About Aspect Health

Located in a dedicated, cozy basement suite on the Saanich Peninsula just outside of Sidney BC, Aspect Health & Registered Massage Therapy (RMT) is an ideal place for you to come and unwind. Reduce your stresses, help alleviate aches and pains; enable deeper relaxation and clarity of thought, and give yourself a hour or two to just be while we knead your muscles and work your tissues.

Owned by Chrystal Ladouceur, RMT, your registered massage therapy care is guaranteed individual, professional and aimed at making your life more livable.

Chrystal Ladouceur is a motivated, resourceful and intuitive Registered Massage Therapist who is on a mission to make you feel better. Using her clinical knowledge while drawing on her personal experience of chronic pain and discomfort, Chrystal aims to offer pain relief in addition to preservation or restoration of natural function, ultimately making your life more livable! Read More...


I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Chrystal to everybody I know, regardless of whether they are looking to book a massage for therapeutic or relaxing reasons, or for better understanding of the mechanics of their anatomy.  She maintains a beautiful balance of professionalism with personal care; I am particularly grateful for Chrystal’s commitment to treat every […]

Rebecca Huntley
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Brachial Neuralgia

Brachial neuralgia denotes pain in the nerves of the brachial plexus.  If prolonged it may progress to brachial neuritis.

Causes of Brachial Neuralgia
Brachial neuralgia may be caused by posture, a hyperkyphotic curve of the thoracic spine, a lowered shoulder girdle or shoulder compression.

Signs & Symptoms
Intermittent pain, often described a lancinating ‘zing’ along the nerve pathways.  There may be muscle hypotonicity, spasm and possible twitching. Brachial neuralgia may also present with parasthesia, especially of the fingers.

Orthopedic Assessment
Some of the typical orthopedic assessment techniques a massage therapist may use are:

  • Active and passive range of motion testing of the neck, arm, elbow, wrist and fingers.
  • Sensation may be tested with two-point discrimination or deep and light touch.

Massage Treatment Goals
Therapeutic massage is used to help eliminate the cause, correcting postural dysfunction including hyperkyphosis (if functional in nature) and/or shoulder compression. Massage Therapy aides in reducing muscle spasm, helping strengthen and improve muscle tone in the shoulders, especially the upper and middle trapezius and the rhomboid muscles, which in turn helps raise the levels at which the shoulders are normally carried.  In addition therapeutic massage is used to help relieve pain by reducing the sympathetic nervous system firing, decreasing pressure over the brachial plexus, preventing further compression, treating the compensatory structures and preventing further compensations by helping improve circulation and maintaining tissue health.

Typical Massage Treatment
During the acute stage of brachial neuralgia the patient is positioned for comfort and General Swedish massage techniques may be used along with vibration and stroking. Diaphragmatic breathing may be encouraged, and gentle passive range of motion of the neck and shoulders may be performed.

During the chronic stage of brachial neuralgia Myofascial and General Swedish massage techniques may be used and trigger points may be addressed in the neck, shoulder, anterior chest and thoracic spine muscles.  Attachment release may be used in these areas as well. Diaphragmatic breathing may be encouraged with passive and active stretching of the neck and chest. Stimulatory techniques may be performed on the rhomboids and lower/middle trapezius muscles.

Massage Contraindications & Precautions
The more prolonged brachial neuralgia persists the more likely it is to develop into brachial neuritis a more serious, pathological condition that includes inflammation if the neural tissues.  A patient suffering brachial neuralgia may be taking strong pain medications and may also present with sensory impairment due to the condition itself. Caution must be taken as to massage pressure so that the tissues are not damaged. During acute stages, rhythmic mobilizations and local massage is contraindicated as aggressive massage over the brachial plexus will aggravate the condition.  In addition, full stretches of the cervical spine (neck) or the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint may cause aggravation and should be avoided.

Typical Suggested Homecare
During the acute stage the patient may be asked to perform passive relaxed range of motion within the pain-free ranges.  This may progress with a chronic condition to active range of motion exercises with or without isometric resistance.  Relaxation and respiratory exercises including diaphragmatic breathing may be encouraged. Postural awareness correction and exercises to raise the shoulder girdle, like shoulder shrugs may be taught.  Ice or mild heat may help reduce pain, and contrast washes or baths help increase circulation and maintain tissue health.

Bells Palsy

Bell’s palsy is a flaccid paralysis of the face caused by inflammation or damage to the cranial nerve VII (CNVII), the facial nerve.  The facial nerve leaves the brain stem and passes through the geniculate ganglion, the stylomastoid foramen and the parotid gland before is separates into two divisions, a motor division and a sensory & autonomic division. It then innervates the muscles of facial expression and the functions of taste sensations from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue. It also supplies some preganglionic parasympathetic fibers to several of the head and neck ganglia.

Causes of Bells Palsy
Bell’s palsy is caused by nerve compression from edema and swelling either as a primary complaint or secondary to trauma, or by conditions affecting the parotid gland, or in some cases by exposure to a chill or draft.

Signs & Symptoms
Bell’s palsy presents with a rapid onset of unilateral facial weakness followed by flaccid paralysis of the muscles of facial expression.  This includes symptoms like the inability to raise the eyebrow or completely close the eye, the loss of the blinking reflex and the inability to flare the nostrils or raise the corner of the mouth, whistle or pucker lips. Patients often have difficulty eating, articulating some sounds and holding their lower lip to drink out of a glass.

There is also sensory and autonomic involvement which may present as loss of tear production, decreased salivation, reduced taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and a heightened sense of hearing.

Orthopedic Assessment
Some of the typical orthopedic assessment techniques a massage therapist may use are:

  • Visually inspect the patient’s face in a neutral expression and/or the patient may be asked to perform a number of different facial expressions.
  • Sensation may be tested on the posterior portion of the auditory canal (ear).
  • The therapist may tap of the patient’s glabella in order to test the Corneal (blink) reflex.
  • The patient may be asked to perform active ranges of motion of the neck, eyes and/or mouth

Massage Treatment Goals
Massage therapy should be used as a tool to increase circulation and maintain tissue health of the affected areas, to stimulate the muscles affected by flaccid paralysis and to prevent fibrosis and contracture, and to over all maintain ranges of motion.  In addition, massage therapy can be used as a tool to decrease sympathetic nervous system firing which in turn reduces stress.  Therapeutic massage can also be used to treat the compensatory structures like the neck and shoulders for hypertonicity, pain and stiffness, and to decrease any edema.

Typical Massage Treatment
The patient is treated supine (face up) and the unaffected side is treated first from lateral to medial.  The affected side of the face will be treated after from the midline to the lateral side.  The treatment may consist of compressions, vibrations, stroking and fingertip kneading. General Swedish massage techniques may be used on the anterior chest and neck, and the posterior neck and shoulders.  The Platysma muscle (on the anterior of the neck) may be treated from the direction of the clavicle (collar bone) to the mandible (jaw) using segmental stroking and fingertip kneading. The massage therapist may passively raise the patient’s eyebrows, draw the eyes together, close the eye or shape the patients mouth.  Manual lymph drainage and/or gentle stimulatory techniques such as ROODs brushing or quick stretches may also be incorporated in the massage.

Massage Contraindications & Precautions
The patient should not be positioned prone (face down), and palpation should be performed lightly due to potential sensation changes caused by Bell’s palsy.  The patient may have difficulty articulating some words and as such the therapist needs to be mindful of this to ensure that the patient’s needs are met.  Edema may be present and if that is the case, local heat should be avoided.  The patient may have difficulty closing the eye and as such the area around the eye should be avoided by the massage therapist in order to prevent damage or infection.  Flaccid muscles should never be stretched and no long strokes or fascial work should be done on the affected side.

Typical Suggested Homecare
The patient may be asked to perform passive movements in front of a mirror, even if only one side of the face is working  In addition they may be asked to try imagining or visualizing the paralysed side of the face as moving properly along with the unaffected side.  The patient may also be asked to apply mild heat, like a facial steam, an infrared sauna or even contrast bathing in order to assist with circulation.

Massage Therapy

Registered Massage Therapy is the health profession in which a person provides for the purposes of developing, maintaining and rehabilitating or augmenting physical function, or relieving pain or promoting health, the services of assessment of the soft tissues and joints on the body, and treatment and prevention of physical dysfunction, injury, pain and disorders of the soft tissues and joints by manipulation, mobilization and other manual methods.