Learning Opportunities

Many thanks to those who came to our seminar series “Understanding and Overcoming Persistent Pain” at the Halifax Library. It was great to help people gain more knowledge about treating and, more importantly, preventing pain. Based on our experience, we know there is a gap in people’s understanding of pain. We wanted to let people know that (1) that they are not alone, (2) that help is available and (3) that it’s possible to regain control over that aspect of life. Our passion stems from helping people who are suffering with persistent pain live more fulfilled lives. Education, movement, and exercise are key to achieving this. We are firm believers that knowledge is power and it is the first step in gaining freedom from persistent pain. We were very pleased with the turnout for the last series of workshops and recognize that people want help managing their pain or a loved one’s pain. Here are some upcoming opportunities to learn more: April 27th at One to One Wellness: “Health Empowerment: 4 Steps for Shifting From Pain to Performance” June Seminar Series at the Halifax Library: “Strengthen Your Health” Monday, June 5, 7:00pm:  Expressing Authentic Movement Monday, June 12, 7:00pm:  Strength Training for Managing Chronic Conditions Monday, June 19, 7:00pm:  What the Foot: A Game-Changing Philosophy of Human Movement Monday, June 26, 7:00pm: From Pain to Performance  We will explore different wellness principles and how putting all the pieces together helps to not only overcome pain, but to optimize performance as well. Please come along and bring a friend. If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to...

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Sleep, Exercise, Eat, and Relax Your Way to a Stronger Immune System

By Tara Patriquin, RMT Staying healthy is a balancing act between immune boosters and immunity drainers. After all, we’re surrounded by things that compromise our immune system on a daily basis, whether it’s pollution, questionable lifestyle choices, or viruses, to name a few. It seems that at no time do we hear more about “immune boosters” than in the winter. The common cold is one of the leading reasons for medical visits during the winter. But, building a healthy immune system is a year-round job. It is big business to sell products designed to strengthen your immune system. You can Google any number of lists offering the best immune boosters, with everything from the now mainstream Echinacea to the little known Graviola extract. But I’ve never been the most compliant with a supplement regimen, and I’m a simple girl after a simple approach. I keep my immune boosters old school: sleep, exercise, diet, and manual therapy. After all, these are the pillars of health and you always have them at your disposal; no hunting for rare ingredients required! Sleep The most basic and important thing to understand about sleep is that this is when many of our critical metabolic processes do their best work, like regulating body temperature, hormone levels, heart rate and other vital body functions. In other words, when we sleep we heal. In fact, a Chronobiology International publication as recent as August 2013 explores the link between the circadian clock and the body’s natural biological clock that regulates our immune cells and activity. The researchers discovered that the crosstalk between these clocks had potentially grave consequences on a person’s overall health in states of sleep deprivation. One of my favourite bedtime routines is to practice some Pranayama: the art of mindful breathing. The extra oxygen that you will take in will not only help to alleviate muscle tension, but it will relax the mind too. The rhythmic pattern of breathing can also be calming and meditative. And since stress can interfere with the immune system, a little meditation can go a long way. I’ve written more in-depth on the science of Pranayama. Exercise You don’t need to be a genius to know that exercise, particularly strength-training exercise, is the best support to our musculoskeletal health. Did you know that it is also an incredible immune-booster? However, the trick is in finding the amount of exercise that is right for you and your immune system. The biggest risk is in chronic overtraining. The idea that we need to sweat it out for an hour at the gym 5 days a week is rapidly falling by the wayside. Just as we heal in our sleep, we rebuild our exhausted muscles during our rest days. Remember that building tissue is a metabolic process that requires the right combination of stimulation, nutrients, and rest. The most beneficial exercise approach is...

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Take a Deep Breath

By Tara Patriquin, Massage Therapist Breathing. Seems simple enough, right? For something that is so innate and natural, many of us could be doing it wrong. I used to be a shallow breather, filling up my chest and carrying all my tension in my shoulders. It wasn’t until I started practicing Yoga, and the art of mindful breathing (Pranayama), that I started to take note of how my breath was making me feel. Relaxed breathing should see a loose abdomen expand with inhalation, with a mild contraction on the exhalation. The rib cage will spread out to make room for the lungs that are expanding to take in the extra demand of oxygen. So why do many of us do the opposite? Pull in our abdomen and puff out our chests when inhaling? Anxiety? Stress? Habit? Science has shown us that breathing patterns will change when the emotional or physical patterns change; faster and more shallow when we are anxious or angry, we might hold our breath when we are distracted or in pain, and so on. Studies have also shown that the reverse can be true. We can change our emotional or physical patterns (or at the very least, our reaction to said pattern) by consciously altering our breathing rhythm. You have likely been asked to slow and deepen your breath during a massage or physio session; thereby, breaking an unconscious pattern and the negative energy that goes with it. In today’s society, we have a tendency to over-stimulate our sympathetic nervous system (our fight or flight response to stress), and we under-stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system (our rest and digest responses). Living in a heightened state of stress has been shown to contribute to a number of illnesses, ranging from heart disease, diabetes, sleep disorders, and a host of pain. A daily breathing ritual will strengthen your parasympathetic nervous system, providing you with the long list of benefits and reducing the risks associated with having an over-stimulated sympathetic nervous system. Start and end your day with one of these exercises designed to strengthen your diaphragm. The diaphragm is possibly the most important muscle for efficient breathing. 1. Lying on your back with a phone book on your stomach breathe deep in to your stomach allowing the phone book to rise and fall with your breath. When you have taken a deep breath in, hold for 10 seconds and the release, letting the gentle weight of the phone book aid you in letting go of all air before breathing in again. 2. Breathing in to the belly as practiced in the first exercise, plug one nostril and breathe deeply through the open nostril. Then plug the open nostril and breath out the opposite nostril. Repeat several times each side. 3. Breathe through a straw for one minute or until you start to feel dizzy then return to regular...

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