Tight legs? Runners take note! IT band health

Your Iliotibial Band (IT Band) is a thick connective strap that extends (similar to a tendon) from the top of your hip & TFL muscle & inserts into the outside of your knee joint.  While not responsible for prime movement when walking, running or cycling it is prone to repetitive strain issues & injuries. 

As a massage therapist, I look where is the pain and what is the quality of pain.  I review globally the architecture of the lower body to help my clients find the source of the problem and release the related tension pattern.  With IT band problems usually there is some discomfort on the lateral (outside) aspect of the thigh muscles.  Sometimes, if the tension pattern has been on-going there can also be specific pain on the outside of the knee.  While IT band issues are commonly grouped in association with repetitive strain injuries, there may also be some muscle imbalances or gait issues at play.

What can you do to heal your own IT band?

– Invest in & get fitted for proper footwear!  If your a runner – GO TO AEROBIC’S FIRST! & make sure your daily footwear is sensible and supporting your body well.

– Pain at the knee?  ICE ICE ICE!  You can ice for 10-15 minutes until you feel a ‘numbing’ sensation.  Ice is nature’s anesthetic and can help reduce inflammation as it relates to joint pain.

– Epsom salts bath.  2 cups of Epsom salts and a 12 minute bath have shown to increase the levels of magnesium in soft tissue which helps reduce lactic acid & soft tissue contractures.

– Stretching &/or yoga!  Yoga can be great at providing us a strengthening as well as lengthening in the whole body (not just the lower body).

– Foam Rolling: is a form of self massage that’s very effective for relaxing the connective tissue and muscles surrounding the leg & thigh bones.

– While self-care is extremely important, it may be wise to seek advice and treatment from a physiotherapist, massage therapist or athletic trainer.

Addressing the IT band can be helpful for everyone.  Helping release it’s state of contracture will help your knees and hips feel better as well as encourage better muscle firing and balance between your hamstrings and quadriceps.  Happy Trails!

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Jet Lagged?

Jet lagged? Fatigue after travel is not uncommon.  Whether your spending a few hours on a plane, or in a car, there is sure to be slight readjustment period when it comes to putting your feet back on solid ground.

What is jet lag? While jet lag is the blanket term & there is most often a myriad of symptoms associated with it.  It is combination of travel-related physical and emotional stress, sleep deprivation + the biological effect of your circadian rhythm being altered.  They say, for each time zone crossed it takes one full day to adjust.

Here are a few tips to help you lessen the jet lag side-effect:

1. Don’t drink too much coffee!  Excess caffiene can overload your nervous system and contribute to insomnia.

2. Sleeping enroute, avoid this unless it coincides with nighttime at your destination.

3. Alcohol: remember alcohol is a depressant and be mindful of drinking large amounts while enroute to your destination.

4. Look for opportunities to ‘reset’!  Recharge with a workout, massage & focus on good nutrition and sleep patterns.

Many safe travels & many safe returns!


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The Reset Button

I know….these are not real ‘reset’ buttons!

We all have one….a reset button.  As much as I advocate for healthy living and a balanced lifestyle every now and then I find myself filling up with ‘too much to do’.   I am a massage therapist after all, and I am supposed to be your `relaxation expert`but like everyone else I fall into the same cycles of work, work, work & not nearly enough play.

The list goes on….cooking, cleaning, working out, running a business, running a house and of course making room for family and friends.  Inevitably, realizing that my life is full, brimming almost to the edge of a total overflow I search for that reset button.  We all have one.

My reset buttonɁ  You would think its outdoors….connecting with nature….hugging trees and doing sweat lodges but as I get older….the less fuss, the less prep to reset, the better.  Sometimes, all I have to do is plant my feet on the lawn and meditate for a moment.  It’s as simple as taking my morning coffee outside on the back deck.

Working with clients through massage therapy has showed me the importance of finding work & life balance.  Making room for the whole package (mind, spirit & sore spots too) is crucial in being able to sustain a balanced life with room for everyone & every project.

Should I find myself brimming to the edge any time soon…..well, I will look for that button and reset accordingly.


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Feel better at Work!

Yesterday, I headed to an office in the Maritime Centre to provide some ‘massage at work’ services.  I love doing these events!  I was there for about 4 hours providing 15-30 minute chair massages for what they said was a stressful time of year.

So many of our clients experience work related stress or occupational strain.  So it’s such a treat for me to go out and help people stay balanced at a place where they spend so much time.  Whether your job entails sitting at a desk or standing on your feet, it’s important to find balance and of course, massage at work is only one suggestion.

Here are a few other tips to keep you in shape while your working:

1) Keep your water handy!  Always have a glass of water on the go….dehydration is the number 1 cause of afternoon fatigue so keep yourself hydrated.

2) Bring plenty of healthy snacks.  Healthy food fuels healthy minds & bodies.

3) Sitting? Pay special attention to your posture.  Keep your feet on the floor, engage your core slightly and relax your shoulders away from your ears as you plug away at your desk.

4) Stretch & smile.

Fun things a workplace or employer can do:

1) Aromatherapy at work? Yup!  Some hospitals in the states have implemented light citrus scents to keep the energy up and moods lifted among their hospital staff and patients.

2) Have a chocolate milk day?  Yup, chocolate milk for everyone – who wouldn’t love that.  You could also have a simple weekly pow wow (check-in) around the coffee pot.

3) Offer lunch and learns:  everyone wants to know more, learn more and there are lots of people willing to bring their knowledge to your staff.  From yoga, aromatherapy and massage to team building or time and money management skills.

4) Stretch & Smile (yes, this is important for both employees and employers 😉

At the last workplace I visited, they even had a ping pong room!  Talk about fueling your team’s creative juices, not to mention staying active, healthier & playful.

Feel better at work!  Hire a massage therapist to come on-site &/or choose to be proactive in your own workplace by finding creative ways to engage your space and people around you positively.

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Epsom Salts

Epsom salts are an easy & inexpensive way to help relieve sore muscles and minimize the lactic acid in your body.  They are the perfect addition to a relaxing weekend, after a massage therapy treatment, or an intense workout session.  Generally about 2 cups of salts dissolved into your bath for a duration of 12 minutes should do the trick.

The epsom salt’s help draw out the lactic acid and toxins in our body.  They are also high in magnesium and sulfate and nourish the body with healthy minerals.  Regular salt could have a drying affect on the body, but epsom salts actually nourish our body, increase circulation & provides an energy boost needed for the days ahead.

Add an epsom salts bath to your schedule every week.  Feel free to add some essential oils, your favorite music for ambience & even oatmeal (for it’s skin softening benefits but be careful not to clog your tub).  Remember to keep a tall glass of water handy, cool cloth and maybe your favorite book?  It’s a simple solution to sore muscles and helps relieve your mind, spirit and sore spots too!

Got a question about epsom salts?  Visit www.epsomsaltcouncil.org and learn more.


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Re-Thinking the Rose.

Winter Blues Rose.

Winter Blues? Skin Dryness? Flower of Love? Re-thinking the rose.

February: a month of winter, staying warm, and roses.  Roses have long been used in ‘alternative’ medicine.  Medicinally, it is an interesting nervine.  Helpful at relaxing the nervous system via it’s aromatic properties.  Using rose oil can help alleviate depression and anxiety and is a great way to help combat the winter blues or give a gentle mood boost.

Rose Petal Gel Mask (made from real pulp).

There is a saying that roses are good for the “soul & the skin”.  In Ayurvedic medicine, roses are considered cooling and a tonic for the mind.  Roses carry more than a sentiment of love or appreciation.  They are aromatic,  containing high levels of  vitamins C, B, E & K.  Whether it be rose oil, rosewater or a fresh rose petal masks or moisturizer’s, since ancient times rose has been used for it’s skin conditioning, astringent & cleansing properties.

Rose has many applications, but most people know the rose as the flower of love.

Winter is a good time to find flowers for youself or someone you love.  It is truely a classic symbol of affection.  If your keeping to this trusty tradition of flower giving (especially in February), than keep in mind that roses represent so much more than a gesture of affection, but a herbal bouquet of health, love & well-being.




Reference: The Complete Medicinal Herbal: Penelope Ody, 1993.

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Thanks & Giving

A message from the Owner:

  Thanksgiving is literally my FAVORITE time of year.  It has the spirit of Christmas, minus the sometimes intense gift buying and consumerism.  It’s also a reminder that change is inevitable.  Fall is the season of change and the signs of hibernation are becoming clear.  It’s all a gentle reminder that winter is right around the corner (dare I say it!).   However, this time of year is for adapting!  Start pulling out warmer clothing, and of course, thinking about our blessings as we near Thanksgiving.  It is our sincere wish that you enjoy your Thanksgiving and take time to count blessings, but also make those blessings count.
  I am reminded that change is inevitable and that it’s my own response and perception to change and transition that makes life so interesting.  Sore Spots has had a big year, with lots of change and there’s more to come.  We would like to take this time to thank our loyal clients for their patience and support during a full year of transition.  We are glowing with pride and gratitude that you include us in your path to wellness and look forward to supporting all of you in another year of health and happiness.

A sincere thanks from all of us!

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The regular massage diet….

So many of our clients ask us….‘how often should I be coming in for a massage’? Well that all depends on what kind of health goals you have.  Here is what we typically suggest depending on what kind of results you would like to achieve:

Goal – You would like to prevent injury & relieve stress:

Most times we carry a tension pattern that does not serve us in our daily lives.  Sometimes its a sore neck, an achy back or stiff legs.  Whatever the case may be, this tension builds up on an unconscious level often affecting us in ways we don’t realize.  Regular massage can help subdue your body’s tension pattern and make your daily activities easier.  It helps to increase and strengthen your circulation and immune system therefore helping to boost your body’s internal healing response.  We typically suggest a monthly to seasonal appointment depending on the length of treatment you choose.

Goal – You would like to recover from injury & relieve stress:

As a general rule of thumb, should your injury or pain be predominately soft tissue or musculo-skeletal in nature, than there is alot we can do to relieve that tension pattern.  Most times, the majority of symptoms & cause can be dealt with in 4-6 weekly (1 hour) sessions.  Your therapist may also suggest homecare strategies & other modalities to help assist with your treatment progress.  A full commitment to the treatment schedule and homecare platform is a must in order to get the most of your sessions.

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Our Practitioners – a little more about us!

We are a group of dedicated registered massage therapists dedicated improving the quality of life for our community of clients.  We understand that as health care providers we act as the foundation to our studio environment and your massage therapy experience. We are working constantly to improve our skills and excel in the art & science of massage therapy & the promotion of healthy living choices.  To find out more about your current therapist or shop for a new one, please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website!

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a blog about massage, sore spots & life

Welcome to the sore spots massage therapy blog!  A blog about massage, sore spots & life.  I hope this blog will serve to give you a little more insight on health and lifestyle subjects.  As we post our entries, please feel free to post your comments or questions as you see appropriate.  Until then, keep reading, smiling & staying healthy!

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