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Cranial Sacral Therapy

Cranial Sacral Therapy is a very gentle treatment that is performed with the client fully clothed. Using no more than the weight of a nickel, the therapist's hands detect problems such as soft tissue restrictions, areas of tightness, scars from accidents and and surgery  These are the adaptations the body has attempted to get around old injuries. Through a series of hands-on treatments, the client regains mobility and a resiliency in their tissues ans is always left with a feeling of well being..

Who Cranial Works On
  Cranial Sacral Therapy is an excellent choice for anyone who needs a lighter touch in their therapy, anyone who has hit a wall and isn't proceeding as quickly as they thought they might or anyone with a chronic condition. Cranial, cranial osteopathy or just CST, is subtle enough that the body doesn't feel the need to defend itself with tightness or muscle spasm which makes it an excellent treatment for migraines, neck and back pain, scoliosis and TMJ pain. Children respond very quickly to cranial treatments.

How Cranial Works
Cerebrospinal fluid cycles within the spinal cord and brain environment 6-12 times per minute. This incredibly subtle movement extends outward to the entire body and this is the pulse that the therapist monitors and influences to help you heal. By delicately evaluating  the cranial bones, the spine and the soft tissues, we look for imbalances or disturbances to the motion pattern. We gently treat the areas that are unable to move, enhancing the body's own ability to heal.

What to Expect

Most clients fell very little during a treatment, perhaps a feeling of relaxation or less foggy feeling, they get up feeling much better, clearer and often with less pain.

Craniosacral Therapy is beneficial for:

  • helps restore normal cranial mobility
  • releases abnormal myofascial restrictions and tensions in the body
  • releases abnormal restrictions in the head
  • eases restrictions of nerves
  • optimizes cerebrospinal fluid movement through the central nervous system
  • helps restore misaligned bones to their proper positions (assising troubles with back, hips, shouders, knees)
  • facial asymmetries and eye motor problems
  • headaches

                    tinnitus, hearing loss and vertigo

  • TMJ syndrome
  • stress disorders and insomnia
  • muscle and joint pain or injury
  • many neurological conditions and pain syndromes

Active Motion Staff Trained in Craniosacral Therapy:


Summer Vacation Planning

With warmer weather right around the corner, many of us are looking forward to taking some time off as we plan our next summer vacation.

Whether you are planning to visit family, explore a new city or just relax on the beach, it’s important to remember these easy tips from your physiotherapist so you can stay injury- and pain-free as you travel.

Pack with your back in mind. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 54,000 luggage-related injuries were reported in 2009 [1]. Many of these injuries occurred to the back, neck and shoulders and were probably caused by struggling with heavy, over-packed luggage. Therefore, it is important to pack as light as possible in an easy-to-roll suitcase. Also make sure you keep your lower back and neck aligned properly to minimize strain when you are lifting your bags off the luggage carousel or down from an overhead bin.

Choose sleeping accommodations that are less likely to cause neck and back pain. New research shows that it is best to sleep on a mattress with medium firmness [2] so read online reviews or call the hotel before booking to ensure you will get a pain-free night's sleep.

Stretch and move on long drives or flights. If you are going to be sitting in a car or plane for a long period of time, try to stretch your muscles and walk around whenever you can. This will help maintain blood flow to your muscles and keep your joints from stiffening up. If possible, walk or move around for 2-3 minutes after prolonged sitting and before lifting luggage or supplies to allow your muscles to re-balance and your joints to loosen up.

Keep up your exercise routine. While you're away it's easy to spend your days lounging by the pool or sunning yourself on the beach, but taking a vacation doesn't mean taking a break from exercise. Inactivity is a major cause of joint stiffness and pain [3] so try taking a brisk walk on the beach for 15-20 minutes every day or do a few laps in the hotel pool. Remember, there are lots of ways to stay active on your holiday and still have fun!

Learn how to prevent golf injuries. For many, the greens of the golf course are the perfect backdrop for a summer vacation; however, more than 36,000 people sustain injuries while playing golf each year [4] – usually to their lower back, elbow and wrist [5]. To help prevent injuries, pay close attention to maintain proper swing mechanics and club grip through all the holes. Also ensure you always use the right equipment.  Visit our golf section for more information

Stretch, stretch and stretch some more. Before doing any type of physical activity – from golfing to hiking to white water rafting – invest some time in warming up and stretching your legs and arms. Every summer thousands of people suffer from sprains and strains that could have been avoided with a few minutes of dynamic (active) stretching before. Dynamic stretching involves repeated but controlled movements through your range of motion to prepare your muscle for the demands of your activity. You start with slow, low intensity movements like arm and leg swings and gradually progress to full speed movements and sport specific drills.  Save your static stretches for your cool-down after you play.

Don’t overdo it! No matter what activities you chose to do on your vacation, be conscious of your body and its needs. Remember, everything in moderation!

Wear flip-flops wisely. While flip-flops may be ideal for the beach or pool, they can be dangerous if you wear them during vigorous activities like hiking and are not the best footwear for even less strenuous activities like sightseeing. Research has shown that wearing flip-flops shortens your stride length and causes force to be unevenly distributed when your foot hits the ground [6]. This can put excess strain on your ankles, knees, hips and lower back, which can cause serious pain and injury over time.

For more tips on how to get your muscles, bones and joints ready for an energetic and pain-free summer or to have your physical condition evaluated before a trip, contact your physiotherapist.  Remember – knowledge and preparation are your best defenses against future pain and injury.


    American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Tips for lifting and carrying luggage. August 2011.
    Kovacs FM, Abraira V, Pena A, et al. Effect of firmness of mattress on chronic non-specific low-back pain: randomised, double-blind, controlled, multicentre trial. Lancet. 2003;362:1599-1604.
    Vuori I. Physical inactivity is a cause and physical activity is a remedy for major public health problems. Kinesiology. 2004;36(2):123-153.
    Parziale JR, Mallon WJ. Golf injuries and rehabilitation. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2006;17:589-607.
    McHardy AJ, Pollard HP. Golf and upper limb injuries: a summary and review of the literature. Chiropr Osteopat. 2005;13(7).
    Auburn University. AU study shows that overuse of flip-flops can lead to orthopedic problems. June 3, 2008.


Sleeping Like a Baby

Compiled by Erica Roth, Kinesiology student at UofA and Hugh Simson, Physiotherapist

Remember the days when you could fall asleep and not wake up until the morning? When you slept through the night without interruption and woke up pain-free?

In this article we will review how to select pillows, mattresses and sleeping positions that are right for your body. We will also discuss strategies that you can implement to help ensure you have a great night sleep and exercises that should be done in the evening and in the morning prior to starting the day.Sleeping like a baby

The average adult needs around 8hrs of sleep a night for optimal health and well being.  An estimated 3.3 million Canadians aged 15 or older (1/7) reported difficulty with sleeping whether it is related to insomnia, sleep apnea or another sleeping condition.

Within the hours that we are asleep, we move an estimated 30-50 times per night.  This can be related to discomfort stemming from our sleeping position, pillow, mattress or our nightly routine. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life.

How to Prepare for a Successful Sleep

  • Wake up at the same time every morning
  1. Set internal clock which synchronizes your sleep-wake cycle
  • Go to bed only when you feel sleepy
  1. Time spent in bed wide awake increases mental activity and anxiety
  2. Do something relaxing before bed like reading a book, away from bedroom
  • Cool, quiet, dark bedroom
  1. Ideal temperature around 18ºC
  2. Noise and light can cause disturbances even if they don’t cause awakenings
  • Keep regular rituals and routines before bed
  1. Brushing teeth, washing face, taking medications
  2. Reinforce sleepiness
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco and caffeine before bed
  1. Increase rate of urine production
  2. Promote wakefulness
  3. Disrupt sleep stages
  • Remove phones, beepers, TV’s from bedroom


Pillow selection is based on your typical sleeping position. When choosing a pillow there a few general features to keep in mind; it should keep the spine or neck in natural alignment, the pillow should be comfortable and should be adjustable.

Laying on your backknee pillow

  • Want a level support under you head neck and shoulders such that you maintain a neutral alignment which is ears in line with shoulders and no rotation.
  • Pillow under your knees – takes stress off the lower back.

Sleeping on your side

  • Pillow to support your head such that it maintains a neutral alignment.
  • Not enough pillow – you will find your hand under your pillow
  • Too much pillow – neck feels awkward.
  • Pillow between your knees to keep your knees in line with your hips such that it does not pull you into a rotation.

Sleeping on your stomach

  • Minimal pillow for head
  • Puts strain on neck and lower back.
  • If you are a stomach sleeper try using a body pillow when sleeping in your side.

Mediflow Pillow

  • Soft, hypoallergenic fiber filling
  • Easy to fill water pouch
  • Adjust the support level (firm, soft, medium) simply by filling water pouch to conform to your sleeping position
  • Some contoured pillows have lower profile in centre - for sleeping on your back, and higher profile on the sides for sleeping on your side.


Selecting a mattress is a very important process that requires great consideration.  Choosing a mattress that is comfortable for you is the primary concern but material and rigidity are also important to take into account. Currently on the market there are two main types of mattresses; foam and coil.


  • Conforms to the body and maintains spine alignment
  • Reduces tossing and turning
  • Good choice for people with back, shoulder, and hip pain
  • Generates a lot of heat due to material


  • Continuous coil – increased motion transferMattress
  • Pocket coil – decreases motion transfer (great for sleeping with partner)
  • Cooler in temperature as air can circulate throughout mattress

Soft Mattresses

  • Put  less stress on shoulders and hips
  • Hip bursitis
  • Shoulder bursitis
  • Arthritis

Medium Firm and Firm Mattress

  • Offers more support
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Good for people with healthy backs as it does not allow back to collapse

Signs you may need a new mattress

  • Waking up with aches and pains
  • Waking up even more tired than before going to bed
  • Indentations from where you sleep
  • Visible signs of overuse such as sags and lumps
  • Have a better sleep in a bed that is not your own (hotel)
  • If your body has gone through changes such as weight gain/loss,  surgery, accident


Sleeping Positions

On Back

  •  Head slightly elevated to conform to natural curvature of spine
  • Pillow underneath knees
  • Help prevent acid reflux
  • Encourage good circulation
  • Not recommended for people who snore
  • Not for people with degenerative disc disease

On Side

  • Do not sleep with head rested on hand or arm
  • Make sure pillow is large enough to have the neck rested in neutral
  • Pillow between the knees keeping knees hip width distance apart helps reduce strain on lower back.
  • Help prevent acid reflux
  • Help prevent snoring
  • Good for people with Osteoarthritis
  • Not recommended for bursitis
  • Not recommended for rotator cuff problems

Pregnant Women

  • Sleep on the left side
  • Body pillow between the knees to support belly
  • Provide more blood to the placenta
  • May reduce the risk of stillbirths
  • Helps prevent heart burn and shortness of breath


Waking up

Stretching increases blood flow to various parts of our body including our muscles and brain.  This increased circulation creates a sense of wakefulness, increases our energy levels and sets us up for a successful day.

  • Lower back, Pelvis and Hip Stretch

  • Hamstring and Sciatic Nerve Stretch

  • Hip Flexor Stretch

  • Upper Back Mobility

  • Foam Roller Rolling

For more information or to ask specific questions please email:


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