Assessment and Treatment focusing on educating you on managing your condition while progressively returning you to optimum health.
From light touch to deep tissue massage, our Registered Massage Therapists can relieve your musculoskeletal pain and help improve flexibility.
Personal trainers can help anyone, regardless of physical condition or age. Take the first step by signing up for an assessment and setting your physical fitness goals.
Hot Stone Massage
Melt away your stress and tension with a soothing hot stone massage.
This massage involves a combination of general Swedish techniques with the use of heated Basalt stones. A hot stone massage might be just right for you, whether you are looking to relax or for therapeutic benefits to relieve muscle tension, trigger points, and adhesions.
60 minutes $90 + HST
90 minutes $130 + HST
Robert Black, Registered Osteopath
ONCE UPON A SPINE
A long time ago there was a snake, a powerful energy, Frustrated that it couldn’t do that much with itself it branched out to improve its ability to grasp and wrestle with the world and develop greater leverage. From an embryological cell and cells it sprouted an axis, a head and tail, and buds which grew into arms and legs.
In this class we aim, in a manner of speaking, to reverse evolution. To get in touch with this wonder that is our spine. To learn how to experience it, use it and strengthen it to benefit our health, our function and our skills and abilities, not to mention comfort and graceful ageing.
People without arms can live breathe and move. Double amputees at the hips have trained to hold themselves upright and walk on their sitz bones. No one, however, has survived yet alone functioned without a spine. The spine is key, centre, and engine of movement in our body. Directly and indirectly all the organs and guts hang off it and its state affects their function. It protects and directs the central nervous system from the brain and spinal cord to the periphery. Its condition and health could arguably be the seat of the emotions and even thought…
The spine is not only the engine of movement in the body it is also the key to good posture and good posture is key to good health. The soft tissue of our bodies is compartamentalized into a bunch of squishy, mushy, gushy bags (just watch a well muscled person with abs of steel and all the rest of it jiggle and shake as they run) which needs to maintain the memory of the embryological movement of their development for good health. The bags form a community of interactive structures which rub against each other in an inner massage of encouragement and even joy if we let them.
At the same time, like the mast of a sailing ship, the spine provides a central axis around which all the rest can find support and be organized to provide coherence and escape the merely blobular qualities of all those squishy, mushy, gushy bags.
We are generally solicitous in taking care of our externals: cars, houses and stuff, yet somehow we expect our bodies to perform without understanding and maintenance and despite chronic abuse through poor postural and movement patterns. It is somehow curious to want to save the environment when the primary environment of our own body is neglected.
This body is subject to tremendous abuse in our sedentary culture as attested by a virtual epidemic of low back pain, headaches, hip problems, digestive issues … and the list goes on. The word sedentary is used advisedly. Getting back to squishy, mushy, gushy, higgledy piggledy and jiggly this body of ours is inherently unstable. It is designed for movement. Movement is Life. Without it we start to shrivel and eventually die. Which we do anyway, however, in the interim there is an issue of quality of life…
This series of classes combines theory with awareness and specific exercises to help you acquire the tools you need to develop good postural hygiene and build a satisfying workout. We combine working at the levels of breathing, developing good joint mobilization and appropriating the E.L.D.O.A. exercise system for strengthening and controlling your spine.
BACK MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
Do you have back pain or does back pain have you?
A program for back pain or to avoid back pain or even simply improve your posture and health.
There is increasing evidence that back pain is best dealt with through a program of rehabilitation and remedial exercise according to the author of “Crooked”, Cathryn Jacobson Ramin, even in the face of scary looking x-rays, MRI’s and cat scans. We are offering just such a program here.
This program is not for everyone. You the participant need to be motivated to want to get better mostly through your own hard work and effort, discomfort, Pain may need to be wrestled with at times, especially nonspecific low back pain, and will need to be worked through. Part of our job is to coach you and help you work through good pain such as DOMS, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, and identify bad pain and tell you when to stop. As our team includes therapists with clinical experience we are also available to recommend various therapeutic treatment modalities to help you through the program. Patience is a virtue and progress takes time, again, we are here to coach and encourage you and help you over the rough patches. In any case the focus needs to be on function rather than pain.
Absolute contraindications include recent eye or abdominal surgery, pregnancy, severe heart or lung disease. Cauda equina syndrome, progressive neurological degeneration, cancer, severe spinal or neurological pathology.
Functional Assessment: daily activity
Picking things off floor
You can go for a month or more without food and maybe 2 or 3 days without water but certainly not many minutes without air. Furthermore, proper breathing can assist with exercise, increase energy release stress, manage and alleviate pain, calm and focus the mind, and help avoid lung cancer.
- JOINT MOBILIZATION:
Stiff joints interfere with harmonious movement and function. To bring a joint back to optimum efficiency requires movement. Easy movement opens up the Range of Motion of a joint and increases its all important lubrication by the synovial fluid.
Nothing moves in our body without a muscle doing something somewhere. Muscles that have compromised their elasticity, have become hypertonic do not have good circulation all of which we may not even be aware, need stretching. In this program we engage muscles in Myofascial stretching so that the muscle is engaged in the continuity of its myofascial chain and not merely isolated and yanked. Isolation is not functional and can lead to injury.
- ABDOMINAL HYPOPRESSIVE EXERCISE:
Forget the 6 pack. The true support muscles, the core of the abdomen are the container muscles: the obliques and transversus. These muscles are not strengthened in the same way as are skeletal muscles, such as the biceps, through repeated contractions against resistance. Skeletal muscles attach from bone to bone, container muscles attach from bone to connective tissue and are therefore strengthened differently. Differently means that they need to be sustained through myofascial connections in a free fall situation. This is also an important exercise to help develop core strength breathing.
- GLUTE RETRAINING:
A well-trained ass is a wonderful thing. It seems that a lot if not most people have what we dub Flabby Ass Syndrome. That is to say that the glutes, the biggest muscle in the body, when not properly strong and functional are a sure fire contributor to back and postural problems. It contributes directly through weakness and by default as the more delicate low back muscles try to compensate. This exercise sequence, as a bonus, will help develop much vaunted “buns of steel”.
- THE SQUAT:
The Soft Squat is derived from the Mitzvah Technique as taught in Toronto by Nehemiah Cohen. About learning to work with the spring system of the body. In a sense it is passive as it reaches participants with the rebound of gravity and the myofascial rebound of the body. It teaches how to make gravity a friend and get out of the way of interfering with the balancing forces of the body. This is an anti-aging anti-gravity mechanism.
The Hard Squat if performed correctly, and that is a bigger if than you might think, contains all the components necessary for a healthy back. The hard squat focuses more on building strength. It calls on mobilizing both the superficial rigging muscles of the back and the fine support muscles of the gutters on each side of the spine.
The Squat is among the group of movements which include the push, pull and press, which when they are not able to be performed indicate functional illiteracy if not functional crippling.
This is an exercise system that works at the level of the paraspinal gutter muscles on each side of the spine. This is the fine postural muscle system of the mutifidi and rotators groups, the most intelligent muscles of the spine, which are the true support system for the spine to which the rigging muscles of the back are secondary. There is a centrifugal posture position for every intervertebral level as well as for the ribs, the pelvis and the hip, and for the cranial system. The postures help to develop control of the spine and open up, decompress and realign intervertebral spaces.
- RESISTANCE TRAINING:
Finally we come to resistance training, for which, after following the above program you will be well prepared and able to pursue without risking injury. There are two tools in this program Kettle bells and Free Weights.
Kettle Bells: are especially useful for connecting, coordinating. aligning and strengthening connective tissue through the application of centrifugal tension.
Free weights, and kettle bells used as free weights, strengthen and develop muscle through the application of centripetal tension.
NOW FOR THE BIG QUESTION: WILL IT LAST?
Yes it will last, like a night’s sleep lasts, or like brushing your teeth lasts or eating lasts… back and spinal hygiene like any form of health care requires some kind of ongoing practice. Life is not static and so a healthy engagement between your body and mind and spirit will be ongoing until the final stage of health, death, for which we are all programmed. In the meantime, back at the ranch, quality of life demands ongoing physical engagement.
Note: these modules may be taken separately or in combinations depending on your individual need. That being said this is a thorough integrated program.
Developed by Robert Black D.O. R.M.T.
Anatomy of Breathing Class
A class to guide participants in what the anatomy and physiology is doing when meditating. Helps to improve body awareness, posture and breathing which enhances health.
Taught by Robert Black D.O. R.M.T.
Class takes place at St. Joseph’s Church Hall
(corner of Laurier and Cumberland Street)
10:30 a.m. Friday mornings
By Donation to St. Joseph’s Supper Table