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The Massage Therapists

Oli Spevak

Hello, my name is Oli Spevak and I am a 2006 graduate from Mount Royal College Massage Therapy program. I am currently working on my training with the prestigious Upledger Institute for Craniosacral therapy and expect to have completed my studies early next year.

I am passionate about the field of Massage Therapy and all it has to offer! It is beneficial to the human body and spirit and necessary for overall health. My training and experience have enhanced my ongoing fascination with the human anatomy and helping people to live healthy, happy and productive lives!

My practice focus is specific deep tissue work and soothing relaxation massage, as well as pre & post-natal massage and craniosacral therapy. I am delighted to be working in a Chiropractic clinic as chiropractic and massage are complementary – the human body, the spine, the muscles – it is all connected.

Every client is unique and requires specialized treatment, based on their lifestyle and needs. My focus is to treat the whole person, improving range of motion, releasing tension and stress while creating overall well being. I look forward to working with you and putting together a specific treatment plan for your optimum health goals.

I am a big fan of traveling, hiking, yoga, music and Scrabble. I also like cooking and spending time with my friends and family and of course, getting a regular massage!

I truly love my work and look forward to meeting you.

About Massage Therapy

Massage affects the body as a whole. To understand how massage therapy works, some of the physiological effects of massage need to be briefly examined.

Massage is known to increase the circulation of blood and flow of lymph. The direct mechanical effect of rhythmically applied manual pressure and movement used in massage can dramatically increase the rate of blood flow. Also, the stimulation of nerve receptors causes the blood vessels (by reflex action) to dilate, which also facilitates blood flow.

A milky white fluid called lymph carries impurities and waste away from the tissues and passes through gland-like structures spaced throughout the lymphatic system that act as filtering valves. The lymph does not circulate as the blood does, so its movement depends largely on the squeezing effect of muscle contractions. Consequently, inactive people fail to stimulate lymph flow. On the other hand, the stimulation caused by vigorous activity can be outstripped by the increased waste produced by that activity. Massage can dramatically aid the movement of lymph in either case.

For the whole body to be healthy, the sum of its parts -- the cells -- must be healthy. The individual cells of the body are dependent on an abundant supply of blood and lymph because these fluids supply nutrients and oxygen and carry away wastes and toxins. So, it is easy to understand why good circulation is so important to our health and why massage can be so beneficial for the entire body due to its effect on circulation alone.

Massage is also known to:

  • Cause changes in the blood. The oxygen capacity of the blood can increase 10-15% after massage.
  • Affect muscles throughout the body. Massage can help loosen contracted, shortened muscles and can stimulate weak, flaccid muscles. This muscle "balancing" can help posture and promote more efficient movement. Massage does not directly increase muscle strength, but it can speed recovery from the fatigue that occurs after exercise. In this way, it can be possible to do more exercise and training, which in the long run strengthens muscles and improves conditioning. Massage also provides a gentle stretching action to both the muscles and connective tissues that surround and support the muscles and many other parts of the body, which helps keep these tissues elastic.
  • Increase the body's secretions and excretions. There is a proven increase in the production of gastric juices, saliva, and urine. There is also increased excretion of nitrogen, inorganic phosphorus, and sodium chloride (salt). This suggests that the metabolic rate (the utilization of absorbed material by the body’s cells) increases.
  • Affect the nervous system. Massage balances the nervous system by soothing or stimulating it, depending on which effect is needed by the individual at the time of the massage.
  • Enhance skin condition. Massage directly improves the function of the sebaceous (oil) and sweat glands which keep the skin lubricated, clean, cooled. Tough, inflexible skin can become softer and more supple.
  • Affect internal organs. By indirectly or directly stimulating nerves that supply internal organs, blood vessels of these organs dilate and allow greater blood supply to them.

Knowing about the physiological effects of massage makes it possible to better understand the health and fitness benefits of massage. What takes place under a massage therapist's hands has profound importance for those interested in health and fitness -- in "tuning up" their bodies. In every sport or form of exercise, massage can help. By helping to reduce physiological fatigue and aid recovery from the exertion of working out or playing, massage enables training better, with longer, more effective workouts, thus facilitating better performance and preventing injury.

Massage acts to disperse the accumulated by-products of muscle action that irritate muscles and nerve endings. Lactic and carbonic acids build up in muscle tissue shortly after exercise begins. These acids are waste products that contribute to causation of the pain and occasional cramping that exercisers, athletes, dancers, etc. suffer during and/or after workouts or performing. These acids are formed when the glycogen stored in the liver and muscles is burned to produce the energy expended during exercise. The acids must eventually be reconverted to glycogen and stored again, or drained out via the lymph and circulatory systems. Pain and fatigue persists until this process of reconverting or excreting is completed. Massage can help eliminate the irritation caused by these wastes, thus increasing muscle recovery rates. When massage has been substituted for rest, an increase from 20-75%, even 100% muscle recovery has been recorded.

Joints are critical to exercise because joints are moved by the muscles to produce movement. All joints are complicated, and their parts have a way of settling and stiffening when not used. A sluggish, numbed feeling in the joints discourages exercise. A massage therapist counteracts this by using massage strokes and passive movement to release the muscle tension and free the connective tissue found around the joints that can bind the joints.

Massage also aids recovery from soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains. This is possible because the growth and repair of tissue are accelerated by efficient circulation in the injured areas and appropriate stimulation of the healing tissues. Many soft tissue injuries are not serious enough to cause one to visit a doctor or hospital for treatment, or are only treated with some first-aid, but still cause some discomfort and disability. Massage therapy can often help speed and improve recovery and reduce discomfort from such mishaps. In this way, massage helps bridge the gap between common neglect of injury and major medical intervention.

Users of massage therapy as a healing tool quickly realize that they have found a form of drugless therapy. Headaches, insomnia, digestive disorders including constipation and spastic colon, arthritis, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, sinusitis, and minor aches and pains are some of the problems that can respond to massage therapy. Massage can have an excellent effect on nervous people who have been dependent on their pharmacy for rest and relaxation.

Simply stated, the foundation stone of the therapeutic effect of massage is what Hippocrates, the "Father of Modern Medicine" and an advocate of massage, defined as vis medicatrix naturae, or the body's natural recuperative powers, the life force. Massage therapy essentially promotes health by boosting the body’s own processes.

In terms of what to expect during a massage, they generally are an hour in length. Clients are usually asked to remove as much clothing as one is comfortable with and rest on a padded massage table. To respect personal privacy and provide adequate warmth, the client is covered or draped with a sheet or towel so that only the part of the body being worked on is exposed at any given time.

Whether or not you would expect to talk during a session depends on your need at the time. Some clients need to talk. Some need silence. Massage therapists will usually try to accommodate what the client needs. However, sometimes talking detracts from entering a state of relaxation or experiencing the physical or nonverbal dimensions of the massage. In any case, feel comfortable giving feedback about your needs and what you like or do not like during the session. Good communication enhances the massage session.

The massage therapist will likely use a high quality oil or lotion, but if you have an allergic response you should let the massage therapist know. Some massage therapists offer to play music during a session, others may feel it is distracting. It is best not to have eaten just before a session. Your massage therapist can answer many other questions you may have. If for any reason you must miss a massage appointment, your massage therapist will surely appreciate being notified as soon as possible.



 

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