How-to: Chin tucks

Head forward posture - Ottawa massage blogMany of us have a posture that massage therapists describe as “forward head carriage”, and that is now also frequently called “text neck”. Computer use and texting are two common reasons for this head position that strains the neck and shoulders, and can contribute to headaches, muscle aches, jaw problems, internally rotated shoulders, and bony changes in the neck and spine.

Then what is correct head posture?  To achieve correct head posture and for your neck to be in neutral, your earlobe should line up with the mid-point of your shoulder. (Otherwise described as having the mastoid process in line with the acromion.)

Correct Neck Posture - Ottawa Massage Blog

If you have forward head posture, worry no more – we are here to teach you a very simple correcting exercise called chin tucks. Chin tucks are a simple way of strengthening your deep neck flexors, realigning your cervical (neck) spine, and reducing forward head posture.

If you see yourself more like the first picture, try daily chin tucks to help strengthen your neck muscles and bring your head back into proper position. Here is how to perform them:

Chin tuck - Ottawa Massage Blog

1. Lie down on the floor, your bed, or a massage table.

2. Tuck your chin in towards the spine.

3. Lift your head a few inches off the floor, gazing at the horizon.

4. Hold until fatigue. Rest, and repeat tomorrow.

A strong neck can hold the posture for 45 or more seconds without shaking and without the chin un-tucking.

If you have a weaker neck, do this once a day, every day, and see how fast your strength can improve.

Try it yourself! How long can you hold it?


Bonus exercise: Here’s a video with a short and easy series of self-care tricks from our friends at Heritage Fitness in Carleton Place!

Legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada: how does it affect massage therapy?

Since 2001, Canadians have been able to use marijuana for medical purposes with a prescription.

This summer, possibly as early as July 1, 2018 and probably by September, 2018, Canadians will also be able legally to buy marijuana for recreational (non-medical) use.


What does this change for massage therapists, or massage clients?

Under current regulations, an RTM should not treat a client who can’t give true informed consent because of their use of medication or any type of substance.

Once marijuana is legal for recreational use, the same standards will apply, for the client’s protection.


What is informed consent?

Already, the Standards of Practice for massage therapists in Ontario require RMTs to get informed consent to treatment from a client at each visit.

And according to the Health Care Consent Act, 1996, a client can only give informed consent if they have the mental capacity to do so. Some drugs (including prescription drugs) or substances may affect the client’s ability to give consent.

  • If the client seems unable to understand the possible risks and benefits of treatment or of not having treatment, or isn’t able to respond appropriately to questions, then for the client’s safety the massage therapist must assume that the client cannot give informed consent at this time and the therapist should not go ahead with the treatment.

A drug or substance can also impair the client’s ability to perceive pain and pressure levels accurately, or to tolerate and recover from treatment.

  • If the RMT believes that is the case, they should adjust their application of  assessment and treatment to protect the client.

For example, if you’ve taken a muscle relaxant or a pain medication an hour or two before your massage, you may not be able fully to feel the sensations in the area being treated, so your RMT will want to use a lighter touch and not work as deeply, to protect you from injury. Marijuana may affect a person in a similar way, so RMTs will exercise professional caution in treatment.


Can I get a massage if I’ve taken a prescription or recreational substance?

Ontario massage therapy regulations say that an RMT should not treat a client who can’t give true informed consent because of the use of medication or any type of substance.

Also, the therapist should modify both assessment and treatment if the client’s awareness of pressure or pain may be diminished.

Once marijuana is legal for recreational use, the same standards will apply.

So it’s best to schedule your massage for a time when your pain perception and ability to give full consent to the treatment are at their most accurate.


If you have questions, feel free to chat with your RMT at your next visit!


Take a hike, low back pain!

Quadratus lumborum, a deep abdominal muscle that moves and stabilizes the torso, can contribute to low back pain.

Body Poets Massage Therapy

Muscle of the Month: Quadratus Lumborum – the hip hiker

Low back pain: we’ve all experienced it at least once in our lives. That nagging stiffness, inability to move, and dull ache can put the best of us in a bad mood, or worse, at home in bed. Low back pain can be cause by MANY factors. Muscle, joint, and fascial imbalances all tend to play a large role; one major muscle that can cause low back pain is the quadratus lumborum.

QL - Ottawa massage blogNo, it’s not a Harry Potter magic spell. The quadratus lumborum, or QL, is one of your low back muscles that is tucked very neatly between your hip and the last rib. With one on each side of the spine, the QL, especially when tight, can affect many areas of the body.

Actions: When one QL contracts: laterally flex torso, elevate hip (hip hike).  When both…

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The Thigh Who Loved Me

While watching the 23rd Olympic Games, you’ll notice the amazing quadriceps muscles of the winter athletes. For all of us, the quads are essential to movement, but thigh and knee pain can be caused by dysfunction in any of the four quadriceps muscles. This post looks at some of the reasons for this pain and ways to restore function.

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Muscle of the Month: Quadriceps

Quads - ottawa massage blog

The quadriceps (‘quads’) are the beautiful muscles that make up the fronts of your thighs. They are a group of four muscles that, working together, help flex (bend) the hip and extend (straighten) the knee. Only one of the quad muscles actually flexes the hip, while all four of them help stabilize and extend the knee. The more support and strength the knee has, the less likely it is to be prone to injury; so it is important to keep the quads strong and healthy to ensure a healthy knee joint later in life.

Rectus Femoris: This one muscle moves two joints: hip and knee

Actions – Flexes the hip, extends the knee

Common pain culprits – excessive stair climbing, running

The rectus femoris is the longest of the four quad muscles and is the only one to cross over two joints: hip and…

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How to: Stretch Pirformis

Maybe you’ve spent more time sitting around over the past few weeks, or maybe you’ve been out on the slopes or the rink. Either way, you may find yourself feeling stiff or tight around the low back, hips, or buttocks. And if you’ve been driving more than usual, some sciatic-type symptoms might be showing up. One of these piriformis stretches may be just what you need to ease some of that discomfort. Your RMT can also suggest rolling and other exercises or treatment that can get down into whatever muscle tension is cramping your style.

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Piriformis - Ottawa Massage BlogOne of the more commonly tight muscles, the piriformis, can be a real pain in your …. well, you know. But stretching it out regularly will help reduce pain and discomfort in your … well, you know. The following stretches aren’t just for the piriformis though. They also help with the gluteus minimus and other external rotators of the hip (there are five others!).

Some indications that you may need to stretch your external hip rotators are:

  • sciatic pain
  • SI joint pain
  • stiffness in the hips
  • postural imbalances such as being ‘duck-footed’ (toes pointing out) or weight bearing on one leg (hip jutting out)

Without further ado, here are some stretches and modifications for the external hip rotators. Find one that best suits your flexibility level.

Pigeon Pose: Kneeling on all 4s, bring the right knee forward to the right wrist. Let the right knee sink out toward the ground…

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Top Choice Awards 2018: Please vote for us!

We’ve been nominated by you, our clients, for the third year in a row as top massage clinic in Ottawa!

Many of you threw your support behind us two years ago and we were thrilled to be voted Ottawa’s Top Massage Therapist in 2016.

Vote Now

Voting has opened for the 2018 Top Choice Awards, and we hope we might have your vote as top massage clinic again this year!

Top Choice Award Nominee 2018

Thank you as always for your continued support and patronage,

The Body Poets Massage Therapy team

Gut Feelings – The benefits of abdominal massage

Overall fitness includes abdominal muscle and digestive health. Sarah Million, RMT explains why.

Body Poets Massage Therapy

By: Sarah Million, RMT

Sarah is a believer in whole body health. She treats everything from bellowing bellies, maddened muscles, and nervy nervous systems to help attain a body-wide wellness.

Would you let a stranger rub your belly?

What about a trained professional? In my role as a registered massage therapist I can ease muscle pain, mobilize joints, assist fluid flow, mobilise connective tissue, and yes, I am trained and qualified to provide abdominal massage.

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