The first step to a healthy, active lifestyle is a properly functioning spine. Your spinal column is what allows your body to move, twist and bend. It also helps to protect the delicate central nervous system that controls and coordinates muscles, tissue and organs. Your spine is made up of 24 independent vertebrae, and when two or more of these vertebrae aren’t functioning properly it can cause you to experience pain, discomfort, decreased mobility or other unpleasant symptoms.
Practitioners take a manual approach, providing diagnosis, treatment and preventive care for disorders related to the spine, pelvis, nervous system and joints. They perform a series of adjustments to realign the body so that it can properly heal itself, freeing up the immune system to better maintain health. Chiropractors utilize a combination of treatments based on the specific needs of the patient.
Physiotherapy is a health care profession which assists people to restore, maintain and maximize their strength, function, movement and overall well-being. Physiotherapists are highly skilled health professionals who have in-depth knowledge of how the body works and specialized hands-on clinical skills to assess, diagnose and treat symptoms of illness, injury and disability through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice.
You can benefit from physiotherapy at any time in your life. Physiotherapy helps with chronic back pain or sudden injury, managing a long-term medical condition such as asthma, and in preparing for childbirth or recovering from sports injury.
Defined as the manipulation of the body’s soft tissues, massage therapy is a clinically oriented health care option that helps alleviate the discomfort associated with everyday and occupational stresses, muscular overuse and many chronic pain conditions. The objective is achieving optimal health by normalizing these tissues using manual techniques that include applying fixed or movable pressure.
The practice involves working and acting on the body with pressure — structured, unstructured, stationary or moving — tension, motion or vibration. Touch is the primary medium of massage therapy. Massages can also be applied with the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, feet or a massage device. The basic philosophy behind massage therapy is strengthening the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Massage therapy in Canada is a growing and dynamic profession. Ontario’s massage therapists are primarily self-employed health professionals — they assess and treat a variety of musculoskeletal injuries and chronic conditions and work to maintain the optimal health and wellness of their clients.
Acupuncture is an ancient Eastern technique aimed at relieving pain, treating disease and improving overall health. It involves the insertion of one or more tiny disposable needles into the skin at various depths. The traditional explanation for acupuncture’s effectiveness is that it modifies the flow of energy (known as qi or chi) throughout the body. This energy is transported by a system of channels called meridians. These meridians represent a large network of superficial and deep pathways that enable a connection between the inner and outer aspects of our bodies.
The needle insertions can stimulate the body’s production of painkilling chemicals, such as endorphins. Acupuncture stimulation acts on impulse transmission in the central nervous system, thus closing specific neurological “gates” and jamming the transmission of pain impulses from other parts of the body.
Naturopathy is a system of therapy that relies exclusively on the use of natural treatments. A variety of treatment options are available including homeopathy, herbalism, acupuncture and diet/lifestyle counselling. Naturopaths favour a holistic approach with non-invasive treatment and generally avoid the use of surgery and drugs. Using a range of alternative methods of diagnosis, a naturopath can often successfully pinpoint a predisposition in the body before the onset of acute disease, and treat the patient with specific therapies and changes in the patient’s lifestyle.
Naturopathic philosophy is based on a belief in vitalism and self-healing. The basic framework of naturopathy is philosophical rather than scientific. It involves the belief that a life force (traditional Chinese medicine’s “qi”) makes the body capable of healing itself if supported by good health practices including diet, exercise and natural remedies.