640 Rosser Ave Brandon MB, R7A0K7 204.571.0949

Category Archives: Osteopathy

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!


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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.

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.

Our New Clinic is Open!

Yes! We have relocated to the heart of downtown Brandon! Our new location is at 640 Rosser Avenue occupying the entire ground floor of the 100 year old Trade Fair Exchange building. This is a very exciting move for us as we are sharing the 3800 sq. ft. ground floor level with Brandon Acupuncture, Chinese Massage and Herbal Centre.


Be sure to watch the website for exciting new additions in the new year such as yoga, group training sessions with TRX units, reiki, and the return of the Wellington College Student Clinic!


We’re on Facebook!

Not only do we have a website, we also have an active Facebook page! Check it out by clicking on the Facebook tag on the left side of the screen. It’s a great way to catch any last minute openings and provide us with quick feedback or requests for blog articles.


Keep an eye on the Facebook page and you may have a chance to win a free massage, tons of coffee, amazing yoga, sauna treatments, and who knows what else! All prizes are graciously supplied by local businesses in the Brandon area, so support your community, and win some free stuff!

Great resources for health!

Over the years, I have read many books in regards to health, nutrition, and fitness. While many have been duds (it seems like the majority of them are), there are a few that stand out. Listed below are a few that have stood out in my mind as good resources for people and they can be ordered or purchased online.

The Permanent Pain Cure

The Permanent Pain Cure is an excellent all-in-one resource for anyone wishing to regain their health and stop their cycle of pain. It highlights pain management from an Osteopathic point of view, using specific fascia stretches to improve the mobility of specific areas of the body. There is also a section dealing with strength training and makes use of kettle-bells that develop strength in a slightly different way.

ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running

If the barefoot running craze has taught us anything, it’s that SOME of us really do have a terrible running gait. While this book doesn’t focus on running barefoot, it really does have us explore the running style that the shoe-free movement recommends. It has basic stretches, and simple exercises that helps turn your running style into an effortless journey.

The New Rules of Lifting: Six Basic Moves for Maximum Muscle

Weight training is a fantastic addition to a healthy lifestyle, but only when done in a logical fashion. Typically, people decide to ‘Go to the gym’ without actually thinking about what they will be doing when they get there. Save yourself the hassle, and get a productive program, and change your body. This is a great book that has a years worth of programs and the detailed pictures and instructions for each exercise.

The New Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess

While weight training for women isn’t as dramatically different as many people think, it isn’t a bad idea to take a look at weight training from the perspective of the other sex. This is a great resource for women who want to add weight training into their exercise routine. It dispels some of the myths involved with weight training and even has a section specifically for nutrition.

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