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Body And Soul Concept

Mobile massage, Therapies and  Courses in Surrey


Body and Soul Concept, achieving the balance in our lives, trough a healthier life. In this blog I will post about Nutrition, Fitness, Therapies, everything that leads towards a happy journey.

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How you will be covered during the massage?

Posted on 24 January, 2020 at 11:15 Comments comments (1)
A major concern for many people when they come to get a massage, especially if its their first time ever receiving one, is how much of their clothing they'll need to remove and how they'll be covered throughout the massage. Its perfectly understandable. As your therapist, I'm asking you to put yourself in a rather vulnerable state, and I have the upmost respect for that. My focus is making you comfortable every step of the way. So there's a few things you might want to understand so that you can stay as relaxed as possible during your massage session. First and foremost, as for how much of your clothing you'll need to remove, this is entirely up to you and the type of massage you want. There are some massage techniques that can be performed while you're fully clothed. However, the more common methods do require at least partial undressing to be able to be most effective. For example, if your back is sore from a little extra work over the weekend, I can do some compressions and mobilizations that can help while you're fully clothed, but to access some of those deeper structures in a more precise manner, you're taking off your shirt will allow me to do just that for those hard to reach back muscles. That will also allow me to use lotion or oil to glide across the skin as I work, making the entire experience a whole lot more pleasant and relaxing. The second thing I should mention is that no matter what clothing you decide you're comfortable removing, you will remain covered at all times. Your pelvic area and, in the case of women, the breasts will always be covered. Part of our training as massage therapists is cantered around how to cover and uncover specific areas of the body while maintaining modesty. So we can uncover your leg without ever exposing anything above the thigh and tuck the linens just so to prevent any unwanted exposure. The same goes for your arms, your chest, stomach, back, and even the glutes. Again, my focus is on making sure you can relax and enjoy your entire massage, and part of that is covering and uncovering areas in a way that ensures your privacy while still allowing you to have the best massage experience possible. If you ever feel uncomfortable or have any questions or requests, please don't hesitate to speak up. The last thing I want is your mind taken over by thoughts of worry or discomfort while you're getting a massage. Your Therapist, Rute

Massage for Digestive Issues

Posted on 17 June, 2019 at 16:50 Comments comments (5)


Digestive problems can be tough to deal with. Not only does it feel uncomfortable, but depending on the symptoms, may be embarrassing. Add that to the frustration of finding a remedy, and no one is very happy when fighting this particular battle. You may have tried over the counter or even prescription medications, but there is an alternative than many people don’t consider; massage. Massage of the abdominal area has been shown to improve digestive function.

Studies have shown that not only can massage help restore regularity and decrease associated gas pain, but it can also decrease the time it takes for you to digest your food. When massage is applied throughout the abdomen, it can stimulate a process called peristalsis, which is the rhythmic muscular contractions of the intestines. This is how matter is moved through the digestive tract. By stimulating this process, you’re more likely to remain regular and overcome those bouts of constipation more easily.

If you find that you’re experiencing some irregularity, there’s a few things to check off the list first…

Fiber Intake: Having enough fiber is imperative to a healthy digestive system. Fiber helps sweep the walls of your bowels, getting rid of anything hanging on to your intestinal tract; but did you know that having too much fiber can block other waste from making its way through your intestines? Balance is key!

Water Intake: Water is absolutely necessary for proper digestive function. Staying hydrated helps the body function overall, but digestion is greatly reliant on water to allow waste to travel through the digestive tract. If you aren’t getting enough water, that waste isn’t able to move as easily as it should, resulting in constipation. However, if you’re experiencing diarrhea, don’t cut back on your water intake. While you may think that will help, it won’t. You’re losing a lot of water with diarrhea and can easily become dehydrated.

Food allergies: Any time something enters your body that doesn’t belong there, your body will let you know it. Sometimes the body reacts to something seemingly normal as if it were dangerous, letting you clearly know that you shouldn’t eat that again. But it’s not always as serious as swelling of the tongue or throat, like you may associate with food allergies. Instead, it may be a less obvious sign as the gastrointestinal tract slows or stalls digestion in an attempt to protect itself. If you’re experiencing periods of digestive problems, start keeping a food journal to see if there’s any association with certain foods.

Intestinal disorder: When the above are ruled out, you may have a more serious problem like an intestinal disorder. Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, and irritable bowel syndrome are chronic conditions that directly affect the digestive tract. If you have frequent discomfort, diarrhea, or have a difficult time passing stool for long periods, you’ll definitely want to see a physician. 

Abdominal adhesions: These bands of scar tissue that form between abdominal tissues and organs causing them to ‘stick’ together, can also be a culprit in constipation. Adhesions like this can press into and squeeze areas of the intestines. This may be mild or moderate, causing occasional or frequent constipation, or may be severe, causing a complete obstruction which would require surgery.

While massage can be greatly beneficial for digestive issues like constipation and gas, if you’re experiencing diarrhea, massage to the abdomen may in fact make your symptoms worse. It’s important to be open with your massage therapist about what symptoms you’re experiencing at the time of your appointment and for the previous 24 hours. We’ll work with you to develop the right treatment plan or refer you to the best specialist to help.

your therapiest, Rute Fernandes

Massage and Diabetes

Posted on 17 June, 2019 at 16:45 Comments comments (2)

Did you know that diabetes affects almost 10% of the population? It’s a frustrating condition for many people that can completely alter their day-to-day activities. Every bite of food and any physical activity has to be taken into account.


For a general overview, diabetes affects insulin in the body. Insulin is what regulates blood sugar levels so our cells function properly. There are two primary forms, simply called Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed in childhood as the result of the body’s inability to produce insulin. These patients require supplemental insulin. Type 2 on the other hand, can develop at any age and is the result of the body not effectively using insulin. They don’t require supplemental insulin, but rather can control their blood sugar levels with proper diet and exercise. However, if not controlled, Type 2 can turn into Type 1. There are also many complications that are associated with diabetes, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, nerve damage, and depression to name a few.


While Diabetes can restrict a lot in life, getting a massage shouldn’t be one of those things. Generally speaking, it is perfectly safe to receive a massage as a diabetic. However, open communication is essential! It’s not only important to tell your massage therapist that you are diabetic, but also about how it’s being managed, and what your recent health is like. It’s also important to note that massage can alter your blood glucose level considerably, and it may take a few sessions to get a clear idea of how your body responds to the massage. This will help you moving forward with regular sessions, so you know when you should eat or take your insulin in relation to when you receive your massage.


If you’re dealing with diabetic neuropathy (damage to the small nerves of the hands and feet), you’ll want to be really clear with your massage therapist about exactly what your current symptoms are, as this varies from person to person. You’ll also want to keep communicating during the session so your therapist can adjust the pressure and techniques accordingly.


Massage therapy can do wonders to help with some of the symptoms and side effects of diabetes. Whether you’re dealing with neuropathy, circulation issues, depression, or just want to relax, massage may help. Just make sure you keep an open line of communication with your therapist and keep them updated with any changes that happen along the way. This will not only keep you safe, but it will make your experience as enjoyable as possible.

Your therapiest, Rute Fernandes

How your lower back pain & hip pain may be connected

Posted on 1 June, 2019 at 18:25 Comments comments (0)

The body is intricately designed with nerve endings and connective tissues that intertwine to form a beautiful structure capable of everything from minute movements, to birthing a child, to surviving in some of the harshest conditions on earth. But with these capabilities comes vulnerability, so it’s no surprise that we experience pain from time to time at the very least. What you may not realize is that sometimes the pain you feel isn’t necessarily caused by something in the area you feel it. For example, when you have an injury to your hips or pelvis, it can often cause back pain. Due to the proximity of the complex joints of the pelvis to your spine, your body can also interpret your hip/pelvis problem as back pain and your back problem as hip/pelvic pain.


The lumbar region of the spine (lower back) houses all of the nerves that supply feeling and motor control to the entire lower body; from the low back itself to the hips, knees, and down to the tips of your toes. While this area can sustain a lot of abuse, due to the immense amount of movement it is capable of and the stress that our daily lives can put on it, it is also the most susceptible to injury. Here’s a few reasons you may have this hip/back pain connection.


A pinched nerve root at the lumbar spine due to a bulging or herniated disc may result in significant sharp pain along a nerve like the sciatic nerve which runs from the middle of the low back all the way down the back and side of the leg to the foot. Sometimes this pain stops at the buttock and at other times it may shoot all the way down to the toes.


Your posture may also have an effect. This isn’t to say that you need to immediately “fix” your posture as that may not be necessary. What I’m referencing is more so when you begin to exhibit an abnormal-to-you posture, like suddenly sitting all day when you’re used to walking, or crossing your legs a lot when you haven’t before. These seemingly subtle changes may actually result in some significant shifts in the joints of the pelvis and spine, causing pain. If you haven’t had a major shift in how you sit, stand, or walk throughout your day, it may be that your posture has changed due to your pain rather than the other way around. The new posture you’ve adapted may be your body’s way of compensating for an injury or otherwise protecting itself from further damage.


While there is much to this connection between the low back and hips, far more than I can include in this single post, just know that there is an intricate balance between the many structures of this area. Depending on the real problem, you may need massage, exercise, rest, stretching, or it may be best to see your physician. To help you determine what’s really going on and how to move forward, make an appointment and let’s figure it out together so you can get back to doing what you enjoy.

your therapiest, Rute Fernandes

Swedish vs deep tissue

Posted on 1 June, 2019 at 18:20 Comments comments (0)

There is quite a bit of misinformation and confusion around the terms deep tissue massage and Swedish massage. While you may think you know the difference between these two common massage techniques, you may be surprised by the reality of it. When you come to a massage therapist and request a deep tissue massage or Swedish massage, what you think you’re requesting and what your therapist is trained to know, may be very different. So, before we get into this I want you to clear your mind of any negative thoughts towards either one of these techniques, and open your mind to balance the information.


Keep in mind that anytime you have a session with a massage therapist there should be a discussion of your desired results and goals for the visit as well as an understanding that you help to define the techniques and pressure used during your session. Never hesitate to let your massage therapist know if you have any discomfort or pain during the session so that they can adjust their techniques and pressure accordingly.


Every massage therapist is different, but there are four common movements in Swedish massage. Effleurage is a smooth, gliding stroke used to relax soft tissue. Petrissage is the squeezing, rolling, or kneading that follows effleurage. Friction involves movement in opposing directions that cause layers of tissue to rub against each other or separate. Tapotement is a short, alternating tap done with cupped hands, fingers, or the edge of the hand. These combined with stretching and/or mobilization of joints is generally what you can expect during a typical Swedish massage. All of these Swedish techniques can be done with light or heavy pressure; it’s generally just a broad pressure.


Deep tissue massage is used when there are specific areas that may need a little more attention due to soreness, stiffness, or injury. Deep tissue massage involves more focused pressure and pinpoint techniques and mobilizations. While your therapist may apply deeper pressure at certain times, that’s not the defining difference between these two common techniques. Swedish massage is meant to relax the body and mind, while deep tissue massage is focused on relieving tension and helping with muscular injuries in specific areas.


The key here is knowing the difference between what pressure is helping during your session, and what pressure is uncomfortable and may end up doing more harm than good. Again, in any session there should be an understanding between you and your therapist as to what pressure will work best, and you should inform your therapist if you feel the pressure is too much or too little, so they can adjust their technique accordingly. Don’t ever be afraid to speak up.


Remember, everyone’s body is different, which results in the needs of their sessions to be different. There are those that don’t feel as if they’ve had a good massage if the pressure during the massage was ‘light’ leaving them somewhat sore. Others prefer massages that simply relax them without any other goals. What you need from your session is what you need. Getting a Swedish massage doesn’t necessarily mean light pressure, and a deep tissue massage isn’t necessarily going to leave you in pain. No session, no matter what it’s called, should be painful. There is a clear difference between something being uncomfortable, so you may tense slightly at first but then can breathe through it pretty easily, and that which is painful, so you’re unable to breathe and relax through it, causing more harm than good.


Don’t feel like you must stick it out in a massage that is causing you more than a little discomfort because you feel that you won’t reap the benefits without it. Know your body and know the signals your body is sending to inform you of what feels uncomfortable and what is detrimental. If you can’t relax through it, or your muscles are tensing you may need to ask your massage therapist to lighten their pressure. Also remember that light pressure done by a massage therapist that is educated on your needs and the proper way to administer them can be just as effective as deep pressure. If your massage therapist is going lighter, and you feel you would like a little more depth into the stroke, inform them.


The main point that I want you to take from this is that your session is your session. Your massage therapist wants to provide you with a service that you are happy with, and for you to return to achieve your wellness goals. An open line of communication with your massage therapist before, during, and after will help them to make sure that you received what you needed out of the session and that you are walking out of there better than you walked in. Make sure that you are giving your massage therapist the opportunity to adjust the treatment where needed to fit you, as well as letting them know what your body responded to best. Massages should not only be helpful, they should also be enjoyable.

your therapiest, Rute Fernandes

4 signs you're eating too much sugar

Posted on 1 June, 2019 at 18:20 Comments comments (0)

Let’s face it; sugar is tasty…and it’s everywhere! Even hidden in foods where you may not expect to find it. While it may be hard to avoid completely, if you’re mindful about the amount of sugar you’re eating, your body will thank you. So here’s 4 signs that you may be eating too much sugar.


1: Your skin is breaking out more than normal.


The journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics did a study that connects increased consumption of sugar with increased acne.


2: You’re tired after meals.


It’s so easy when you’re on the go to fuel up with the quickest and least healthy options. While eating a meal that’s high in sugar and carbs may give you the immediate energy boost you need, later you will be looking for the nearest pillow or pick me up. Making sure you consume a balanced meal with protein, carbs, and fat will allow your blood sugar to stabilize to prevent those extreme highs and lows.


3: Your workouts are more difficult.


When you notice you’re struggling to hit your peak performance during your workout, you may want to look at what you are using to fuel your workouts. If it’s something high in sugar that will quickly burn off, make sure you adjust it to something balanced in protein and carbs to keep your energy levels regulated, and help you to hit your goals in your daily workout.


4: Your body constantly craves it.


Do you constantly have a sweet tooth that you can’t quite kick? Once your body gets a taste of that donut, candy bar, piece of cake, or whatever your preference, it releases dopamine, a chemical primarily associated with feelings of pleasure. Once your body has that reaction, it will continue to crave the same food in search of the same reaction. It’s the same reason for addiction to any drug; And food can be a drug. One that helps or one that harms.


If you’re seeing these signs, it may be a good idea to cut back on your sugar intake. While small changes can still have a major impact, be sure to talk to your doctor and/or a nutritionist to discuss any radical diet changes to make sure you don’t do more harm than good. Even small changes to cut back on the amount of sugar in your diet can not only prevent you from packing on a few unwanted pounds, but you’ll also increase your performances during your workouts, decrease your number of breakouts, and save yourself a doctor bill or even potentially a hospital bill.

Your therapiest, Rute Fernandes

5 steps to healthier skin

Posted on 1 June, 2019 at 18:20 Comments comments (0)

Did you know that the skin is the largest organ of the body? The truth is, there are so many factors that go into how to improve your skin quality. What you put into your body, how you care for it, the environment that surrounds you, and your stress level all play a part in the condition your skin is in. So, how do we improve the quality of our skin? And we’re not just talking the skin on your face. Skincare includes the skin throughout your entire body. It needs special care. Here are a few of our favorite tips to help you out.


Step One: Eat better. Yes, believe it or not what you put intoyour body affects your skin just as much as what you put onit. Staying hydrated and eating plenty of nutrient filled fruits and vegetables will help to make sure you are nourishing your body the way it needs, as well as help support healthy, glowing skin.


Step Two: Exercise regularly. You did read that correctly. I said exercise. When you exercise, not only do you cleanse your skin while sweating during your workout, you also provide your skin with optimum oxygen levels that help pump the much-needed nutrients to your skin cells. Be sure to shower and cleanse your skin well after any exercise to keep bacterial growth to a minimum.


Step Three: Stress Less. Certain skin conditions such as acne can be caused by cortisol, what’s often referred to as the “stress hormone”. Try breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation to lower those stress levels. And as mentioned before, adding exercise to your daily routine helps to relieve stress, thereby helping your skin to remain clear and healthy.


Step Four: Protect it. Though we are no longer kids and can make adult decisions, this is a reminder to put your sunscreen on. Exposure to sunlight without protection increases the chance of sunburn, skin cancer, and wrinkles. If you have a hard time remembering, keep a small bottle of sunscreen in your car, or in your purse and try using makeup that is at least 15 SPF.


Step Five: Be careful of what you put on it. There are so many skin products out there, it’s hard to discern what products are best for you, and skincare can get expensive. The ultimate goal is to get products that include naturally derived ingredients. While ingredient lists will often have complex chemical names, some of these are actually just the official names for plant extracts. So keep in mind a complex name doesn’t mean it’s anything bad for you, just be sure you know what it really does mean and why it’s in the product. After all you wouldn’t eat something if you didn’t know what it was, and you don’t want to put something on your skin that you don’t know the effects of.


Your skin is the biggest organ on your body. Yes it can repair itself to an extent, but the more you take care of it, the better chance you have at keeping it happy and healthy for a long time.

your therapiest, Rute Fernandes

How to stay hydrated in the summer heat

Posted on 1 June, 2019 at 18:15 Comments comments (0)

Whether you love the summer sun or you hibernate through until cooler temperatures are here, we all know the importance of staying hydrated in the summer heat to keep our bodies healthy and functioning. This is especially important if you have a job or hobby that puts you up close and personal with the heat on a day to day basis.


Let’s face it, it’s difficult to get in the daily recommended amount of water. Water isn’t all that tasty, especially when we have other beverages such as coffee, energy drinks, milk, fruit juices, and sports drinks that have so much more flavor. So here are a few tips on how to get that extra water in when your body desperately needs it.


First, let’s look at how much water your body needs on a daily basis and what factors cause this amount to vary depending on your lifestyle. When it comes to how much water you need, there are so many different opinions. Some say eight, eight-ounce glasses of water a day. Many experts go by a formula to calculate how much you need according to your weight, physical activity, and temperature of your environment. The quickest way to gauge how much water you need is also the easiest. The color of your urine tells you anything you need to know about your water intake. Your urine should be a light straw color. If your urine is dark yellow, your body needs more hydration. If your urine is clear, then you may be drinking a little too much water, and probably need to ease off so as to not cause an imbalance in your electrolyte levels. Yes, you read that right, there is such a thing as drinking too much water.


Here’s a few tips to make sure you’re getting the water intake your body needs.


When you wake up, before doing anything else, drink a glass of water. You’re at least slightly dehydrated in the mornings (more so depending on how you spent the evening before) so getting that water in first thing helps replenish and start your day on the right foot.

Have water-based foods throughout your day. Soups (broth, not cream based) as well as fresh fruits and vegetables are all great, easy ways to add extra water into your day without feeling like you’re tied to a water bottle.

Drink at least half a glass of water before every meal. This helps to keep your water intake consistent and fights off any signals of hunger that are actually a sign of thirst. This also cuts down on how much you’ll eat in one sitting, which, if we’re honest, can’t we all use a little help with portion control sometimes.

Drink a glass of water before bed. This helps you to rest better since you won’t be waking up in the middle of the night looking for a drink, and it also decreases the dehydration you’ll experience in the morning.

Most importantly, listen to your body. When your body sends thirst signals to your brain, it usually means that your body is already dehydrated, listen to it, and give it what it wants.

your therapiest, Rute Fernandes

Listening to your body

Posted on 1 June, 2019 at 18:15 Comments comments (0)

The human body to me is such an amazing thing. Not only can it create life, but it can fight off sickness, adapt to its environment, and be molded and formed into what we choose for it. But the most amazing part about the human body to me, is that if you are in tune with your body, it will speak to you. Your body will tell you what it wants or needs and what it doesn’t want or need. Your body will talk to you in many ways, you just have to be sure you’re listening to it.


Did you know that sometimes hunger can be your body’s way of telling you that you’re dehydrated? Your body can also indicate dehydration and sleep deprivation through headaches. Your body is requesting fluid. Have you ever craved chocolate? That can be a sign of a Magnesium deficiency. A craving for refined carbs such as pasta and bread can mean a Nitrogen deficiency. Have you ever noticed a difference in your body when you eat a certain food? Maybe your stomach hurts, you get gassy, or have stomach cramps? Sometimes you may break out in a rash, or your lips may swell when your body is reacting to something it doesn’t like. Have you ever noticed that after you ate a certain meal your stomach didn’t hurt for a change? The key is to listen. If you notice something different about your body, retrace your food for the day, maybe even keep a journal if your stomach issues have been serious. Slowly eliminate foods that maybe are in your everyday routine to figure out which may be the culprit.


Another way you need to listen to your body is when it comes to exercise. If you frequently work out and notice that your endurance is decreasing, your body may be telling you it’s time to take a rest. That may involve a simple rest day, a change-up in your routine, or a re-evaluation of your fitness goals. Yes, exercise is amazing for your body, and necessary for your health, but overdoing it will not help you to achieve your goals.


Yet another is simply to pay attention throughout your day. Are you regularly waking up with a specific pain? Change the way you’re sleeping. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort with particular activities or movements, slow down and pay attention. Alter your movement in a way that is more comfortable. Your body is trying to tell you something. It knows what it is capable of and when it’s at its breaking point…you better listen. Listen or your body will speak louder, and maybe in ways that are less than desirable.


If you need help in deciphering some of the things your body may be trying to tell you, especially when it comes to those pesky aches and pains, book an appointment and we can address those. Your body will speak to you as loudly or as softly as needed. You must listen to it! This is the most valuable conversation you will have in your life.

Your therapiest, Rute Fernandes

The importance of movement

Posted on 1 June, 2019 at 18:10 Comments comments (0)

Everyone has heard the phrase that an object in motion stays in motion. As much as most of us would like to believe that this isn’t true, unfortunately it is. But why is it so hard for us to accept? All too often we stay indoors in a sitting position if life will allow us. We’ll go out of our way to put off daily chores, and errands in a second just to avoid the extra effort that it calls for. How did we get this way? We live in a time that everything is readily available. Before, we would have to make our clothes, raise and harvest our own food, build our own homes; that used to be the norm. The more we evolved as a society, the less we had to exert ourselves physically, and the lazier we got. We can have food, clothing, household supplies, and even groceries brought to our doorstep. Why would we go through all the pains to acquire these things on our own? Don’t get me wrong, I know there are many physical jobs out there that require long hours on your feet whether serving customers or manual labor, so when you get home, you just want to rest. But what about those who work office jobs and sit for most of their day? While those jobs are just as exhausting mentally, which can sometimes be just as bad, still physically, it’s taking a bigger toll on our bodies without us even realizing it.


“Excessive sitting is now linked with diseases and conditions, including obesity, hypertension, back pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease and depression,” says James, Levine, M.D., Ph.D., the director of Obesity Solutions at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and Arizona State University. It is estimated that the current generation of children will die earlier than their parents, which may be linked to their sedentary lifestyle per Dr. Levine. Dr. Levine also stated that “People who are physically active at work become more productive, about 11 to 15 percent more productive”.


When you’re active your body releases ‘feel good’ hormones. That’s why even when you struggled to get out of the bed for your morning workout, you felt energized afterwards. When you feel better about yourself, you tend to have a more positive and productive day.


Have you ever woken up from an extra-long night’s sleep sore, and needing more rest than before you laid down in the first place? It’s because while our bodies need rest to recover from the previous day’s activities, there is a point where too much sleep and not enough movement in your muscles can both begin to cause more issues than they do benefits. People should get on average 7-9 hours of sleep daily. For some, 7 hours is perfect, while others need that full 9 hours. You need to listen to your body to see which is right for you. For example, when I get 9 hours of sleep, I feel exhausted when I wake up. However, when I get 7 hours of sleep, after initially getting out of bed, I feel rested and ready for the day. If you oversleep, which is sleeping more than our body requires wherever on the scale you fall, you can be in danger of increased inflammation, increased pain, depression, higher risk of heart disease, the list goes on. There will be times that you will sleep more than ‘normal’ and that may be what your body needs at the time, but just remember to find a balance between sleeping too much and truly resting.


The same goes for your movements throughout the day. While you may have to sit or stand still for long periods of time for your job, be sure to counter that with regular breaks that involve as much full-body movement as possible, as well as good exercise and stretching routines, and a generally active lifestyle on your off-hours. This will help to keep your heart healthy, your body strong, stop your joints from stiffening, and overall lead to a healthier body.


Our bodies are amazing specimens that can do wonderful things, but to be at their peak performance, we must take care of them. By taking care of them, we must keep them moving, whether that means taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away from the store, or walking to the nearest store instead of driving. These few steps will have your body thanking you in the future.

your therapiest, Rute Fernandes

Chronic Pain vs Acute Pain

Posted on 1 June, 2019 at 18:05 Comments comments (0)

Pain is something everyone is well acquainted with. It doesn’t discriminate. No matter who you are, what your ethnicity, or the amount of money you have in your bank account; at some point in your life you will experience pain. The problem is when you experience pain more frequently than normal, and it gets in the way of your daily activities or your quality of life.


You hear terms such as chronic pain and acute pain, but what do they really mean, and when should you be concerned?


Acute pain is a severe or sudden pain that resolves within a few hours, days, or weeks. You might feel acute pain when you have an injury, are sick, or have surgery. Generally, with acute pain, you can pinpoint the location of the pain, and you are aware of the cause of the pain. So, for example you stub your toe, sprain your ankle, cut yourself with a knife while slicing something, or pull a muscle. Acute pain’s job is to inform you of an injury to further protect you. Acute pain is brought on by the damaging of the tissue in the affected area. Acute pain is a protection mechanism for your body. It alarms you of the pain in hopes that you will react to reduce the exposure to whatever the guilty party is. Whether it be that you touched a hot stove, or ran into something sharp, it’s there to tell you something isn’t right!


Chronic pain on the other hand, is persistent, lasting for several months, or longer, and is a health condition in its own category. Chronic pain is any pain lasting beyond the expected healing period, typically 6 months or longer. With chronic pain, you may know the source, maybe you were hurt and have healed but the affected area still causes you pain and sometimes even intensifies. So, you sprained your ankle 6 months ago, but still have constant pain despite efforts to heal. Chronic pain may even come along without any injury at all, leaving you wondering the cause. There are times when you can’t identify the cause of the pain such as conditions like Fibromyalgia and Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome.


When deciding on what type of pain you have and when to be concerned, there are a few things you will want to look at. First, you’ll want to take into consideration the injury. If it’s something like a sprain or a pulled muscle, it’s always best to see a professional so that you can be aware of important information such as movements to avoid, and exercises and treatments that will help you to heal. While everyone’s body is different, you will also want to inquire about the healing period, and when you should be back to normal. This will give you an idea of how to gauge your healing and pain. Once you have addressed these issues, it may be a waiting game. If you are healing from an injury and bounce back within the allotted time, that’s great. If you are past the healing period, give yourself some wiggle room before you get concerned because again, everyone’s body is different you will still want to listen closely to your body and ask your chosen professional. If you are well past the healing period and still have pain, or have no obvious injury, you will want to be see by a professional who can give you the necessary care, and guidance.


While pain is something that we all will run into at some point in our lives it is very important that we are aware of the specifics, so we can treat our bodies with care. Don’t overlook signs of a serious problem but realize pain can be caused by several things that aren’t always immediately concerning. Being aware of the difference between acute and chronic pain may be what saves you a large doctor bill or helps to diagnose a serious issue.

Your therapiest, Rute Fernandes

What to expect during your first massage

Posted on 1 June, 2019 at 18:05 Comments comments (0)

For many, massage therapy isn’t really on the radar as part of routine healthcare. It may have just been something that was part of a spa gift certificate the family got mom for Mother’s Day or a splurge before a big event, like a wedding. But the massage industry has only grown over the last several years, and with it, a new public acceptance of massage therapy as part of a healthcare and self-care protocol. While it may seem a little intimidating to get your first massage, let me put you at ease by filling you in on all the details of what to expect.


Upon scheduling your appointment your massage therapist should ask you several questions that will help them understand your needs, and plan your session. This will allow them to gauge the pressure you might want, the areas of focus, the areas to avoid, and any medical issues that may affect your experience.


For your first visit, you’ll be asked to arrive to your session 10-15 minutes early to fill out some paperwork, including an intake form that covers your medical history, any pain or injury you may be experiencing chronically or just that day, and goals for your massage session. You’ll also need to sign some policy agreements so everyone is on the same page about professional conduct, booking requirements, and things like that. Your therapist will go over all of this with you and answer any questions you have before your session starts.


Once it’s time to start the massage, you’ll be informed of how to get ready to receive the most benefit from the specific type of treatment you’ve booked. To put it plainly, you’ll be told how much of your clothing to remove, but don’t worry, your therapist will leave the room and allow you plenty of time to get ready. I know it can be intimidating to think that only a sheet and blanket will be separating you from a stranger, but we’re professionals. Your modesty and comfort are extremely important to us. You will remain as covered as you’d like. Each area will be uncovered only to receive the massage and then recovered to keep you warm. Your groin and, in the case of women the breasts, will remain covered at all times. If for any reason, you feel uncomfortable at all, don’t be afraid to communicate your concerns. This is your time and your service, so your comfort level is of utmost important.


Along with your comfort comes the discussion of pressure. If at any point in the massage you need more or less pressure, please let your therapist know! We can’t read your mind, so it’s important for you to speak up if you need anything changed at all. This also goes for anything with the technique. The important thing to remember is that this is your time and it needs to be what you want. Whether that’s concerning the pressure, the music, the feel of the lotion or oil being used, the conversation or lack thereof, or anything else; let us know how we can make the experience great for you.


It’s normal in the beginning, especially during your first massage, to be a little tense, but try to allow yourself to truly be present and enjoy. Once your session is over, your therapist will step out of the room to let you come back to your senses and re-dress. Before you jump up off the table though, take a moment to breathe and soak in the feelings you’re experiencing; the looseness in your muscles, your calmed mind, and just the peace and quiet. You deserve it.

your therapiest, Rute Fernandes

20 minutes Stress-buster night routine

Posted on 1 June, 2019 at 17:55 Comments comments (0)

For a healthy sleep cycle, it is crucial to have a nightly routine that signifies to your body that it’s time to shut down for the night. The hard part about my last statement is life is stressful and it is so difficult to turn your brain off at the end of a long day, especially if you haven’t checked everything off your to-do list, have unfinished projects, or are unclear of the next day’s plans. Here are some ways that you can release stress before bedtime to improve your quality of sleep in under half an hour.

Brain Dump

5 minutes

I’m not sure about you, but when I have a ton of thoughts going on, it is hard to focus on one task at a time. When this gets overwhelming the only thing that will help me get back on track is a brain dump. If you aren’t familiar with the term it is exactly what it sounds like. You literally want to sit down with a pen and piece of paper and write down anything that is on your mind and onto paper, so you can visualize them.

Make a Plan for the Next Day

5 minutes

Life is hectic. We tend to put more things in our basket than we can handle. So once you get your thoughts down on paper in that brain dump, you can organize them in order of importance. For example, if you have to call the doctor’s office to make an appointment, work up your grocery list, communicate to your mom a scheduling issue with an upcoming family reunion; which one is most important? Do you have a pressing health issue that needs attention immediately? Is your mom booking a flight for the family reunion tomorrow, so you need to communicate the information or schedule issues first? For me it is very helpful to make my schedule with time slots that include when I should be starting a task and when I should be finishing, although I give myself extra time, so I’m not overwhelmed with not meeting my goal. For some people, simply writing a list is enough, you have to see what works best for you, and what will put your mind at ease the most. Don’t leave any task in the house undone such as dirty dishes in the sink or clothes that you have left in the washer or dryer. By doing this you have already added to your to do list before even waking up, and you will wake up feeling behind before your day even starts.


Meditate / Quiet Time

5-10 minutes

Meditation is defined as the act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religious activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed. Meditation is one of the best ways to relieve stress when you are overwhelmed. It gets you into a positive mindset, allows you to release any negativity, and truly reset for the next day. Yes, there are many ways that people meditate, and if you want to try a certain technique more power to you, but don’t feel like you can’t attempt meditation because you’ve never been shown how or think it’s just nonsense. For me I like a good 10 minutes alone with my thoughts, in quiet without interruption. This allows me to add anything to my brain dump list that I may have forgotten or just to relax. Most of us are surrounded by people all day, and being able to have alone time that is quiet even if just for five minutes is meaningful. Whatever you decide to do during this time, make sure you are intentional. Yes, we are alone with our thoughts when we lay down at night, but I want you to schedule that time, and not include it in your nightly routine of trying to fall asleep.

Feed Your Spirit

5-10 minutes

Everyone needs positivity, before laying your head down at night, read something that will pour into you what the stressful day has taken out. Whether you prefer to read positive uplifting stories, a religious passage of your choice, a daily devotion, or your daily uplifting quotes, find something that leaves you happy uplifted, and like you can take on tomorrow with no problem. Once you clear out any negative thoughts or negative space, it is important to replenish, because it is so easy to allow those negative, stressful thoughts, or feelings to creep back if we aren’t making sure that we replace them with intentional, positive, empowering thoughts.

Your therapiest, Rute Fernandes

5 Tips for a Better Night Sleep

Posted on 1 June, 2019 at 17:55 Comments comments (0)

It seems like it should be easy. Our bodies and minds require sleep, so it should just happen naturally, right? But for many, tossing and turning, lying awake for hours staring at the ceiling, and overall struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep is a nightly reality. So here’s my 5 tips to get a better night’s sleep.




Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep, but many of us get far less than that and then try to “catch up” on the weekends; but that’s not really how the body works. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day makes it much easier for your body to maintain a consistent sleep-wake cycle. It may take some time to get used to, but setting yourself a consistent bedtime and waking at around the same time every single day (yes, even on weekends) will lead to better rest during seep, which ultimately leads to feeling better throughout the day.




As part of that consistent bedtime and wake time, having a routine around each helps to reinforce to your brain what it needs to prepare for. This doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out event if you don’t consistently have the time; even just 5 or 10 minutes of some sort of routine that works for you will do the job. For your bedtime routine, this could include laying out your clothes for the next day, dimming the lights, reading a few pages of a good book, taking a warm bath, listening to your favorite relaxing music, meditating, or anything else that prepares your body and mind to calm down. For your waking routine, it could include some light stretching, brushing your teeth, drinking a big glass of water, taking a short walk, meditating, listening to some upbeat tunes, or anything else that signals your body and mind to get ready for the day ahead. After implementing these routines for a while, you’ll notice that your body moves into that sleep or wake mode much faster and easier.




Many of us are glued to our phones up until we close our eyes for the night, but that may also be a big reason we struggle to fall asleep. Our natural circadian rhythm, our sleep-wake cycle, is greatly influenced by light. We are meant to wake with the sunrise and go to sleep at sunset. So keeping bright lights on, especially right in front of our faces with our phones or TVs, throws this schedule off completely. Try turning off all tech no less than 30 minute before you need to go to sleep and start that bedtime routine I mentioned above.




Maintaining a regular exercise routine at some point in your daily schedule will help to improve your sleep quality, and potentially help you fall asleep faster. While it used to be thought that intense exercise within a few hours of bedtime was a definite no-no for everyone, but it seems that may not be true. For some, it may actually be helpful to workout in the evening, while others may be too revved up to fall asleep so a morning or early afternoon workout is best. Try both and see what seems to be best for your body and your schedule.




It goes without saying that stress plays a major role in our quality of sleep. For many, that means lying awake for hours unable to “shut off” our brains and just let go. Regularly incorporating stress-management and self-care techniques such as meditation, massage therapy, and exercise can greatly improve stress levels. While they won’t solve all your problems and stop all stresses from happening, they do help you better manage the stresses that life throws at you, whether small daily worries or life-changing events.

Your therapiest, Rute Fernandes

Meditation for Pain relief

Posted on 1 June, 2019 at 17:50 Comments comments (0)

While massage can do wonders for many types of pain, self-care is just as important, and meditation has been proven time and again to be one of the most effective forms of self-care to treat pain. In fact, just like massage therapy, studies have shown meditation to work better than pain killers specifically for low back pain.

Some people may scoff at the idea that you can just think away your pain, but that’s not what you’re doing with meditation at all. While some people prefer a visualization based meditation, many find it even more helpful to not to ignore the pain, but rather to focus so intently on specific sensations of the body that the brain can begin to recognize pain sensations differently.

Pain is a very complex subject, with much research and debate currently going on in the medical field; but what we do know is that a large amount of what we perceive as pain may be due to wiring within the brain more so than a physical cause. Nerve signals can sometimes be misinterpreted by the brain, giving different or exaggerated sensations than are physically relatable. An obvious example of this is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy), but many forms of pain may have a minor form of this same misinterpretation. Obviously, this isn’t to say that the pain you’re feeling isn’t real, but that sometimes the brain makes it seem far worse than the injury or condition really is from a purely physical standpoint.

Don’t worry; you don’t need to spend an hour deep breathing and visualizing to feel the positive effects of meditation. You have to do what works for you, and even just 5-10 minutes a day can help.

Here’s a basic walkthrough to get you started…

STEP #1: Find a quiet place you can sit or lie down comfortably. Don’t force yourself to sit in a lotus position or in any other way that’s painful. The entire point is to relax and feel the minor sensations you often aren’t conscious of, not to focus on how uncomfortable your leg/butt/back feel because you’re sitting in a way that you think you’re “supposed” to.

STEP #2: Close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths. Don’t make it forceful, but be sure you’re breathing all the way down, until you feel your stomach push out. This is what’s called diaphragmatic breathing, meaning you’re engaging the diaphragm, which calms the nervous system. Focus on these breaths and the full sensation as you take in the breath and release it.

STEP #3: Starting with the top of your head and slowly moving down, focus on each and every sensation you’re feeling. Recognize how your hair may pull at the scalp, if your forehead is tense, feel the air flow in through your nose, sense any tension in your jaw. Work your way down all the way through the body, pausing to focus on each area; especially those that feel tense or painful and devote your entire attention to calming that sensation and relaxing as much as possible.

If you find that this body scan and focused attention isn’t lessening your pain or is even making it worse, try instead focusing on a mantra or visualization. You may focus on naming each thing you’re grateful for with every inhale and exhale. You may repeat a mantra, such as “I change my thoughts, I change my world” (Norman Vincent Peale), or “Every day in every way I’m getting better and better” (Laura Silva). Some people choose to focus on a visualization; so imagine yourself sitting on a beach, on the front porch of a cabin in the woods, or anywhere else you would find immense peace. Visualize everything, down to the smallest detail and stay there for a while enjoying it.

STEP #4: Now it’s time to come back to focus on the whole body sensation. Do your legs feel heavy? Are you feeling relaxed? Do you find it easier to perform that deep diaphragmatic breathing than when you started? Recognize even the smallest improvements and changes within your body.

STEP #5: Slowly bring yourself back to the present and begin to recognize your surroundings. Keep your eyes closed, but take in any noises you hear and anything else around you. Begin to move your fingers and toes, stretch if you want to, and slowly open your eyes.


Remember, this is only a basic guide. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Regardless of whether you spend 5 minutes or an hour meditating, the key is to fully immerse yourself in it every time, and practice consistently. For you, that may be an hour every day or even just 2 or 3 minutes on your lunch break and another 2 or 3 minutes as you lay down in the evening. However you decide to meditate, getting started and being consistent is what makes the biggest difference in your pain.

Your therapiest, Rute Fernandes

What is chair massage?

Posted on 1 June, 2019 at 17:50 Comments comments (0)

Chair massage was introduced in the 1980s, and while it had a slow start, it has since become a staple in the massage profession. You’re now able to stop and get a quick 10 or 15 minute chair massage at a health fair, your local mall, or even the airport. And now you’ll also find therapists performing chair massage in the corporate world. More and more employers are seeing the benefits of regular massage, even a quick chair massage, for their employees and are implementing it as part of their employee benefits program.


For those of you who may not be familiar with what a chair massage entails, here’s the basic rundown…



You’ll remain fully clothed and have a seat on an ergonomic chair that positions you in such a way that the massage therapist can easily work on your entire back, neck, shoulders, and arms. Many people like the fact that they don’t have to get undressed for this type of massage, whether they’re just in a hurry or have trouble undressing. It’s also great for those who may have trouble getting comfortable on their back or stomach on a massage table. Sessions on a chair can range from 5 minutes to an hour so you may be able to fit it into your schedule a little easier.


There are just a couple drawbacks though to chair massage. It may not be quite as effective of a traditional table massage due to the hinderance of clothing, and the pressure may not be as deep as you want with the leverage restrictions of a seated position, but the good news is that many of the benefits are the same as a traditional table style massage.


Lower blood pressure

Reduced anxiety

Relief of muscles aches

Headache relief

Improved sleep quality

Increased productivity (in the workplace)

So whether you’re in a hurry on your lunch break, just want to try something different, or want to offer chair massage as part of your employee benefits program, give us a call.

4 reasons you should take a break

Posted on 1 June, 2019 at 17:50 Comments comments (0)

I know you’re busy. You rush through your days and probably right now have numerous browsers open or are only halfway reading this because you have so much on your mind. That’s life in the world we live in. But did you know that taking a break is far more beneficial than just a few minutes of downtime?

Whether it’s a 10 minute break in the middle of your workday or a full week away, taking breaks has numerous benefits. Here’s 4 of the best…

Increases productivity

One of the reasons many people refuse to take breaks is that they think they’ll get more done without them, but the opposite is true. You’re less focused and make more mistakes the longer you continue to work without a break.

Alejandro Lleras, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois, states:

“…Deactivating and reactivating your goals allows you to stay focused,” he said. “From a practical standpoint, our research suggests that, when faced with long tasks (such as studying before a final exam or doing your taxes), it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task!”

Prevents burnout


There’s nothing quite like the feeling of burnout. You dread your daily tasks, you’ve lost your passion for the work, and you can even start experiencing adverse physical effects like regular headaches and stomach upset. When the mind and body get a chance to completely let go and turn “off” for a while, they can recover and come back even stronger. You wouldn’t work out for hours at a time, every day for weeks without taking any breaks, right? You’d injure yourself or at the very least your body would start to rebel against you. Your mind is the same way. It needs that downtime to keep from injuring itself and slowing down.

Manage stress better 

When you allow your body and mind to take regular breaks, they’re better able to handle the stresses you may throw at them. And while a 10 or 20 minute break to do anything but work is still beneficial, it’s even more pronounced when you can take a nap. Studies have shown that taking a 20-minute nap in the afternoon actually provides more rest than sleeping an extra 20 minutes in the morning!

Personal time


We often get so occupied taking care of others that we neglect ourselves; but as the old saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. You need that personal time, whether it’s a half hour on your lunch break to take a walk, or even just few minutes to sneak in the closet and enjoy a cookie or glass of wine while they kids watch a cartoon, that time is for you and you alone. It does incredible things for the mind and the soul when you can focus just on yourself.

your therapiest, Rute Fernandes

The what & why of prenatal massage

Posted on 1 June, 2019 at 17:45 Comments comments (0)

Pregnancy can be difficult, physically and emotionally, even in the healthiest of pregnancies. This is a time when a woman’s body is undergoing an enormous amount of stress and change, and a time when self-care is of utmost importance. So why should you get regular massage therapy throughout your pregnancy?


Here’s some of the biggest benefits of prenatal massage:


Decreases anxiety and symptoms of depression

Relieves low back pain

Decreases restless leg symptoms

Improves sleep

Relieves minor swelling

Helps to relax and open the chest, allowing for deep breathing

Relieves round ligament pain

Loosens tight, aching hips

Decrease in Sciatica symptoms

Reduced headaches

Decrease of SI joint pain

While prenatal massage is considered safe through all stages or pregnancy, and for most women during a low risk pregnancy, as with any addition to prenatal care, it’s best to consult with your physician about adding massage into your routine. Some high-risk factors may make massage and other bodywork contraindicated (not advised).


What should you expect during a prenatal massage?


During the first trimester, not much will change in the logistics of your massage appointment. However, once you enter into the second trimester, your positioning will need to be changed. When lying on your back, you’ll having bolstering and pillows under your neck and back to keep you semi-reclined, as well as any bolstering to support your legs and arms if needed. Instead of lying face down, you’ll be able to lie on your side, with bolsters to help support you and keep you comfortable. This side-lying position is not only safe and comfortable, but allows for great access for the therapist to address those painful and tight hips and low back.


Massage therapy can also play a large role in helping you throughout labor. Not only does massage help to manage pain and decrease the need for pain medications, but it also decreases stress hormones which counteract the oxytocin your body produces to progress labor. The more you can decrease those stress hormones, and try to relax during labor, the quicker and easier your body will go through the process.


Once your beautiful bundle arrives, that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop taking care of you. Most new moms have their hands full taking care of their new baby, recovering from delivery, and adjusting to a completely new normal. With the stresses and hormonal changes happening right after your baby arrives, you’re going to need some physical and emotional relief. Postpartum massage may very well be the answer. Your body has gone through something tremendous, and needs to find relief for those tired, aching muscles in those precious days, weeks, and months after delivery.


Pregnancy is a beautiful, stressful, amazing, and painful time of life. With all the ups and downs, highs and lows, your self care routine has to come first. Make massage therapy a regular part of that.

your therapiest, Rute Fernandes

Rice vs Meat, what's best for injury recovery?

Posted on 1 June, 2019 at 17:40 Comments comments (0)

here’s a hot debate going on when it comes to injury recovery concerning the well-known method of RICE and the newer, lesser known method of MEAT. So let’s quickly go over what these are and then we can look at which is best and when.



This has been the go-to injury recovery method for quite some time, but research is showing the limitation of RICE. So what does it include?




Resting an injured limb is crucial to recovery, but there’s a fine balance, which I’ll address later in the post.




The use of ice in the acute stage of an injury has been a long standing treatment, but the research is actually lacking on this. While some studies suggest it may help in short term recovery for certain injuries, others suggest it may actually slow recovery.




Applying compression, whether through a specialized sleeve or intricate wrap can help to decrease excess swelling.




Keeping the injured area elevated may help to decrease swelling, but it may also decrease circulation of blood which could slow down healing.



This method is making a move to replace the traditional RICE method as new studies have come out. MEAT includes a more science-based approach to long term recovery instead of the short-term RICE method which may do little more than make you feel better those first few hours after an injury. What does it include?




Rest is important, but controlled movement of the affected limb can stimulate blood flow, allow for proper development of scar tissue, and improve recovery. Too many people rest an injury far too much which can lead to a serious decrease in range of motion and strength.




While this goes hand-in-hand with movement, specific exercise for the particular injury with the slow and strategic addition of resistance and/or weight can improve function and long-term outcome.




Pain relievers should be reserved for acute injuries but NSAIDs should be avoided as they can actually inhibit the natural healing process.




This can include physical therapy, massage therapy, and any number of other bodywork and rehab techniques used to address specific injuries.


One of the biggest details that is often passed over, is that the need for either will vary depending on the exact injury and at what stage of recovery. Generally speaking, RICE may be best reserved for acute muscle injuries (within the first few hours) and MEAT may be best for acute ligament and cartilage injuries and aid in long-term recovery.


It’s important to mention that no studies have yet directly compared these methods to each other to come to a clear conclusion, but rather independent studies on each are leading us to make the distinction. It may be best to utilize components of both RICE and MEAT when you experience any kind of injury.

your therapiest, Rute Fernandes

Pain, injury, & imaging

Posted on 1 June, 2019 at 17:35 Comments comments (0)

Many people would assume that when something hurts there is an injury; and when there is an injury it would be painful. But research and new scientific discoveries are putting a new spotlight on pain and injury, and even the methods we use to diagnose such injuries. While it’s a complex discussion with many facets, let’s keep this brief and simple.


Pain is a good thing in many ways. It is a warning that something is wrong; a survival mechanism our brain and bodies use to alter behavior and movement in order to stay alive and well.


Just because something is painful, does not mean there is an injury or dysfunction within the body. And just because there is an injury or dysfunction of some sort, does not mean you will experience pain.


Pain can be perceived when there is no physical cause for it. The brain, for any number of reasons, can interpret a sensation of pain even when there is no injury, or even when there is no body part to be painful. For example, as many as 80% of amputees report phantom sensations and pain. Even after a limb is removed, the person can still experience pain and sensation as if the limb is still there. This inexplicable sensation of pain with no cause isn’t just reserved for amputees though. Many people experience pain with no physical explanation. This may be due to physical or psychological malfunction in which the brain is interpreting something as a threat when it really isn’t.


On the flip side of this, people can have an injury or dysfunction within the body and experience little to no pain. For example, one study¹ had some surprising results when MRIs were conducted on seemingly healthy people. In this study, 98 people who had no back pain or other symptoms of back injury were given an MRI.


52% had a bulging disc

27% had a disc protrusion

38% had abnormality in more than one disc

That means that many of these people were walking around with, what most people would consider, substantial injuries/dysfunction with absolutely no symptoms of such a thing. Why? Because, more than likely, these injuries weren’t putting pressure on nerves or otherwise sending any signal to the brain that there was something wrong. Does this mean they need to rush to get these things ‘taken care of’. No! If it’s not causing pain, what would be the point? Suddenly changing behavior and the normal movement your spine is accustomed to, may actually make things worse or cause an entirely new set of problems.


Plus, there’s another side to all of this…


People assume that medical imaging such as X-rays, MRIs, and the like are reliable tests that show irrefutable evidence of a problem within the body. But did you know that studies are showing more and more that medical imaging is extremely subjective; or more specifically, because those images must be interpreted by a human being, the diagnoses associated with such images are not as reliable or irrefutable as once thought.


For example, in a study published in The Spine Journal², a patient was sent for MRIs at 10 different imaging centers over a 3 week period. This patient was a 63 year old woman with a history of low back pain and radicular (radiating nerve pain) of the right side.


The incredible but rather discouraging part of the whole thing, was the outcome.


49 different diagnoses

0 Diagnoses were consistent across all 10 reports

Almost 1/3 of those diagnoses were reported only once

This tells us that MRI findings, and more than likely the findings of any kind of imaging, are extremely subjective and consistency of diagnoses is disheartening at best. Does this mean to ignore any findings of imaging? No. But does it mean to be cautious about jumping to conclusions and invasive or extreme treatment options? Yes.


Pain is a funny thing, and while injuries and dysfunction within the body are nothing to ignore, we also have to be careful and ask ourselves just how accurate our understanding of the problem is.


¹ Jensen MC1, Brant-Zawadzki MN, Obuchowski N, Modic MT, Malkasian D, Ross JS. “Magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine in people without back pain.” New England Journal of Medicine. Published July 14, 1994


² Herzog, R., Elgort, D.R., Flanders, A.E., Moley, P.J. “Variability in diagnostic error rates of 10 MRI centers performing lumbar spine MRI examinations on the same patient within a 3-week period,” The Spine Journal. Published online Nov. 17, 2016.