is pain. This can make working out a little less inciting.The soreness in the muscles that you get the day or two after an intense work out is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS for those in the line of body work). It happens because your building muscle! It is also due to lactic acid, a bi-product of exercise. A few tips on minimizing this:

  1. Find a good trainer. Someone that will work with you at your level. Too much too soon will cause more  soreness.Start slow and build gradually. Working out doesn’t have to hurt.
  2. Have a good work out. One that includes a warm up, cool down, and stretching. A trainer can help with this
  3. Stay hydrated. If you’re sweating more you need to replace your fluids. Drink more water. It’s simple, so do it.
  4. Eat well. If you’re not getting enough of certain minerals (magnesium, potassium, calcium) or electrolytes you can get muscle cramps. A proper diet is also important to support muscle development, a changing metabolism, and increased demand for energy. I always recommend working with a professional, like a holistic nutritionist, that will help you meet your individual needs and save you the guess work.
  5. A contrast shower. After a work out have a hot shower, finish the last 30 seconds with cold water. This will help to “flush” out the lactic acid.
  6.  If you missed the first 5 points and are sore the next day have a hot bath with half a cup of Epsom salts, a hot tub, or sauna.
  7. Practice good form. This is where a good trainer can help. It is so much better to do an exercise correctly, slower, and with less intensely once, than to do it fast or with poor form 10 times to avoid injuries. Pilates is excellent for bringing body awareness.
  8. Address injuries. Generally, movement is good the body, but if something hurts more than a little, check you’re technique. If it hurts a lot, listen to your body; don’t do it. Have someone help you resolve and rehabilitate completely from your injuries. This is where I highly recommend Osteopathy. Osteopathy can help to restore proper body mechanics, improve circulation, reduce pain, and promote healing. It helps you get to the cause of injuries that can slow you down. 
  9. Rest. This is important to allow your body time to recover, repair muscle and injuries. By rest I mean sleep. If you practice good sleep habits and still don’t sleep well you may benefit from having an Osteopath Manual Practitioner help balance your nervous system.

Pain is a signal from your body to change what your doing or to address an injury. The sooner you deal with pain the sooner you’ll enjoy the activities you want to do. Work with professionals that understand the body. You’re health is an investment: Take care of your body and your body will take care of you.

About the author ...

Stacey Ayres, Osteopath Manual Practitioner, Registered Massage Therapist, is the owner of Better Health Clinic, She is a member of the Canadian College of Massage Therapists of Ontario as well as the Ontario Association of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners. Stacey has a particular interest in pediatrics, chronic pain, post trauma and surgery rehabilitation, and fertility.

Eat Your Greens Detox Soup

detox soupThis recipe for “Eat Your Greens Detox Soup,” comes from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon.

This soup is great for cleansing and detoxifying your body, especially before or after the indulgent holiday season. It’s packed with immunity-boosting ingredients like broccoli, ginger, mushrooms, kale, nori, and garlic.

  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons coconut oil or olive oil 
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups sliced cremini or white button mushrooms (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1⁄2 to 3 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 large nori seaweed sheets, cut into 1-inch strips (optional)
  • 2 cups torn kale leaves
  • Fresh lemon juice, for serving (optional) 

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the mushrooms, carrots, and broccoli and stir to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes more.
Stir in the ginger, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant.
Add the broth and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 20 minutes.
Just before serving, stir in the nori (if using) and kale and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, if desired.

About the author ...

Stacey Ayres, Osteopath Manual Practitioner, Registered Massage Therapist, is the owner of Better Health Clinic, She is a member of the Canadian College of Massage Therapists of Ontario as well as the Ontario Association of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners. Stacey has a particular interest in pediatrics, chronic pain, post trauma and surgery rehabilitation, and fertility.

Osteopathy at the Heart of the matter

Valentines Day often paints many pictures of hearts. The heart is the seat of love. It is also a very important organ.

Heart health is not to be taken lightly. It is one of the leading causes of death claiming more than 33, 000 deaths in Canada each year and 1.4 million living with heart disease. Much of the focus for heart health largely ties into lifestyle. For many it means finding ways to be more active and having a closer look at diet. (My dear colleague Kathy Shackleton is great at setting your diet and lifestyle on the right track!) This is truly fundamental, however there are other ways to help the heart.

While often overlooked, or perhaps unknown, Osteopathic Manual Therapy can influence the heart. Osteopathy aims to improve function of structure my removing any restriction to the tissues or organs. This is also done by finding ways to improve the circulation to any afflicted area. One study by Henley et. al. found that osteopathy can influence the heart through direct manipulation of soft tissue and fascia of the neck. This had an affect on the vagal nerve, the autonomic nerve that affects the heart, by lowering heart rate.

This is one of the many ways that Osteopathy can affect the autonomic nervous system, the part of you that reacts to stress, causing physiological responses such as elevated blood pressure and heart rate. Any physical restrictions in the body have the potential to disrupt blood supply. Blood supply is so important because it is the source of nutrients, oxygen, and health to every tissue and cell in the body. Circulation is also a closed system, like a loop. This means that is there is a disruption anywhere in the path of circulation it is going to affect the entire circulation system. Kind of like how a traffic jam affects your overall commute.

When thinking of the heart, look at the big picture. Better circulation means better health.  Love yourself, and give osteopathy a try!

About the author ...

Stacey Ayres, Osteopath Manual Practitioner, Registered Massage Therapist, is the owner of Better Health Clinic, She is a member of the Canadian College of Massage Therapists of Ontario as well as the Ontario Association of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners. Stacey has a particular interest in pediatrics, chronic pain, post trauma and surgery rehabilitation, and fertility.