Author Archives: Dawn Oehring

Meditation & Breath

Breathing is one of our most important tools in life. For some, they might use it during a massage to stay relaxed, others as a way to center themselves when things are too much.

Practicing your breathing helps to avoid stress and promote relaxation, which is why meditation is so great; it’s a great way to practice different breathing techniques.

RMT Celeste Constantineau is showing us proper posture with meditation.

If you are new to meditation, start with some simple exercises like deep belly breathes or listening to guided meditations. ūüßė‚Äć‚ôÄÔłŹ ūüßė‚Äć‚ôāÔłŹ

Check out our Facebook page for further information and tips on meditation.

For all those joining us with our meditation month, RMT Celeste Constantineau is showing us proper posture. Stay tuned for some meditation exercises. -If you are new to meditation, start with some simple exercises like deep belly breathes or listening to guided meditations. ūüßė‚Äć‚ôÄÔłŹ ūüßė‚Äć‚ôāÔłŹ^^^ free guided meditations) #meditationdaily #breathe #dailyprogress

Posted by Core Elements Registered Massage Therapy on Wednesday, January 9, 2019



Couples Relaxation Massage Training Course at CE!

Attention Couples!

4 spots left for February 10th!!! Call to book before they are gone!

Do you or your spouse ever try to give one another a massage or a back rub, only to have your hands get tired after 5 minutes? Do you think, how does my RMT do this all day, everyday? Well, come find out for yourself as qualified RMT’s host Core Element’s first

‚ÄúCouples Relaxation Massage Course‚ÄĚ.

Give your spouse the gift of massage for Christmas!!
This 3 hour course will be guided by Shannon Farrell RMT and Alexandra D’Aoust RMT on two separate dates in the New Year. January 13, 2019 and February 10,2019 from 10:00am to 1:00pm.To reserve your spot for this unique opportunity call the clinic at 613-590-9339.
Cost is $240.00+HST per couple which will include professional guidance and educational handouts, all supplies and massage lotion. A full body massage will be trained.

Full payment must be made to reserve spot and gift certificate will be provided to you!

Further details can be provided to you by your teachers Shannon or Alex by email. You can reach them at


Winter is here! CE’s top 5 tips for snow shovelling to save your back!

Winter is here and so is the snow….Already!!!

We might not be used to an Ottawa winter starting in November but the snow shovelling season has begun.  Many people suffer from muscle fatigue, low back strain, vertebral disc damage and even spinal fractures during the winter months. These injuries can be brought on by excessive stress to the spine and slip and fall accidents. Injuries are not only limited to the musculoskeletal system but it also places stress on the cardiovascular system. At any hint of shortness of breath or chest pain, shoveling should be stopped immediately.


Here are some tips to stay injury free this winter:

  • Be heart smart(avoid caffeine/food directly before shovelling as these increase the heart rate and cause blood vessels to constrict)
  • If experiencing any bit of pain, stop immediately and seek assistance.
  • Pace yourself / Take breaks / Drink water
  • If the ground is icy or slick, spread salt or sand to create traction
  • Wear layers
  • Wear a hat(most of body heat is lost through the head)
  • Proper boots are essential(can help you keep your balance)
  • Choose a shovel that is ergonomically correct(shovel with a curved handle to reduce spinal stress)
  • Consider a shovel with a plastic blade(lighter weight)
  • Smaller is better when it comes to shovels(less strain on the body)
  • Get a shovel to push snow(pushing snow is easier then lifting it)


1) Warm up your muscles (march on the spot, reach up/down, side to side, arm circles and squats)

2) Hand placement on the shovel (create distance between your hands to give you more leverage.)

3) Think about good posture (maintaining the natural curve in the spine and head looking forward instead of down at the snow)

4) Focus on what your doing (feet shoulder width distance apart to maintain balance. Bend at the knees and NOT at the waist. Tighten your stomach muscles as you lift snow. Do not twist your body. Try to dump the snow directly in front of you.)

5) Pace yourself  (slow and steady is better then fast and injured)

** Fresh snow is lighter so clear it as soon as you can. A shovel full of dense wet snow can weigh over 20lbs.





Brought to you by Brittany Pastorek RMT

The world of Massage Therapy with Dawn Oehring RMT & Adrienne Ireland RMT

Dawn Oehring RMT and Adrienne Ireland RMT had a chance to be on Rogers daytime television to inform their audience about the world of Massage Therapy and what to expect before, during and after a treatment.  Core Elements is a focused and therapeutic clinic that gears all treatments specific to each client needs.

Watch the video below to see what we are all about and what a massage therapy treatment should entail.

Happy viewing:)

Your CE Team

What’s the deal about cupping and those bruises that come from it?¬†

Brittany Pastorek RMT and trained cupping therapist explains the questions our clients have asked about the bruising that can occur with cupping therapy.

Sometimes clients come in and are so fascially restricted that deep tissue muscle release won’t work. And then we need to think fascia and layers under the skin. Rather than applying pressure to muscles, the suction uses pressure to pull skin, tissue and muscles upward. The purpose of cupping is to enhance circulation, help relieve pain and pull out the toxins that are in the tissues.

Cupping works great post surgery, removing scar tissue build up, releasing fascia and tissue in restricted areas and indicating imbalances in the body.
Bruising may or may not happen depending on the persons skin pigment, how much suction the cup has, how long the cup was left on and how restricted the fascia is in that area. Some areas bruise more easily then others. Most people are nervous about bruising but these bruises only last a few days and really release those restricted areas leaving them feeling great immediately after the cups come off.

Book in today for your cupping experience. Please keep in mind cupping is only used where needed and not always symmetrically used throughout the whole body.

Brittany Pastorek RMT


Deep Tissue Techniques with Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Massage

At Core Elements our therapists are trained in different modalities to bring your rehabilitation or massage experience to a more advanced level.¬† RMT Alex D’Aoust specializes with her deep tissue and myo-fascial release tool. She explains what instrument assisted soft tissue massage is all about and its benefits!

How is this performed?
I use a specialized tool from Rocktape called RockBlade. This is a medical grade stainless steel tool used for soft tissue manipulation

What is the purpose of this tool?
The purpose of this tool is to create direct mechanical manipulation of irregular muscle tissue and adhesions in fascial/ scar tissue. It helps improve posture, increase range of motion, improve neurological function, increase tissue and joint mobility and decrease underlying tissue adhesions.

What are adhesions?
Adhesions are abnormal glueing together areas of tissue were they shouldn’t be. Adhesions can be caused by repetitive movement, poor posture, improper body mechanics and post operative scar tissue.

How is this tool used?
Using light pressure, this tool is used by creating a shearing force between fascial layers and muscle tissue. In no way is this tool painful whatsoever. This tool essentially scrapes away adhesions and scar tissue build, creating an increases circulation and improved mobility within the targeted tissue.
Occasionally after surgery- scar tissue is known to be an area of complaint due to its reduced mobility, and irritation around the scar. This tool helps improve the healing and function of the scar tissue, reducing its underlying adhesions that are creating impaired range of motion and tissue mobility. Most common post operative scars that I work on are caesarean scar, and Carpal tunnel scars.

If you have any questions regarding this technique, please call the clinic at 613-590-9339 or email at

-Alexandra D’Aoust RMT

You can watch my Facebook video on this technique at

What Wellness is to Me -Brittany Pastorek RMT

This past September I attended a Can-Fit conference in Toronto and with the many courses I took while there, I had one with Tosca Reno, the well known fitness leader and author of the “Eat Clean” diet series.

Her lecture was on the 3 E’s of wellness

  1. Eat Clean
  2. Exercise
  3. Emotional Wellness

Eating clean and exercise are the main contributors to a healthy body but so often we forget that our emotional health affects our body as well.

Her tips were to meditate 10 minutes everyday (recommending head space or a guided meditation series), to journal at least 10 minutes everyday and to unwind from your phone.  We as a society should not be on our phones the final hour before we go to bed and the first hour after waking.  We have become so dependent on staying in the loop and not being present in the moment, which does not help with balancing our hormones and staying healthy.

Cortisol is known as the “BAD hormone” which comes into play with stress. Whereas, Dopamine is your feel good hormone and Serotonin is your happy hormone.¬† ¬†Oxycontin is another powerful hormone and acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain.¬† When we hug a friend or kiss a loved one, Oxycontin increases which helps to lower the stress hormone, cortisol. Tosca suggested hugging heart side to heart side for at least 10 seconds to get the benefits of your happy hormones. Give more hugs everyday to stay healthy!¬† An interesting proven fact is that massage actually lowers your stress hormone, Cortisol and increase your feel good hormones. Serotonin- massage is a great modality to incorporate into a healthy life style.

The last part of her session was about the power of I am, I am strong, I am beautiful, I am powerful.¬† We never want to focus on the things we aren’t so every morning start by saying I am _________and live each day by focusing on what you are.¬† Positive thinking can change all aspects of your life!

I am strong, I am present, I am here to bring you to a healthier state!

Brittany Pastorek RMT

*Brittany is one of the great therapists at Core Elements that focuses on therapeutic deep tissue massage. Through assessment and advanced skills she can bring you the wellness you are looking for!

Book online today at

What is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping therapy has become the latest fad after the Rio Olympics. You may have noticed that many Olympic athletes, including swimmer Michael Phelps and US gymnast Alex Naddour, had some large purple circles on their backs, shoulders and arms. Those marks were the result of cupping. Cupping is a lot like the inverse of massage ‚Äď rather than applying pressure to muscles, it uses gentle pressure to pull them upward. This provides the benefit of increased blood flow to the muscles.

What is Cupping?

Cupping is a core part of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, a therapy that originated in China thousands of years ago.

Essentially there are two types of cupping: dry and wet cupping.

Dry cupping involves placing cups on the acupuncture points (with negative air pressure inside) on the skin to create a suction, which increases blood circulation, help relieve pain, remove “heat” and pull out the toxins that linger in your bodies tissues to the area where the cups are placed. This is the type of cupping therapy we practice at Core Elements.




Wet cupping is a traditional Chinese Medicine therapy which is a type of controlled bloodletting by puncturing the skin and using the suction to draw out a small quantity of blood, which are believed to help remove harmful substances and toxins from the body.




The Science Behind Why Cupping can Help

Neck and shoulder pain is a manifestation of the stretched myofascial tissues in the area. When cupping is performed, it lifts the skin from the myofascial network by creating a vacuum. As blood rushes to fill the empty space, it brings with it fresh nutrients and oxygen. This infusion works to heal the affected area by clearing away the knots and constrictions in the muscles. In addition to blood, the area also receives more lymph. Knots and stiffness can also be caused by a buildup of toxins, dead cells, and other debris. The lymph works to clear the toxins and cleanse it so that healing is further promoted.

Why use cupping?

  • ¬†It‚Äôs non-invasive. Cupping is a gentle treatment that is relatively harm-free.
  • It‚Äôs a great alternative for people who would benefit from acupuncture treatment but don‚Äôt like needles
  • So relaxing! Cupping is warming to the body. It feels like a deep tissue massage, and the effects are similar too.
  • It stands the test of time. Although this treatment is trendy right now, its use in Chinese Medicine dates back to 281 A.D. It was even used in Ancient Egypt as far back as 1550 B.C!
  • ¬†Cupping can treat a wide variety of conditions. Some of these include: muscle tension (especially in the back, shoulders, and legs), migraines, allergies, acne, eczema, indigestion, asthma, arthritis and fibromyalgia.
  • ¬†It can benefit your mental health. This treatment not only works on your body, but your mind too. It can help to bring up trapped emotions, and has been known to help with anxiety and depression.
  • ¬†Cupping works quickly! Like a massage, some of the benefits of cupping can be felt immediately during treatment and last for days.

What are the Effects of Cupping?

  • There are minimal side effects. Since cupping is such a gentle therapy, there are essentially no side effects.
  • Cupping can cause the skin to temporarily turn red, blue or purple, especially if there is an injury or energetic blockage under the area cupped. This is due to the release of the bodies toxins. The skin discoloration can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, but is rarely painful. ¬†Once the marks have cleared, the procedure can be repeated until the condition or ailment is resolved.
  • Avoid cupping if you are on a blood thinning medication or have a bleeding disorder.

We have many trained therapists at Core Elements that practice Dry Cupping and incorporate it into their treatments.  Call today to book an appointments for better health!


Spring is here! How to transition from treadmill to the roads.

Spring is in the air.  Birds are singing, sun is shining and runners are, well, running.

Many in the Ottawa area are ramping up training for the big Tamarack Race weekend on May 27-28 and many other races our community has to offer.  It’s a time when many runners make the transition from treadmill to tarmac.

Concrete and asphalt are less forgiving surfaces than treadmills so slow transitions are ideal so muscles can adjust because it’s definitely harder on the body.  Running outside uses more muscles than running on a treadmill such as all the little stabilizer muscles which you don’t really normally use on a treadmill because the treadmill is so forgiving and so absolutely flat.  As you transition outside on to roads, paths and trails, you’re going to get a lot more undulating terrain and with that you’re going to start incorporating and bringing in different muscles.

Here are some tips to make the transition from the treadmill to the road more comfortable on your body for spring running:

  1. Give your body time to adjust- Start your spring transition by moving your shorter mid-week runs outdoors. ¬†If that goes well and doesn’t hurt, move your longer runs outdoors the following week. Another way to ease the impact forces on long runs outside is to add a one minute walking interval for every mile during your long run. It will cut the impact forces and allow you to cover the distance with less risk of soreness.
  2. Replace your shoes- The change of season is a great time to take a good look at your running shoes and consider replacing them. Your running shoes are essential in the protection of your feet and joints. They must absorb shock, control motion, and be flexible and durable. When shoes start to break down they no longer support your feet or your body well. If you are experiencing new running aches such as sore arches, shin pain, stiff knees or annoying blisters, your body is telling you that it’s time for new shoes.
  3. Stretching is key- As your body adapts to spring running take extra care to warm up well, hydrate and stretch. Your calves, thighs, hips and buttocks may feel stiff and tight after running on pavement or in the trails. Stretching can help ease this discomfort but save your static stretching for after your run. Static stretching before exercise can weaken performance, tire your muscles and increase your risk of injury. Warming up before your run with dynamic stretches such as body weight squats, walking lunges, leg swings, hip circles or butt kicks will prepare your body for a great workout.
  4. Give your body a tune up- As you increase your training, be sure to get regular tune ups to keep your body moving in the right direction. Treat your muscles to a post-run or most definitely a post-race massage at Core Elements. Experience the many benefits of massage therapy which include easing muscle pain, speeding up recovery, improving circulation and prevention of injury.

Our team at Core Elements love running and are very experienced and knowledgeable about what therapy a runner needs as many of us are runners ourselves!
Book in for a Deep tissue sports massage  or if an injury is impeding your training we offer rehabilitation massage.

We offer Gift Certificates for those in need of therapy. Give the gift of health:)

Book an appointment online or call 613-590-9339.

Keep on running!!!

To left is a picture of Dawn Oehring RMT, Erin White RMT and Shannon Farrell RMT running the half marathon at the 2015 Army Run.

The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Children

The holistic benefits of massage are not confined to patients of any particular age. In fact, the ancient practice of massage has been shown to improve overall health in people at every stage of life, regardless of their background, age or occupation.  The medical community is increasingly cognizant of the particular ways children may benefit from massage Рhow optimizing the body’s performance can help support crucial stages of growth and development. Children who are exposed to massage at an early age may develop an intrinsic appreciation for its capacity to both sooth and strengthen the body.  As a growing number of Canadians succumb to stress (and stress related disease), it is more important than ever to reinforce healthy habits for a more balanced lifestyle Рa practice best begun in childhood.  Massage as a therapy is effective for children whether they be infants, preschoolers, teens or even young adults, and making massage therapy a routine in the child’s life can help it to grow into a balanced and mature adult.

Massage Therapy provides endless benefits for your child, some of which include:

Sports Performance and Injury Prevention

Hockey, soccer, football, dance, or gymnastics are just a few of the sports your child may be active in. ¬†Some children are not only involved in one, but multiple sports whether recreational or competitive. ¬†As a parent you might be wondering can a massage help my child enhance their sport performance and allow them to be less susceptible to an injury. ¬†Yes! ¬†Regular massage treatments will allow for an increased blood flow to children’s growing muscles resulting in less muscles tension, an increase in joint range of motion which can decrease overall stiffness, and cause a relaxation response. ¬†All of these benefits are sure to allow for muscles and joints to recover while decreasing post physical activity soreness and preparing your little athlete for the next sport event.

Relief from Stress and Anxiety 

We often think of stress as an adult affliction; but the truth is that even very young children experience stress and anxiety.  Children have their own exposure to stress, which can come from school, family, technology or even playtime with their peers Рall are facts of life that most young people must learn to cope with as they progress toward maturity.  This stress can cause imbalance in the immune system and hormonal imbalances as well. Massage therapy can act as a stress buster for children, even when they have passed the stage of infancy.  Massage practiced regularly can help a child reduce stress, which can in turn may help a child to sleep better.


Tummy aches is a common complaint among young children Рand quite often a source of worry for parents. Although gastroenteritis, over-eating, or a food intolerance are common offenders, constipation is the most likely culprit when it comes to abdominal pain in children.  Rather than relying solely on laxatives or diet, many parents turn to massage therapy to sooth stomach ache due to digestive dysfunction. Gentle abdominal massage may alleviate colic in newborns and can be helpful in addressing other digestive issues that arise as children mature. Under the guidance of a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT), parents can learn to administer the technique at home, perhaps avoiding an unnecessary trip to the ER or another missed day of school.

Body Language and self esteem

A massage therapy treatment encourages kids to communicate about what they are feeling. ¬†Many questions are asked through out their treatment such as: ¬†What is causing pain and describe? Too much or too little pressure? ¬†Are you uncomfortable? ¬†What feels good and what doesn’t feel good. ¬†This dialogue helps them develop their ability to say what they want and don’t want happening to their bodies and it helps build confidence in their ability to communicate about themselves. ¬†It is a great skill to develop early on in life.

What happens for a child’s first massage therapy treatment? Usually the child’s parent brings a book and sits in the treatment room with their child during the first appointment. ¬†At the second appointment, the parent most often sits in the waiting area and at some point when the child is comfortable, the parent drops the child off and returns after the appointment is over. ¬†However, any of these situations is fine at any point – the parent can sit in on every session or sit in the waiting area every time. It is up to the child and their consent is respected.

Children Ages 6 and 10 years seem most comfortable with a 30 minute appointment and older children to teens tend to prefer a 45-60 minute treatment, but each child is unique and has different needs and attentions spans.


At Core Elements we love treating children and encourage them communicate and grow to love massage, in return, teaching them to take care of them selves!

Many of our RMT’s specialize with children massage if it be for stress, anxiety, ¬†developmental disabilities or sports performance we would be happy to help guide you and your child to the benefits of Massage Therapy.

Call 613-590-9339 or book online at

The CE Team:)

Invest in Rest -The importance of adding rest days to your workout routines.

REST -Repair, Eat, Sleep, Time -It is part of the program and so often overlooked. Especially by those of us who can be pretty extreme and try to fit 3483984 things into our day.

Did you know that exercise can have the same affect on the brain as heroine? It’s addicting. The more we do it, the more we crave it.  We imagine the rush of energy we’ll experience once we start working out and then that gets us wanting to move.

Here’s the bottom line…

You NEED a rest day. Even professional athletes take a rest days. It’s required for the mind and the body. We often push our bodies beyond they’re levels and continue to push without even realizing it. Sometimes we just need to chill.

We don’t get results from our workouts during our workouts. The workout itself simply stimulates muscle growth, when you do hard weight training you are breaking down muscle tissue. It’s only when you give your body time to rest and recover in between workouts when actual muscle growth takes place.

That’s the point of a rest day, to make sure you’ve given your body the time to show off your hard work.  A good structured workout program will have rest days planned out in advance. Taking rest days will allow for better recovery of your muscles and central nervous system. This will give your body time to fully rest, recover, and grow between workouts. Then on the days when you do workout; you’ll feel stronger, have more energy, and be able to train harder in the gym.

A common mistake of people new to exercising Рand really even among experienced exercisers Рis to workout too hard, too often. This might not seem like a big problem initially, but over-training can effect your health and is something that needs to be taken seriously. When you complete a full body workout routine, or do lots of compound movements like squats, push-ups, overhead presses or deadlifts, our muscles get broken down.  Then, over the next 24-72 hours hours, those muscles get rebuilt a tiny bit stronger. That’s why it doesn’t benefit us to work out the same muscles every day; We don’t want to destroy our muscles without giving them a chance to grow back stronger.

In a nutshell, this is a good rule; if a muscle group is still sore from a previous workout, do not train it intensely again until it has healed and is no longer sore. For example, if your thighs are sore from a lower body strength workout you did yesterday, you should not train them again today – or the next, wait at least 72 hrs to train that specific muscle group again. It doesn’t mean you have to take a complete rest day; you could train your upper body or core, or stick to light cardio, yoga, stretching, etc. ¬†Balancing your workouts to target different muscle groups on different days of the week allows you to take fewer rest days, but even then, you should save at least 1-3 days a week for rest, or at least active rest or active recovery.

What is active rest or active recovery?
You don’t have to spend your whole “rest day” on the couch (you can, that’s fine too!). ¬†Light physical activity on a rest day can help boost your mood, your health, and your progress or ability to maintain your weight or fitness level. If you’re looking to stay active even on your rest days, ¬† good rule is that the activity should not be something that would cause you sore muscles. It should be at a reduced intensity from your normal workouts – meaning that even an active rest day is on somewhat of a sliding scale relative to your own fitness levels. ¬† One of the best things you can do on an off day is to work on your flexibility and mobility. ¬†After all, what good is strength if we can‚Äôt move our body properly to utilize it! Dynamic stretching and mobility work helps prepare our body for the rigors of strength training and keeps us injury free!

How many rest days should I take?

This is a great question but one that doesn‚Äôt have a one word answer….It depends. ¬†It depends on your fitness level, if you‚Äôre training for anything and your job.

If you’re new to exercise, it’s likely you’ll need 2-3 days of complete rest. For most people 2 days is acceptable and for very few of us, we can succeed with a single rest day.

Over-training symptoms are diverse and different for each person, but here are a few symptoms you should watch out for:

  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Severe fatigue
  • Slower healing & longer recovery times
  • Changes in mood and ability to focus or concentrate
  • Amenorrhea – Missed or very irregular periods
  • Aches & pains – particularly of the joints
  • Depressed immune system – increased chance of catching colds and other infections
  • Changes in performance – if you find yourself moving slower, lifting less than you’re normally able to, having to take more rest breaks and generally not push yourself as hard as you normally do, you could be over-training

Massage is an effective method of exercise recovery.  Schedule a professional massage on your off day to help remove toxins in your muscles, break up scar tissue and lengthen your muscles. It promotes blood flow, supplies nutrients to your muscle tissues and increase flexibility.   To lift right after your massage, you are not giving your body proper time to heal and hydrate with water; to rid all of the lactic acid and inflammation from your body.  You will just build on top of what you already had prior to your session.  It is recommended to take 24 hrs off of your exercise routine after a massage treatment.

Schedule your REST day at Core Elements Registered Massage Therapy and book online or cal 613-590-9339

In health- The CE Team


Core Elements Registered Massage Therapy are again finalists in the Orleans Chamber Excellance Awards!

We are proud to announce that Orleans Massage Therapy clinic, Core Elements Registered Massage Therapy, are finalists for “New Business of the Year” and our very own Dawn Oehring RMT is a finalist for “Health Care & Wellness Professional of the Year”!

These Business Excellence Awards are presented yearly through The Orleans Chamber of Commerce which is an organization that business leaders join to support the local economy. ¬†The Orleans Chamber are business in ‚ÄúOttawa-East‚ÄĚ ¬†which include the area from the Ottawa River to the north, up to and including Cumberland Village¬†to the east, Highway 417¬†to the south, and¬†Vanier Parkway ‚Äď Riverside Drive to the west. ¬†Currently the Orleans Chamber of Commerce has 300+ members!

There are are 13 categories for the Awards.  All business and individuals are openly nominated by the public and can be a member or non member of the Orleans Chamber.  When nominated, businesses and individuals must complete and submit a detailed application to a panel of 4 outside judges, who then decide on the top 4 finalists in each category.

The winner in each category are too selected by these panel of judges which is a new and honest decision making technique for the Chamber Awards. It the past the winners in each category were decided through public voting which lead to some bias votes.

Winners are announced at the upcoming gala on January 26, 2017. Visit the Orleans Chamber website for the top 4 qualifiers in each category.

Core Elements is proud to be nominated and selected as finalists in 2 categories! We strive to provide excellence in customer service and advanced Orleans massage therapy while supporting our community and economy.

Go Core Elements !


Give the gift of the Senses this holiday season!

We have the perfect gift idea for family and friends with our Essential Oil Gift Baskets!


For the Christmas season we have put together some of our teams favorite essential oils to share with you.

esopicThe Wellness Box contains 4 essential Oils that will help with everyday aliments at $29.99

  • Eucalyptus- For the cold season, helps strengthen immune system and fight bacterial or viral infections.
  • Lavender- Relaxing and helps you unwind, sleep or reduce stress.
  • Lime- Invigorating, leaving you feeling strong and bright.
  • Sweet Orange- Refreshing and energizing to your senses.

Our ESO Diffuser Box contains an Electric diffuser along with 5 different oils at $49.99

  • Electric Diffuser scent ball with refill tabs
  • Cinnamon Bark- Festive holiday aroma
  • Eucalyptus- For the cold season, helps strengthen immune system and fight bacterial or viral infections.
  • Lavender- Relaxing and helps you unwind, sleep or reduce stress.
  • Lime- Invigorating, leaving you feeling strong and bright.
  • Sweet Orange- Refreshing and energizing to your senses.

We also carry a variety of therapeutic needs great for stocking stuffers. Yoga tune balls, Biofreeze gel, and much more!

Visit us at 2034 St.Joseph Blvd, Orleans to pick up yours today. Limited quantity on gift baskets.


Merry Christmas!





Massage Therapy Health Benefits- Don’t leave your health unclaimed for 2016

Survey after survey finds Canadians want more vacation time and better health benefits at work.  While most of us have some extended health coverage, few of us are actually making use of the benefits we have.

With job-related stress accounting for an estimated $16 billion in Canada ($300 billion in the United States) and repetitive strain injuries (RSI) estimated to affect one in 10 Canadians it is hard to believe people don’t use the benefits they work so hard to have that can help with these situations.

As costs to administer extended health plans continue to rise, employers are trying to meet the wellness needs of their employees by offering strategies for stress management, regular medical screenings and other preventive health care measures. Now they’re also faced with trying to encourage employees to use them.

The survey also took a look at paramedical benefits, like chiropractic, massage, physiotherapy and psychological services. All have seen an increase in usage over the last decade, but are still being claimed by only a small percentage of those eligible for the benefits.

Massage claims have increased from just under 10 per cent of plan members to about 27 per cent since 2001. Regular Massage therapy treatment is a large contributing factor is keeping claims for workplace injury ‚Äďlost workdays, turnover and employee dissatisfaction ‚Äď down.¬†

There is one month left to take advantage of the benefits you work hard to earn. Take time for yourself, improve well being and happiness through this busy time year.  At Core Elements we make the process even easier for you since we do insurance submissions for most* major insurance companies.  Just bring in your insurance card/info and let us save you the hassle.  Pay today and get your return in 48 hours!

Be part of the new wave of health care and take a 60 minute mini vacation:) Book in today!

Core Elements Registered Massage Therapy-613-590-9339



Are you SAD? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and how Massage Therapy can help.

sadThe Winter season is fast ¬†approaching…… shortened days, cold, snow, icy rain, and lack of sunshine. ¬†When the seasons change many people, 1 in 5 to be exact, can suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD) which is serious mood altering state and can be rather intense during the late fall/winter season due to the lack of sunlight.¬†Less sunlight in the winter, coupled with more time indoors, can trigger¬†SAD. ¬†It is proven to be a serious form of depression and reduce the quality of life for those with the disorder.

Sunlight is very critical to our mental well being because it helps release endorphins in the body and to regulate melatonin.  These two hormones are part of what give people their sense of well-being and translates to their feeling of vitality.  SAD is believed to be caused by the decrease in hours of daylight, lack of sun and vitamin D.

Those who suffer from SAD describe feeling sad, weepy, wanting to get away from people, and having a reduced interest in interacting or even talking to others.  Other common symptoms of SAD are: mood swings, feeling unmotivated, over-eating, irritability, depression, disruptive sleep, feelings of hopelessness, lack of concentration, and fatigue.  The National Institute of Health (NIH) classifies SAD as a form of depression.   Effective tools such as light therapy (sun lamps) along with Massage Therapy help battle SAD symptoms.
How can Core Elements help?

A recent article from the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) catalogs several proven ways in which massage therapy can counteract physiological mood factors that often accompany SAD.  According to the AMTA, massage can:

  • Reduce anxiety and depression with a course of¬†care providing benefits similar in magnitude to those of psychotherapy.
  • Increase neurotransmitters associated with lowering anxiety and decrease hormones associated with increasing anxiety.
  • Significantly decrease heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure.
  • Improve mental health by reducing¬†depression in individuals with HIV,¬†lessen anxiety in cancer patients, reduce¬†anxiety and depression in military veterans and¬†lower work-related stress for nurses.

Treating those with SAD is one of the many ways that massage therapists can offer real help to their clients as part of an integrative medical team.

Therapeutic massage helps stimulate the circulatory system which can help with the release of mood boosting hormones like serotonin and encourage the body’s production of endorphins, our natural painkillers.   With decreased activity levels for many people during the winter months the circulatory benefits also help with increasing energy and immunity levels.
Many clients are using Massage Therapy as the number one tool to help them relieve their stress and tension while struggling with SAD.

Other helpful lifestyle changes you can do to combat SAD symptoms:

Routine: It can be easy to get out of routine when we are feeling lethargic and our sleep pattern is disrupted. By ensuring you go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time every day you avoid disturbing your body clock.

Electronics:Try to limit the use of phones, tablets and TVs just before bed. These will put artificial light into the eye and can mess up the delicate chemical balances making it harder for you to fall asleep at night.

Get outdoors: Try and spend some time outside every day. It can be hard to motivate yourself to get out but by exposing yourself to natural light you will naturally boost your Serotonin levels which will have a big effect on your mood.

Exercise: Studies have shown that exercising regularly is a great way of naturally boosting production of Serotonin. Exercise will also help wear you out so you feel more sleepy at night time, which will also help regulate your body clock.

Eat healthily: The food your body craves during winter can actually leave you feeling lethargic and tired. Plus they can lead you to gain weight which can lead to feelings of frustration and depression. Try to counter this with lots of fruit and vegetables (and make sure you treat yourself to what you enjoy too!). Some people find taking a Vitamin B12 or a Vitamin D supplement can help as well.

Reduce stress: Try to avoid planning stressful life events for the winter months if you know you naturally find this time of year harder. Things like changing jobs or moving home, where possible, should be planned for the summer. Winter can be a stressful time anyway; the holiday period can lead to financial strain and difficult family events so try to do your Christmas shopping ahead of time and don’t put yourself under pressure to go to every party you are invited to.

Ramp up the self-care:¬†First…¬†Book yourself¬†a massage, then find time to unwind with craft activities or learn relaxation techniques such as mindfulness or meditation.

Book a holiday: A more expensive option but some people with SAD book their ‚Äėsummer holiday‚Äô during winter, while others will go somewhere closer to the equator for the whole of the winter period. However, some people do report a real slump in their mood when they return to the UK so bear this in mind when considering this option.

Support:¬† Talking therapy, Speak to your friends and family. Ask them to read this so they understand what you are going through and why. It will help them be more understanding and supportive. Having people to talk to who are going through the same thing can also be invaluable ‚Äď many ‚Äėgeneral‚Äô depression support groups will also have people who suffer from SAD.

St John’s Wort:  A herbal remedy that has been shown to be helpful for some in coping with the symptoms of winter blues. Be careful when using alongside light therapy as it can make you sensitive to bright light and make sure you speak to your GP if you are using any other medication before trying.

Sharing is caring: please share this blog to help others, you never know who might need it. 

Book a massage and enjoy the benefits a massage therapy treatment can provide for SAD.  Our warm heated tables and skilled staff will put you at ease.

The CE Team



Why Drink More Water? Top 10 Benefits!

waterCommit to drinking more water! ¬†There are so many health benefits to drinking water and it’s so easy so free yet so overlooked. ¬†Water makes up about 60% of the body there for you need water to function properly. ¬†We begin to show signs of early dehydration (thirst, dry mouth, fatigue, headache, etc.) as soon as that figure begins to drop. Your brain alone is actually ¬†90% water!!

The amount of water each individual needs is different but some suggest 8 (8oz) glasses a day. ¬†While your activity level, environment (temperature and humidity), and diet (including other beverages) all affect your required intake¬†but if your urine isn’t mostly clear or you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, you most likely aren’t getting enough H2O.

I find it helpful to fill a 1-liter container that I can use throughout the day to better monitor my intake. Seeing that container go down motivates me to keep drinking! The visual goal really helps. If you don’t care for the taste of……nothing, then try adding slices of citrus fruit (lemon, lime, or orange), cucumber, pineapple, or even mint leaves if you need a hint of flavor.

Like any new lifestyle change, it is best to start small: if you aren’t drinking any water, try for just a glass in the morning and one in the afternoon; gradually increase your intake each day.

Check out some of the Benefits of Drinking Water: ¬†Don’t Medicate, Hydrate!

  1. Increases Energy & Relieves Fatigue- Our brain is 90% H20 so drinking it helps you think, focus and concentrate.
  2. Promotes Weight Loss- Removes by-products of fat, reduces hunger, raises metabolism and zero calories!
  3. Detoxifies-by flushing our toxins through sweat and urine.
  4. Improves Skin Complexion- Best Anti-aging treatment around!
  5. Maintains Regularity in Digestion
  6. Boosts your Immune System by how it speeds the process of flushing out toxins
  7. Natural Headache Remedy- Headaches are commonly caused by dehydration.
  8. Prevents Muscle Aches & Cramps by lubricating the tissues to become more elastic.
  9. Puts you in good mood because your body is functioning at it’s best!
  10. Save you money$ Water is free!!

After a Massage Therapy Treatment you will often hear us say “Drink plenty of water” this is to help flush and remove the waste and lactic acid build up that is released in the tight muscles through out the massage. ¬†When you drink plenty of water after a treatment you help this process and it prevents excessive stiffness or sore muscles 48 hours after a treatment.

Cheers to good health:)

*Avoid storing your water in plastic containers due to the dangers of BPA‚Äď Stainless steel or glass is best; be sure to regularly wash reusable bottles.


Is training for your race causing you a pain in the knee?

This weekend is Ottawa’s Army Race weekend! The popular event brings out thousands of runners to the 5 km and half marathon (21.1 km) distances. ¬†Many hours of training are put into the preparation for this run and with the over use of muscles comes pain and dysfunction at with many athletes. ¬†Have you ever experienced pain at the knee cap(patella) during and /or after your run that hinders your enjoyment and efficiency? One of the most common conditions we see with training is Patellofemoral Syndrome. ¬†Massage Therapy is an excellent modality to help repair and re-align the tracking of your knee cap(patella) so you can be at the top of your race!!

What is Patellofemoral Syndrome?

Tracking or instability problem with the knee cap (patella) that causes pain in the front of the knee. The patella has a specific gliding path that it takes in order for the knee joint to properly move.  Patellofemoral Syndrome occurs when a muscle pulls the patella out of its proper pathway, causing inflammation, pain, and degeneration within the knee joint. You can have pain only in one knee or both.


What causes Patellofemoral Syndrome?

A number of issues can cause Patellofemoral Syndrome:

  1. Abnormal biomechanics- increased foot pronation, valgus leg posture
  2. Imbalance of strength between lateral and medial quadriceps muscles- pulling the patella more to one side
  3. Tight lateral quadriceps (vastus lateralis). This can pull the knee cap (patella) laterally out of its normal gliding pathway
  4. Overuse and stress to knee


How can massage help?

Massage can help by:

  1. Reduce any inflammation that has occurred within the knee joint
  2. Release trigger points that have occurred as a result of overuse or muscle imbalance
  3. Reduce tension in tight muscles that are pulling patella out alignment
  4. Decrease scar tissue build up and fascial adhesions.
  5. Increase mobility in tight joints such has ankle, foot, hip, knee.
  6. Provide proper self-care and strengthening exercises

Many will say rest from the aggravating activity, ¬†this is so you don’t cause excessive damage to the involved tissue. Taking immediate attention with Massage Therapy and being disciplined with your home care exercises you can continue with your training and not fall off your plan.

Coming in for a focused and therapeutic Massage Treatment at Core Elements, followed by the attention to the below exercises daily, can help set you on the right path to recovery.


calf-stretchCalf stretch:
Facing the wall, standing about two feet away, place your hands against wall. Step forward with one foot and a bent knee. With both heels on the floor, lean your hips towards the wall while keeping the leg in the back straight to stretch the calf muscle. Hold for a count of 20. Repeat 3 times.

quad-stretch-standingQuad Stretch
Standing near something that can be used for support, reach back with one hand, grabbing your foot and ankle.  Bend your knee and bring your heel up towards your buttocks.  Contract your gluteal muscle at the same time to be sure your pelvis is in the right position for the best stretch. Hold for a count of 30. Repeat 3 times.

Sitting on the edge of a bed or sturdy table with one leg off the edge, the other leg straightened on the bed or table, lean towards the straightened leg keeping your back straight. Hold for a count of 30. Repeat 3 times.


exercise-with-pillowHip Adductor strengtheningРThis exercise can be performed seated or lying on your back with both with knees bent.  Place a pillow towel roll or ball between your knees.  Squeeze your knees together and hold for ten seconds. Repeat this exercise ten times.


wall-slidesQuadriceps strengthening– Stand with your back against a wall, with your feet one and one-half to two feet from the wall. Slowly bend your knees and slide to a sitting position as far down as comfortable. Don’t allow your knees to move forward of your feet and or you hips to move lower than your knees. Hold for ten to twenty seconds and then return to standing. Repeat five times. ¬†If this is not comfortable try lying down on the ground and preform a straight leg lift. Raise your leg several inches off the ground and hold for 10 seconds then lower.

Foam rolling of the quads and gluteal muscles is another exercise to help break down tissue adhesions that can also contribute to the problem.

Book your massage online at or call us at 613-590-9339.

Good luck to all the runners this weekend!! We have a few of our RMT’s running as well, so we will be there cheering you on!:)

Your CE Team

What sets Core Elements above the standard? We focus on the core elements of care.

At Core Elements we understand that choosing the right Registered Massage Therapy clinic can be a daunting task.

What sets Core Elements above the standard?  We focus on the core elements of care.

 Above the Expectation in Client Service and Care 

Our clinic provides exceptional attention to detail regarding service and your health. ¬†You are taken care of the minute you walk in our doors by our friendly reception staff that is on hand 7 days a week. ¬†They are there by phone or email to help you with any questions, concerns and appointment needs. ¬†All our Registered Massage Therapists (RMT’s) are full-time in the profession. ¬†Core Elements therapists are focus-driven who provide attentive and therapeutic treatment so you can be confident your care will be individualized and effective.

Clinical Assessment and Focused treatment

Your RMT will take time to listen and assess your situation, condition and posture so a focused plan and treatment can be offered. ¬†We listen and address what you need.¬†¬†Our skilled RMT’s will further educate you of any underling issues that may actually be the prime reason of your pain to bring you to full resolution of your discomfort.

Consistent¬†Excellence¬†with all of our RMT’s

All Core Elements RMT’s are registered and in good standing with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO). ¬†With the CMTO 2200 hr training in anatomy, physiology, pathology, kinetics, hands on treatments and much more, a massage therapist provides informative medical knowledge. ¬†In addition to this certification and registration, continuing education is paramount . This is where Core Elements RMT’s exceed with excellence! We are continually reevaluating, educating and expanding our knowledge in the Massage Therapy profession so we can provide the most informative touch to our clients. ¬†With our regular group training, we as a team set a standard for our clinic care so you receive the most consistent and excellent care with all of our therapists. ¬†As can be expected, all therapists have their own unique approach to care but you will always receive an educated, informative, understanding, empathetic and attentive touch with all therapists and treatments.

Home Care to Help you Stay Pain Free

Education, home care exercises and stretches are just as important as the massage therapy treatment itself.  Core Elements therapists are informative and in touch with your needs so they can provide you with the proper home care, bringing you to full rehabilitation and a healthy pain-free state.  We also offer a large section of therapeutic tools and aids to help with your continued care such as foam rollers, yoga tune up balls, posture aids, heating pads and much more.

Network of Health Care Professionals

Massage Therapy is proven to be very beneficial to many conditions and aliments and it is our sole focus.  With therapeutic and rehabilitative treatment, we look at our clients comprehensive health care needs and at times the skills of other health care professionals are advised.  This is why we work closely within our community of Orleans and the Ottawa area with other like-minded health care professionals so we can confidently refer you to the best care.

Positive and Welcoming Atmosphere

Along with the therapeutic hands-on approach to health care comes another important aspect to overall wellness: Positive Energy. ¬†At Core Elements, ¬†improving the well-being of others is our passion and we strive to create a warm, positive and inviting atmosphere for our clients. ¬†You will always be greeted with a smile and feel welcome. ūüôā



At Core Elements we personalize each treatment to your needs. Whether for recent injury, rehabilitation, chronic pain or stress/anxiety relief,  our growing team of therapists have the skills to meet your healthcare needs.

Call us today at 613-590-9339 or check us out on-line at for on-line booking and more information.





Self Massage home care with Yoga Tune Up balls

At Core Elements Registered Massage Therapy we believe that continuing your care at home is just as important as a massage itself.  A little home work is good for everyone:) We sell many therapy products that help with the home care exercises your Core Elements therapist may give you.  YTU (yoga tune up) therapy balls are a favored method of self care by many of our clients and we carry and sell both YTU balls and Alpha Balls.  Our own Brittany Pastorek RMT is a certified YTU instructor and she wanted to explain to all the benefits of YTU balls and how they are used.

YTU (yoga tune up) balls were designed by Jill Miller to assist with self massage and proper body self care for athletes, people with chronic pain and everyone who wants to relieve aches and pains they may be feeling.

How the yoga therapy balls help with self-care:

-They relieve aches and pains

-They enhance breathing function

-They increase mobility

-They reduce stress

-They improve posture and performance

yoga tuneThe size of the balls varies. ¬†An Alpha ball is the large firm blue ball that provides pressure over a larger surface area and can be less intense than the original YTU balls. The Alpha ball is great for massaging muscles including the glutes, low back, hip flexors, and larger leg muscles whereas the original sized YTU balls come in a tote bag and are great for the rotator cuff, feet ,upper back and neck muscles. The larger abdominal ball is about 9″ in diameter and is used to massage the diaphragm and abdominal muscles which help greatly with posture and digestive issues. ¬†The larger the surface of the ball the better it is for targeting bigger muscles and providing a less intense pressure, while the smaller the balls the more intensity and pressure you will feel.

YTU balls are more effective than tennis, lacrosse or golf balls as the sport balls lack a few specifics that the YTU balls were designed for.

yoga tune 2YTU balls were made with a pliable surface that permits the ball to sink into bony prominences while still contacting the soft tissue.  YTU balls were also made with a grippy surface to grab all the tissue layers when massaging.  The balls were also designed to absorb your body weight.  The harder the surface of the ball or even foam roller means they are unable to conform to the bony structures that they roll against and can cause bruising and irritation of the bone.

YTU therapy balls are a great tool to assist with home care after any massage therapy treatment.  These balls are used for self-massage to continue the great affects of your massage from your therapist and promotes improved posture as well as alleviate aches and pains creating relaxation in your soft tissues.

Brittany Pastorek Registered Massage Therapist Orleans-RMT

Brittany Pastorek RMT and certified Yoga Tune Up and fitness instructor would be happy to treat and educate you on the benefits of massage therapy incorporated with YTU care.

Brittany’s detailed bio and online booking is at¬†

or you can contact us at 613-590-9339 for any further info.

Core Elements transition to a new online booking calendar!


At Core Elements we are always striving to improve our services and client care. We are pleased to inform our valued clients that starting on Wednesday June 8th our clinic will be transitioning to a paperless accounting and booking system.  We will be working with a new program that will allow our clients to fill in and update their personal information online, view past appointments, receive their massage receipts by e-mail and many more exciting features.

This seamless new booking tool will be simple and easy to use for our clients, and is Canadian based. We know how important security is to our clients, and we wanted to work with a Canadian company that is both innovative and secure to provide the best in client confidentiality and customer service.

We will be inputting all of our pre-scheduled appointments into the new system; once that first appointment under your name is booked, you will be sent a link to our new health history form. We kindly ask that you fill out your health history and personal information online when the new form is sent to you. 
FullSizeRender (4)

An example of the email you will receive with your booking confirmation will look like the image on the left.

Please click the “Complete Intake Form” to fill out and submit your current info for our paperless records. ¬†Completing your form at home saves you time prior to your booking. ¬†We would really appreciate your assistance in updating our records.

If you have any troubles we will be happy to help you complete your health history information form when your arrive for your next appointment on one of our clinic tablets.

We are looking forward to the future, and are excited to be able to provide our clients with a fresh and modern tool to book their appointments.

We thank you for your help and we hope to see you soon!

Your Core Elements Registered Massage Therapy Team


Have you joined us on Facebook?

We love communicating with everyone on Facebook! Our posts consist of informative information for your health and well being. Keep up date on our community events and contests as well!
Join our Core Elements Facebook page and be ready for all the helpful topics that you can share with friends and family.


See you online! “LIKE”

Mother’s Day Gift Certificate Package

Mother’s Day is this Sunday May 8th!!

Give the gift of Health and Wellness with our Core Elements Serenity Package.

She will Enjoy a 60 minute Lavender Orange aromatherapy massage with a therapeutic paraffin wax foot treatment and a special take home gift!

mothers day


Only $100 +HST

The perfect gift to show Mom how much you appreciate her hard work and love:)

Call 613-590-9339 or come visit the clinic at 2034 St.Joseph Blvd, Orleans.

More massage gift certificate options at

Temporomandibular Joint TMJ Dysfunction – Massage Therapy helps!!

You may ask… What exactly is the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)? ¬†TMJ is known as the jaw joint, it is a hinge joint that connects the jaw bone to the skull. It needs to be flexible in order to allow your jaw to move up and down and side. The TMJ is one of the most complex joints in the body and has many components such as: Bones, teeth, ligaments, tendons, nerves and muscles.

Dysfunction and pain in the TMJ is surprisingly common and affects between 65% and 85% of people in their lifetime.  Pain and clicking occurs in the joint when becomes dislodged and or compressed due to tight muscles due to grinding of teeth while sleeping, tightening of face muscles and clenching of the jaw due to stress, arthritis, postural dysfunction, or from accidents such as whiplash.

In addition,  TMJ can cause a ripple effect of problems in the neck and upper body.  A TMJ sufferer may also experience:

  • Pain in the neck and shoulders
  • Ear aches
  • Tinnitus
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Toothaches

Problems in the TMJ can cause severe discomfort and can be very problematic for dentists to treat.  Recently, however, dentists have begun to refer more TMJ patients to Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs), as the benefits of Massage Therapists that are specially trained in treating TMJ  have become more apparent.

Massage Therapy TMJ treatment  addresses the root cause of the issue, helping patients regain full movement and strength in the joint and relieving pain and discomfort. This treatment helps restore proper joint mechanics, which in turn can prevent long-term effects such as arthritis and adhesion/fibrosis.


Massage therapy modalities that can be beneficial to TMJ patients are numerous, and include:

  • Neuromuscular Therapy – To target triggers points in the jaw muscles as well as addressing postural distortion and bio-mechanical dysfunction
  • Intra-oral massage- Highly recommended to target the related¬†muscular head on.¬†If done correctly intra-oral massage is very comfortable for the client.
  • Cranial Sacral¬†Therapy – To unblock nerve passages in the spine, skull and cranial sutures
  • Swedish Massage – To reduce tension and anxiety
  • Myofascial Release – Relaxes and stretches affected muscles and fascial tissues in the jaw, neck, and shoulders
  • Post-isometric relaxation- ¬†Exercises to allow the jaw to relax in a not invasive way.

Benefits: Decreased pain, clicking, and popping; improved tracking of the jaw; decrease in clenching, headaches, and referred pain to teeth; increased awareness of how posture affects TMJ mechanics.

At Core Elements we are specially trained in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) treatment.  If you are looking for great results from the pain TMJ can cause we can help!




What is Myofascial Release?

Myofascial Release is a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the fascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion.

Each Myofascial Release Treatment session is performed directly on skin without oils, creams or machinery. This enables the therapist to accurately detect fascial restrictions and apply the appropriate amount of sustained pressure to facilitate release of the fascia.

What is Fascia?

Fascia is very densely woven, covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, as well as, all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is not just a system of separate coverings. It is actually one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. In this way you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater.

Trauma, inflammatory responses, and/or surgical procedures create fascial restrictions that can produce tensile pressures of approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain sensitive structures.¬† The medical approach is to drug patients so they temporarily are free from pain, but does nothing about the ‚Äústraight-jacket‚ÄĚ of pressure that is causing the pain.

Myofascial release provides lasting and comprehensive results and authentic healing. Some of the many issues Myofascial release helps are as follows:

  • Back Pain
  • Headaches
  • Whiplash
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Sports Injuries
  • Chronic Pain
  • Disc Problems
  • Migraines
  • Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
  • Neurological Dysfunction
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Adhesions
  • Carpal Tunnel
  • Jaw Pain (TMJ)
  • Painful Scars
  • Scoliosis
  • Infants/Children
  • Sciatica
  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome
  • Women’s Health Issues

One of the leading teachers in the field of Myofascial release is John F. Barns.  John was named one of the most influential persons in the therapeutic profession in the last century.  John F. Barnes, PT has been treating patients since 1960.

Many of our therapists at Core Elements are trained in Myofascial release.  Nicole Mielke is an expert in John F. Barnes Myofascial release.

Core#17 (1 of 1)                                        MFR

Nicole Mielke RMT                            Fascial web between muscle fibre and skin which spans the entire body


Come experience the pain relief and benefits to this amazing treatment. It is easily incorporated into any massage.

Book online at www.orleanscoreelements or call 613-590-9339


All above info from John F. Barnes, PT

Lymph Drainage Massage for you Health

You probably know by now that we are exposed to a ton of toxins daily, to be more specific over 82,000 different toxins. When toxins build up and if we don’t detox our system regularly, our organs become overburdened which compromises our overall health.  This is where the lymphatic system comes in play. The lymphatic system cleanses the fluid that surrounds the cells in your body by removing impurities and waste products. This helps cells in the body to function properly.  An unhealthy lymphatic system can lead to an impaired immune system and health problems such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, obesity, aches and pains, bloating and problems with digestion.  Even though you exercise your body daily, you also need to exercise your lymphatic system by helping it drain properly.  Keeping your lymphatic system in great shape is necessary for optimal health. The lymphatic system is no less essential than the blood circulatory system for human health and well-being.

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a type of gentle massage which is intended to encourage the natural drainage of the lymph, which carries waste products away from the tissues back toward the heart.  This is a gentle, non-invasive manual technique that has a powerful effect on the body and is very relaxing!

MLD is used for treatment of lymphedema, an accumulation of fluid that can occur after lymph nodes are removed during surgery, most often a mastectomy for breast cancer.

Lymphatic drainage has many benefits ranging from detoxification of the body, regeneration of burned, injured or wrinkled tissue, anti-aging effects, and relief of sinusitis, bronchitis, ear infections, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, constipation, insomnia, memory loss, cellulite, and obesity.

Start off your New Year with a beneficial Lymph Drainage Massage.  Kyla Levesque RMT provides specialized treatment in Lymph Drainage here at Core Elements Registered Massage Therapy.

lymphatic-drainage        Alexandra

Make your appointment online at or you can reach us at 613-590-9339

Kyla Levesque RMT and The Core Elements Team

Core Elements up for two awards with the Orleans Chamber of Commerce!

Core Elements is a finalist for two awards with the Orleans Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards!

We are excited for the big night January 28th when the winners of the Orleans Chamber Business Excellence Awards will be announced.

Core Elements is one of the top 3 finalists for “New Business of the Year”

This award is presented to an Ottawa-East business that started operation after January 1, 2013 and provides high quality products or services, exceptional customer service and strong community involvement.

Dawn Oehring RMT is one of the top 3 finalists for “Health Care Professional of the Year”

This award is presented to a Health Care and Wellness Professional in Ottawa-East who has maintained a high degree of professional integrity and worked tirelessly to improve the health of Ottawa-East residents. Doctors, dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, registered massage therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and physiotherapists all belong to this category.

We look forward to a fun night January 28th and thank you to all of great clients and fellow professionals for your support!




Core Elements is a Finalist for “New Business of the Year”!

Core Elements Registered Massage Therapy has been nominated and now a finalist for the “New Business of the Year Award” through the Orleans Chambers Business Excellence Awards.

This award is presented to an Ottawa-East business that started operation after January 1, 2013 and provides high quality products or services, exceptional customer service and strong community involvement.

Please take a moment and vote for us by clicking on the link below. Thank you so much for your support.



Do You Have Unclaimed Health Benefits?

Survey after survey finds Canadians want more vacation time and better health benefits at work. But while most of us have some extended health coverage, Very few of us are actually making use of the benefits.

As costs to administer extended health plans continue to rise, employers are trying to meet the wellness needs of their employees by offering strategies for stress management, regular medical screenings and other preventive health care measures. Now they’re also faced with trying to encourage employees to use them.

The survey also took a look at paramedical benefits, like chiropractic, massage, physiotherapy and psychological services. All have seen an increase in usage over the last decade, but are still being claimed by only a small percentage of those eligible for the benefits.

Massage claims have increased from just under 10 per cent of plan members to about 27 per cent since 2001. Chiropractic and physiotherapy claims are now sitting at 18 and just over 15 per cent respectively.

The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association estimates over 23 million people, or 67% of the population have extended health care benefits.

So why not take advantage of this amazing health preventative gift that you receive from your employer for working so hard?

Feel better, Improve posture and live well!

Book in for your unclaimed massage dollars before the end of the year to maximize on these benefits.

Core Elements Registered Massage Therapy


What makes us “Hands Above The Rest”?

At Core Elements our goal is to provide the best in client care and customer service. ¬†So what do we do different to be “Hands Above the Rest”?

Our Mission is focus and listen to you!  What and where do you need immediate care and with the skill of our dynamic therapists, we treat your prime areas of concern but also look and the body as a whole to resolve related issues.

We are a clinic that has a centered and therapeutic approach.  We take time to asses and listen each treatment which helps build a relationship and understanding with clients so you receive the highest level of care.

Our team of 10 therapists is diverse so there is a perfect fit for everyone.  We all work together as a team to resolve your concerns quickly and efficiently.  With a team of therapists that have over 50+ years experience combined,  you can put trust in our knowledge and skill.  We continually strive to educate to a higher level with many cutting edge therapies that we then incorporate in our treatments when it is best suited for your needs and care.

There is highly trained receptionist on at all times to help you with any questions, bookings and provide you with customer care before and after your treatment.

Our modern clinic is professional, clean and spacious.  Providing a confidential, warm and fun atmosphere.

Orleans is our home and our focus.  We participate in supporting our community through fundraising, the Orleans Chamber of Commerce and giving back to those in need.

We do direct billing for RCMP and VA clients as well as we offer claim submissions to all major insurance companies to save you the headache of the paper work.  Our convenient Online booking system is easy to use and allows us to be open to you 24/7!

We love your feed back to help us strive to that next level and keep us “Hands above the rest”

group rmt

~Core Elements Registered Massage Therapy group is professional, warm and friendly. The staff are knowledgeable and take each client’s needs into account. I feel I am in good hands. Thank you!

~I’ve recommended Core Elements to numerous friends and family members. Highly trained and skilled and a soothing environment. I’ve been seeing Adrienne for years, and she always gets to the root of my aches and pains.



2015 Army Run Half Marathon training was a hit!

Thanks to everyone who came out for our 14 week running group training for the Army Half Marathon.

It was a hit and all the hard work paid off on Sunday September 20th at Canada’s 2015 Army Run.

Our dedicated Core Elements RMT’s Celeste Constantineau, Erin White, Shannon Farrell and Dawn Oehring ran the half marathon in support of our troops.

Remember everyone to book your post race massage for those sore muscles!

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What is Golfers Elbow and What Can I Do?

Summer is among us and many of us are active with our favorite activities. ¬†If your activity is golf then you may experience pain in your elbows and forearms which is commonly know as “Golfer’s Elbow”.

Golfer’s elbow is a condition that causes pain on the inner side of your elbow, where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to the bony bump on the inside of your elbow. The pain may spread into your forearm and wrist. Golfer’s elbow is similar to Tennis elbow but it occurs on the inside, rather than the outside, of your elbow. ¬†The pain of golfer’s elbow doesn’t have to keep you off the course or away from your favorite activities. With rest and appropriate treatment, you can get back into the swing of things.

Golfer’s elbow is characterized by:

  • Pain and tenderness on the inner side of your elbow. Sometimes the pain extends along the inner side of your forearm.
  • Stiffness. Your elbow may feel stiff, and it may hurt to make a fist, turn a doorknob and lift small objects.
  • Weakness. You may have weakness in your hands and wrists.
  • Numbness or tingling. Many people with golfer’s elbow experience numbness or a tingling sensation that radiates into one or more fingers ‚ÄĒ usually the ring and little fingers.
  • The pain of golfer’s elbow may appear suddenly or gradually.

The sooner you begin treatment, the sooner you’ll be able to return to your usual activities.

Massage Therapy is a huge help with Golfers or Tennis elbow, it relaxes the tight muscles that have been over used during the sport.  Massage increases blood flow within the affected muscles , relieving knots which will then take the tension off the muscle tendon that is attached to your inner elbow (medial epicondyle).  Massage Therapists will also provide specific stretches that will target the proper area.  You can also provide yourself with help following the below suggestions.

  • Rest. Put your golf game or other repetitive activities on hold. If you return to activity too soon, you may make it worse.
  • Ice the affected area. Apply ice packs to your elbow for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, three to four times a day for several days. To protect your skin, wrap the ice packs in a thin towel. It may also help to massage the inner elbow with ice for five minutes at a time, two to three times a day.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Try ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen (Aleve, others) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
  • Stretch and strengthen the affected area.¬†Specific stretching and strengthening exercises.
  • Reduce the load on your elbow. Wrap your elbow with an elastic bandage, a forearm strap or athletic tape.

Depending on the severity of the condition, we suggest several (2-6) short duration treatments (30 minutes) to focus on the area after a proper assessment has been done.  Everyone recovers differently but following our self help guidance can make all the difference in a quicker recovery!


Stress in your jaw can create headaches

Some individuals, when stressed will grind their teeth during their sleep or clench their jaw, either during the day, night or both.

When muscles of the jaw are contracted for this extended period of time, trigger points are created in the muscles.  One of the predictable pain patterns for trigger points in the jaw are headaches.

Self help tips:  temporalis-trigger-points

  • refrain or limit the amount you chew gum. Chewing gum requires you to contract the jaw muscles that can cause them to be overused.¬† Overused muscles will develop trigger points. ¬†Trigger points will create symptoms of a headache.
  • Stay away from hard candies or nuts as the pressure required for you to chew these foods will create more tension.
  • Speak to your dentist to find out if an appliance will help with your symptoms.
  • Massage therapy to the neck, shoulders, jaw and head are very helpful in relieving symptoms
  • Self massage and warm compresses will reduce tension
  • Meditation for general relaxation will help with overall feelings of stress, which in turn, may reduce the frequency of clenching or grinding.

Stress and Headaches

Headaches develop for a number of reasons.  Some are caused by changes to the atmospheric pressure while others may be caused from hormones, medications, lack of water, or sensitivities to certain foods or beverages; but what about stress?

When people encounter stress whether it is emotional or physical, there are changes that occur to our muscles.  For example, stress may cause a person to hold their shoulders in a shrugged position, as though wearing their shoulders as earrings.  When our muscles are placed in this state they contract more forcefully or constantly than when we are relaxed.   Muscles that are contracted continuously develop stress which in turn develops trigger points.   Trigger points, in simple terms, are irritable spots located in specific areas of our body that cause certain symptoms in predictable locations.   Our trapezius muscle, often referred to as the traps, is a common muscle that develops trigger points when we are stressed.  This muscle lifts our shoulders up.  When trigger points develop in this muscle, symptoms that can develop are headaches at the temples, or base of the scull.    Additional symptoms that may occur from this trigger point are pain behind the eyes, dizziness, neck pain or intolerance to weight being placed on your shoulders.

upper trap trigger point Self massage for upper trap

Massage, heat and stretching can eliminate the trigger points.  Self-massage can also work to treat a trigger point.  Gently sink into your tissues at the top of your shoulder using the pads of your fingers until you find a spot that creates a headache, then hold this pressure at a tolerable pain level and wait until the headache decreases.  If the pain does not decrease in a short time frame, discontinue and apply heat and then gently stretch the muscle.  Or using the pads of your fingers, place the hand over the top of your shoulder in a cupped position, then gently sink into the tissue and pull the tissue towards the front of your body.  Repeat this move a number of times until you feel a softening in the tissue or a decrease in the intensity of the headache.  Stretch upper trap

To stretch the right upper trapezius muscle, place your right hand behind your back, then gently tip your left ear towards your left shoulder and with your left hand place it at the side of your right temple and gently pull your head to the left until you feel a mild discomfort.¬† A stretch should not be taken into a position that causes pain. ¬†Hold the stretch for 20 ‚Äď 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Heat application to upper backThe heat application should be moist heat placed on the top of the shoulders and upper back region.    When placing heat over the shoulders, be careful not to let your head project forward, rather keep the neck in a more upright position.   Leave the heat on the shoulders, back and neck for  approximately 20 minutes.  If heat remains on the area for periods of time longer than 20 minutes, it can cause irritation and increased pain symptoms.


Other Lifestyle Changes that Can Help with Stress Management

Below is information I found on a website that has wonderful suggestions on how to manage and/or reduce your stress.

A key component to any stress management program is to incorporate lifestyle changes, not only dietary, but physical and mental/emotional activity as well. Exercise and some form of mental/emotional outlet can significantly reduce the disruptive effects of stress. Your health-care practitioner can help you determine which techniques would work best for you. Listed below are some general suggestions to help you on your way to a more stress-free life.
Relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques help relieve muscle tension, support cardiovascular health, and promote mental and emotional calmness. Examples of relaxation techniques include:

  • Meditation
  • Deep-breathing exercises
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Yoga


Physical exercise

Exercise for stress relief can be physical, mental, or spiritual in nature ‚Äď or a combination of the three, as in the case of yoga. Physical exercise is a very effective way to relieve stress. It stimulates the body to release chemical substances (endorphins) that are similar in nature to opiates and make you feel good. Examples of physical exercise include the following:

  • Organized aerobics
  • Brisk walking
  • Hiking
  • Running
  • Dancing
  • Bicycling
  • Stretching exercises
  • Strength-building (weight training, core conditioning, pilates)
  • Swimming
  • Yoga


Other stress-relieving ideas

One good way to help manage stress is to simply take time to do things you enjoy, either by yourself or with people you enjoy being with. Some examples include:

  • Acquiring a hobby (cooking, fishing, photography, painting, or playing music, for example)
  • Making time for family activities (game night with the kids or family dinners, for example)
  • Spending time outside (nature walks, outdoor tai-chi, or bird-watching, for example)

Regardless of what your stress-relief program involves, make a commitment to incorporate these changes into your daily routine ‚Äď for your health and for those you love. This is your life. Live it well.
Getting Extra Help

Practicing self-help techniques for stress management can be very beneficial. However, there may be times when you need additional assistance in dealing with stress. To help determine whether you need additional help, consider the following questions:

Is stress the cause or is it something else? Often, people are quick to blame stress for their fatigue, pain, or eating or sleeping disorders. Be sure to check with your health-care practitioner to rule out any possible physiological reasons for these symptoms before you conclude they are stress-related.

Is it more than stress? Sometimes the mental and emotional problems may be more complicated. Stress can be normal ‚Äď anxiety and depression can be disease states. If you think you are depressed, or often feel overwhelming panic or anxiety, consult a health-care practitioner who can help you determine the primary cause and make recommendations best-suited for your situation.

Massage Benefits for Stress

Continual or excessive stress can lead to problems involving sleep patterns, headaches, digestive issues, high blood pressure, anxiety, muscle tension and aches, sexual dysfunction and weight gain among others.

Massage Benefits for Stress

Massage is able to relax your muscles by reducing the tension that occurs in them from the stress response.  All muscles hold stress but the ones we feel the most are those muscles that create headaches, or aches and pains.

Massage through different techniques has the ability to restore your body to homeostasis (normal state of health) by activating the parasympathetic system through touch.  The parasympathetic nervous system (also called the rest and digest system) is a system that is activated and slows our heart rate and stimulates digestion.  In order to do this, it shuts off the fight-or-flight system (sympathetic nervous system).  This then allows our body to restore the hormone secretions back to normal.  Massage is shown to restore our homeostasis by:

  • Increasing delta brainwave activity which is linked to sleep and relaxation
  • Increasing dopamine levels which are linked to decreased stress and reduced depression
  • Increasing serotonin levels which is theorized to inhibit pain signals and reduce both stress and depression
  • Reducing cortisol levels ‚Äď ¬†increased cortisol heightens stress and inhibits the immune system.
  • Reducing norepinephrine and epinephrine which are stress hormones
  • Reducing aldosterone levels ‚Äď reducing high blood pressure

Massage Therapy Principles and Strategies, Third Edition, Susan G. Salvo, 2007 (90)

Stress Response System – Fight or Flight

When we have stress in our life, our brain receives a signal that registers alarm.  When this alarm bell is rung, there are many actions that take place, one of them being the release of hormones that will create a response.

These hormones are specific in affecting certain aspects of our body to allow us to react to the stressor.  For example, epinephrine and norepinephrine are two hormones that when released increase our heart rate and blood pressure.  Having an increased heart rate and blood pressure allows us to act quickly to avoid an event that we believe to be fatal such as running away from a bear.

Cortisol is another hormone that increases with increased stress.  Cortisol affects sleep patterns, slows wound healing, can decrease cartilage and bone formation, inhibit your immune system, increase fat storage creating weight gain, affect heart function and digestion.

Aldosterone is a hormone needed when you are exercising but if you are dealing with increased emotional and mental stress without physical activity the long term effect will create high blood pressure.

Our stress response system is designed to react to a stressor with an appropriate response but if we have continued stress over time and those events are unresolved, stress related diseases can occur.


Situation:  Parent worried about adolescent child who comes home 2 hours late.

  1. Anger; first 15 minutes; epinephrine and norepinephrine; results in increase in fight-or-flight response and increased sympathetic activity.
  2. Worry; next 30 minutes; with increase in anxiety, still supporting continuance of hormone response.
  3. Increased worry; next 60 minutes; shift to cortisol release; resulting in inability to sleep
  4. Recurring anger; 15 minutes; epinephrine and norepinephrine with aldosterone increase; results in increased fight-or-flight response and increased sympathetic activity with rise in blood pressure.
  5. Child comes home and is met by an angry and worried parent.
  6. Inability of parent to sleep the rest of the night because of increased cortisol levels.
  7. Fatigue the next day with irritability and a dull headache caused by effects of increased cortisol and aldosterone levels.
  8. Because of increased cortisol and aldosterone levels, parent has suppressed immune function and catches a cold 3 days later.

Mosby’s Essential Sciences for Therapeutic Massage; Sandy Fritz, M.James Grosenbach;2004;(193-196)

Is stress affecting your life?

Were you one of the many that fell to the effects of a flu or cold over the Christmas holidays?  Do you think that your stress levels increased your chances of catching whatever is going around?

What is stress anyway?  I like to have a certain amount of stress in my life to be productive, is that so bad?  Is all stress bad?  What about when you are in a work out and sweating it out big time, doesn’t that cause stress?

We have many different types of stress that can affect our lives.  Our bodies are designed to deal with these stresses but what happens when our stress levels increase?  Can we adapt to the changes?

The answer is yes and no.

Our bodies are designed to deal with stress using a system called the ‚Äústress response system‚ÄĚ.¬† This system allows our body to react to all kinds of situations by providing a response. ¬†The system functions with signals that are sent using hormones and nerves.¬† A signal is sent to the part of your brain that is like the operating and controlling computer of all other systems.¬† Once this signal is processed in your brain‚Äôs computer a response is generated.

There are situations that will require stronger and/or quicker responses and those occasions that will require slower and/or weaker responses. For example if you put your hand on a hot burner on the stove, a signal is sent to your brain, and the stress response system, located there, sends the appropriate response signals to other parts of your body to allow a quick movement to remove your hand from the stove before it gets burned.  This response is not as strong as a response that would be generated if you had seen a bear and feared for your life.

Stress can come in many different forms and create many different reactions in our bodies.  Here are a few examples.

Ôā∑¬† PHYSICAL: intense exertion, manual labor,¬†lack of sleep, travel

Ôā∑¬† CHEMICAL: drugs, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and environmental pollutants such as cleaning chemicals or pesticides

Ôā∑¬† MENTAL: perfectionism, worry, anxiety, long work hours

Ôā∑¬† EMOTIONAL: anger, guilt, loneliness, sadness, fear

Ôā∑¬† NUTRITIONAL: food allergies, vitamin and mineral deficiency

Ôā∑¬† TRAUMATIC: injuries or burns, surgery, illness, infections, extreme temperatures

Ôā∑¬† PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL: troubled relationships, financial or career pressures, challenges with life goals, spiritual alignment and general state of happiness

Read more:

How stronger stomach (abdominal) and buttock (gluteal) muscles can aid in reducing back pain.

Sitting for long periods of time and possibly developing lower cross syndrome means that your abdominal muscles and your gluteal muscles will have become weak.  It is important to strengthen these muscles if you are going to improve your posture and reduce your low back pain.

There are many different types of exercises for the abdominals and the gluteal muscles.  What is important to note is the intensity of each exercise and the number of repetitions to perform.  If you are new to the exercise and have not engaged in physical activity for some time, it is important to begin slowly, performing exercises that are easier at the beginning of your strengthening program.  As you improve your strength, you will be able to choose more difficult exercises and perform more repetitions.  To obtain endurance for the abdominals and gluteals, it is recommended that you perform more repetitions with less weight.     Describing all of the precautions for these exercises would take too long to explain so if you are unfamiliar with which exercises to perform and how to do them correctly, I would suggest the help of a qualified personal trainer.  They will make sure that you are performing the exercise correctly and can provide you with the number of repetitions and types of exercises that are right for you.


How are the hamstrings (muscles at the back of the upper thigh) involved in low back pain?

hamstrings_full_body_rear_view_reflection-cropped2The hamstrings which are located at the back of your upper leg, when contracted, bring your heel to your buttocks.   These muscles attach onto the bone in your buttock region that you feel when you sit on a hard surface and travel down the back of the leg to attach around the knee region.   As you can see in the picture to the right, the hamstrings are in a contracted state. Leaning forward sitting office  If this position is held for long periods of time the hamstring muscles will become shortened.  If the hamstrings are too tight, when a person tries to rise up from a sitting position, the attachment point on the bone in the buttock region will pull the pelvis into a tilt.  When this tilt occurs it alters the posture of the low back causing pain.

To stretch the hamstrings; sit on the floor, tuck one foot into your pelvis and straighten the other leg in the direction of a V.  Point the toe of the straight leg to the ceiling.  With a flat back gently lean forward and reach towards your toe.  If you cannot reach your toe do not compromise your posture, just rest your hands on the top of your leg at the level you are able to reach without rounding your back.   Hold your stretches for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times for each leg.    Young woman seated hamstring stretch


Muscles located in the front of the hip can cause low back pain.

Hurdle jumper There are three main hip flexor muscles.  Two originate from the lower anterior spine and attach to the upper inner part of the femur (leg bone)   The other hip flexor is also referred to as a quad muscle.  This muscle (rectus femoris) is located on the anterior part of the thigh and travels from the hip to just below the knee.  psoas-and-hip-flexor-musclesRectus-femoris-tendon

When these muscles become short they cause an exaggerated curve in the low back contributing to low back pain.

To stretch the hip flexors:  Sit on the edge of your bed so that you are balancing on the edge of your gluteals, then Hip-Extension-in-Lyingtake one leg up to your chest and slowly lean back until you are flat on your back.  Focus on dropping the free leg towards the floor.  hip flexor stretch2 An alternative stretch is to position yourself on the floor with one leg bent at 90 degrees in front of you.  Ensure that your knee is in line with your ankle and not in front of it.  Extend your other leg behind you until you feel a stretch in the front of the thigh and up into the front of the hip reg

Crossing your legs while sitting can contribute to additional areas of pain and discomfort.

If you are an individual that crosses your legs while sitting on your chair you will add additional strain to muscles in the low back region called the quadratus lumborum muscles.  Man sitting cross legged in an office chair

If you cross your legs while sitting, you will cause your pelvis to shift and you will not be sitting equally on your gluteal bones.  The end result of this posture is the shortening and development of trigger points in the muscle located on either side of the spine.  These muscles, (QL) when contracted, will tilt (laterally flex) your spine to one side and extend your back.  One or both sides may be affected depending on the posture held.  These muscles will tire easily when sitting slouched over a desk similar to the erector spinae muscle group.

Ql muscleThe triggertrigger point -QLpoints in the low back refer pain to the low back itself and possibly into the gluteal region and lateral hip.

To stretch the QL:

Lie on your back with both legs straight to start.  Take your right arm and with palm facing the floor extend it to QL stretchyour right side.  Take your left hand and with right knee bent, pull the right knee towards the floor on the left side.  Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.  Perform stretch on both sides.  During any stretch you should feel mild discomfort, if at any time you feel pain, do not pull the knee as far over.   If this does not relieve the symptoms of pain, discontinue the stretch.



How does sitting for long periods of time create the potential for low back pain?

There is a syndrome known as lower cross syndrome.  This syndrome is the presentation of weak abdominal muscles and weak gluteal muscles with tight low back and hip flexor muscles.

Sitting for long periods of time can cause this syndrome.   In addition to the lower cross syndrome developing, the hamstrings are likely to become shortened adding to the already painful achy back that many people experience during their day.

Leaning forward sitting officeLower cross

Sitting with your back slightly rounded causes your lower back muscles to be pulled and so they will try very hard to contract to keep you in a correct position. These low back muscles end up overworking, become tight and develop trigger points.


You back should have a normal inward curve that when sitting should be maintained.  Having a chair that fits your body type is an option.  Others have used fitness balls to sit on to strengthen the muscles of the core developing proper posture.

Stretching the low back muscles:

Gently pull your knees towards your chest and hold for 30 seconds.  Bringing your head towards your knees will intensify the stretch so add this move as time goes on.  Repeat the stretch 3 times.  Variations include pulling one knee in at a time.  Stretching erectors

How do the shoes you wear affect your posture?

Now that the holiday season is upon us, many of us females like to wear shoes that accessorize our clothes rather than shoes that fit well and are practical.   Our posture is altered by the shoes we wear.    We have normal curvatures of our spine.  Our posterior neck and lower back curve inward slightly while our mid back curves outward as seen in the picture below, but look what happens to our curves when high heels are worn.

Posture and high heel shoes

How do you effectively change a slouched posture? (continued)

The chest muscles become very short and tight if you are repeatedly sitting in a slouched posture.   The small muscle called the pectoralis minor muscle is the muscle most commonly shortened in prolonged slouched posture.

Stretching this muscle is an important aspect of improving posture.  Because this muscle is attached to your ribs and part of your shoulder blade, when it becomes shortened it anchors your shoulder in a forward position and locks it down.

Anterior view of slouched posturePeck minor muscle

To stretch this muscle place your arm, forearm and hand flat on a wall or door jam, with the elbow slightly above the level of shoulder height.  Rotate your body away from your shoulder until you feel a mild Peck minordiscomfort.  Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.  Perform this stretch sequence a minimum of 3 times per day to increase the improve flexibility.   Depending on your job you many need to add this stretch as part of your daily routine to ensure continued good posture.

How do you effectively change a slouched posture? (Continued)

The rhomboids are key muscles in the mid/upper back that that are very important postural muscles.  They squeeze the shoulder blades together which supports the upper back.   They become weak due to the prolonged amount of time people spend in seated positions.  Rhomboids

If the rhomboids are weak you will notice that your shoulder blades will become further apart.

Rhomboids weak

To begin with, the following basic rhomboid strengthening exercise should be performed approximately 3 times daily. As your strength improves, the exercise can be progressed by gradually increasing the repetitions, frequency or duration of the exercise provided it does not cause or increase pain.


Shoulder Blade Squeeze 

Begin this exercise standing or sitting with your back straight. Your chin should be tucked in slightly and your shoulders should be back slightly. Slowly tighten your rhomboids by squeezing your shoulder blades together as hard and far as possible provided the exercise is pain free.  Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.  Rhomboid exercise


How do you effectively change a slouched posture?

Aside from being aware of your posture and changing bad habits you can assist your body to improve by strengthening muscles that have become stretched and weak over time and stretching those muscles that have become strong and too short over time.

Laptop slouchingThe muscles on the upper back are overstretched, strained and weak.

The chest muscles have become too short and tight.



The trapezius muscle which covers the area from your head, upper shoulders and back may best be known as a source of stiffness across the top of the shoulders.

There are three different sections to this muscle that have different functions.  We are going to focus on the middle section of the muscle which is being overstretched when in a slouched posture.  Trapezius muscle

If you sit at a desk for long periods of time, the muscle becomes overstretched.  When this occurs the muscle contracts to try and pull your body back into correct posture, which ultimately ends up straining the muscle.    Initially feeling of tension will start between the shoulder blades which can increase to feeling of soreness and pain that can radiate from the shoulders to the back of the neck.  This pain can increase to a constant ache that may be very hard to relieve.

To strengthen this muscle, lie on a mat or exercise ball face down.  If you are lying on a mat, use a small towel and place under your forehead.  If you are lying on a ball, look to the floor and try to keep your neck in a neutral position.  With arms extended out in front of your shoulders and thumbs pointed to the ceiling, slowly lift them up until you feel the contraction of the muscle between your shoulder blades.

Mid trap exercise

The focus is to improve the posture by increasing the muscle endurance.  Endurance training has a more positive impact to improve the function of the muscle.  Endurance training is done by performing an exercise with lower weight and by performing a large number of repetitions over a prolonged period.

There is always a variable when determining how many sets you do and how many repetitions of an exercise you should perform.   The exercises should never cause pain, so if you experience any pain when performing the exercise, discontinue and consult your physician, massage therapist, trainer,……

If you wish to improve muscular endurance, the National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends that you perform one to three sets of 12 to 25 reps at 50 to 70 percent of your maximum effort. (

Start with one set (1 time) and do as many repetitions as you can before you fatigue.  Repeat  every other day.

As you get stronger add another set (perform as many reps as you can, rest briefly and perform the reps).  Continue to add another set.  When you can complete 3 sets with numerous repetitions without fatigue you many increase the weight or continue to maintain the endurance.

If you have a job that requires you to continually put your body in a position that creates bad posture, you may want to consider performing your exercises for an extended period of time. (weeks, years…)

Do you ever experience sharp pain, numbness, dull ache, tightness or stiffness in your upper back?

Take a look at your posture.  Are you slouching?  Slouching does not just occur when sitting at a computer, it can occur when walking, watching TV, playing on your iPod or laptop and so on.  This type of posture is easy to get into and hard to get out of.  When you allow your body to slouch, it becomes accustomed to this posture, there is strain on the muscles of the upper back, neck and shoulders.

Slouched posture when watching tvSlouched sitting posturecartoon slouched


Do you fit into any of these postures?

Adjusting how you are sitting while relaxing, working or walking is the start to corrective care but there are other things you can do that will help you improve.