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Hot Stone Massage – Is It Right For You?

Massage Therapy Grande PrairieWhat is Hot Stone Massage?

Hot Stone Massage is the use of warmed stones to increase the temperature of the treated area and internal temperature of the body to allow the Massage Therapist to reach deeper tissues.1 Hot stones can be either placed on the body for a period of time (varies for each person’s tolerance and needs) or used in a massage method.

The heated stones promote the blood vessels in the area to dilate, increase in size, allowing for more blood to flow to the area.1 The increased blood flow to the area helps the muscles to relax, allowing the massage therapist to release tight muscles or trigger points within the deeper muscle tissue.

I’ve heard people can get burnt by the stones. Can that happen?

Unfortunately, yes you can get burnt by the stones. However, almost all burn situations by the hot stones are avoidable. Here are some things you should be aware of to avoid a burn:

  1. Communication1

Your Massage Therapist cannot feel what you feel. This means that you need to share with them when the stones are too hot or you are uncomfortable. It is also important to inform your Massage Therapist of all health conditions and medications as the Hot Stone Massage can cause adverse effects for some conditions.1

  1. Hydration1

The skin tissue and internal hydration levels need to be well maintained to maximize the benefits of the hot stone massage. If the skin is dry your Massage Therapist should add moisturizer prior to starting the Hot Stone Massage. It is also important for you to ensure that you have adequate hydration; so, make sure you drink lots of water before your treatment, during, and afterwards.1 It is important because, as the body temperature increases and more blood flows to the area, more water is required to ensure proper body functions.1

  1. Material between Stones and skin

If the Massage Therapist is placing the Hot Stones on your skin to remain in a stationary position it is important that there is fabric between you and the stones. It can take up to 3-4 minutes for the heat to reach you through the material. Be sure to communicate with your Massage Therapist if you are concerned regarding the stone temperature.1

  1. Improper heating1

The Hot Stones are designed to be heated by a specialized heating unit. If the hot stones are heated using other tools such as crock-pots, microwave ovens, ovens, heating pads, or hot places they are more likely to burn you. Hot stones should be heated through a specialized designed unit that utilizes water to heat the stones. The Massage Therapist will also use a thermometer to ensure that the unit is properly calibrated so that the stones are not too hot.1

Hot Stone Massage helps with many conditions, including, but not limited to1:

  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Acute bursitis
  • Sports injuries
  • Headaches
  • Bruises

This does not mean that Hot Stone Massage is for everyone. There are some conditions for which Hot Stone Massage is not beneficial. If you have any of the following conditions Hot Stone Massage is NOT for you1:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Autoimmune dysfunctions
  • Epilepsy
  • Neuropathy
  • Heart disease
  • Skin Conditions
  • Recent surgeries
  • Pregnancy

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and other conditions may not benefit from Hot Stone Massage.1

Hot stone massage has a positive impact on many soft-tissue injuries. Book an appointment with Joy Cepeda at PrimeCARE Health Grande Prairie for your Hot Stone Massage!

Author: Lorelle Warr, B.Sc., M.Sc. Kinesiologist



  1. Nelson M. Don’t feel the burn: hot stone massage can be a real benefit to your clients. Massage Therapy Journal. 2010; 49(3):32-39.

How can Low Level Light Therapy help you with injury recovery

What is the first thought that comes to mind when you think of a laser? I definitely think of a laser beam cutting through metal. Physiotherapy

So, why is a laser used for physiotherapy treatments? The fact is that low level lasers, or Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT), are a useful treatment in rehabilitation settings and have been used since the 1960s.1
Low level laser is considered a cold laser as it does not heat up the tissue, which means you should not feel a warming sensation.

Actually, you won’t feel anything during the laser treatments other than the laser head touching your skin. It seems odd that the laser has any effect at all considering that it does not feel like anything is happening during the treatment.

How does it work?

You’re probably wondering, how does this work? Is there really a benefit to this treatment in your rehabilitation? Light is used to go through the skin into the body’s tissues. At certain wavelengths the laser light promotes wound healing by:

• Reducing inflammation2
• Increasing tissue building2
• Reduce scarring2
• Reduce cell death3
• Reduce pain4
• Increase functional abilities1

Is it right for your injury?

Low level lasers are beneficial for a wide range of acute and chronic injuries. Physiotherapists often use this modality for treatments to improve your recovery process and reduce the pain you are experiencing. Injuries that benefit from Low Level Laser include, but are not limited to:

• Sprains
• Muscle or ligament tears
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Osteoarthritis
• Thoracic pain
• Low back pain
• Neck pain
• Tendinopathy
• Neurological disorders
• Edema
• Wound healing

Ask your physiotherapist if low level lasers or Low Level Light Therapy is right for you!

Author: Lorelle Warr

1. Chung H., Dai, T., Sharma, SK., Huang Y., Carroll JD., Hamblin MR. The nuts and bolts of low-level laser (light) therapy. Ann Biomed Eng. 2012; 40(2): 516-533. Doi: 10.1007/s10439-011-0454-7.
2. Silveira PCL., Silva LA., Freitas TP., Latini A., Pinho RA. Effects of low-power laser irradiation (LPLI) at different wavelengths and doses on oxidative stress and fibrogenesis parameters in an animal model of wound healing. Lasers Med Sci. 2011; 26: 125-131. Doi: 10.1007/s10103-010-0839-0.
3. Bjordal JM., Lopes-Martins RAB, Joensen J., Couppe C., Ljunggren AE., Stergioulas A., Johnson MI. A systematic review with procedural assessments and meta-analysis of low level laser therapy in lateral elbow tendinopathy (tennis elbow). BMC Musculoskelet Di. 2008; 9(75): 1-15.
4. Gupta A., Dai T., Hamblin MR. Effect of red and near-infrared wavelengths on low-level laser (light) therapy-induced healing of partial-thickness dermal abrasion in mice. Lasers Med Sci. 2014; 29: 257-265. Doi: 10.1007/s10103-013-1319-0.


Why you should be an active participant in your physio appointments?

Do you dread completing your exercises at physiotherapy appointments?physio in Grande Prairie

Do you find that your physiotherapy exercises are painful, uncomfortable, or increase swelling? This is because exercises make the muscles work, helping them to get stronger and build endurance. Unfortunately increased discomfort and swelling comes with this but does not necessarily mean that it is making your injury worse. Research states that you will see improvements with passive physiotherapy, however, there are greater improvements with active treatments.1 Passive physiotherapy includes heat, ice, machines (such as ultrasound), and traction. Exercises are needed to improve muscular strength, muscular endurance, and joint range of motion.1 The increased strength, endurance, and range of motion decrease the pain experienced with exercise and daily tasks. As a result, activities of daily living, work tasks, and recreational activities become easier and more enjoyable. The most beneficial component of your recovery is the strengthening exercises your physiotherapist has you complete.1-4

Do you have physiotherapy goals?

Physiotherapy goals help guide you and your physiotherapist through the treatment process. Physiotherapists focus on adding in exercises that simulate work-based activities and activities of daily living. For example, squats simulate picking up items off of the ground, getting up from a chair, and picking up a small child. Every exercise selected is designed to strengthen the specific muscle(s), replicate movement patterns, or loosen tight muscles to increase joint mobility. Having specific goals allows you and your physiotherapist to see your progress and determine if exercises can be progressed further.

Physiotherapy Grande PrairieWhat happens if exercises are not helping?

Sometimes exercises are not the answer, however, this can only be determined if you try the exercises and do not see the desired results. If exercises in physiotherapy are not working, then other avenues need to be explored. Sometimes it is a matter of selecting different exercises, getting a diagnostic test (e.g. x-ray or MRI), or seeing a specialist (e.g. surgeon). In most cases further exploration will not happen unless conservative treatment has been attempted. Therefore, it is in your best interest to complete exercises to the best of your ability at all times so that, if further avenues need to be explored, they understand that you have been trying everything available to you.

Is your physiotherapist prescribing exercises?

Have you been going to physiotherapy for a few weeks without exercise? Perhaps it is time to question if this is the right treatment for you. I discussed above how exercise is an important part of the recovery process. It is important for you to be doing exercises at all stages of physiotherapy. This doesn’t mean that if you had a shoulder surgery you will be lifting weights right away. You might start with stretching exercises, or passive movements of the arm (the arm is moved by your good arm or your physiotherapist). Gradually these exercises should be progressed back to what you could do before the injury, which includes lifting weights or completing movements against resistance.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact reception and ask about physiotherapy in Grande Prairie.

Post written by
Lorelle Warr, Kinesiologist


  1. Cho M., Jeong H., Hwang B. Effects of active and passive intervention programs applied to patients’ necks on their muscular strength, muscular endurance, and joint range of motion. J Phys Ther Sci 2012; 24(3): p.283-286.
  2. Andersen CH., Andersen LL., Zebis AM., Sjogaard G. Effect of scapular function training on chronic pain in the neck/shoulder region: A randomized controlled trial. J Occ Rehabil; 2014, 24(2): 316-324.
  3. Ylinen J., Takala EP., Nykanen M., Hakkinen A., et al. Active nect muscle training in the treatment of chronic neck pain in women: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA; 2003, 289(19): 2509-2516.
  4. Telci EA., Karaduman A. Effects of three different conservative treatments on pain, disability, quality of life, and mood in patients with cervical spondylosis. Rheumatol Int; 2012, 32(4): p.1033-1040.


How to deal with women’s health challenges

With Mother’s day around the corner we want to put our focus on women’s health. Women and men have many health issues in common, but each group has its own specific concerns that evolve throughout life which is especially true for the female part of the population since women’s body is an ever changing organism and often a big mystery for the male in our society. womens health Calgary

Embracing your period
They say that a girl becomes a woman when she gets her first period, also known as Menarche. It’s experienced at different ages based on genetic and environmental factors. For many women their period is that dreaded time of the month coming along with cramps, bloating and mood swings.

In the ancient cultures the menstruation time was an opportunity for women to stay away from everyday hustle and rest. It’s not that easy today, you can’t just go hiding in the Red tent, but what you can do is to be more gentle to yourself, put hot water bottle on your lower abdomen when you have cramps, have a cup of relaxing tea or bowl of a warm soup and just spend some time alone. If your symptoms are persistent though and the pain is overpowering go visit your family doctor who may refer you to a gynecologist.

The miracle of conception
The times when young women were getting married and had children right after they finished high school are long gone (at least in the western society). The infinite career, travel and education possibilities our time offers make young people put marriage and starting a family to the back burner. In Canada (2011) the average age of a woman having her first child was 30.2 years. Age is probably the most critical factor influencing woman’s ability to conceive. Starting at about age 32, a woman’s chances of conceiving decrease gradually and significantly. There are other causes of infertility such as tubal factor, previous abortion, overweight or underweight or hormonal imbalance. If you’ve been trying to conceive for a while with no success it may be a good idea to see a specialist who will assess both you and your partner.

Birth of a mother
When a child is born everybody is excited about new addition to the family and the gift of new life, which for sure is a beautiful and special thing to celebrate. But people, including the moms, tend to forget that together with the baby there is also a new mother born.

After 9 months of carrying the baby in her womb and giving him everything he needs to grow to become a healthy little human-being and bringing him to this world through painful and sometimes even life threatening delivery the mother is facing more challenges now. Breastfeeding and pumping or bottle-feeding and choosing the right formula, cloth or disposable diapers, hardly any sleep (is the baby still breathing?), fatigue, postpartum depression, you name it. While still expected to be a good wife, friend, daughter, sister or mother to an older child.

For some women this all happens smoothly and almost effortlessly, others may experience mental or physical health issues. There should be that little voice in every new mother’s ear saying “Take care of yourself too. You matter. You can’t help your child if you are not feeling well yourself”. And the same voice should speak to fathers, friends and family to help, support, cook a meal, watch the baby for couple of hours or just be there and listen to lament of the new mother.

prenatal family doctors calgary SEWith age comes wisdom… and menopause
Menopause is defined as the absence of menstrual periods for 12 months. It does not happen overnight, it is a process during which the function of ovaries discontinues and woman cannot become pregnant anymore. Symptoms may consist of hot flashes, mood swings or vaginal issues. It usually comes after age of 50 and the symptoms may occur even years before and after the last bleeding.

Again, every woman experiences menopause differently; it’s an ordeal for some and dignified transition to the age of wisdom and creativity for others. And one good news, menopause does not mean the end of your sex life, actually it can be the other way around as recent studies show.

Staying sane and healthy through it all
Yes, it is not always easy to be a woman. Female body itself brings constant challenges due to its nature that is always on the move, the hormones levels change pretty much every day, it almost seems like it has life on its own. Add stress of every day life with juggling work, family, exercise, hobbies and whatever life brings, and it can get overwhelming once in a while. And if you don’t have enough rest, your nutrition is lacking essential ingredients and instead of taking a walk outside you spend that extra hour in the office, you might find yourself tired, frustrated or even sick.

Being a woman is beautiful.
Being happy and healthy woman takes effort and commitment to yourself.

At PrimeCare Health, we believe that most threats to women’s health can be prevented. Some of our female family doctors in Calgary have a special interest in the area of women’s health and offer consultations to help women achieve physical and emotional wellbeing during all stages of life. We are here to help.

Cold weather and your health

How cold weather can affect your body and
what you can do to protect yourself

Winter-time is celebrated by some and hated by others. For those who love winter activities like skiing, skating, sledding, snowshoeing or snowmen building it’s the best part of the year. Other people spend most of their time indoors in front of the fireplace with cup of hot tea and the luckier ones somewhere south escaping the frosty weather both looking forward to first sings of spring.cold weather, protecting your health in cold weather in Calgary

No matter which group you belong to the cold weather has an impact on our overall health in general. Let’s have a look at some of the areas that may be at risk.


In cold weather our skin loses moisture and becomes dry and tight and the heated air inside our homes or offices makes it even worse. You can experience irritation, flaking or even cracking of your skin. You should wear a sunscreen outdoors and keep covered as much as possible plus upgrade your lightweight summer cosmetics to heavier creams suitable for cold weather conditions.

For indoors consider using a humidifier and don’t overdo it with the heat. Soaking in hot bath is very comforting in wintertime but can lead to more dryness so don’t forget to moisturize with your favourite lotion.

Immune system

 Winter, beside cold weather, also bring flu and cold season. It’s almost some kind of tradition – as soon as the outside temperatures drop the world is suddenly full of coughing, sneezing and sniffling people and the sales of tissues soar.

If you want to stay healthy:

  • Focus on boosting your immune system with the help of antioxidants and vitamins preferably coming from fresh fruits and vegetables. And if you didn’t get a flu shot yet, it’s never too late.
  • Sleep at least 7 hours every night, our desire to sleep increases naturally with less light, so don’t fight it and get that much needed rest.
  • Stay active during the day though, even short walk every day will make a difference.
  • Using massage, especially with warm oil is also a good and pleasant way to strengthen our immunity in winter.


Cold weather is not the best for the heart. Low temperature can decrease the flow of oxygenated blood to your hear muscle and is one of the risk factors of heart attack. We can also over-strain ourselves easier in winter, walking in deep snow against the cold wind, shoveling the sidewalks and digging our cars out of snowdrifts. The rule is to always dress warm, don’t forget to cover your head and if you have heart condition avoid alcohol which might make you feel warm at the beginning but as it expands the blood vessels it takes the heat away from vital organs.

Eyesightwinter activities and protecting your health in Calgary

 Lovers of winter sports pay attention. You probably will not find riskier environment for your eyes than high snowy mountains. The most dangerous for your eyes is UV light that can cause “snow blindness” and contribute to development of cataract.  Good quality sunglasses with high UV filter are a must during all on-snow activities. Make sure that the eyes of your children are protected too since they are even more vulnerable.

Winter season is a busy one with all the holiday parties, family dinners and winter sports. It also brings more risk of injuries and sicknesses. Our health should always be our number one priority even though it’s harder to find the motivation at this time of the year. So listen to your body, move regularly, eat healthy balanced diet and keep the good spirits. Spring will be here sooner than you think. Until then stay warm!

Health benefits of exercise

Do you ever wonder when will be the best time for you to start exercising?

If you are not sick or recovering from an injury, the answer is simple. Today. It’s really never too late.

benefits of exercising, walking, biking, health advice Calgary medical clinic

There are many different ways of how to get your blood circulating now matter your age, sex or occupation. Exercise is not here only to help you become an owner of the perfect “beach body” it influences the quality of your sleep, energy levels, reduces risk of most diseases and of course increases strength and flexibility.

Physical activity has huge impact on your health in following areas as well.

  1. Mental health

Mental health is very important and we should give it the same or even better care as our physical health. It is difficult to handle the everyday pressures of the world, that gives us a lot of options and opportunities but also creates higher stress. Studies show that exercising has positive influence on our state of mind. It reduces stress, alleviates anxiety, improves brain performance, helps control addictions or increases creativity. Even as little as 20 minutes of exercise per week is supposed to have positive impact on our feeling of happiness.

  1. Diabetes

Physical activity is important for overall fitness but having diabetes might pose certain challenges. Exercise has a notable effect on diabetics. It increases the sensitivity of tissues to insulin so in many cases physically active diabetics can lower their insulin doses, of course under a supervision of a physician. To be on safe side diabetics should track blood sugar before, during and after the physical activity. If you have diabetes and want to start exercising get your doctor’s ok first, especially if you have not been active lately.

  1. Pregnancy

Exercising is beneficial for women before conception, during their pregnancy and also after they give birth. Stress, lack of movement or sedentary work may cause worsen functioning of reproductive organs and appropriately chosen exercises have significant effect on the removal of functional infertility.

Physical activity during pregnancy improves physical and mental shape, prepares the body for giving birth easier and faster and decreases occurrence of complications.

Few days after the birth you can start doing Kegel exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor and prevent incontinence. Listen to your body and slowly incorporate other activities such as yoga classes or long walks with the stroller. Don’t overdo it though, especially if you are breastfeeding.

  1. Weight control

Even though exercise is only a part of successful weight management, it is an important one. If you want to lose weight you should actually aim for fat loss. If you only cut on your calorie intake without exercising you will lose muscles as well. And since muscle is more metabolically active than fat that is something you want to avoid. Did you know that muscles burn calories even at rest? That’s why we want to build or at least keep our muscle mass. The trick is regular exercise and the right diet rich in protein and vegetables.

  1. Healthy heart

Being healthy is about everyday habits. The less time you spend sitting down the better. If you have sedentary work, set a reminder and get up every hour. Go to the kitchen to fetch a glass of water or cup of tea, stretch a few times or dance to your favorite song. If you need to make a phone call do it walking around the office. The ideal physical activity for your heart health is the old good walking. One hour of brisk walk everyday is a lifesaver. The best is to enjoy the great outdoors at the same time, but the treadmill will do the trick as well. If you have a heart condition talk to your doctor before starting any new activity.

Whatever your reason is for starting to exercise there is one key condition, you must like it. So choose a physical activity that you will enjoy doing. It will be easier for you to keep doing it and harder to give it up.

Every move counts so look for opportunities, have fun and feel better

3 Reasons Why You Should Get the Flu Shot

With the colder weather hand in hand comes the season of runny noses, colds and flu….and the usual debating on whether to get or not to get the flu shot this year. The truth is that even the healthiest and strongest of us are at risk of getting sick or even ending up at the hospital since every human body reacts to influenza differently.flu shot, Calgary flu season, why get a flu shot, Grande Prairie, Alberta

Of course, it’s up to each individual to decide if they are going to take the risk of not getting the flu shot in the hopes that they can avoid the flu this winter by chance or  actually take the preventive step and get immunized.

We should think about our family, friends and coworkers too. You don’t want to infect those closest to you. If you are still unsure about getting the flu shot this fall or not, here are a few reasons why you should go for it.

  1. New virus, new vaccine

Even though you might have had your vaccination done last year or few years ago, you should still get vaccinated this year as well. Why? Because the virus is changing, new strains keep constantly emerging and based on that new vaccines are developed to fight the most prevailing flu strains.

  1. Protect children and elderly

Thousands of children are hospitalized every year due to influenza. Children under 2 year are especially at risk. Even if you don’t have children on your own, there is still a chance you will spend time with someone else’s child this winter. Just like the children, the elderly people over 65 years are at greater risk of serious complications because the immune system becomes weaker with age.

  1. Even your phone can make you sick

Have you ever thought about how many times a day you touch your phone with your fingers? How many times does it touch your face? And the most important question – where is the phone in the meantime? How many counters, tables, objects in your bag or car has it touched? If you do not disinfect it daily, which most people don’t, it becomes a carrier for thousands of germs.

flu shot, influenza, Calgary, Grande Prairie, Carstairs, sick with the flu, germsIt’s true that the flu vaccine is not 100{b6e88ae49ccf12da45e74f711f1365e10853bfaff7856757db12eb61ca4e7f7b} effective in preventing flu, but it drastically decreases your chances of infection, and lessens the severity of symptoms if you get sick. Of course washing your hands and avoiding those with the flu is very important, too.

The 2017/18 Influenza Immunization Program began October 23, 2017. Influenza immunizations are offered, free of charge, to all Albertans six months of age. Flu shots are offered by many pharmacies and physicians in Calgary.


5 Reasons to Visit a Psychologist

There are those moments in life when you just feel unhappy, frustrated, unsatisfied with yourself, unloved or just plain miserable. Most of the time these feelings dissipate after a cup of coffee (or glass of wine), a talk with a good friend or a walk in the nature. But when it gets to the point where you feel like you can’t bear it anymore, you don’t know how to keep going and how to help yourself, it might be the moment to seek the advice of a psychologist. Here are some of the reasons why to visit a psychologist. psychologist Calgary, mental help, Calgary SE

1) Feeling overwhelmed

Your marriage is not as it used to be and maybe you take it as a personal failure and don’t know what to do? Maybe you think you are not even a good parent, you feel like a complete loser who does not know how to communicate with his/her own children. Communicating effectively might even be an issue with your co-workers and work is stressing you out in general. These are the problems that a psychologist is able to help you with.

2) Psychosomatic problems

Headaches, insomnia, fatigue, ulcers, high blood pressure etc. are examples of long term stress caused symptoms. When we feel tired, but still keep going, when we live in a mode of “I have to”, when we swallow our feelings instead of expressing them, the body starts to react and show us that something is not right. A psychologist can help us understand the roots of our situation and find out what steps we need to take in order to feel better.

3) Better understanding yourself and the others

Therapy helps you to not only understand yourself better but the other people as well. We often make assumptions on what the others think or intend, but when we ask them what they meant by saying this or that, we usually get surprised. Too many times we assume and take personally things that in reality have nothing to do with us.

4) Anxiety and fears

People experience fear and anxiety more often than we think. What anxiety and fear have in common is the unpleasant feeling of tension and inner disquiet. The difference is that fear has a definite reason and it is connected with the real threat. Anxiety, on the other hand, is more general and the definable reason is missing. It is ok to be scared or anxious once in a while, but when you get to the point where you feel paralyzed by fear or anxiety, it’s time to seek professional help.

5) Helping the next generations

By discovering your own suppressed feelings and emotions and talking about them openly helps you to teach your children a better way. The kids need to know that it is ok to express their feelings and talk about their emotions without being judged, that even the anger can be dealt with in a heatlhy way. The more work you do on yourself, the less work you leave for your children and their children too.

It is important to know that you don’t have to be “crazy” if you want to visit a psychologist. The stigma is slowly fading, mental health is becoming more and more a main stream topic that is ok to talk about. And there is nothing to be afraid of.

Psychologists are trained to work with people like you and are able to analyze your feelings and show you ways how to improve your life and career.

Call our Douglasglen location in Calgary SE to book an appointment.