Sunday, September 23, 2018

Structure Governs Function

By Darryl Gomes, Certified Athletic Therapist, Osteopathic Manual Practitioner (pending)
One of the many questions that people ask regarding osteopathic treatment is about what it is and what can it do for a person. Osteopathy is a non-invasive form of manual therapy that focuses on treating the primary restriction(s) in the entire body that may be contributing to an individual's main source of pain and/or problems. This whole body approach can help the body to regulate itself better and manage overall health better.

        Osteopathic Tenets

There are 4 tenets that osteopathic medicine follows:
  1. Structure Governs Function
  2. The Rule of the Artery is Absolute
  3. Autoregulation
  4. The Body is a Functional Unit

Structure Governs Function

Structure Governs Function means that the way something is positioned can affect the way it works:
  • Your spine is comprised of a series of vertebrae that act as the support column for your body 
  • Muscles, tendons and ligaments are supported from the spine and are important in maintaining spinal stability 
  • Vertebrae that aren't properly positioned can create postural problems, so muscles that attach to these vertebrae can get tight and pull the spine out of alignment creating a crooked spine 
  • Over time, one can develop poor head posture due to the kinked spine, which can lead to limited neck movements, constant neck pain & headaches 
          These misalignments can lead to bigger problems. For example:
  • Nerves that exit the misaligned vertebrae can become pinched/stretched/shortened, and can impede the function of the muscles or organs that are innervated by them 
  • Therefore, someone can suffer from stomach related digestive problems if the nerves from the related vertebrae are not able to send the signals to the stomach required for proper digestion 
  • So, this is why something like a sprained ankle can lead to digestive issues: the sprained ankle can create changes in the alignment of the leg, which can affect the levels of the pelvis, which can affect spinal alignment & nerve innervation to the digestive system 
If something is misaligned in your body, it has the ability to affect the function of another part of the body.

        How Do Osteopathic Treatments Help 

My osteopathic approach allows me to get to the root of the person's problem(s) and get them better by:
  • Treating the soft tissue (ligaments/fascia) that is holding the vertebrae/viscera in their improper position(s)
  • Ensuring that vertebrae and the pelvis are properly aligned  
  • Reinforcing the proper mobility of the viscera
  • Integrating these changes with the body so that the body is capable of accepting these changes
The structure of the body has an affect on the body's ability to function. The next blog will focus on the "rule of the artery is absolute".

Health and happiness to you

Monday, September 10, 2018

Benefits of Ayurvedic Massage for the Fall

While each season manifests differently in each part of the world, Ayurveda considers fall as a season where the Vata dosha is dominant. The ancient medical system of Ayurveda explains how the qualities of nature and the environment manifest in the human system. For example, when it’s cold outside, you naturally feel more cold. These qualities are categorized as Vata, Pitta & Kapha bio-energies or doshas. The qualities of Vata dosha are cold, dry, rough, mobile, subtle, and light. When we shift from summer, which is hot and sticky, to fall which is usually cool, windy and dry, this can increase Vata in your body and contribute to you feeling unbalanced. Symptoms of Vata imbalance, such as excess bloating, gas, anxiety, dryness and uneasiness, can become exacerbated in the fall if we aren’t careful.
When the temperature, humidity and length of days start changing as a new season begins, you may respond to these changes in nature by desiring different foods and daily routine. As the weather cools in fall, you may notice you feel like warmer foods and different tastes – if you are in tune with what your body is telling you. When you tune into nature's intelligence and your own body's needs, then you will naturally crave the foods and daily routine that will support you as the seasons change. 
To read more about diet & lifestyle support for fall season:
One of the best ways to support balance during fall is Ayurvedic massage or “AbhyangaThis therapeutic massage is a traditional form of massage which supports the nervous system, promotes relaxation while detoxifying the body during this transitional season. Warm, medicinal oils are customized to your body type and health condition and are applied to the full body. As we move into fall, these massages are incredibly soothing and will better prepare you for the winter season.
Abhyanga massage will help with overall blood circulation and stimulation of the internal organs, will calm the mind disturbed by the winds and the changes in temperature, will facilitate the elimination of impurities from the body. Read more about how abhyanga massage can benefit you:

Benefits of Full Body Abhyanga

• Relieves and prevents sinus and chest congestion due to cooling weather
• Improves sleep, strengthens and improves vision
• Strengthens your Ojas (immunity)
• Tones our tissues, bringing vigor and vitality to the body
• Improves circulation to extremities and internal organs
• Calms Vata (air and space) and Pitta (fire and water) while helping Kapha (water and earth) flow

What to expect?

An Abhyanga treatment lasts 3060 or 90 minutes, can be done daily, weekly or monthly depending on your health concerns.  It is most beneficial when a few are done close together. It is best to wear comfortable clothes and come on a light stomach (avoid eating a heavy meal right before treatment). Hydration before and after treatment is essential to support detoxification. Your practitioner may advise herbal teas or certain foods customized to your body type. Treatments are done in quiet to optimize your healing.

How is Ayurvedic massage different from conventional massage?

Abhyanga massage uses warm oils which are infused with herbs and essential oils that work medicinally when absorbed through the skin so it is considered a therapeutic massage, with relaxation benefits. The head, face and sinus treatments are unique to abhyanga and very helpful in revealing headaches, sleep problems as well as sinus conditions. 

Pressure is generally on the lighter side since abhyanga massage targets the lymphatic system and circulation of blood and prana or chi. If you have specific muscle tension, your therapist may use more pressure to target muscles and ligaments. Abhyanga also incorporates “marma points” or acupressure points which supports healing on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. This treatment also emphasizes massage around the joints so is excellent for joint stiffness, arthritis or other issues. It is safe and therapeutic to do both types of massage and many people find benefits with a schedule of abhyanga and conventional massage. Please speak to your therapist to learn about what is best for you.

If you haven’t tried Ayurvedic massage, fall is the perfect time to reset your system and treat yourself. If you would like to know more about Ayurvedic massage, please contact Catalina at  

To book an appointment, please call the clinic at 905-940-2727.