640 Rosser Ave Brandon MB, R7A0K7 204.571.0949

Author Archives: Ja-On

Ja-On’s Recommended Reading Material

For anyone that has been to see me for sessions, there are typically a few books that I’ll recommend as fantastic resources for health.

Pain Free is a great book for postural education.

Supple leopard is great for anyone interested in developing mobility, not just flexibility.

The Bulletproof Diet books are an easy approach to removing sugars and processed foods from your diet.

Finally, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is my go-to book for great food. This one is definitely NOT low carb or Bulletproof style, but it really can help those afraid of cooking good food step into the kitchen.

If you have questions, feel free to ask!


[amazon_link asins=’0553379887,1628600837,B00N0XRA66,1443439223,1401310478′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’reactivemas00-20′ marketplace=’CA’ link_id=’f4b4a211-dcec-11e6-8171-476344ef0c1e’]


Stress and Massage

An instructor of mine once said that our generation is far more stressed out than our parents, entirely because in today’s world we simply don’t let things go. We dwell on them, we hold on to things and never let them go. Whether it’s trying to decide on the color of fabric for our furniture or that driver that ran a stop sign in front of us, we simply don’t get over things.

A major part of that problem is the massive amount of stimulus around us at all times. We have immediate access to all information at all times on the television, the radio, internet and cell phones. Our lives are constantly plugged into the world and everything in it. And because of this, our nervous systems are stimulated and overstimulated.

This constant bombardment of information to our nervous system stimulates our sympathetic nervous system, also known as the fight or flight system. It’s what encourages the release of hormones that keep us on edge, ready to run at a seconds notice. It’s also the system that can prevent us from having a restful sleep at night, properly digest our food, and cause us to be anxious.

The balancing mechanism to this is the parasympathetic nervous system, also called the rest and digest system. As the name suggests, its what helps us calm down especially at night when we need to rest and to help us properly digest our food.

It isn’t a simple matter of living in balance between the two since the sympathetic nervous system will always be the more powerful of the two simply out of self-preservation. But, with a little help, we can make sure that we don’t exist entirely in a fight or flight state. Massage therapy is a wonderful way to calm down the system and ease the tensions of life as it stimulates the calming receptors of the muscles to decrease tone as well as help the body enter a relaxed state.

Massage therapy isn’t a miracle cure that will remove all stress from the body, but it is a powerful and accessible tool. Combined with other methods of relaxation such as meditation, yoga, or tai chi, it can break the cycle of anxiety that many of us live in and help us regain a little more inner peace.

Educating Yourself

The Internet age has created a society that has an endless supply of information at the tips of their fingers. While this is a good thing, it has also create a group of clients that are very educated in the causes of their aches and pains and tend to truly take charge of their health and their rehabilitation. This can create a challenge to a massage therapist.

Education is never a bad thing, but incomplete information can be. Doing a Google search on neck and shoulder pain will come up with various key words such as bulged discs, fractured vertebrae or degenerative disc disease. While these are definite causes of shoulder and neck pain, they also tend to be on the far end of the spectrum. More often than not people tend to deal with posture or musculoskeletal dysfunctions causing the pain but Google doesn’t know you or your pain. It is also almost impossible for anyone, professional or not, to identify or diagnose a problem over the Internet.

The solution is to remain educated, but don’t count on the Internet to identify what is causing your pain. Registered Massage Therapists are trained to identify red flags that may appear with a pathology, and know to refer these cases out to a more qualified health care professional such as a medical doctor. If ever in doubt yourself, visit your family doctor or walk-in clinic for a diagnosis or for a referral to a specialist. This will help clear up any concerns you may have prior to going for a massage therapist.

Regardless of the cause of your discomfort, take the advice of the professionals you visit to heart. They are valuable sources of information and assistance that take a personal interest in your health and well being. We also tend to be a little more personable than Google.

Dealing with Neck Pain

Neck pain has become a common complaint amongst our civilization ever since we evolved to the point of sitting at a desk for eight hours a day, staring at computer screens. Our posture has suffered because of this but very often we don’t take the steps necessary to help our selves. Instead of correcting our bad habits or getting some exercise for the good of our body, we try to stretch out the strained muscles and get someone to aggressively work out the knots. But how much good is this really doing?

One of the osteopathic beliefs is that the body is broken up into primary and secondary spheres. The primary spheres are the more vital areas including the cranium, the thoracic spine, and the pelvis. These areas contain the organs of life, excretion and reproduction. The secondary spheres are the lumbar spine and cervical spine, and while they are essential to the body, the body uses them to balance out the primary spheres. They act as compensators to the body and as a result are the areas that receive the most amount of strain. This is why the neck and the low back are typically the first areas to experience pain, but also why it is so common to have discs degenerate in these areas.

The body is exceptional at survival, and that is why it adapts. It will do its best to insure that it is fully capable to take on any challenges that are thrown at it. If there is a problem in a life giving primary sphere, it will remove some of the strain by placing more on the secondary, even if it means you will have a stiff neck. This stiff neck is unfortunately necessary and stretching out the area may not have a great effect on the tension. It may even cause more pain to the area by going into spasm.

So what can we do to help ourselves? The most important thing to do is get exercise. Encourage movement for the whole body and remove the stresses and strains that build up from our jobs. There is always enough time for physical activity and it is the best way to stay healthy. Improving our posture is important to protect the primary spheres, and yoga is one of the best ways to do so.

Finally, when dealing with a massage therapist for neck pain, be sure to ask them to take a look at both the pelvis and the thoracic spine. Don’t settle for just a shoulder and neck massage when the big problem could be sitting somewhere else. The bigger issues might even surprise you.

Can I exercise after a massage?

After a massage, the body is going to be experiencing many changes. Tissues are accepting to the work that has been done on it, the nervous system may be slightly sedated, the skeletal system may be not fully adapted in its position, and there may even be inflammation in the joints and muscles from the deep tissue work. These adaptations and changes to the body make it a little less desirable to perform strenuous exercise immediately after. The only exception would be a pre-event massage performed by a trained professional.

In general, the best exercise after a massage would be going for an easy walk. This would allow the body to slowly accept the changes being offered to it at its own pace. Some gently stretches can be performed if recommended by your therapist, but events such as weight training, running, or even yoga should be limited at least until the next day.

What’s in a Scar?

There are many things that we can treat when a patient first comes in to see us but a scar is one of the most important. Scars throughout the body can be like tree roots through a house, disrupting its foundation and throwing the unit off balance.

When one has a scar it needs to be pliable and move with the rest of the tissues around it. Scars that are tight, tender, hard, puckered or inflamed are still viewed by the body as an injury no matter how old it is. When scar tissue doesn’t move with the tissue around it, it changes the way your body reacts to a strain or impact. This can reduce the bodies ability to protect its vital organs. We also need to remember that a scar is deep, just because the skin looks normal on the surface it doesn’t mean the scar tissue is healthy.

We can improve the pliability of scars by gently unwinding the fascia and connective tissues, keeping in mind that even old scars are still fresh injuries to the body and need to be treated with respect. By having your scars treated you will permit your body to truly forget the injury and move on into a healthier and more mobile state.

Conquer the Slouch

We all know we should have better posture, to “stand up straight” or “stop slouching” but sometimes that is easier said than done. Before we can understand how to have good posture we need to understand exactly what posture is. In osteopathy we view posture as the body’s expression of what is happening inside.


The body can adopt a certain posture for many reasons, sometimes it’s a work related position or a habitual reason. Other times there may be a stimulation of one part of the nervous system that is either too strong or too weak. The body also shows how well its compensating for injuries through its posture and position in space.


Poor posture can contribute to chronic body pain, headaches, digestive problems, weak joints and/or poor sleeping habits through muscular imbalances and compression of one body segment onto another.


Through treatment we help the body restore its natural balance and free up any dysfunctions that prevent the body from compensating properly. This improves function and allows the body to be stronger and work better. Improving the body as a whole allows it to express itself in correct posture.

What is a “Knot”?

Knots in the muscle are commonly either “hypertonicities” or “contractures” and the better we understand the difference, the better we help the body repair itself.

A muscle at rest has a small amount of fibers contracting and relaxing throughout the muscle in order to maintain “healthy tone”. The nerves control which fibers contract and relax and keep the activity well spread out through the muscle. At the muscle fiber level there are nutrients required for contraction and relaxation of the tissue. Transportation of these nutrients to and from the tissue is very important and the job of the blood and lymph system. All these factors are essential for the health of the muscle.

A hypertonicity occurs when the nerves fire too frequently to an area of the muscle.

When this happens the muscle fibers affected do not get a chance to fully relax and remain in a semi-contracted state. If this is prolonged then fatigue also sets in. A hypertonicity can also occur when the nutrients that allow a muscle to cease contracting are not present and the muscle fibers become locked in a either shortened or lengthened position. Both these scenarios can occur as a result of poor nutrition, dehydration, lack of stretching, poor circulation or repetitive use of a muscle.

A contracture occurs in the fascia and connective tissues of the body.

The body builds a natural band-aid over damaged fibers to protect that area while the tissues heal, this band-aid is often referred to as scar tissue. The body’s natural design is for that scar tissue to stretch out with daily movement, unfortunately we often don’t move enough for this. The tissues underneath the scar may be healthy but the scar sits on top and intertwines with the healthy tissues preventing it from functioning properly. The muscle fibers may not be able to contract or relax fully, the scar may wrap around the blood supply and lymph drainage to the area or can affect the nerve signals as well. Contractures can occur after a surgery, after an accident, with bruising or as a result of postural strains.

A massage therapist is an expert at identifying different types of “knots” and knows the best ways to treat them to get the longest lasting results.

Four important times to go for a massage.

“I never know when to go for a massage.”

This question gets asked from time to time, but the answer is a difficult one. So here is a short list of times to go for a massage.

1.) Your health care professional tells you to go to see a massage therapist.

Whether it is your doctor, chiropractor, physiotherapist or even dentist, they probably have a good reason for sending to for a massage. It might be to assist them in their jobs, to reduce symptoms of a complaint you had, or because they just think you need one. Listen to the professionals.

2.) You are in pain, somewhere, anywhere on the body.

A registered massage therapist is trained in specific assessment and treatment of the body. This means they can help you in reducing your pain by not only treating the symptoms, but also treating the actual cause.

3.) Improving your quality of life.

Reducing pain, isolating muscle or joint dysfunctions, improving range of motion, or even reducing stressors on the body can all help improve your overall quality of life. This will overall, make you just a little bit happier, friendlier, and healthier.

4.) Your massage therapist tells you to come back again soon.

If your therapist tells you to come back, they feel it is necessary for a return visit to help you in your recovery. Listen to them, just because you feel fine, doesn’t mean the problem is gone.

Whatever the reason for going for a massage, be sure you keep good communication with your therapist at all times. This will make the massage more beneficial for you, and more enjoyable.

Widgetized Area

This panel is active and ready for you to add some widgets via the WP Admin