- an Osteopathic approach to healing -

Basic Concepts

This webpage was created to support our clients in their path towards recovery. If you want to review some of the concepts mentioned during your sessions or in your Home Routines, this is the place to be. Scroll down, hover on the boxes, and explore our Golden Rules, Body Metaphors, and more. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to me. I will be pleased to help.

   

Enjoy! 

  

Jaz Ibarra

BSc in Osteopathy, BFA, DMT

TPI-Level 3 Certified Medical Professional (Golf Therapy)

SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Savour and enjoy!

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  • Often, the site of pain is not the origin of the pain. Pain is just a messenger. This is why pain may be improved by addressing distant or seemingly unrelated areas, organs or structures.

  • Let's not fixate too long our attention on the drop having caused the overflow. Instead, let's investigate. What filled the container?

  • "Normal" does not mean good or bad, inappropriate or healthy. It simply means habit formed. Our sense of normality is determined by our habits and can then be remodelled by creating and nurturing new habits. Today, hunching may feel normal and straight may feel uncomfortable. But in a few weeks, a slightly straighter posture will feel good and become your new normal. Each "new normal" becoming the foundation where a newer, more appropriate normal can grow. And so, we transform the way we look, the way we express, the way we feel, the way our body functions and the way others perceive us.

  • Our body was designed to heal, but only if we give it the opportunity to do so. Stress-response and excessive muscle tension waste our resources, cause unnecessary strain on our joints and contribute to musculoskeletal imbalance. Improving the use of our resources (E.g. unnecessary muscle tension) is necessary for significant healing to happen, which takes us to the next point.

  • Recovery and habits are deeply interrelated (what we do on a regular basis). Everything is consequential. Even how we breathe matters. What is contributing to unnecessary muscle tension (aka "knots")? 

BODY METAPHORS

May these metaphors provide you with guidance and enlighten your healing path.

Flying Lanterns


  • The Carpet: Muscle "knots" are like stains on a carpet. Muscle releasing techniques will help "wash" those stains. In addition to washing the stains, it would be necessary to stop "spilling wine on the carpet", or at least spill less wine ;) This is achieved by using The Thread, The J, and creating more functional movement patterns. Keep in mind that older stains will take longer to fade and disappear and newer stains may go away in a few days.

  • The House: How often should I release? Which areas should I start with? Sometimes, there is simply too many things to be addressed and we may feel overwhelmed. Picture your body is a house that hasn't been cleaned in a while. How long since your last muscle release? Perhaps you have never done it before! Now we have piles of dishes in the kitchen (Pecs), one inch dust bunnies in the washroom (Iliopsoas), a mountain of dirty clothes in the bedroom (calves), and so on. Common questions are: 

    • "How often should I release?"​ Let's go back to The House. There is nothing wrong with cleaning all day round. However, we have many other things to do. This is why we need to find a way to integrate your releasing and other Home Routines into your busy lives. Go to our INTEGRATION webpage and explore how you can integrate your releasing and other Home Routines into your daily activities.

    • "Where should I start?" Of course, we want the entire house to be squeaky clean. However, it may take a long time to get there and we need to start somewhere as of  TODAY. Different conditions require a different approach. Start by addressing the areas indicated on your Home Routines. Those are the most consequential/influential structures (indicated for your specific condition).

  • Cleaning Efficiency: If something is clean, please please do not waste your time "cleaning" it. If releasing a muscle feels good and it does not feel hard or "burning" then that area simply does not need to be released. Do not waste your time there and move on to other areas. Be efficient with your time and resources.​

  • Not all seeds turn into treesAwareness is one of my favourite words. It is the starting point of every positive change leading to a healthier state. Awareness is like a seed, a seed of change... for the better. I am aware that not every seed turns into a tree. Some clients don’t bother taking the awareness seed, some others take it, put it in their pocket and forget about it or lose it on their way home. However some take it home, sow it, water it, take care of it and by exerting self-responsibility, they allow the little seed to become a magnificent tree that in return will offer them shelter, beauty and nourishment... or should I say prevention, healing and a healthier state. I believe everybody should have the opportunity to grow skills, knowledge and behaviours that will eventually turn into prevention, healing and improved health. As well, everybody should be encouraged to discover awareness and practice self-responsibility. As I said, not every seed turns into a tree, but when that happens that makes me feel grateful and fulfilled. It reinforces my trust in nature and makes me cherish my existence and embrace the path I am following. To read the full version of the blog click here.

  • May your Seeds Turn into Trees: Creating a new habit is like growing a new plant. At the beginning it needs your constant attention, which can be overwhelming. But if you are consistent, the little plant will have the opportunity to become a fully-grown tree that will stand for itself, providing you with shelter, fruits, oxygen & beauty.

Depending on your condition, we may suggest to include the following modalities into your session.​

  • Exercises for Breathing Functionality.

  • Joint mobilizations (spinal, hips, etc.).

  • Muscle releasing & Trigger point techniques.

  • Neuromuscular techniques such as PNF and MET, stretches and other soft-tissue techniques.​

  

These techniques do not cause pain when applied on healthy tissues. However, pain or discomfort may be experienced when conditions such as muscle "tightness", myofascial adhesions, restricted blood flow (ischemia), nerve compression, and tissue injury are present.

   

Let us know if you are simply looking to have a relaxing & introspective experience.

We can certainly leave the non-relaxing techniques for a following session ;)

 

GOLDEN RULES

Knowledge gives you power.

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  • Symmetry: Musculoskeletal asymmetry is a fertile ground for injury and numerous musculoskeletal conditions. Our goal then, is to regain as much symmetry and musculoskeletal alignment as possible, for it is key to healing, restoration and injury prevention.

  • Muscle Releasing: The more you feel it, the more you need it. The more you do it, the better it is going to feel.

  • Heavy Head: It is not the same thing to carry a baby against our body than arms extended forward. The same applies to the head. Our head weights in average 10-12 pounds. A sound posture requires barely any muscle activation. But a forward head posture changes it all, placing excessive/persistent stress on the neck muscles:

    • bending the neck at a 15-degree angle requires a force of 30 pounds, 

    • at 45 degrees, 50 pounds are required, and 

    • bending the neck at 60 degrees, requires a a fore of 60-pounds.

  • Mobility is rooted in Stability: The mobility of our limbs is rooted in the stability of our trunk/core. Core instability contributes to movement inefficiency (E.g. one leg may feel "heavier" than the other). In an attempt to solve this, our body will use asymmetric position and compensatory patterns of movement (E.g. one knee-foot flares out and/or unnecessary muscle "tightness"). At this point, we start feeding a beast. 

  • It is not what we do, but how we do it: "Is it ok to run, do Yoga, Tai Chi, swim, cycle, gym workout?" Keep in mind that more often, what really matters is not so much WHAT we do, but HOW we do it. Be aware of how you are using your body. Poor posture and insufficient core/trunk stability are common cause of sport/workout injuries. Inappropriate sitting, walking or breathing can contribute to an unhealthy state and injury. Mindfulness is the key to prevention and healing. Mindful sitting, mindful walking, mindful cooking... Again, everything we do is consequential. I highly recommend you visit our Tai Chi webpage (main menu) and practice this beautiful discipline.

  • The Body Sacrifices Stability for Mobility: If a mobile joint lacks mobility, the stable joint/segment (above and/or below) will be forced to move beyond its level of comfort, causing strain, inflammation and pain. Then, in an attempt to avoid pain, further compensatory patterns will develop. The most common stable areas affected by this physiological law are: base of neck, low back & SI joints, knees and soles of the feet. Are you experiencing low back pain? Chances are, hip and/or thoracic mobility are restricted. Addressing this aspect should help alleviate some of that pain. 

 Scales of Justice

Healing

- an Osteopathic approach -

Is healing taking longer than expected?

 

When analyzing the rate of healing and recovery, everything boils down to a simple phrase: 

  

" Everything is consequential "

Is there any conditions or behaviours hindering our body's innate ability to heal? Hover on this box and explore what we can do to boost healing and promote tissue restoration.

Conditions and habits hindering healing

  

  • Musculoskeletal asymmetry/misalignment.

  • Unnecessary muscle tension (waste of resources).

  • Stress response.

  • "Junk breathing" (shallow breathing, lifting shoulders, or breathing from the top of the rib cage) stimulates the sympathetic nervous system (fight-flight response), with a cascade of processes that stop healing and are detrimental to health.

  • Additional injuries or conditions such as osteoarthritis, diabetes and other conditions triggering an inflammatory response.

  • Poor posture affects breathing and contributes to excessive muscle tension, misalignment, inefficient muscle activation, repetitive strain and injury.

  • Eating habits: Some food sensitivities are at the origin of muscle tension causing musculoskeletal strain, misalignment and resulting in mid-low back pain.

  • Focusing on the area of pain, instead of addressing the origin of the condition and the factors contributing to it.

Conditions and habits promoting healing

  

  • Musculoskeletal symmetry/alignment. A sound posture reduces unnecessary muscle tension and contributes to a more efficient use of our energy and resources. Resources that may then be used for healing purposes.

  • Diaphragmatic breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is linked to digestion, assimilation, healing, relaxation and tissue restoration. We breathe in average 15,000 times per day. Remodelling our breathing habits has the potential to make a huge difference!

  • Addressing and keeping under control local and systemic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, food sensitivity, etc.

  • Body awareness: Mindful sitting, walking, cooking... 

  • Integrating your Home Routines into your regular activities. Creating and nurturing new, more appropriate posture, breathing and movement habits.

  • Constantly checking and if necessary, correcting your posture. Keep in mind that a healthy straight posture should feel good and RELAXED, a straight but tense posture is actually detrimental to health. 

Imagine that every 10 seconds we are given a marble. Depending on our behaviour, the marble will be placed on one side of the scale.

How am I breathing? How am I positioning and moving? Am I practicing my Home Routines on a regular basis? 

Where am I placing the marbles? 

  

At the end of the day, our behaviour and actions will determine if our resources will be used to support healing.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Practice your Home Routines as if your healing and recovery depended on it, because it does.

  • Integrate your Home Routines into your daily activities, rather than having to stop your activities to do your Home Routines.

  • After your initial visit, give yourself a week or two, then book an appointment (it can be a short one) to show me how well you are practicing and integrating your Home Routines into your busy life. Perhaps you are trying too hard and The Thread is causing your neck or shoulders to tighten? Perhaps you are digging at the wrong place with the tennis ball? Sometimes, it is necessary to adjust or perfect your position or the way you are proceeding/practicing your Home Routines. We want to make sure that you are doing things correctly and your time and efforts are worth it.

  • If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me via email. Often, it is possible to clarify your questions via email, without the need of booking a session.

  • Last but not least:

May The Thread be with you all the time. Unless you are sleeping.

Aha moments!

     I started noticing this foot pain after a ballet-barre practice. Gradually, the pain became more insidious. I could feel it during and after my practice, going up and down stairs, even during my regular walks! Eventually, I had to give up on my ballet-barre practice.

     The Osteopathic assessment revealed significant asymmetric posture and muscle activation. My first homework included muscle releasing - stretching - strengthening plus body awareness and mindfulness. I have to say that releasing was quite painful the first few days. After a week or so, the pain improved and muscle releasing started to feel "good". But I was still experiencing foot pain during weight bearing activities.

     One day, during my walk, I decided to move my focus away from the site of pain and instead, focus on activating "The J - Thread" (more seriously, this time). All my intention, all my attention was directed towards The J and The Thread.

     What followed, was a wonderful series of events. First, I felt one inch taller (and this was effortless). Then, I started to feel a "stronger" core and a nice stretch in the groin area at the end of each stride. I was thinking to myself: So, this is what a "Mindful Walk" feels likeI was surprised when I realized that the foot pain was not there anymore. When did it happen? No idea, since I was busy focusing on trying to "walk mindfully". I was planning for a 15 min walk but instead, I decided to keep going. No pain after half an hour and no pain all the way back home. Same thing the day after. That was amazing!

     At present, I understand the importance of practicing my Home Routines for maintenance and preventative purposes. The foot pain is extremely rare. But now, I am grateful for it. I know this pain carries a message: A significant loss of core stability and body alignment. This message is a reminder for me to become more aware of my body and pay more attention to "The J - Thread" activation. As soon as I do that, the pain goes away, like magic.

- C.A.

     My experience in the pool was nourishing on so many levels, not only physical, but mental, emotional and dare I say, spiritual. I have already noticed huge improvements in body alignment, range of motion and comfort in my neck; and awareness of how habitual ways of holding my body affect it, and my well-being. Yay! I am so Happy!

     The posture techniques are also fabulous! I am looking forward to turning The Thread into my "new normal". Thank you, Jaz, for your expertise and for offering this powerful modality. I am floating in a sea of gratitude!

- R.M.

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