Friday, October 30, 2015

The Heart of the Matter

Years ago I was backpacking, my head in the clouds and my heart heavy.  Happy to be seeing the world, but confused about what it all meant.  My mother had died a few months earlier, I was halfway through chiropractic college, and I was at a crossroads - closing one chapter, soon to begin another. Wandering the world for a few months seemed appropriate. One night in Tiberias, a lovely town in northern Israel, I had a long conversation with someone I had just met.  He was a little older than me, a little more worldly, and while I can't remember his name or even much else about my stay in Tiberias, I remember how candidly he spoke when the subject of therapy came up - "therapy is a luxury - everyone should be lucky enough to be able to go".  I had only thought about therapy as an admission of weakness, it had never occurred to me that claiming this time to speak freely about yourself, to discover yourself, to even confront yourself - that this is brave, important and healthy work that we should honour ourselves with.
Fifteen years later I took the plunge (hey - change doesn't come easy for me, but I'm finally working on it!) and started seeing a therapist. I found a good fit, and I look forward to my sessions as a chance to clear my head, understand myself better and make positive changes in my life. I never want to be in my own way, and speaking with my therapist helps me break bad habits and patterns.
But enough about me - I'll save it for my session :)

Amy Deacon is a clinical social worker.  She joined our clinic this year and has been working with clients to make positive changes in their lives.  She is kind, empathetic and intelligent, and is passionate about her work. If you are interested in exploring any personal issues, I encourage you to meet with Amy personally.  All appointments are strictly confidential, and she may be reached directly: adeacon17 at

Guest Post by Amy Deacon, Clinical Social Worker

We go to physicians to examine our bodies; dentists to inspect our teeth; chiropractors to explore the curvature in our spines – but what about our hearts?  When was the last time your heart had a check up?  When I speak of heart, I'm referring to the centre of you as a person; the space where you express and experience emotion, affection, enthusiasm and spirit.  It’s an important question, as it is only when there is a healthy flow within our hearts that we can truly be at our best.  Let me explain, when our hearts are healthy, we have space for our emotions to flow with ease; energy for the things that matter most; and perspective to appreciate the lives we have.

The flow within our hearts helps determine our ability to be present in relationships, focused at work and responsive to our mental, emotional and physical needs.  However, for many of us, having a healthy flow can be a daily struggle.  Throughout life, we experience betrayal and regret, frustration and anger, sadness and loss – many of which are normal parts of life.  However, when such experiences remain unresolved, we risk creating a ‘build up’, which blocks the flow of our hearts.  As such, genuine feelings of love and happiness are difficult to experience because we're clogged with lingering resentment, anger,guilt and fear.  This lack of flow can stifle our most important relationships with our partners, families, colleagues, and most importantly, ourselves.

If this is something you relate with, please know you are not alone.  All of us experience chapters in our lives in which we feel our hearts are blocked.  And the good news is that there is so much you can do to get your heart flowing as it is meant to.  Connecting with a therapist, joining a support group or spending quality time with those closest to you are great ways of mending your heart. As a therapist, my work is to help individuals safely explore the contents of one’s heart, including both your strengths, as well as those areas that are in need of restoration. Remember – your heart is the most central part of who you are, so do take the time to check in, and give it the attention it so deserves.

Monday, April 6, 2015


There are some skeletons in my clinic closets. Sure, some are teaching models, there are a few loose vertebra tucked here and there, and more ominously there are a few real live- er, dead, bones on a shelf. Well, where would you put them?
You see, this clinic was once run by a different chiropractor. And left me a few treasures, aside from dead bodies. I have pamphlets from days of chiropractic yore, before stock images or even basic drawing skills.  Allow me to present a few, in all their glory.  Consider this the first in a series!

  • It's your back...
... and it is your bum!
Who drew this? More important, who modeled for this? Is this supposed to be a warning? It's your back... Keep it healthy, OR YOU COULD LOOK LIKE THIS!
Was it really necessary to have a nude model? I'm no prude, but the tushie is distracting me.

  •  whoneedsagraphicdesigner?

Can't draw a person? Don't worry, a crude squiggle for a head and spine is fine. You don't even need a nose! Don't worry about fonts or spacing either. Just squish it all together at the top. Off to the printer!

  • Masha and Dasha... huh??

When you think of chiropractic, you probably think of low back pain, and Masha and Dasha the Siamese twins.
I wanna know who authorized this pamphlet. What intern created this? Who got fired? What chiropractor, trying to find material to help his patients understand the importance of spinal care, thought this brochure would clear up anything?

And there you have it. Stay tuned for more outdated chiroganda!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mia has a shopping problem and we are all stronger for it

Mia Rapoport is an amazing pilates instructor.  Her instruction is clear, her class pace is upbeat and steady, and she leads with precision and intent - from one exercise smoothly into the next.  One minute you are raising a leg thinking 'duh, this is easy!'; blink, and your legs are hooked into straps and it looks more '50 shades of grey' than 'pilates' but wow, do your abs burn and wow, 'you're doing it!'.

Magic happens in this studio. 

Mia's class is ever changing, and she loves to mix it up with props, or as I call them, pilates toys.  A few months back she was really excited about circles - "you can put your feet in them!" she gushed.  "Look at this move!"  Then just last week she bought more circles.  "These are different circles" she explained, but I could only hear myself when I justify another pair of black boots.  "My other ones are fancy fancy, and these ones are casual fancy.  Totally different."

The point is, I don't have a shopping addiction (and my new boots are perfect with jeans) and Mia does.  Lucky for us, her pilates disciples, she buys a lot of toys for us to use.  

Here are some of Mia's recent purchases:

A Basket of Balls!  Hand-held weighted balls to add resistance to arm exercises.  Like last season's waxed jeans, I haven't seen these used a lot lately.  They are satisfying to hold though and add just the right amount of weight to make a simple move challenging!   

A Yoga Brick.  Ya, a regular old yoga brick.  Seems the same in function to the purple ones we have already, so I don't understand why Mia bought this one...maybe it is a black boot thing?

Circles.  Mia loves her circles.  She uses them to stretch our hamstrings, to keep our arms and 'armpit' muscles engaged while challenging the core muscles, and to guide us in difficult core work.  Mia recently expanded her circle inventory, adding heavier but more flexible circles that work us differently, so says she.  

Smushy Balls.  Deflated like my ego when I try to copy one of Mia's acrobatic reformer moves. Half inflated (or half deflated depending on your outlook?) balls are an amazing tool for guiding you into the perfect abdominal crunch. 
Balls are more smushed than they appear in this picture. 

Bumpy Blue pillow.  This looks like a cross between a torture device and a whoopee cushion.  But it changes your abdominal work in a major way!  And you can blame any funny noises on the pillow. 

Spinny Discs. Ok, you get to a point where it seems like someone is just making this stuff up.  Wooden circles (more circles) that you stand on and... spin? Rotate? At first Mia made me stand on them while moving my hips, feeeeeling my femurs move in their sockets.  The other day she made me do a plank with my hands on them.  And then made me spin.  It was hard, and I deserved a treat afterwards.  

Mia's most recent acquisition is weighted bean bags.  Mia has been checking the front desk every day for her weighted bean bag shipment, which she claims will revolutionize your pilates practice. And I don't doubt they will!

These pilates toys don't come cheap, and it is a testament to Mia's dedication to YOUR body that she continues to invest in her inventory.  She has only suggested once or twice that a renovation to enlarge the studio would be a good idea, and we've managed to distract her from that notion.  In the meantime - come and play with us!

Pilatify with Mia and her toys!  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

GUEST POST: Anthony D'Urzo RMT on maintaining your body as well as your car.

Anthony D'Urzo, RMT, has some thoughts about how we treat our bodies vs our vehicles.  Clearly, he has not seen the state of my car, but in theory he's spot on, and you should all take his advice.  And then book a series of treatments with him, because the man has magic hands.  

Anthony D’Urzo
Look how well maintained Anthony's car is!
Oil changes, washes, winter tires…. more preventative and maintenance measures for your car than yourself!??  As a Registered Massage Therapist I have been shaking my head over this observation for years. When it comes to our bodies, why do we wait until there’s a problem to get care?  Why aren’t we more pre-emptive when it comes to our health?

Don’t get me wrong, life is unpredictable and sometimes things happen that require more immediate action: waking up with a crick in the neck, pulling a muscle in your back while shoveling snow, or spraining your ankle chasing after the dog.  But when that is not the case and you are running smoothly why not keep it that way and be more proactive rather than reactive. Should we not strive to maintain and promote health in our body like we do with our cars?

Where do I fit in? –I work on your physical health and stress levels.  Massage therapy can assist with circulation, keep muscles flexible, and improve the motion of your joints, which all aids in the prevention of physical injuries. In addition, coming in for preventative treatment allots you time within your busy schedule to relax and switch off. The mentally restorative quality of massage therapy is equally as important for maintaining your health.

So bring your body in for a massage therapy tune-up.  You go for an oil change every 10,000 kilometers – why not a massage every month?  Book your “service appointments” staggered throughout the year and make a commitment to your body.

We only get one body for this lifetime, there are no trade-ins!