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 or visit us at


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 or visit us at

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:

“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 or visit us at

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 or visit us at

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 or visit us at

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

Stress and Massage

October 21, 2010

Recently a study was in the press that vilified the results of massage for stress relief.  Imagine, scientific evidence!! Being a  registered massage therapist I see stress manifest itself in many ways in the physical body. Stress can be the result of work, home life, at they gym or  over doing it at our weekly favorite sport.

So many people ask much of their body, but do not give it time to relax and recover. Compounded over time this leads to chronic dysfunctions, and eventually interferes with our daily life. Many end up with  such dysfunctions as low back pain from disc herniation, inflammatory conditions such as tendinitis, and crippling headaches.

In my practice I have worked with clients to recover successfully with all the aforementioned diagnoses, but in reality these can simply be avoided with regular hour sessions. By regular I mean monthly for prevention, but if your body is already complaining loudly then weekly for 4-6 weeks is best. You have to consider how long it took you to get that way in the first place and to get yourself looked after.

The results of this study (done on human subject by The Cedars-Sinai Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences in LA)  speaks for itself. They demonstrated that massage actually reduced amounts of arginine vasopressin – the hormone that causes cortisol to increase,- as well as cortisol that was already present. Previous studies show that tests given to employees resulted in 50 percent less errors done in half the time than that of the control group(Turnbull 1994) .

So what are you waiting for? It doesn’t just feel great, it’s been scientifically proven that it actually is great for you! As I tell my clients- they  only person that can look after you, is YOU!

For more information contact Ultimate Sports Therapy at or visit us at

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

Cleanse or Not to Cleanse that is the question

October 21, 2010

Cleanse or not to cleanse that is the question

Now a days so many people are talking about cleansing and fasting.  People are cleansing for all sorts of reasons be it for weight loss, colon, kidney, liver, gall bladder…etc. I am all for cleanses I just see too many people jumping right to cleanses before building the foundation first.

Our body have a natural elimination system that works on getting rid of the waste that our body creates from it natural processes. Now when people add more waste to the system, the elimination system can get over worked and not function optimally.  This is when cleansing is needed to help clear out what the natural system is having a hard time removing.

Before doing any cleanses people need to first look at their lifestyles. How they eat, sleep, their stools, exercise, and hydration. If these are not providing your temple with optimal health a cleanse is not going do anything except clean the pipes for a short period of time. Then they are going to get clogged up again once you go back to your hold habits.  Our bodies work on natural rhythms and if you do not establish those natural rhythms back, the body is not going to know how to eliminate. The tubes will get backed up and then you will be doing a cleanse again and again.  Think of your body as trillions of tubes that all work together. Our body has a natural way of cleansing these tubes, but through our lifestyle, stress, poor quality foods and eating habits our tubes start to get damaged.

Now if you were a plumber looking at dealing with this in your house, you would first try to clean the tubes with some liquid cleanser. If that did not work you would use a something stronger or even a wire brush to scrub. If that did not work you would replace the pipe.

This is no different than how people look at their bodies. They go through the same process not realizing it is what they are putting down the pipe in the first place that is clogging the pipes. Then they are not looking moving the fluid (exercise) and only putting the best food and water down the pipes which helps keep the pipes clean.

I have worked with lots of people who first initially came to me because they wanted a cleanse because they had a certain health challenges. I put them on a healthy eating plan, they started to exercise, reduced the stress and the body started to cleanse naturally.  The people went through a detoxification and saw a lot of changes in their body.  Now if a tube is blocked and needs some help after that then I would recommend going on a cleanse because then they have the proper eating, exercise, stress levels and hydration that will keep the body healthy.

I would recommend first create a healthy lifestyle of proper eating, exercise, reduce your stress and hydration. Then if needed go on cleanse to care the tubes.

For more information contact Ultimate Sports Therapy at or visit us at

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

Holistic Lifestyle Coach talks about How to be Successful in Your Business

October 7, 2010

Over the years I have read numerous amounts of success books 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, Listen to Anthony Robbins…etc.  Each time I was able to move my knowledge up to the next level but it only lasted for so long. Then I had to review it again. I found most of these books were talking about one part of success, be it personal or business but they were talking about the whole package.

I was still over weight but making $70,000 a year doing IT work (Information Technology) which was part of my success that I wanted. I was able to apply the recommendations these books provided me to be successful and obtain it but still was not happy emotionally or physically.  I was having back problems, getting sick but the money was increasing.  I see this time and time again with facebook posts, webinars, groups…etc all talking about the money aspects, How to get more prospects ? How to make more money? The list goes on and on. The challenge is really more serious than people think, most people do not even realize there is a bigger issue.  They do not even know themselves.

I have coach numerous amounts of people trying to become successful from all different countries. Each and every time I have to work on them first personally, nutrition, sleep, core values, legacy..etc
before I worked on their business each and everyone saw success just with those fundamental changes.

I am sure you are saying why would I have to work on these areas first before I work on my business or career success?  Think of it this way if you do not have a strong foundation how are you going to build a high rise that can reach as high as you can imagine?  If your core values, legacy, breathing, hydration, exercise, nutrition and thoughts are not at their optimal how are you going to be able to build on top of it? Business or career is secondary to these main foundational principals.  If they are not strong when you add more pressure your success will crumble to the bottom and you will be wondering why.

I am telling you here today, it is because you did not have a strong foundation to be able to build on.  Before you try making your millions make sure your foundation is strong. Nothing sucks more then spending a lot of your hard earned money, your time and heart into something that crumbles underneath you.

For more information contact Ultimate Sports Therapy at or visit us at

Brandon Krieger,
Clinical Director, Holistic Lifestyle Coach & Reiki Practitioner.

Craniosacral Therapy – The Fifth Phase of the Primary Respiratory Mechanism (PRM)

October 7, 2010

Phase 5 – Mobility of the sacrum between the ilia.

The last phase of the Primary Respiratory Mechanism is the mobility of the sacrum between the ilia.  Like the cranial bones, the bones of the pelvis were once thought to have fused to form one bony structure.  All the new science shows that there is significant palpable movement between the sacrum and the pelvis.  This is called the Sacro-iliac joint, or SI joint.

Since the dura is attached to the base of the skull and the sacrum as previously mentioned, the motion of the cranial mechanism is transmitted to the sacrum. The cranium and the sacrum work together as a unit. As the cranium goes into flexion, the sacrum is drawn forward and slightly upward…remember, there is no stretch in the dura, so as the cranium moves, so does the sacrum.

The primary respiratory mechanism is in constant, rhythmic, cyclical motion. The movement of the brain and spinal cord, CSF, meninges, and bones are all synchronous with each other forming one large integrated unit of function.  There is little palpable difference in the timing of each of these phases, as it all happens at once…it is one mechanism, one body, one life.

The discovery of the PRM is one of the most profound discoveries in human anatomy and physiology.  It shows how the shape and movement of structures governs the functions that they have.  I hope you have enjoyed learning about the Primary Respiratory Mechanism as much as I did when I was learning about it 6 years ago.

For more information contact Ultimate Sports Therapy at or visit us at

Jason Brandow,
Craniosacral Therapist, Osteopathy Student.

Why is healing yourself so Important?

September 23, 2010

Why is healing yourself so Important?

Many of us focus including me when times get tough we focus on money, debit, our wants vs want we truly need. This has lead into colds, flues, feeling emotionally down and over time if not dealt with can lead into a disease.

When you look out our primal instincts the order of importance for our survival is

1)      Safety

2)      Security

3)      Substance

4)      Sex

If these are not met in this order our body starts to try to control this order. If you do not feel safe at your work then your sex drive goes, then challenges with eating and it works back to safety and security until you start to heal.

I see and talk to people all over the world about their personal or professional challenges.   Each and every time I have worked with someone I had to start from the foundation of safety and security. Then work on substance and the rest comes.

Now I write this article today because more and more people are getting sick, having financial problems, going to pharmaceuticals to help and are finding themselves in the rat race.  We need to educate on self care how to take care of our own well being first and then deal with the other challenges. If your stressed, not sleeping well, not eating properly how are you going to solve any problems.  Think of it this way say you are a builder and you are going to build a house. You see a lot open that you can see an beautiful house being built in. You design the plan and start getting to work, as you start building you run out of supplies and challenges start to come up. You have 2 choices one you take a break sit back and get the right supplies for the job and go maybe a little slower. Or you push through using rusty nails, rotten wood, you are tired, stressed and just do not care.

Now here is 2 questions for you

1 Which house would you want to live in?

2 What do you think the health is going to be of the builder after he is finished?

For more information contact Ultimate Sports Therapy at or visit us at

Brandon Krieger,
Holistic Lifestyle Coach, Reiki Practitioner.

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