Beautiful woman in a spa with massage therapy

Therapeutic Massage: it might not be what you thought it was!

There are many misconceptions surrounding massage therapy.  A commonly held one is that a very deep massage is necessary to relieve pain and tension.

Although deep massage is sometimes effective, it is not always indicated.  As outlined by David Lauterstein in his excellent article, To relieve tension, deeper is not always better[1], it is important to understand that tension release involves an intimate dialogue with the nervous system. For tension to be released from a muscle, the nervous system must cease sending signals telling it to contract. This can be accomplished by a therapeutic approach that combines presence, sensitivity, and an excellent understanding of anatomy.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a massage with firmer pressure!  Essentially the pressure of a massage is more about personal preference than its therapeutic effect.

So, what exactly is a therapeutic massage?

At Ovarium, we maintain that all our massages are therapeutic:  the focussed massage with mobilisation for a frozen shoulder- the gentle, enveloping massage that is much-needed when feeling anxious – the relaxing massage with firmer pressure and a focus on the lower back where your tension is held.

At Ovarium, massage IS therapeutic!

Consequently, on our treatment menu, massage is referred to as “Therapeutic Massage”.

If you are interested in a massage with very firm pressure, choose “Deep Massage”, also found on our treatment menu.  The price will be higher for this service as it is more demanding physically for our massage therapists.

Follow this link to learn more about our pricing.

 

 

[1]David Lauterstein, Massage Magazine, septembre 2018.

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Notre extraordinaire équipe de massothérapeutes

Patrice offre un massage qui vise à stimuler l’homéostasie, la capacité à retrouver l’équilibre physique et mental et une bonne santé. Pour ce faire, il combine des manœuvres sans huile de relâchement des fascias (Deep tissue et fasciathérapie), de détente musculaire (massage suédois) ainsi que des mouvements et étirements inspirés du massage thaïlandais.

Vous pouvez donc choisir de découvrir avec lui le massage traditionnel thaïlandais : imaginez que vous êtes au sol, sur un futon, habillé en vêtement confortable. Vous recevez un soin inspiré du yoga qui allie étirement, points de pression, massage, percussions, tout cela avec un rythme sécurisant qui procure une profonde détente énergisante.

Les suggestions qu’il donne le plus souvent : bouger, s’hydrater, prendre soin de sa posture et consulter des professionnels spécialisés dans leur domaine pour vous aider.

Patrice fait partie de l’équipe depuis 2007 !

Ses techniques : Deep tissue, suédois, thaï sur futon, femme enceinte, massage très profond.

Spa Ovarium

Athletes Floating for Recovery

Intense sports are popular. Marathon, cross-fit, extreme running, there are more and more people who like to push their limits. There are also many people who like to train on a regular basis, for pleasure and for their health.

The following article is about a study done with athletes. We think it is just as relevant for those who like to practice a sport activity on a regular basis, whether it is intensive or not, the risk of injury being very real and incapacitating or them too.

We dedicate this article to the high-level athletes of the Citadins* of UQAM, of which we are proud partners. We salute their perseverance and courage as they combine both their studies and their development as athletes. Not to mention that at the moment, the pandemic is complicating or even hampering their practice, sometimes putting their dream on hold. We are wholeheartedly with you and with all those who see their lives turned upside down by this pandemic.

Spa Ovarium’s team

 

By Art Of the Float

Career-ending injuries can ruin the dreams of elite athletes. From anything as simple as untreated strains to more severe repetitive stress injuries, an athlete’s performance often hinges on their physical health.

The search for the ideal exercise-rest strategy

As a result,Elite athletes are naturally always striving to achieve the optimal training routine that minimizes the risk of aches, pains, tears, and worse. However, due to the extreme demands that high-level sport places on the body, injuries are an inevitability.

So, propping up their gravity-defying and intense performances is a framework of physical therapy, strength building, and other such necessary conditioning that strengthens the musculoskeletal system and keeps injuries at bay.

Injury prevention is entering the modern age

Take a glimpse at any modern high-performance athlete’s recovery regime, and you’ll see the likes of cryotherapy, acupuncture, and specialized machines designed to work out muscle knots and pulls.

Still, as physical therapy technology and discovery have advanced, so too have the demands of elite sport. This developing shift has led athletes and sport researchers into new, innovative territory in the hopes of finding a novel invention that could solve the painful ills of the athletic world.

Flotation as a physical therapy

While many of us have heard of floatation tanks, it may come as a surprise that they are not solely used as a calming device in spas. In fact, recent studies are pointing toward the psychophysical healing capacity of flotation tanks. Within their enclosed, saline-saturated water-filled environment, sensory deprivation is achievable. Such conditions can provoke an automatic relaxation response and elicit the onset of sleep. Moreover, in recent studies, a drop in the stress-inducing hormone known as

corticosteroids, has been noted. Going further still, brain scans of those who’ve participated in floatation tank studies show decreased brain activity in areas linked to mental health disorders.

So, how does this apply to sporting injuries?

Flotation restricted environmental stimulation therapy (Float-REST)

Recently, researchers at the University ofWaikato,Hamilton, New Zealand, embarked on a study to test the health effects of float-RESTon a sample group of 60 elite athletes.Each athlete undertook restricted environment stimulation therapy sessions.

The theory is as follows.As stated in the researchpaper, “Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) and meditation are commonly used by athletes to enhance performance and post-exercise recovery.” So far, so true. Following on, the restoring power of sleep is noted as another strategy.

Interestingly, the study refers to previous research done on flotation RESTto improve athletic ability.In the past, float-REST paired with visual imagery training was used as a pre-competition strategy and resulted in subsequent positive outcomes. Significant improvements to basketball free-throw shooting, tennis first-serving percentage, and archer accuracy have been recorded.

Results of the trial

As predicted, when napping was combined with FLOAT, additional benefits to mood-state were noted, “Twenty-eight of the 60 athletes reported napping during FLOAT.The mean estimatedsleep duration was 26 ± 13 min.There was a significantdifference between nap and no-nap groups for the pre to post change during FLOATfor 5 of the 16 mood-state variables(“worn-out,” “at ease,” “tense,” “fresh” and “exhausted”)”

Further still, moderate correlation between pre-FLOAT muscle soreness and pre to post-change in muscle soreness was recorded, indicating that higher pre-FLOATmuscle soreness wasassociated with more significant reductions in muscle soreness following the FLOATsession. In short, the athletes that werein more pain beforehand, reported less pain afterwards, suggesting that

float-RESTcould be majorly beneficial to chronicallyinjured athletes.

Conclusion

The findings of the study support previous research while making some significant  findings of its own. Overall, it seems that there’s clear benefits of using float-RESTas a preventive measure or healing strategy  for sport’s  injuries.

*The Citadins are the athletic teams that represent the UQAM university.

 

 

 

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How Floating Can Reduce Chronic Pain

By Art of the Float

Chronic pain is a silent epidemic. A persistent pain lasting longer than six months, it’s an affliction that often draws devastating consequences for its sufferers. If left untreated, this disease can cause patients to isolate themselves, struggle professionally, and cause difficulty focusing.

How chronic pain progresses 

Evoking both physical and psychological elements of pain, the issue can swiftly turn into a cycle. The body’s neural and hormonal response to extreme pain can induce a continuous stress reaction in the body, which, in turn, bolsters and prolongs the pain. 1 in 5 people are going experiencing this chronic cycle of pain.

A quick look at chronic pain symptoms

  • Joint pain.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Burning pain.
  • Fatigue.
  • Sleep issues.
  • Loss of stamina and flexibility due to decreased activity.
  • Mood problems, including depression, anxiety, and irritability.

This is not an exhaustive symptoms list. Chronic pain can stem from numerous illnesses, autoimmune diseases, disorders, and other ailments, making its exact parameters hard to pin down. In short, what constitutes chronic pain can vary from person to person. However, we do have an understanding regarding which illnesses and diseases are most likely to be the root of chronic pain.

  • Ailments associated with chronic pain
  • Arthritis.
  • Repetitive stress injuries.
  • Headaches.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Nerve damage.
  • Lyme disease,
  • Multiple sclerosis.
  • Post-trauma pain.
  • Postsurgical pain.

Can chronic pain be treated or cured? 

Unfortunately, there is no catch-all cure for chronic pain. As a comorbid ailment, there’s no fixed target for medical professionals to aim for. However, if the cause/s can be ascertained, several treatments can be applied. Pharmacological therapy, physiotherapy, and psychotherapy, just to name a few. To that end, a mixture of medication, surgery, rehabilitation, and physical therapy is often administered to chronic pain patients.

A look at other possible treatments 

A global chronic pain community has formed in recent years, largely thanks to the internet. While primarily concerned with advocacy, education, and fund-raising, there is an off-shoot of those who’re unsatisfied or disillusioned with modern medicine’s approach to chronic pain.  

This uncertainty surrounding chronic pain has moved many in the chronic illness community to look towards alternative treatments. There’s a keen focus on mindfulness, yoga, stress control, and other similar remedies. However, since chronic pain is hard to define or contextualize, such alternative treatments have also piqued the interest of researchers and medical professionals. Often, they’re willing to delve into any possibility in the hopes of solving the seemingly unsolvable.

Could the Answer be as Easy as Doing Nothing?

Floatation Therapy uses sensory deprivation for healing purposes. It’s believed that without the distraction of external stimuli, the mind is sharpened and alleviated of worries/anxious thoughts. 

To achieve an environment conducive to sensory deprivation, tanks are filled with salt-saturated body temperature water. Thus, upon entering the floatation tank, the subject should be wholly buoyant and at ease. The lid to the tank can be closed, allowing no light to enter, and all noise is blocked out. 

Flotation tank therapy is becoming mainstream

In recent years, floatation tanks have seen a rise in popularity, particularly among wellbeing and lifestyle-focused communities. The most commonly held belief is that sensory deprivation allows the mind to slow down and reset, potentially remedying psychological conditions but not curing them. Interestingly, while research on the topic is still in its infancy, so far, the consensus is that there’s some truth to these claims. 

Does research lend credence to Float-REST’s ability to combat chronic pain?

Going further still, claims have been made to substantiate the physical benefits of Floatation Therapy. Considering what we know about the psycho-somatic connection, such a hypothesis could be viewed as the intuitive next step. Researchers at Hannover Medical School, Germany, decided to take the leap and conducted a randomized trial focusing on the use of Floatation Therapy for chronic pain. For their trial, they used a 99 patient sample of men and women aged 18 to 75 years who had been diagnosed with chronic pain disorder with psychological and somatic factors.

The test consisted of 5 treatment sessions lasting 60 to 90 minutes, with each session separated by four days. Overall, the results showed the group had experienced short-term effects in terms of pain relief, improved quality of sleep, lower stress levels, and reduction of anxiety. We can conclude that float-REST as a therapy for chronic pain looks promising.

We invite you to experience floating for yourself and those you love who have to deal with chronic pain on a daily basis. 

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Floating Away Back Pain

By Art of the float

What do stress, aging, and disturbed sleep have in common? They can all lead to back pain and decreased quality of life. Back pain is debilitating for many, often limiting mobility and preventing people from maintaining a productive and active lifestyle. Nowadays, chronic back pain has risen to epidemic proportions. This has been attributed to busier schedules and a decrease in time reserved for exercise and relaxation.

In search of alternative solutions

Pain professionals are now seeking alternative methods to manage chronic pain, especially for back pain. After extensive research and many studies, they have come up with a solution that provides long-term relief – and one that doesn’t depend on expensive and addictive drugs that could harm your health. If you’re in this situation (i.e. experiencing back pain) and not getting long-term relief, here are the ways in which floatation may help you in getting rid of your back pain:

  • During floatation, you relax, floating on body-temperature warm water with no pressure points on your back on any other part of your body. The lack of gravity in the floatation tank helps your spine find its natural curve gradually, causing decompression in the vertebra of your spine. This process relaxes your muscles and eases your back pain.
  • Relaxation through the weightlessness of floating creates a deep relaxation state that causes a decrease in the production of the cortisol hormone. High levels of cortisol can over-activate the nervous system. Consequently, when there is less cortisol, the nervous system can calm down allowing a decrease in the feelings of pain. Ultimately this can result in noticeable relief from back pain.
  • Floating speeds up the production of endorphins. Endorphins are the “happy chemicals” released by the brain. When you suffer from back pain, it impacts and limits your daily life routine, which oftentimes impacts mood. Floating encourages the production of endorphins which promotes a sense of well-being. Endorphins are also known to dull pain response.
  • Spending some time without the weight of gravity helps your back and shoulders enjoy healthier and comfortable positions. After some sessions, you may carry over these healthier positions into your day-to-day activities, easing pain in your back. During weightlessness, your joints and bones will be relieved from the pressure of gravity, allowing you to rest and recover.
  • Floatation tanks contain several hundred pounds of Epsom salt which contain large amounts of Magnesium. Magnesium acts as an anti-inflammatory agent when absorbed in high levels. As a result, floating and by extension the absorption of magnesium can relieve back pain caused by the inflammation of muscle tissues, decreasing pain throughout the body.

There are a couple of studies by renowned experts confirming the effectiveness of floating in the management of back pain. A study conducted by Anette Kjellgren (Karlstads Universitet), Ulf Sundequist, Torsten Norlander (Karolinska Institutet), and Trevor Archer (Sapienza University of Rome) conclude flotation “may offer an effective method of alleviating low to moderately severe pain induced by muscle tension.”

If you are experiencing back pain, it’s the right time to book an appointment and see how floating can help you!

Call us to reserve your float: 514-271-7515

To learn more about float therapy at Ovarium, click here.

References:

Kjellgren, Anette & Sundequist, Ulf & Norlander, Torsten & Archer, Trevor. (2001). Effects of Flotation-REST on Muscle Tension Pain. Pain research & management : the journal of the Canadian Pain Society = journal de la société canadienne pour le traitement de la douleur. 6. 181-9. 10.1155/2001/768501.

Turner, J. W., Jr, & Fine, T. H. (1991). Restricting environmental stimulation influences levels and variability of plasma cortisol. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 70(5), 2010–2013. https://doi.org/10.1152/jappl.1991.70.5.2010

Falling asleep in a float tank

Trouble falling asleep?

By Art of the Float

The benefits of 7-8 hours of sleep are well known, and much has been written in recent years explaining how it can affect a whole range of physical and emotional processes. After a long day most of us are looking forward to a good, restorative night of sleep, but we’ve all experienced restless nights spent tossing and turning. The following day often results in looking forward eagerly to sleep and then staring at the ceiling when it’s finally time to rest again. What can we do if we already follow all the recommended sleep hygiene tips? Can floating help us to more easily access that deep level of relaxation needed for restful sleep? Read more

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Discover 5 anti-stress plants to infuse!

Stress and anxiety can cause symptoms such as irritability, fatigue, insomnia and a lack of concentration. To soothe the effects, some remedies based on natural relaxing and soothing ingredients are then effective as anti-stress to help us release the accumulated tensions and find a balance between body and mind.

Here are 5 anti-stress plants with therapeutic properties.

1. Chamomile: If we often find herbal teas made with chamomile on the shelves of our grocery stores, it is because this plant is widely used around the world for its soothing virtues. This medicinal plant has relaxing, slightly sedative and antispasmodic properties. It allows relaxation of the body, promotes digestion, and has antiseptic, analgesic and disinfectant effects that facilitate the expulsion of toxins.

To use it: Infuse a teaspoon of this plant in simmering water for no more than five minutes and drink this infusion a few minutes before going to bed.

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spa ovarium montreal 400 beaubien

Tips to relax in your daily lives

5 tips to help you relax easily and inexpensively

Here are some easy techniques to reproduce the same relaxing effects on a daily basis as Float Tank, Massages, Psio and NeuroSpa of Montreal’s Spa Ovarium. Relax at home with these simple and effective tricks.
Top 5 of our favorite methods easily applicable in your daily life:
  •   A MASSAGE WITH TENNIS BALLS
Lie down on the floor or on your bed and roll along your back two tennis balls that you have previously packed in a socks. You will get the equivalent of a deep tissue massage. Let the balls relax your muscles by sliding along your spine.
  • TAKE A WALK

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WHY you should try to FLOAT ?!?

Here are 5 good reasons to try the float tank.

 

  1. Experiencing the sensation of weightlessness floating is in itself a sensation to experiment. Being weightless in a 35 degree celcius water in a perfect silence, or accompanied by a soft music, take the time to relax!

 

  1. We can all enjoy a break from the screens! Smart phones, computers, television, tablets … we are constantly surrounded by technologies. A float tank session is ideal to get away from the stress of everyday life and recharge your batteries.

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