Why Osteopathy?

December 2, 2010

Ever since I took action to enhance my career by studying osteopathy at Canadian College of Osteopathy my patients have been asking me what exactly it is I’m studying.  Some of my patients have been adventurous and attempted to put a defining word to what it is which usual ends up being “osteo means bone right? or “oh osteopathy, you do treats on bones?”  My answer is always “yes along with the rest of the body.”

The profession of osteopathy is so vast in its entirety that it is difficult to give a brief explanation as to what exactly it is, but I am going to attempt this great feat!

Let’s start by saying that osteopathy is a science and an art.  Curious statement I know, but when you see that it is a science because it requires a keen and in depth knowledge of anatomy and an art because through the use of trained hands an assessment of the entirety of the patient can be gained that statement starts to make sense.  Osteopathy comes from the word “osteome” which means structures of all living matter i.e. bone, soft tissue, organs, veins, arteries, etc.  and “pathos” which translates into “a profound emotion” or “an emotion which needs to be expressed”.   So when you put “Osteome” and “Pathos” together to form the word “Osteopathy” you have a word that implies that the whole person and how they express themselves must be taken into consideration as that person is treatment in their entirety.   It is the job of the osteopathy to restore mobility to each system so the body can be balanced both in its internal and external environments.

Over the past 3 months I have been incorporation osteopathic techniques into my patient’s treatment plans with great success.  I had a new patient a few weeks back that came into the clinic with a hamstring strain that normally takes 6 weeks of rehab to heal.  In three treatments over a week and a half I used a few osteopathic techniques to regain balance in the lower back, hip area and balanced out the body to create homeostasis.   My patient can back for their 4th treatment and had regained their normal range of motion back in their hamstring and their pain was down from 6/10 to 2/10 and I had not even touched their hamstring yet!  Another patient I had not seeing in a while came in last weekend for treatment after a car accident.  Their body was achy and they were visibly tired.  I did an hour treatment for them.  A few days later they came in and looked wonderful.  Their colour was back and the dark circles under their eyes where gone along with their stooped posture.

If you have not had a change to be treated osteopathically now is the time.  If you are unsure as to what an osteopath can treat just remember an osteopath is able to assess anything in the body and works with other health care professionals to ensure your greatest quality of health.

For more information contact Ultimate Sports Therapy at info@ultimatesportstherapy.com or visit us at http://www.ultimatesportstherapy.com/osteopathy.html

Carolyn Zepf
osteopathy (current study) & Certified Athletic Therapist, Keynote & Professional Speaker

Tools of the Trade Part3 G.O.T/Oscillatory Techniques and Pumping

December 2, 2010

G.O.T stands for General Osteopathic Technique, and is the very first technique taught in Osteopathy here in Ontario.  It is a technique that can be applied to any joint in the body from the feet to the neck and shoulders.  G.O.T is very good for tight sore muscles and is quite often the go to technique for aches, strains, and trigger points.  G.O.T is non invasive, very safe and extremely effective.  I use this technique on every patient, every day.

Sometimes when a muscle or joint is assessed by a clinician, if feels very boggy or congested. The muscle has been damaged for so long that the natural fluidic nature of the tissues has been replaced with adhesions and feels full of knots. This is where Pumping techniques are applied.  Pumping techniques are also taught very early on and are used to help with fluid movement in, out, and around the affected muscle or joint.  Again, this technique is very gentle, non-invasive, and only a very light stretch is needed to make it work.

G.O.T and pumping techniques are not only used as treatment of a tight muscle or fascia, but also used to improve the efficacy of the Extra Cellular Matrix (ECM).

The ECM is “everything in between” the cells of the body.  It is from this gel like substance that most of the nutrition for cellular activity is stored and transported.  All of the working materials that cells need to function float around in this endless nutritional pool.  Within the ECM the building blocks of life are waiting to be put together and used to support cell function and repair.  Think of it like a natural floating pharmacy, open 24/7.  Everything the cells need to thrive and survive is in the ECM.   It is literally the lifeline to all cells of the body.

When a joint is damaged, or a muscle is sore and tight, there is a change in the state of the ECM.  The ECM gets more gel like, and you often feel inflammation and boggyness around the joint/muscle.  When this occurs, all of the cells that require the nutritional components from the ECM suffer, and cannot repair themselves properly.  G.0.T and pumping techniques are used to directly change the state of the ECM from that gel state into a more naturally fluidic state.  When this change occurs, the inflammation goes down and the boggy feel disappears. The muscle/joint has a greatly increased capacity to heal because the nutritional components are fully available for supportive repair.  We have increased the vitality to the affected area to its normal state of health.

I can’t tell you how many times I have come across a patient who has seen multiple doctors and therapists with little to know results.  What we look for, the vitality of the tissues, is very unique to craniosacral therapists and osteopaths.  The vitality to the area, the fluid movements between tissues, the quality of the ECM, these are the overlooked parameters that we look for FIRST!  Before range of motion techniques, before exercises, before anything else, it is our job to make sure the patient has the vitality in their body to heal from the inside out.  Our whole philosophy of practice is to re-align the patient on the path towards health, and watch them flourish.  G.O.T and Pumping techniques are two of the tools used to do just that.

Jason Brandow, BSc TR, CST
Osteopathy Current Study & Thesis Writer

For more information contact Ultimate Sports Therapy at info@ultimatesportstherapy.com or visit us at http://www.ultimatesportstherapy.com/osteopathy.html


Pre and Post Event Massage- win the race, or at least be ready for the next one!

December 2, 2010

Previously we spoke about types of massage, and in this edition as promised I’m going to further discuss when and where a sport massage is appropriate.

Depending on your level of previous sports experience, you may or may not have already experienced the benefits of a pre and post tournament massage. For those that have not, such as those of you who compete at an amateur level, or just purely for fun, I will explain.

Most competitive sports teams have many medical professionals travel with them when they compete and train-doctors, Chiropractors, Nutritionists, Athletic Therapists, and yes, even Massage Therapists. Just like the members of the team, they travel on the team bus and endure early and complicated schedules. Even Racehorses have massage therapists – (Equine Massage-something which I also have extensive training in!).

Some of the eastern martial arts already incorporate massage and bodywork techniques as part of their training- Karate, Jeet Kune Do, Maui Thai etc. (though with Muai Thai   massage it involves the vigorous application of  spicy-hot oil!) Tui-na (the use of brisk movements of the hand including the knuckles) and lots of stretching.

Now, you are thinking- “My goodness, if Horses can get massages, why shouldn’t I ?”

(at least I hope you are!!)

Unfortunately, the old “I’m a tough guy, tough guys don’t get massages” attitude prohibits people from the possibility of competing at a higher level that the athletes, (and horses!), I  previously mentioned do.

Like what? Increased range of motion- meaning possible further strikes, faster reaction time, increased confidence, decreased recovery time.

Definitions: Pre-event massage: Generally a quick, light, invigorating to maximize blood flow. It may or may not involve some stretching provided by the therapist. This also can help with your pre- event jitters, relaxing and centering you, giving you a confident edge over your opponent.

Post-event massage: Important to have promptly after your event, especially if you have sustained any injuries. Massage helps with removal of waste products, aiding your systems in flushing out metabolites, and avoiding complications from bruising such as “myositis ossificans”- (the calcification of the blood within a muscle or to a bone. The more severe the contusion, the greater risk this has of forming.) Also at that time other old injuries that becoming irritated can be attended to. The therapist may also suggest a visit to the appropriate medical professional, should the injury suggest further investigation   that is outside of the massage scope of practice.

So, if you think you might want to keep up with the other racehorses, book your massage Today!

For more information contact Ultimate Sports Therapy at info@ultimatesportstherapy.com or visit us at www.ultimatesportstherapy.com/massage.html

Jennifer J. Lamore, BAA, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist Toronto & Missisauga, Ontario

Ultimate Sports Therapy Annual Pot Luck Holiday Party

November 24, 2010

Brandon Krieger Holistic Lifestyle Coach Clarifies Ultimate Sports Therapy’s Name

November 18, 2010

I see so many people looking at our name Ultimate Sports Therapy and really thinking a few things. Like they only treat extreme sports and wouldn’t be able to help me with my injury.  The other one I hear is don’t you only treat athletes?

I can completely understand how Ultimate Sports Therapy’s name can give people that impression.

When we developed Ultimate Sports Therapy we really wanted to become the leaders in Holistic Therapy. The word Ultimate for us means to be the best of the best at Holistic Therapy. Now people think of Sports as football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, boxing, mixed martial arts. I am sure we can all agree our definition of someone that plays sports is considered to be an athlete. Now what if I told you that everyone is an athlete because we all have to squat, twist, lunge, bend, push, pull and walk. With that definition if anyone moves they are an athlete.  Last but not least Therapy, we have decided to take a holistic approach to therapy not just looking at the injury but looking at the whole person. We look at the nutrition, sleep, hydration, stress levels, mental, emotional, posture and the injury as a whole. This way when someone gets treated we make sure we are treating the cause not the symptom.

Now when you hear the name Ultimate Sports Therapy you will know we are working towards being the Best in Holistic Therapy for all people.

Brandon Krieger,
Clinical Director, Holistic Lifestyle Coach, Reiki Practitioner & Professional Speaker

For more information contact Ultimate Sports Therapy at info@ultimatesportstherapy.com or visit us at www.ultimatesportstherapy.com/lifestylecoaching.html

Tools of the Trade! Jason Brandow Osteopathy (thesis writer) Explains Muscle Energy Technique:

November 18, 2010

Tools of the Trade: Muscle Energy Technique


Muscle Energy Techniques were discovered by Dr. Fred Mitchell D.O.  Dr. Mitchell invented the series of techniques to help his son, Fred Mitchell Jr., learn basic biomechanics as he was also studying to become an Osteopath.  What it evolved into from there is a powerful series of techniques that can be utilized on any muscle of the body to restore normal range of motion and mechanical function.  Fred Mitchell Jr. is the instructor of Muscle Energy at the Canadian College of Osteopathy, which is the college I attended.  Therefore, the muscle energy techniques I learned are straight from the horse’s mouth, with no “lost in translation” effect or dilution of experience.


You will most often hear the word “normalize” used by osteopaths and craniosacral therapists instead of the word “improve”.  For example, it is the goal of Muscle Energy techniques to normalize the range of motion of a muscle.  It is not useful to say “improve” since it is impossible to get a muscle moving better than perfectly…and normal = perfect.


How does it work?


First, a basic understanding of what is called the “stretch reflex” is necessary.  When a muscle is stretched, it should easily move through its full range of motion until there is an endpoint felt in the joint, but, when a muscle is stretched very quickly or abruptly near the end range, there is a natural protective action that occurs to protect the muscle from being overstretched and damaged.  This is called the stretch reflex.  At a specific point of the muscle stretch, the muscle contracts to protect itself from damage.  All of this happens in a neural loop from muscle to spinal cord, and back to muscle.  It happens even before your brain is told it is doing it…even before you feel it.  It is innate, it is powerful, and very effective.


When a muscle is in dysfunction due to injury or repetitive strain, there is an alteration in the function of the stretch reflex.  The muscle is in a protective state, and the stretch reflex forces the muscle to contract much sooner than normal to hold the joint in an altered position.   This altered joint position will take pressure off of a nerve to decrease pain sensation.  Over time, the joint will usually normalize itself, and the pressure on the nerve will be released.  Unfortunately, the body is extremely cautious and the stretch reflex of the muscle is held in a more sensitive position for longer than needed.  This is what muscle tension is.  This is what causes a tight, sore, achy muscle.  The muscle is always contracted.  It is always in a protective state.


Muscle Energy to the rescue!


What a Muscle Energy technique does is normalize the stretch reflex to its proper place.  It normalizes the output of the motor neuron so that the muscle can instinctively relax to a normal state.  No amount of massage or heat or stretching can do this.  Muscle Energy techniques are the most effective form of treatment for normalizing a tight restricted muscle, and that is why the techniques have stood the test of time and are used by therapists around the world as the go to technique.


Of course, life is never quite that simple, is itJ.  As mentioned earlier, the joint that the muscle is protecting must be healed first, or the muscle will continue to protect it.  Therefore, Muscle Energy techniques are what we call “integrative” techniques.  This means that after we spend most of the treatment correcting misaligned joints, compacted vertebra, and sheered viscera, Muscle Energy techniques are used to integrate these changes in the body and help them stay.  Muscle Energy techniques are an integral part of Osteopathy and Craniosacral Therapy.  Alone, Muscle Energy is a good treatment.  Together with the rest of the Osteopathic Tools, they are astoundingly effective.


Jason Brandow, BSc TR, CST
Osteopathy Current Study & Thesis Writer

For more information contact Ultimate Sports Therapy at info@ultimatesportstherapy.com or visit us at http://www.ultimatesportstherapy.com/osteopathy.html


Myths and Legends- Jennifer Lamore, RMT, explains massage to the uninitiated:

November 18, 2010

“I’ve never had a massage before…”

Well you’re not alone. I hear this a few times a week. This first article in a series aims to explain and dispel some myths that are out there, especially as it pertains to martial arts training.

First off, let me address the types of massage that you frequently hear about:

Relaxation Massage– this is the type most are familiar with. The end of the workday or massage you get on vacation, or gift you give to your loved one at a spa. The therapist uses general Swedish techniques. This is what many therapists use all over the globe,

(the requirements for registration in Canada are the most stringent) to provide increased circulation and promote an overall sense of well being.

Deep Tissue/Sports Massage– the type that most people hear horror stories about.

This is just a deeper massage that allows for increased recovery time after hard

or frequent training sessions or to release any tissue damage that may have occurred in contact sparring. The techniques used may be uncomfortable later that day and up to 3 days later as healing takes place, like the discomfort you will feel after a hard workout. Sports massage can also be beneficial right before or right after a tournament (more on that later!).

Therapeutic Massage: This type of massage is generally shorter, and can focus on one area of the body. You may be physically assessed beforehand to aid in the type of treatment that would be best for your needs and/or dysfunction. Specific conditions can also be addressed in this type of treatment such as pregnancy, fibromyalgia, tension headaches, plantar fasciitis, scoliosis, sprains and dislocations.

Common Questions/concerns:

“I’m afraid it’s going to hurt..”

A good therapist should always work within your pain tolerance, however if it is your first massage the therapist  may wish to err on the side of caution and be gentler until it is determined how your body personally, and uniquely  may respond to treatment.

A deeper massage such as Sports massage may leave you sore as already mentioned. However communication is key. We are trained to watch for physical & physiological reactions in order to treat safely, but if you are uncomfortable during the massage, or conversely if you feel it is not deep enough, please let your therapist know.

How many treatments will I need?”

This can vary depending on the condition, your budget, your desired outcome, and frequency of activity. This should be discussed and agreed upon number of treatments. If you are new to a training regimen, or style, a couple of treatments in a row can help you adjust, then a regular monthly visit for maintenance, and to keep on top of any possible problems before they become a dysfunction or a “chink in your armor”-!


For more information contact Ultimate Sports Therapy at info@ultimatesportstherapy.com or visit us at www.ultimatesportstherapy.com/massage.html

Jennifer J. Lamore, BAA, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist Toronto & Missisauga, Ontario


Want to Learn How to Stay Slim

November 11, 2010

When people ask me how I stay so slim, I tell them my secret- get a dog! (Or better yet, rescue one from your  local city pound or one of the great many rescue groups that save dogs from being put to sleep in Quebec and  The States.)

A few months ago I found myself with a knee injury and a  new dog, and so the two things worked out
quite well. I discovered my neighborhood in minute detail (today I ate some lovely wild plums
from a nearby tree, for example), and also am getting to know my neighbours. So I have become
a great proponent of one of the easiest exercise programs in the world- walking!

There are so many benefits to walking-  the following is an excerpt from the Canadian  Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website:  http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/walking.html

“Regular walking has a direct impact on the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems, by:
•    reducing the risk of coronary disease and stroke,
•    lowering blood pressure,
•    reducing cholesterol levels in blood,
•    increasing bone density, hence preventing osteoporosis,
•    managing the negative effects of osteoarthritis, and
•    easing back pain.
Regular walking also improves general health and longevity. According to the US Report of the Surgeon General, not only do walkers live longer but also the quality of their lives improves dramatically.
If you walk regularly means you walk daily, or at least a few times a week for about 30 minutes or longer. When you walk regularly, much like other kinds of moderate and low impact physical activities that involve the whole body, you can greatly improve your cardiorespiratory fitness and function. Also, once you become a regular walker:
•    you are less likely to fall and suffer leg or hand fractures because your bones are stronger,
•    you are less likely to sustain any injury because your joints have a better range of motion and the muscles are more flexible.
Improved capability to control body weight
Your body weight reflects the balance between the calories you take in as food and the calories you expend through your normal daily physical activities in life. Walking for 30 minutes covers a distance of 2.0 to 2.5 km and burns about 125 calories (520 kilo Joules). This amount may not seem like much, but if you walked five days a week within one year you would burn over 32,000 calories which would burn off more than 5 kg of fat. Moreover, the latest scientific evidence shows that you would derive even greater benefits from walking if you burned a minimum of 2000 calories per week by walking (about 8 hours a week, spread throughout the week).
Improved mental health
Walking, particularly when walking with good company and in pleasant surroundings, reduces depression and anxiety. Walkers also tend to be good sleepers.”

They also answer a question that I hear a lot from my massage therapy clients- what about shoes?
And I tell them that wearing shoes all the time will actually inhibit the muscles you need to keep
your body’s natural arch- and it seems they agree!

“Is walking or running barefoot a good idea?
Be aware that wearing shoes or boots even if they fit comfortably but have rigid arch supports can, over time, degrade the natural flexibility of the foot. This is because the very muscles that give the arch its resilient quality will eventually weaken, owing to the unyielding rigidity of the footwear which immobilizes them.
So, no matter how great the shoe, or how careful you are about your health, occasionally going barefoot is beneficial, because being barefoot can partly restore the natural flexibility of your feet. This is why we suggest walking barefoot around the house, in your backyard, on the beach, or any place where there is no obvious hazard to your feet.

So, even if you don’t have a dog, you can join or start a walking club, and if you need incentive, this morning I was encouraged by the sight of an elderly lady doing laps with her walker.
So if she can do it, what excuse do you have!?

For more information contact Ultimate Sports Therapy at info@ultimatesportstherapy.com or visit us at www.ultimatesportstherapy.com/massage.html

Jennifer J. Lamore, BAA, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist Toronto & Missisauga, Ontario

Tools of the Trade: Introduction

November 11, 2010

Over the next few weeks, I will be discussing the various tools or techniques that Osteopaths and Craniosacral Therapists use in their treatments.  One of the advantages we have over other therapeutic disciplines is the number of treatment techniques we use.  The following list of hands on therapeutic acts is what we use every day.

1)      Muscle Energy Techniques

2)      Pumping, GOT, and Oscillatory Techniques

3)      Myofascial Release

4)      Indirect/Functional Release

5)      Osteoarticular Adjustment

6)      Visceral Techniques

7)      Craniosacral Techniques

Many of the other therapeutic disciplines use 2 or 3 of these techniques in their treatment protocols, but only we have the whole tool box.  We use a specific methodology to know what technique is to be used, and understand the deepest physiological implications of each technique, right down to the cellular level.  If you follow my blog over the next few weeks, I will introduce each technique with a full description of indications and when I would use it.  At the end of it all, you will have a much better understanding of what I do, how I see the body as a whole, as a functional unit, and what to expect when you see me for treatment.

Jason Brandow, BSc TR, CST

Osteopathy Current Study & Thesis Writer

For more information contact Ultimate Sports Therapy at info@ultimatesportstherapy.com or visit us at http://www.ultimatesportstherapy.com/osteopathy.html

Myofascial Technique for Back Pain

October 21, 2010

Most people have no idea what techniques their therapist uses during their treatments.  Have you ever gone to your physical therapist and asked for them to use a “Myofascial technique” on you to get rid of your back pain?  I would guess no you have not.   That being said it is important to have some idea of treatment methods and how they work.  Let us began by looking into what a Myofascial technique is and what it can do to improve your pain.  First and foremost we must discuss fascia.  Fascia is an expansive connective tissue that covers every muscle, blood vessel, bone, nerve, organ, the brain and spinal cord and is present at a cellular level.  The function of fascia is that of support both dynamic and static, transportation system for fluids, and in healing through the laying down of scar tissue.    Injury or overuse can lead into fascial restrictions which will cause poor cellular function, disease, pain, and dysfunction throughout the entire body and in some causes lead into seemingly unrelated symptoms.

So what is a Myofascial release technique?  Your therapist would by using their hands exaggerate the tension in your fascia with a constant light traction and while maintaining this traction they would follow those tensions until a still point was reached – a still point is a point at which there is no movement.  At this point they would assist the tissue to an improved range of motion.  This technique places the tissue into a position of ease.  By doing this the fascia will unwind and relax which will help normalize tension, return mobility, increased circulation in blood flow and waste removal and overall vitality to the injured area.

For more information contact Ultimate Sports Therapy at info@ultimatesportstherapy.com or visit us at http://www.ultimatesportstherapy.com/osteopathy.html

Carolyn Zepf
osteopathy (current study) & Certified Athletic Therapist, Keynote & Professional Speaker

%d bloggers like this: