October 31st… Pumpkin carving day! 

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With imaginative (and sometimes horrifying) creations popping up everywhere, I can honestly say that I have been the most inspired by Scott Richard and his pumpkin sculpture masterpieces! No, he hasn’t decorated our clinic with his pumpkins (although I wish he had), however they’re all over his twitter  and Facebook for everyone to admire.

The kids in his neighborhood must love his ‘crazy carved face filled’ door step. We loved his stuff also, and so we got in touch with him about displaying his work here in our clinic. Happily he was interested in the idea and willing to help us put some color to our walls.

Scott is a self-taught Toronto based sculptor/painter, originally born in Peterborough and raised in British Columbia. He’s been a sculptor of various genres for the past 8 years, with his choice of medium being polymer clay, castilene and wax. His specialties include imaginative creations of the fantasy genre, and pet busts! That’s right… Scott can sculpt the likeness of your pet down to the single hair. Recently he’s also begun painting with acrylics on canvas. He may seem quiet on the outside, but his inspiration is boundless it seems.

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Last month Scott stopped by the clinic for the grand opening of our NeuroChangers gym and posed for a pic by one of his landscape paintings. Thanks again Scott for allowing us to admire your art each day! Your pieces have helped create a welcoming and cheerful environment for all our clients!

Happy Halloween!

Michelle Wolfe, RMT

Access TO

Recently I had a conversation with a client about an exciting new restaurant. This lively, classy restaurant/bar offered delicious and healthy food with an outgoing, interesting atmosphere. As I continued to rant and rave about this impressive find, I advised my client who uses a wheelchair to check this place out. Unfortunately, after making the suggestion, I remembered the 30 step hike up-stairs I took to get into this restaurant, and I couldn’t recall an elevator. I rationalised that this restaurant must have an elevator in order to have access for those who need it.

ImageThis sparked a sad and frustrating topic of conversation. My client had experienced this dilemma on many occasions and began to enlighten me about his personal restaurant horror stories. Generally when planning to experience a new restaurant, he would call ahead to be sure of the accessibility; however, not everyone in the service industry is aware of the specific needs of those in a wheelchair. He has experienced many makeshift ramps, one which he chose not to use due to the incredibly dangerous angle. Many places are very crowded which makes one uncomfortable and self-conscience about “constantly being in the way.” Another client had experienced an entire evening in a pub feeling anxious and stressed over the lack of wheelchair accessibility in the bathroom. Sadly the night ended in embarrassment and a wet lap for this client.

Since hearing these stories I have become more observant for wheelchair accessibility in restaurants. It’s disheartening to notice many places that my clients are not able to have a comfortable or enjoyable experience due to wheelchair inaccessibility!  In this day and age, every public venue should have accessibility to washrooms that accommodate everyone.  It’s 2013 people, every restaurant should have safe and reliable accessibility, it’s called basic human rights!

I’ve researched a blog called Access TO which focuses on wheelchair accessible places in the GTA. Each entry reviews restaurants or cafes that have been thoroughly investigated on its accessibility for those with less mobility and using wheelchairs. Generally each blog post has the name and address of the place and detailed explanation of the accessibility, including measurements of doorways and bathroom stalls, parking and many other important details. The writer has even included attached reviews of the restaurant so one can do further investigation online prior to venturing to the restaurant. This website offers a trustworthy option for discovering exciting, delicious restaurants that are also accommodating for all.

Restaurant owners and workers should consider the challenge it can be for those in wheelchairs to use their venues comfortably and with confidence and make changes if necessary to promote this. Clearly more emphasis, acknowledgement and advocacy are needed to make all public areas more accessible for everyone to enjoy!

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Michelle Wolfe, RMT

I’ll give you two reasons

Confidence. Relief.

These two words are the two reasons you should become more aware of your posture. 
But…how can posture possibly be related to either?

  1. Confidence: Psychology has shown us time and time again that body language can play a major role in our attitude and mood.  When you have bad posture your head hangs and your shoulders close your body.  Proper posture forces you to have a proud chest and to hold your head up high.  In turn, you will feel more confident, more alert, and overall happier.
  2. Relief: Poor postures place stress on your neck, back, and shoulders by taking them to their end range of motion without support. Proper posture offers support to the shoulder joint and spine by engaging the surrounding muscles.  This will help relieve aches and pains, you will also be able to use your muscles more efficiently and suddenly everything you do will feel easier.

How can you work on fixing your posture?

When standing:

  1. Place your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Squeeze you bum and lower back muscles to bring your hips to the centerline of your body.
  3. Engage your abdominals (abs) and feel the muscles along the spine raise your body as if a string is pulling you up from the top of your head.
  4. Bring your shoulders back by squeezing your scapula’s (shoulder blades) together in your upper back.
  5. Be careful that your shoulders don’t elevate.  If they do, take a deep breath and when you exhale release all the tension in your shoulders.
  6. Raise your chin so it’s parallel to the ground and feel that string at the top of your head forcing you to stand tall one more time.

This will get tiring over time, at that point shift weight between feet.

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When sitting:

  1. Bring your bum all the way back in the chair. If there is no lumbar support, roll up a towel and place it in the lumbar region.
  2. Engage your abdominals (abs) and feel the muscles along the spine raise your body as if a string is pulling you up from the top of your head.
  3. Bring your shoulders back by squeezing your scapula’s (shoulder blades) together in your upper back.
  4. Be careful that your shoulders don’t elevate, if they do take a deep breath and when you exhale release all the tension in your shoulders and let them relax.
  5. Raise your chin so it’s parallel to the ground and feel as if a string is lifting you straight up.

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When laying:

  1. Place a rolled up towel under the lumber region and cervical region of the spine as displayed in the picture below.
  2. Engage your core muscles (abs and back) to support your position.
  3. From this positions try to squeeze the shoulder blades together and press your head into the bed/mat/table/etc.

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Posture is often overlooked in terms of exercise.  However, proper posture reduces the risk of injury, proper body mechanics, body efficiency, confidence and relief.  So next time you start to feel pain in your neck from sitting too long, look back at these steps and build up those muscles!

 

Michelle Teves
R. Kin