Chrystal

How to Report to your Patient’s Primary Physician or Medical Doctor

As RMTs we often spend more time one-on-one with our patients than any other healthcare practitioner. Orthopedic testing is built into our appointment times and we have the opportunity to keep detailed records of changes in our patient’s symptom picture over extended periods of time. Communicating these findings and our interventions with our patients primary physician is not only in our patient’s best interest, but can only help improve the relationship between RMTs and medical doctors. I recently implemented a policy for all new patients in my clinic where a Case Management Report is being sent to their doctor (if they have one) after their first visit. Continue reading

The Deep Tissue Confession

I have a confession to make…

I have been a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) since October 2014, so for about a year and half now. Before that, I spent six months cramming as much clinically relevant musculoskeletal information into my brain as possible as I prepared to take the licensing board exams. And before that, I spent 2-years attending the West Cost College of Massage Therapy in BC in order to earn my Massage Therapy Diploma. Continue reading

Contrast Bathing

Contrast bathing is a great way to increase circulation and reduce pain with many musculoskeletal pathological symptoms such as aches, pains and inflammation. In order to get the most out of your contrast bath use the following guidelines:

  • Find two tubs large enough to submerge the affected limb (most often a hand or foot). Fill the tubs with water; one with warm or hot water (no more than 38 degrees Celsius please, we don’t want to burn ourselves!), and the other with cool or cold water (at least 10 degrees Celsius cooler than the warm or hot tub).
  • Submerge the affected limb in the warm or hot water first. Let the limb rest in the water for anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes.
  • Take the limbs out of the warm or hot water, and submerge in the cool or cold water. You should spend half the time with the affected limb submerged in the cool or cold water than you spent submerged in the warm or hot water. If you spent 2 minutes in the warm water you should spend one minute in the cool water; if you spent 20 minutes in the warm water, you should spend 10 minutes in the cool water, and so on.
  • Alternate between the warm or hot and cool or cold water with the 2:1 ratio at least 3 times. Always end the contrast bath with the affected limb submerged in the cool or cold water.

Neural Glides – Nerve Flossing for Ulnar, Median, Radial & Sciatic Nerves

Dr. Jo does an excellent job explaining the best practices for nerve flossing in the following video.

While nerve flossing is good to maintain free movement of the nerves, especially surrounding adhesion and/or scar tissue, it is possible to over-floss and irritate your nerves. Discontinue immediately flossing exercises should your symptoms persist and/or get worse.

4-7-8 Breathing

Breathing… It’s something most of us rarely think about. It happens naturally and without effort most of the time.

Using your breath with skill and intention can lead to reduced stress and blood pressure and less anxiety. It can enhance relaxation, reduce pain and even act as a sleep aid for some. I invite you to try including the 4-7-8 relaxation breathing exercises as described below in your daily routine; when you feel tensions rising, when you just need a break, or in place of having a cigarette should you be trying to quit smoking, or even before you fall asleep if sleep doesn’t come easily to you. I invite to make this exercise a habit and see for yourself the profound effects simply breathing with intention can have on you and your overall health.

To Begin
• Ideally, sit or lay with your back straight.
• Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper-front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise.
• Exhale through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.

The Breath
• Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
• Close your mouth & inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of 4.
• Hold your breath for a count of 7.
• Exhale through your mouth, making a whoosh sound, to a count of 8.
This is one breath. Now, inhale again and repeat the cycle 3 more times for a total of 4 breaths.

The Numbers
The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important, but the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed up the exercise, but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice, you can slow it down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more, and more deeply.

What the Exercise is Good For?
This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which often are effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first try it, but gains in power with repetition and practice. Use this new skill whenever you are aware of internal tension. Use it to help you fall asleep.

How Often?
Do it at least twice a day. You can’t do it too frequently. Do not do more than 4 breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to 8 breaths. If you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned – it will pass.

Why Me as your RMT?

Part of the marketing workshop I’m making my way through asks me to answer this question. It encourages me to set my modesty aside, to be bold, to express myself fully. This is not an easy task, so I figured it’d make for an interesting article here. Why should you choose me over all the other equally qualified RMTs? What can I offer that another RMT may not offer? We all have similar educations, we must all pass the same competency-based board exams, and many have far more hands-on experience than I do. So what makes me a great choice for you, when you are selecting your Registered Massage Therapist (RMT)? Continue reading

Lesser Known Indications for BC RMTs

When I decided to become a massage therapist, I had no idea that this was such an involved and complicated field. When the word massage came to mind, it came with words like luxury, spoil, or indulge. Having completed the comprehensive massage therapy program at WCCMT, successfully completing the provincial board exams and establishing my own company, Aspect Health & Registered Massage Therapy, the word massage no longer resonates with such extravagant words. The word massage now emulates words like pain-reduction, relief, and health. Continue reading

Relax! It May Save Your Life

Karōshi is a Japanese word that translates to ‘death from overwork’. It is used to describe occupational sudden deaths, which occur most commonly by heart attack or stroke due to stress and starvation. We don’t have such a word in English and in general, stress is downplayed in our daily lives. Sentences like, “it’s just stress,” are common. So what is this stress that the Japanese revere so much that they have a word to describe death by it, and that we in the West seem to commonly brush off and ignore as so very minor? Continue reading

Trigger Point Release

I hear the words Trigger Point coming from just about every direction these days. The girl at the gym has a trigger point in her hip flexor that she just can’t reach, or so her health guru who administers her IMS has told her. The guy at physiotherapy has trigger points in his neck, caused by a motor vehicle accident he had years ago, which are continually reducing his ability to turn his head to shoulder check. And a new patient in my clinic asks if I can perform Trigger Point Therapy on her shoulder, like her last massage therapist did. Continue reading

Why do our muscles twitch sometimes?

You’re sitting in a meeting and your left eyelid is twitching uncontrollably. You wonder if the person opposite can see it, and why it’s happening.

Many people experience neurological symptoms that are quite normal for healthy individuals including cramps, pain, dizziness, numbness and muscle twitches. Light, involuntary muscle twitches are very common and can occur in any skeletal muscle. Continue reading