4:19 pm

"Boost your immune system with massage!" Our Junior Therapist Tanya Thomlinson presents a list of scientific facts.

Tanya: You know it is fall: air is crisp, leaves are changing colour, students are back in school … and all around you, people are sniffling, coughing, and sneezing! Time to boost your Vitamin C intake, stay well-hydrated, wash your hands frequently, and … get a massage! It’s true: studies have shown that regular massage can strengthen the immune system, helping people stay healthy and free of illness.

The immune system is a fascinating component of the human body. It is able to differentiate between your own cells and foreign “invader” cells. Like sentries along the watchtower of a castle watching for invaders, your white blood cells (WBCs) roam your body seeking foreign cells. When a threat is identified, certain WBCs are dispatched to combat the issue.

The immune system must not only work; it must be balanced, producing just enough of a response to handle the problem. An overactive immune system that produces an excessive response is an entirely different type of problem, where the immune system confuses the body’s cells with foreign cells, and begins to attack itself. This type of response is at the root of issues like allergies and autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and fibromyalgia.

A person’s emotional state can affect their immune system. Anger, stress, fatigue, and other negative emotions cause the release of hormones like cortisol, which decreases the number of a certain type of WBC, known as Natural Killer Cells (NKCs). These NKCs, along with lymphocytes and other WBCs, are essential for the immune system to defend against disease. The immune system works best when we are happy, content, and relaxed. Therapeutic massage releases the hormones dopamine and serotonin, which help us get to that relaxed and happy state so our immune system is able to perform its job.

Massage is an excellent tool for helping us to stay healthy and well, so don’t wait until you are sick to get a massage. In fact, if you are suffering from an acute illness such as cold or flu, it is best not to get a massage, as it may make your symptoms worse (not to mention, you might spread the illness to your therapist). Massage has an immediate effect on the immune system, and with regular massage, you will see cumulative, long-term benefits. Think of massage as a regular part of your regimen for staying healthy, along with good nutrition, enough sleep, and exercise.

Studies show regular massage helps boost the immune system:

  • A 2010 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine concluded that massage increased the participants’ WBC count, and improved immune function for HIV patients.

  •  Another 2010 study, this one from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, showed several measurable benefits of massage. Among them: participants experienced an increase in the number of circulating lymphocytes, while their cortisol levels decreased.

  •  A 2005 study done by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami concluded that breast cancer patients who received regular massage (3 sessions/week for 5 weeks) showed increases in their levels of dopamine, NKCs and lymphocytes from the first to the last day of the study. In addition, they reported better mood and more energy.

2:57 pm

"What is the purpose of a hot stone massage?" Our RMT Danny Flores answers one of the questions submitted by our clients.

Danny: Hot stone massage promotes deeper muscle relaxation through the placement of smooth, heated stones at key points on the body. It melts away tension, eases muscle stiffness and increases circulation. 

I strongly recommend scheduling a longer appointment (90 min) when booking a hot stone massage. It is a nice blend of relaxation and therapeutic massage to help release stress and muscle tension. 
Danny has been part of the Apex team since May 2015. He first started his journey at Apex as a practicum student and is now working as a fully registered massage therapist. Danny graduated from a 2 year, 3000 hours massage therapy program at Makami college in April 2016. Danny has been building a loyal clientele while offering his clients several types of treatment that address their concerns; focusing on relaxation or deep tissue and also offers hot stone therapy.

When he is not massaging, Danny likes to socialize with friends, or visit the mountains to hike or snowboard. Danny enjoys going to the gym while staying physically fit. 

3:31 pm

" How much should treatment hurt? " Our RMT Haylee Lynch answers one of the questions submitted by our clients.

Haylee: This all depends on the client, their pain tolerance and the type of treatment they want to receive. A relaxation massage should not be painful for the client at all. 
During a therapeutic or deep tissue massage, pain and discomfort are more common. Pain occurs when the therapist is trying to target deeper muscles and release adhesions or trigger points.
I advise all my clients that pain should never go over a 5-7 on a pain scale of 0-10, 10 being the highest. The discomfort should be enough that a client is still able to breathe through the pain.
It is very important that the client and therapist communicate throughout the treatment to make sure the proper amount of pressure is being used to get the needed results. It is very common to feel some soreness 1-3 days after a deep/therapeutic massage.
Haylee graduated with a 3000 hour diploma in massage therapy. She has experience with techniques such as Deep tissue, Cyriax frictions, Myofascial release, and Trigger points. She chose a career in massage therapy because she believes that massage is very important to ones physical and mental health and is very passionate about helping every client that walks into the clinic to get back to feeling their greatest. She enjoys anything to do with being out on the water, yoga and cycling.

4:48 pm

"What can I do to prolong the benefits of my massage treatment?" Meeghan Mackenzie, RMT answers one of the questions submitted by our clients.

Here at Apex we get this question a lot. Clients ask us "how can I prolong the benefits of this massage?". We can all relate. We all have that brief moment after the therapist has lifted their hands of your body and ended the session. For a long second we think, "Couldn't that have lasted a little longer"; "How can I make this feeling last?". Well, here are some ways you can prolong the benefits of massage after your treatment is over:

  • Drink plenty of water. It will help you to eliminate soreness and eliminate cellular waste.
  • Make sure you rest, relax, and get enough sleep after you've had a massage. Taking time to decompress is always a good thing. Believe it or not even in the car after your massage. Did you like your therapist's playlist? Ask them for it, put it on in the car and be aware of where your body is at and allow it to be still, quite and calm.
  • Indulge in Epsom Salt baths. Epsom salts are made up of two elements - Magnesium and Sulfate. Both act to sedate the nervous system prolonging the effects of your massage later that evening or even days after. Submerge yourself in a warm Epsom salt bath to alleviate the tension headache you came to relieve. Tired and sore feet also benefit from the therapeutic warmth of an Epsom salt soak. Add 1 cup of baking soda towards the end of your bath and make it a detox bath.
  • Restorative Yoga. This is a yoga sequence that typically involves only five or six poses, supported by props that allow you to completely relax and rest. Restorative yoga helps to enhance mood states, balance the nervous system and boost the immune system. 
  • Find a regular therapist that suites your needs as a client. Commit to a treatment and consult with your therapist regarding stretches and home care to assist you in achieving your health goals. 
Born in Zimbabwe and raised in Calgary Meeghan has been a therapist with Apex for 6 years and completed the Massage Therapy Program at Mount Royal University in 2005. She has also practiced in both The United States and The United Kingdom.
Before this time she competed in the sport of Gymnastics where she gained first-hand Massage and physiotherapy experience whilst rehabilitating from various injuries, inspiring her to pursue a career in health care.
Her passion and main focus as a Therapist is Myofascial Integration buy using a Myofascial Cupping technique. She completed Continuing Education in Manual Lymphatic Drainage in 2012 through Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia and is passionate about educating her patients on this gentle but widely effective style of Massage.
Outside of Massage Therapy Meeghan is a local Musician Singer/Songwriter and an avid traveler having traveled to many countries and remote Islands in the world.

3:19 pm

"What is a knot?" and "Why are you working an area that is not in the area I feel the pain?" Our RMT Jerri-Lyn Chisholm answers questions submitted by our clients.

Jerri-Lyn: A knot is multiple muscle fibers and fascia that have started to adhere together. They cause tenderness and tension in a certain area of the body. Certain postures, repetitive movements, lifestyle choices can cause these adhesions to form. Stretching, drinking more water, massage and focusing on proper body movements can help get rid of these adhesions and prevent them from forming in the future.

Why are you working an area that is not in the area I feel the pain?

Jerri-Lyn: The body is a whole working unit. When one thing is unbalanced/tight the whole unit is affected. So if you come in with lower back pain there are many areas that can affect it such as the hamstrings being tight which is pulling your hips back causing tension in the low back which could also be affecting your shoulders. That is just one example there are many other possible scenarios which is why we have you fill out a health history form and ask questions/assess before treatment.   

Jerri-Lyn has been a massage therapist for over two years. She has been very active in numerous sports throughout her life and continues to stay active. 
As a therapist she enjoys being involved in the process of helping people restore their bodies and improve their quality of life.
Future goal for Jerri-Lyn is to obtain her  certifications in lymphatic drainage and visceral massage to enhance her abilities to help others.

3:01 pm

"What is fascia and myofascial release?" Our RMT Lucie Bali answers one of the questions submitted by our clients.

Lucie: Fascia is the biological fabric that holds us together, the connective tissue network. It is the 3-D spider web of fibrous, gluey, and wet proteins that binds them all together in their proper placement.   

It can be described as band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs.

When injury, inflammation, or physical trauma occurs, the fascia can become tight and cause pain and/ or restricted range of motion.

Myofascial Release (MFR) aims to release the fascia and return it to a state of normalcy by applying gentle pressure to the restricted areas. 
MFR treats skeletal muscle immobility and pain by relaxing contracted muscles, improving blood and lymphatic circulation, and stimulating the stretch reflex in muscles. 

Lucie: When I graduated high school I did not know what I wanted “to be”. What I did know was that I wanted to help people.
In June of 2014, I graduated from Mount Royal University's 2200 hour Massage Therapy program, and couldn’t be happier. My goal is to customize your treatment specific to your needs.
I am trained in swedish massage, relaxation, myofascial release, deep tissue, trigger point release therapy, and cupping. Whether you want to improve your posture, help rehabilitate an injury, loosen over-worked muscles, relax, or if you simply crave the human touch, Apex and our team are here to help.

2:48 pm

"What is Hyperkyphosis?" Our RMT Anastasia Wilcox answers one of the questions submitted by our clients.

Anastasia: Hyperkyphosis is a postural dysfunction where the curve of the thoracic spine, your upper back, is exaggerated. This typically happens with desk jobs because so much of the time is spent hunched forward. This posture causes weak, overstretched muscles in the back, and stronger shorter muscles in the chest. If not corrected the exaggerated curve to the spine can become permanent.

Along with massage there are some exercises to help prevent or correct this posture. Start with stretching out your chest muscles, some easy ways to do this are: standing in a door frame with your elbows raised to the side straight out from your shoulders so they make a 90° angle to your body, step forward into the door frame until you feel a stretch and hold for 30 seconds, repeat with your arms at a 120° angle, and at 150°.  

Alternatively you can do this stretch on a foam roller, lying with your spine along the foam roller and your arms out to the side. This stretch should be done 2-3 times a day.  
Next you want to strengthen the muscles in your back, this can be done with rows. When doing rows you want to make sure that you keep your elbows pulled into your sides and you are activating your muscles between your shoulder blades.  
If you have a resistance band at home you can do this exercise daily about 10-15 reps, if you are including this exercise in your gym routine try for 2-3 times a week doing 3 sets of 10-15 reps.  
Finally you can make sure to really pay attention to your posture, if you find yourself slouching forward the best thing to do is to imagine a string pulling you up from your chest or the top of your head (both work the same) this will cause your shoulders to naturally fall back without having to pull them back and tire the already over worked muscles in the back.

Anastasia graduated from MH Vicars in June 2014. She gravitated towards working with athletes because of her background in sports. She enjoys doing deep tissue & injury rehabilitation. Anastasia uses a variety of techniques such as Swedish massage, trigger point release, myofacial release, origin & insertion along with active and passive stretching. She has completed a course specifically related to shoulder and rotator cuff concerns.
In her spare time she coaches synchronized swimming.

1:52 pm

"Why are my upper traps so tight and painful?" Our RMT Jaida Green-Barber answers one of the questions submitted by our clients.

Jaida: There's a correlation between the nerves that innervate your upper traps and the limbic system (the emotional brain). When we're under stress and feeling emotional our upper traps become exceptionally tight and as my Mom use to say 'we end up wearing our shoulders as earrings'. Not the ideal accessory : ) 

Jaida gradated from the 2200 hour Massage Therapy Diploma program at Foothills College of Massage Therapy in Calgary.She is a member of NHPC with seventeen years of experience.  Jaida's philosophy and approach to massage is derived both from her passion for fitness and personal experience as a busy Mom of two, understanding the  fundamental importance of self-care. 

8:53 pm

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