Rick shares: Research on Massage for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition characterized by tingling, numbness and pain in the hand and fingers (particularly the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers). These symptoms are often the result of median nerve irritation in the wrist or forearm.


Why Give Massage Therapy A Try?

Massage therapy as a therapeutic intervention is being embraced by the medical community, it is simple to carry out, economical, and has very few side effects. One area that is being explored is the use of massage therapy for patients who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Randomized clinical trials have demonstrated that for some patients who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome there is no significant differences in pain and functional outcomes at six and twelve months when surgical and conservative care are tested (Fernández-de-Las Peñas et al. 2017).

Why Does Massage Therapy Work?

The responses to massage therapy are complex and multifactorial – physiological and psychological factors interplay in a complex manner. Research has looked at both peripheral and central responses elicited by massage therapy treatments.

Pain Management
Massage has a modulatory affect on peripheral and central processes via input from large sensory neurons that prevents the spinal cord from amplifying the nociceptive signal. This anti-nociceptive effect of massage therapy can help ease discomfort in patients who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Peripheral Response
The median nerve passes through many structures and it may be exposed to mechanical irritation at many different points (Filius et al. 2017). Prolonged irritation may result in a reduction of intraneural blood flow. In turn, local hypoxia of a peripheral nerve leads to a drop in tissue pH that triggers the release of inflammatory mediators, known as “inflammatory soup”, this noxious substance can disrupt the normal function of nerves. Massage therapy may diminish intraneural edema and/or pressure by mobilizing the median nerve as well as associated vascular structures (Boudier-Revéret et al. 2017).

Carpal tunnel specific work may also involve specific soft tissue treatment to optimize the ability of mechanical interfaces to glide relative relative to the median nerve. Ongoing tissue hypoxia or inflammatory responses lead to molecular signaling that promote the development of fibrosis, this may contribute to further peripheral nerve dysfunction (Fisher et al. 2015). The application of appropriate shear force and pressure impart a mechanical stimulus that may attenuate tissue levels of fibrosis and TGF-β1 (Bove et al. 2016).

Infraspinatus Test in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

 The infraspinatus provocation test ( Meder et al. 2017 ).


The etiology of myofascial triggerpoints are still not well understood, but that does not deny the existence of the clinical phenomenon.

A contemporary view of ‘myofascial trigger-points’ is presented by Shah, this categorizes ‘myofascial trigger-points’ by the a number of measurable characteristics: local and remote inflammation, local acidic milieu, local sensitization, local regions of hypoxia, local muscle stiffness (Shah et al. 2015).

Studies have demonstrated that assessing and treating the infraspinatus muscle may be an effective treatment option for a sub-group of patients with suffer from symptoms that present similarly to carpal tunnel syndrome (Meder et al. 2017).

Structures To Be Aware Of When Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Systematic reviews have also shown that manual therapy combined with multimodal care can improve symptoms, decrease disability and improve function for patients who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome (Huisstede et al. 2017). Additionally, a recent randomized controlled trial in the journal Brain found that acupuncture improved the outcomes for carpal tunnel syndrome by remapping the brain (Maeda et al. 2017).

A massage therapy treatment plan should be implemented based on patient-specific assessment findings and patient tolerance. Structures to keep in mind while assessing and treating patients suffering from plantar heel pain may include neurovascular structures and investing fascia of:
• scalene muscles
• costo-clavicle space
• pectoralis minor
• biceps brachii muscle
• bicipital aponeurosis
• pronator teres
• transverse carpal ligament
• anterior interosseous membrane
• palmar aponeurosis
• infraspinatus
• lumbricals

Rick shares: Why athletes should include massage in their fitness regimen

LifeBridge Health
July 23, 2018

By LifeBridge Health

Why athletes should include massage in their fitness regimen
The overexertion of muscles through rigorous physical training and exercise can affect athletes’ performance and increase their risk for injury. In between those strenuous workouts, the body could use some pampering.

Regular massage supports the relaxation and recovery process after workouts, helping to prevent injuries; reduce swelling, muscle stiffness and fatigue; and achieve peak performance. And there are numerous other potential benefits that are conducive to your overall health and well-being. Massage therapy helps to improve muscle flexibility (which helps prevent injuries like muscle pulls and tears) and shorten recovery time as well as relieve muscle tension and pain, a remedy for common issues like delayed-onset muscle soreness. But massage can benefit more than muscles. Tammy Taylor, massage/bodywork team leader and a certified neuromuscular therapist at LifeBridge Health & Fitness, says some research suggests that massage may also help:

  • Lower anxiety Increase range of motion
  • Improve your mood
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Enhance blood flow and alertness

Massage is good for the body either before, during or after athletic events. Sports massage incorporates Swedish (for improved circulation) and deep tissue techniques, among others. Athletes, or anyone who does strenuous exercises on a regular basis, should speak with a massage therapist about specific needs and concerns in order to determine how often massages are necessary and which techniques are most appropriate.

“Your injury or needs will determine the focus of the therapy,” Taylor says. “Often times, an athlete has a specific area in which they are experiencing pain, limited range of motion, etc. That area, in addition to the supporting muscles and connective tissue, is addressed.”

Taylor adds: “A full body massage at another time, maybe within a week or two, is also very helpful for the whole body compensates for an injury, and an injury heals more quickly when the rest of the body is free of limitations.”

Massage Gifts & Benefits

Did you know?

December is one of the most important months for self care


Come in for a massage with Rick, Lisa, or myself.

Enjoy time that is strictly for you.  

Let us use our experience to relax your ever-tightening muscles, ease your headache, rejuvenate those neglected feet.  While we knead and release your muscles we also remind your body that rest and digest are important aspects of health.  The care extends to home when you take an epsom salts bath and fall deeply into a great night’s sleep.

Imagine what checking off your holiday list will feel like when you include a rejuvenating treatment for yourself.  Or what it will feel like to serve your guests with your cup of energy overflowing.

Check your benefits, as you may have massage coverage. Many plans are set for the calendar year, so use your 2016 benefits before they expire!  Of course, if you have any questions about massage therapy, or you want a gift certificate to treat a friend or family member, just call us at 519.826.7973 or book online.

Flush Out Fatigue


Chronic Fatigue?



Feeling Run Down with Fatigue?


Do you know there is a spectrum of root causes of fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia?

Are you aware of the classic deep central pain processing that affects the brain’s pattern for dealing with sensory information?

Did you know that the mood, digestive and sleep issues that can go along with fatigue may be keys to resolving your issue?

Learn how to flush out fatigue and optimize the body’s energy producing capacity in this free session at Goodness Me! in Guelph on Thursday September 22, 2016 with Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

Post Workout Massage–What You Should Do After Your Next Workout

We have all been there…..we went to the gym and did an endurance cycling class or went for a run and ran the hardest that we ever have and all that we can think about is how sore we are going to be the next day.  This muscle soreness is often what deters people from continuing their intense workout routines because they don’t want to be sore the next day.  But this does not have to be the case.  Having a massage after any  workout can ease post workout muscle soreness.  Did you know that even a ten minute massage after a training session or workout can improve your rebound time or post work out recovery? Check out this excellent article in Men’s Fitness  to see what the research says.

After a period of hard training or exercise  there will be an accumulation of waste material and possibly some micro trauma with slight swelling in the muscles. The tissues will also be nutritionally depleted and some may be in need of repair. By stimulating the blood circulation through the strained muscles with massage therapy, all these situations can be helped.  The waste is removed more quickly and completely and more fresh blood from the arteries arrives to supply the repair and nutritional needs. There should always be a rest period after exercise to allow the recovery process to take place, and a massage greatly improves the quality and effectiveness of such rest. It is the quality of rest that is the key to effective training and regular massage therapy treatments that enables more endurance workouts  at a higher level and with less injury.

By having a massage after your workout the conversation no longer has to be on how sore you are going to be, rather on how good you feel and how much quicker our muscles recovered so that you could duplicate the same workout the next day at the same intensity with no kick back pain.

So the next time your are running in the Forward Health neighbourhood at Preservation Park  or at your next cycling class at Movati fitness in Guelph,  why not consider working a massage therapy treatment into your workout routine?  Kick up the intensity in your workout without the worry of being sore for days later. After all , your massage therapy at Forward Health will take care of that.The-Function-of-a-Running-Shoe-18356134

Get Ready For Our 2nd Annual  Community Spring Bicycle Inspection & Tune-Up



100k ready to go b_zpseydd2ujc

Time to get the bikes out of storage and get them ready for the Summer Season ahead.

We invite you to drop by with your bicycles on Saturday May 14th 2016, as we are hosting our 2nd Annual Community Spring Bicycle Inspection and Tune-Up Day

Our own Dr. Phil will be riding the Century Distance for Forward Health, and proceeds will be donated to: The Foundation of The Guelph General Hospital and Rotary Clubs of Guelph. Every Dollar goes a long way to help in this worthy endeavor.

In addition there will be food and giveaways for everyone in attendance.

We’re excited to be teamed up on this day with GORBA  (Guelph Off-Road Bicycling Association), Rowe Farms Meats and Speed River Bicycle for the beginning of a season of safe riding, for all ages and abilities.

Location:  951 Gordon Street, in the parking lot.(Gordon Street and Kortright Road)

Date & Time:  Saturday May 14th, 2016, from 9am – 12noon

Looking forward to connecting you, your family and friends on this wonderful day.

The Forward Health Team

covered bridge ian and others_zpsjmadoa7x2015-07-05 11.47.13

If you have any further questions feel free to connect with us at info@forwardhealth.ca

Classic Green Monster – For a Burst of Energy

This smoothie has been my go to drink since I discovered it in one of my all time favorite cookbooks called “Oh She Glows” by Angela Liddon.myvega

Packed with goodness, this smoothie will give you that burst of energy that you need to start the day or to keep you going throughout the day. Make a double batch and store it in your fridge at home or at work and grab it when you need that mid afternoon pick me up. If you have a nut allergy, this recipe has substitutions so that you can enjoy this drink too. Not sure about drinking something green….simple add a half a cup of fresh or frozen blueberries to give this drink a beautiful purple hue. Not only will your friends and family be wondering where your energy is coming from..but even why you have glowing skin.

You will love this smoothie….try it out and let me know what you think.


Classic Green Monster

1 cup almond milk or other non dairy milk  – for a nut-free option use coconut milk instead

1 cup destemmed kale leaves or baby spinach

1 ripe banana peeled and frozen

2-3 ice cubes

1 tablespoon almond butter or peanut butter

1 tablespoon pure chia seeds or ground flaxseed – use sunflower seed butter for a nut-free option

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Protein powder (optional)

1/2 cup blue berries ( for added nutrients and a purple hue to your drink)


Picture from www.myvega.com

The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Four Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

It could help you lose weight.
Consuming vinegar with your meal can increase feelings of fullness, which should keep you from overeating. One study found that people ate 200-275 fewer calories for the rest of the day when they consumed vinegar with their meal.

It’s been shown to reduce and regulate blood sugar.
ACV contains acetic acid, which has been shown to slow down the absorption of sugar into your blood stream. Subjects in a study at the University of Milan saw a 34% drop in their blood sugar if they drank 1 gram of acetic acid in olive oil before eating 50 grams of white bread. In contrast, if one were to usually consume white bread, this would cause a spike in blood sugar.

It can clean fruits, veggies, and more.
When mixed with lemon juice, ACV has been proven to clean fruits and veggies and eliminate traces of salmonella.  ACV can also be used to clean surfaces around the house.

It may reduce risk of heart disease.
Multiple studies have shown that vinegar reduces blood pressure in rats and in another study rats that consumed ACV also showed a decrease in cholesterol and triglyceride levels. And while there hasn’t been much research on similar effects in humans, one observational study found that women who ate salad dressings with vinegar had a reduced risk of heart disease.


What Apple Cider Vinegar Might Not Do

Whiten your teeth.
The antibacterial properties of ACV could very well remove some gunk off your teeth, but it’s also extremely acidic. Too much acid can lead to erosion of the enamel, so rinsing your mouth with ACV could do more harm than good.

Clear your skin.
ACV has antimicrobial properties that could help to clear up acne, but right now there are only personal testimonials for this, no scientific studies.

Soften your hair.
The acetic acid in ACV could remove excess buildup from hair products, but again, there’s a lack of science to back up this claim.


How to use Apple Cider Vinegar:

Do not drink this stuff straight. If you’re going to ingest ACV, mix one tablespoon with at least eight ounces of water. You’ll want to dilute it because it tastes (and smells) quite pungent, and because acetic acid can be dangerous when consumed in high concentrations. If you’re going to put it on your skin, you should still dilute it in water. If you’re cleaning with it, you can mix it with water or lemon juice to create a super cleaning concoction. It’ll also go further that way.

One of the most popular brands of ACV is Braggs. It’s unfiltered, non-processed, and organic. It comes with “the mother,” a cloudy substance at the bottom of the bottle that produces the good bacteria and enzymes responsible for many of ACV’s healthy benefits.

Although there is some scientific data to back many of the claims ACV lovers espouse, much of what’s being discussed on the Internet is lacking solid evidence. Much like those quotes erroneously assigned to Abraham Lincoln. So, if you’re going to use it on your hair or skin, we recommend you proceed with caution.

Thank For Sharing Beachbody.com


Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Massage Therapy for Heart Disease?

We hear it often enough….preventing heart disease involves making healthy lifestyle choices such as eating heart healthy foods, daily exercise and if you are a smoker…to stop, but there is one more component that is often overlooked….and that is a regular massage therapy treatments.  How and why you ask?  Well we know that massage therapy helps reduce stress and in turn helps decrease high blood pressure, but many are unsure of the link.


So what is the link between stress and your heart?  For the answer lets look at the link between your heart and your nervous system…your autonomic nervous system that is. You know you have a central nervous system but you may not have heard of your autonomic nervous system. Let me tell you a little about it.

Your autonomic nervous system is made of two parts or states…..the sympathetic nervous system,  and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest state).  This is the system that is tied to our cardiac health.

Sounding familiar to you…..not yet?…well what if I told you the sympathetic nervous system is known as our fight or flight response. This is the state we find our bodies in during stressful times.  Stressful times can mean many things for our bodies. Stressed bodies are those that are constantly suffering with chronic pain, those that are constantly under pressure to succeed or meet obligations, in addition to strong emotions such as fear or anger.  These strong stressful emotions cause the hormones epinephrine, also known as adrenaline,  and cortisol to be released into the bloodstream causing  an  increase in  heart rate, and blood pressure as well as increased muscle strength and contraction…otherwise known as tension. The vessels also constrict in this state causing the blood to flow faster.  With increased blood pressure comes cardiac arrhythmia’s, which is when your heart skips a beat as it can’t keep up and pumps less effectively, causing less blood to reach your brain and other organs. Staying in this stressful state or in a sympathetic state  for a prolonged period of time is a problem in this modern time which  increases the likelihood of developing heart disease.

What we need then is for our bodies to be in a parasympathetic state, also known as, as I mentioned earlier, our rest and digest state. How do we get our body to the state which is characterized by reduced heart and breathing rates and widened  blood vessels which allows our blood to flow slower through the veins?  Well this is where the fourth component of prevention comes in…..and that is a regular massage therapy regimen.

Getting a regular massage can reduce the risks associated with stress. It is an ideal addition to quitting smoking, eating healthy and regular exercise. With massage techniques of effleurage and kneading, the nerve endings in the skin are stimulated and send messages of relaxation to your central nervous system, inhibiting  those stress hormones we talked about earlier….cortisol and epinephrine, and causing vasodilation or widening of the blood vessels.  Blood pressure will drop and your heart rate will slow down; your body is in the parasympathetic state. Resting and digesting, relaxing allows your organs to get all the nutrients they need. Promoting this state helps with high blood pressure, which is  the most common contributor to heart disease. Regular massage helps decrease tense and contracted muscles. When this happens, muscles and soft tissue are lengthened and pressure is taken off the blood vessels again allowing blood to flow freely and without restriction.

Unfortunately being inactive is also a top risk factor for heart disease. However like regular exercise, regular massage treatments improves circulation, strengthens the heart and lowers blood pressure…and eases tension…which are all the factors in lowering heart disease.  So, if you are not as active as you would like to be, massage therapy treatments, although not a replacement for regular exercise, can be a valuable addition to preventing heart disease.