Fascial Stretch Therapy, who is this new kid on the block and how can it help?

Fascial stretch therapy is a form of therapy that is pretty new, I first went for an FST treatment roughly 8 years ago in Vancouver. I haven’t had it since until recently when Louise Danforth joined the Medicine Tree here in Lethbridge. What is FST? I get asked a lot, so here is an article with a video demonstration at the end.

To book in with Louise you can call the Medicine Tree at 403-329-3290 or online through her website at www.ldfascialstretch.ca

By the time we’re adults, we consist of approximately 70 trillion cells, all surrounded by a fluid fascial network—a kind of sticky yet slippery fabric that both holds us firmly together, yet constantly and miraculously adjusts to accommodate our every movement.

The traditional biomechanical theory of the musculoskeletal system says that muscles attach to bones via tendons that cross the joints and pull bones toward each other, restricted by other “machine parts” called ligaments. But all these anatomical terms, and the separations they imply, are false. No ligaments exist on their own; instead they blend into the periosteum—vascular connective tissue that serves as cling-wrap around the bones—and the surrounding muscles and fascial sheets. What this means is that you weren’t assembled in different places and glued together—rather, all your parts grew up together within the glue.

For example, the triceps are wedded by fascial fabric to their neighboring muscles in all directions, as well as to the ligaments deep in both the shoulder and elbow. If you contract the triceps all these other structures will have an effect and be affected. Your whole body engages in the action—not just your triceps, pectoral, and abdominal muscles.

Why Fascia Requires Special Attention

While regular movement for an hour at a gym begins to hydrate and free the superficial layers of the fascia, it’s often not enough to undo the deeper damage done the other 23 or so hours of our day. Many factors in our daily life, including poor postural habits, stress-induced muscular tension, limited movement, injury and dehydration, can cause velcro-like adhesions to form within the fascia sticking muscles together and restricting their ability to perform their individual functions. Forced to move and work as a team, the muscles become less efficient.


The deeper layers of the tissue, where adhesions and scar tissue are common, can be stubborn, requiring more than your typical movement patterns to affect change. Healthy fascia relies on movement and hydration, so targeted stretching used to manipulate the joints, muscles and surrounding tissues (fascia) can be helpful. By using gentle traction of the joints, then elongating the surrounding fascia and muscle release techniques in our therapy, we can help jumpstart the fascial repair and remodeling process to free up the tissues and increase their range of motion both during and after your session.


Understanding the Network of Fascia in the Body

The fluid fascial network that lives between each cell in your body consists of bungee cord–like fibers made mostly from collagen, including reticulin, and elastin. These fibers run everywhere and are denser in certain areas such as tendons and cartilage, and looser in others like breasts or the pancreas.


The other half of the fascial network is a gel-like web. Your cells are glued together with this gel-like substance, which is everywhere, and is more/less watery (hydrated) depending on where it is in the body and what condition it’s in.


All the circulation in your body has to pass through these fibrous and gel webs. The denser the fibers and the drier the mucous, the less the fascial web allows molecules to flow through it: nourishment in one direction and waste in the other. Stretching eases the fascial webbing, as well as hydrates the fascia gel, making it more permeable.

More on that mechanical environment: Tension in your body—slumping your shoulders forward, for example—prompts the fibroblasts (the most common cells found in connective tissue) to make more fibers that will arrange themselves along the line of stress. These bulked-up fascial fibers will form a barrier that will slow or stop capillary-sourced food from reaching your cells. You’ll get enough to survive, but function will slow down. In addition to a thicker barrier of fascial-tissue fibers, the gel that completes your fluid fascial network will also become thicker and more rigid, which contributes to stopping the flow to your cells.

The fix: deep strengthening and stretching squeezes your fascial network the way you would squeeze a sponge. These cells that were trapped in the fascia rush in hoards to the capillaries and your bloodstream. Many of us may feel out of sorts after we release deeply held tension—that’s your liver dealing with the waste cells that have been released from the tissues. Try for more movement to keep the process going.

Dr. Shawn Caldwall from Denver Sports Recovery https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdK4X_UaJ4I

Arnica, How can it Help Me?

Arnica, How can it Help Me?

Being one of Europe’s best selling complimentary and alternative medicines, Arnica has started to gain popularity in North America. Before it would only be found in health food stores, now it can be found in the aisles at all pharmacies. But for many the question remains, what is it? And how does it work?


Used for soft tissue injuries, especially bruising, and osteoarthritis, the active ingredient comes from a plant that produces yellow, daisy-like flowers. This plant is native to cooler areas of the northern hemisphere, more specifically it is thought to be native to mountainous regions of Europe. Being reputed as medicine since the 1500s, it can be taken in two forms, either topically as a gel or cream or orally in its homeopathic form.


Like many unpatented ‘remedies’ the evidence regarding the effectiveness of Arnica is unfortunately scarce. However clinical trials have shown that use of arnica as a cream or gel has been effective for the following


·      Muscle Aches

·      Venous insufficiency (poor circulation and swelling of the lower leg)

·      After carpal tunnel release surgery


The ways in which it works seems to be the following:


·      Reduces pain

·      Reduces inflammation

·      Reduces Oedema (swelling)

·      Protects against some damage to capillaries (the small blood vessels that are damaged with bruising)


So, it is fair to label Arnica as a natural anti-inflammatory. Ordinarily when an injury occurs, the bodies inflammatory response works to fight infections, initiate repair of damages and clear away debris and toxins. As the inflammation progresses, however, the bodies response can easily get out of hand, with the affected area becoming red, swollen, painful and hot to touch. Arnica contains compounds that can modulate the inflammatory response and help dissipate trapped blood and fluid in injured muscles, tissues and joints. It can diminish bruising, as well.

Arnica is thought to work by changing the process occurring in Neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) and also in liver cells, producing these anti-inflammatory effects. It also appears to improve circulation in the tissues where it is applied, strengthening blood vessels in the area. This allows for the recycling of fluid in an inflamed area, causing the inflammatory response to be more effective and prevent it from becoming a hindrance over a help.

Applying arnica frequently, at least 2-3 times per day seems to produce the best results. There are certain instances where the use of arnica is not recommended.

·      Whilst pregnant or breastfeeding

·      Directly on to broken or open skin

·      If taking anti-coagulant or anti-platelet medications


Overall Arnica is very safe and effective when used correctly. Hopefully this has answered some of the questions you may have had surrounding arnica and shown how it can be used in may different instances.



Improving your golf game with Osteopathy!

This is an article I wrote a couple of years ago after completing the Gray institues course for treating golfers. The course was run with Nike and was an invaluable experience in what I learned to help this group of people. 


We don't get the longest season for golf here in Calgary so its vital to make the most of it and not let pain and inefficiency hold us back! Hope you enjoy it!


If you were going to jump as high as you can what direction would you move in first? The opposite direction! Would seem a little strange to explain to someone who has never performed it before but it comes naturally to us.  The reason we are doing this is because we want to load against gravity before exploding and launching as high up as we can. If the load is off then the jump isn’t going to be as efficient and as successful as possible.


The same can be said for the golf swing, the importance of the back swing cannot be undermined. If you can load the backswing as proficiently as possible this is going to transpire into success, getting the most from your game and not cause certain areas of the body to overwork. We all know that golf can be the most frustrating game, and at times believe that Mark Twain was onto something with when he said, “Golf is a good walk ruined”.


There are 3 main influences to the golf game, physical, defined by the environment i.e. are we hitting from the rough, bunker, or fairway. Biological, this being how the body is working- are you able to move your joints to the optimal degrees to load the body effectively? And then the Psychological aspect, be it the water hazard that gets into your head or the confidence that you’ve hit this shot plenty of times and you can visualize it bouncing comfortably onto the green! As a graduate of the NG360 Golf performance course I am working to improve the Biological aspect of the golf game.


I am looking to achieve this through improving, not the technical aspects of the golf swing, but the efficiency. The major power centers in the hips for a right-handed golfer for example would be the gluteals on the right leg and the hip flexors and adductors on the left leg. When analyzing this facet of the swing I am looking to see a few things, firstly are those muscle groups being loaded? If not why? Does it suit the body to perform this way? Are there areas of the body that are at their max in terms of range of motion when trying to achieve this load? The last question for me is the most important, and can be the reason why a lot of golfers have an Advil at the start of the round. Everyone has done it! If certain joints in the body are at their max then what that means to me is that other areas of the body are overworking to achieve as successful a swing as is physically possible.  A treatment plan in this situation would be to treat these specific areas, go through exercises focused to what is needed with the goal to allow the body to perform this task as a unit, working together, taking excessive load off of other areas.


Golf is for me an extremely fun game, yes it is inevitable the ball is going to fall in the bunker and every now and then there is going to be the odd uninviting splash from the water. If we can achieve you feeling more confident in your swing, know that you’re not going to have to pay for playing a round for two days after, then you can work on lowering that score, decreasing the number of times those hazards come into play and we’re both onto a winner.

Intermittent fasting helps reverse type 2 diabetes

I came across an interesting article a few weeks ago that looked at how intermittent fasting can help regenerate pancreatic cells in type 2 diabetes. The study itself is available in the journal cell and there is a link here to the article on the BBC website.

There are many different ways to perform intermittent fasting and its about which way works best for you. You can find more information about this here

I'm definitely no expert on the subject but it is an area I have started to read about myself as there are many different benefits to this. 

Clinic Open Family Day

I am very excited to be opening Reset Osteopathy in Inglewood on Family Day. It has been a fun process getting everything ready to go and I'm eager to get started now. Thanks to everyone who helped in some way with this, it has been really appreciated. You can book appointments here or by calling 403 669 4606 and come check out the space.



Osteopathic Treatment Considerations For Head, Neck, and Facial Pain

Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is a form of osteopathic medicine. According to the tenets of osteopathy, a person is a unit of mind, body, and spirit and is self-healing. Making an osteopathic diagnosis and treatment plan will utilize these tenets, including the interrelationship of structure and function, precise palpation, manual tests, and techniques to find and treat the causes of dysfunction and restore mobility to each system of the body.

The field of manual medicine and manual therapy has much to offer in the treatment of head, neck, and facial pain. OMT is characterized by precise noninvasive manipulative techniques, which are individually adapted to respond to tissue quality in order to maintain or restore the circulation of body fluids.1


Head, neck, and facial pain are experienced by children as well as adults and often follow a course similar to low back pain (LBP). Neck pain, in particular, is characterized by cervical muscle tenderness that presents as a common symptom of primary headache disorders.2 Tension-type headache (TTH) is the most frequently experienced kind of headache that may involve tension in the head, neck, and face, among other areas.3 According to the International Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society, TTHs occur in 30% to 78% of the population.4 TTH is associated with limited ability to function in 44% of patients, causing disability and a decreased quality of life.5

Contraction of the head and neck musculature is thought to play a pathogenic role in some patients with TTH, but this has not yet been universally demonstrated. Electromyography (EMG) levels in pericranial muscles may be increased in approximately 60% of patients with TTH, but there is no correlation between EMG activity and headache severity.6

It is theorized that a central sensitization, or facilitation, occurs within the central nervous system (CNS), involving increased excitability of neurons that then cause the individual to become more susceptible to headaches. This may, in turn, manifest as chronic psychological stress and fatigue, a precipitating factor in TTH.7,8

Employing Strain-Counterstrain

Similar to the central sensitization theory is a theory that addresses how the CNS may respond to muscle strain. The osteopathic technique illustrating this theory is strain-counterstrain, developed by Lawrence Jones, DO, in the 1960s. According to Dr. Jones, a tender point is created by an inappropriate reflex from the CNS to a muscle, causing the muscle to become continually hypertonic. Using the technique of strain-counterstrain, an osteopathic physician can reset this hypersensitive loop between the CNS and a muscle.9 These strain-counterstrain points are found in all regions of the body and can play a crucial role in eliminating head, neck, and facial pain.

Head, neck, and facial pain may also arise from bony structures in the soft tissue of the neck. This is commonly referred to as a cervicogenic headache. The pain of a cervicogenic headache is likely referred from muscular, neurogenic, osseous, articular, or vascular structures of the neck.10 Neck pain and muscle tension are also common symptoms of a migraine attack.11 Recurrent, unilateral neck pain without a headache has also been reported as a variant form of migraine.12 Taking a careful patient history in cases of recurrent neck pain may uncover that previously overlooked symptoms were either similar or identical to symptoms associated with migraine.

Differences in neck posture, increased sensitivity to palpation and/or muscular tenderness, and the presence of myofascial trigger points may be observed in subjects with migraine, TTH, or a combination of both.13 Neck pain is as ubiquitous as abdominal or back pain and often follows an episodic course similar to LBP.14

One in 6 patients visiting the dentist has had a history of orofacial pain during the previous year.15 Pain in the muscles of mastication and temporomandibular joints is reported as often as pain from teeth and gums.15 Pain in the orofacial region affects 16% to 27% of the population in the United States and costs more than $32 billion annually.15,16

Pain is a common occurrence after tooth extraction, and it is usually localized to the extraction site. However, clinical experience shows that patients may also have pain in the head and neck in the weeks following the procedure.17

Franke and colleagues stated, “OMT improved pain in chronic nonspecific neck pain in a clinically meaningful way.”18 In a different research study regarding OMT and TTH, the following conclusion was reached: the people in the study who did relaxation exercises and received OMT had significantly better results (days per week without headache) than those who only participated in relaxation exercises.19

Additional published studies continue to describe the benefit of OMT in the treatment of head, neck, and facial pain.20,21 Campa-Moran et al studied the efficacy of treatments for myofascial neck pain and concluded that OMT is most effective in reduction of pain, reduction of mechanical hyperalgesia, and improvement of range of motion (ROM).20 Biondi suggested that OMT is well suited for management of cervicogenic headache and best tolerated when initiated with gentle muscle stretching and manual cervical traction.21

With OMT for migraine headaches, numerous studies have illustrated not only efficacy but also cost savings and an increase in the quality of life for patients undergoing osteopathic treatment.22-25 Adragna and colleagues concluded that OMT has had a positive effect on pain reduction and quality- of-life improvement in patients with migraine without aura.22 Cerritelli et al demonstrated that OMT should be considered an effective procedure in the management of patients with migraine.23

Schabert and Crow concluded that the inclusion of OMT in a treatment regimen for patients with migraine headaches resulted in lower average medication costs per visit when compared with migraine treatment without OMT.24 Voight et al showed that OMT treatment can offer decreased pain intensity, as well as a reduction in the number of days with migraine in female patients with migraine headaches.25

Chard osteopaths picks up three prizes at national awards

CHARD business Orchard Osteopaths has returned victorious after a national awards ceremony, which saw them pick up three trophies.

The Institute of Osteopathy Awards was held at the end of November at the Beaumont Estate in Windsor, and Orchard Osteopaths were invited along after reaching the finals in three categories, including Practice of the Year, Principal of the Year and Rising Star.

Orchard’s Rachel Phillimore picked up Principal of the Year at the ceremony. The judges were looking for practice principals who were committed to developing their associates and staff whilst offering the best possible treatment to patients.

Awards were given to principals that have introduced innovative ways to run their practices, work with allied health professions and local communities and promote osteopathy, as well as developing their own businesses.

Cheryl Crook, an associate osteopath, was awarded with the Rising Star Award for new osteopaths that have already demonstrated a passion for osteopathic practice, combined with outstanding academic achievement, clinical skill and patient care.

Orchard Osteopaths was also named runner-up in Practice of the Year category.

Rachel said: “It was such an honour and achievement to win these awards, I am very proud of my clinic and all the team that work so hard to provide the best care for our patients and customers.

“Bringing home the awards is an incredible way of celebrating my 25 years in practice.”