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Injuries are apart of participating in sports, but luckily the body has the amazing ability to heal itself. The body’s innate ability to create chemical reactions and cellular metabolism are the back bone to our body’s healing ability. Science has allowed us to understand how this works and consequently how to manage injuries. This article will highlight the type of injuries that can occur, the phases of healing, and the basics on how to handle these type of injuries.

Injuries happen to all types of tissues. A muscle strain is when muscle fibers tear, usually due to forcibly stretching a muscle actively or passively. Tendinitis is inflammation of the tendon itself due to an acute irritation, whereas, tendonosis is inflammation of the tendon as a result of repetitive overuse.

To find out more about how injuries happen and how you can proactively prevent and treat both acute and chronic injury, like and Osteopath read more on the Breathe Blog. A sprained ligament is usually due to an acute incident which causes ligament fibers to tear. Bone fractures are when the bone tissue is compromised, which results in a simple or compound fracture.

When tissue is damaged, the body goes through a predictable sequence of healing – the 3 phases of healing are the inflammatory phase, the fibroblastic (repair) phase, and the long term process. The inflammatory phase is generally the first 3-4 days where the site of injury is red, hot, swollen, and there’s a loss of function. The inflammatory phase is a result of cellular injury, which leads to altered metabolism and chemical mediation. The fibroblastic phase begins around day 3 and takes up to 6 weeks. The fibroblastic phase is called the repair phase because it is the period where cells proliferate and regenerate, leading to a scar formation and the repair of the injury. The last phase is the long term process, which lasts 6 weeks to years and focuses on strengthening the injury by applying appropriate stress and strain on the scar. It’s critical that injured structures are exposed to loads progressively to increase strength, facilitate the remodelling and realignment of fibers and help with the range of motion.

When these injuries occur the athlete should look to “POLICE” their injury – an acronym that stands for Protection, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Protection can be broken down into examples like shielding the injury by using a cast, using a sling or crutches to take load off the joint, and preventing joint movement by using a splint or cast. It’s especially important to unload the injury site when dealing with acute soft tissue injury. Optimal loading is the stage when rest should be replaced with a balanced, incremental rehabilitation to encourage a fast recovery. Icing plays a vital role during the inflammatory stage because it freezes out nerve pain, decreases the metabolism and secondary injury, and prevents further swelling – ice does not reduce swelling! The best method of icing is to have a combination of ice and water in a plastic bag compressed on the injury site, and follow a regimen of “10 minutes on 10 minutes off”. Compression helps to limit the amount of blood flow to a region by up to 95% if tied tightly and 60% if loosely wrapped. Lastly, elevation can help reduce blood flow to the site of injury, but it must be at least 30cm above the heart. Elevation reduces blood flow up to 20% when it’s 50cm and 25% when the injury site is 70cm above the heart.

By understanding the type of injury and the phases of healing, health practitioners can help facilitate a healthy recovery. If you are dealing with any type of injury or pain, please seek professional advice.


September 18th, 2019

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Acupuncture being performed on shoulder

One of the most common complaints I hear from clients is how stressed they are. This is true for people coming in for all sorts of reasons, often not even related to those stresses!

It seems that our lives are now so full that we are living in a state of low level (and sometimes a high level) “fight or flight”. We are always focused on what is right in front of us, and therefore long term priorities fall to the backburner. 

This is sometimes referred to as being “sympathetic dominant,” but in Chinese Medicine, we think of this as stagnation. As we continually incur ongoing stresses, bodily energy gathers up, waiting in the ready for some kind of action. In this gathering mode, though, it is stagnant—not moving freely as it normally would, to be used as needed by various bodily functions. 

This response can be natural and good: if you are about to run a race, give a presentation at work, or have an altercation with a sabre tooth-tiger. If it becomes too constant, however, the de-prioritized functions will start to weaken, or even crash.

This can lead to other kinds of health complications, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia and poor sleep
  • Digestion problems
  • Tension and body pain
  • Headaches
  • Women’s health issues (such as menstrual disorders or menopause symptoms)
  • Acne and other skin problems

While it is clear that constant stress can have far reaching negative effects, most of us cannot weed every bit of difficulty or jaggedness out of our lives. Work, family, money: these have stressors built-in. The solution, then, lies not in changing the stressful input, but in managing bodily reactions better. In order to become less reactive to stress, in order to manage stress-related symptoms, the body must switch over from the sympathetic “fight or flight” to the parasympathetic “feed and breed” (also known as “rest and digest”) mode. I often think of this state as the “healing mode.” In Chinese Medicine we understand this state as one where stagnant energy is unblocked, so that it can circulate smoothly through the body. When energy is regulated and moving well, it is optimal for self-repair.

Acupuncture is a particularly effective to help manage stress and help reduce reactivity because it can provide short-term symptomatic relief, and also be used preventatively to manage stress, anxiety and all the related issues. 

Acupuncture can help you take control of your health and keep anxiety at bay—allowing you to rest, relax and heal. With regular acupuncture treatments, you can retrain the negative patterns caused by acute and chronic stress, and start addressing problems at their root.


August 15th, 2019

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We all know the benefits of flexibility and good posture but did you know yoga also improves your health in these 5 ways?


1. Builds Needed Muscle Strength

Strong muscles are more than good looking. They protect us from chronic conditions like arthritis and back pain, and help build balance and stability. And when you build strength through yoga, you are also gaining flexibility. If you just go to the gym and lift weights, you may build strength without flexibility.


2. Drains your Lymphs and Boosts Immunity

When you contract and stretch muscles, move your organs, through yoga postures, you increase the drainage of lymph (a bodily fluid rich in immune cells). This aids the lymphatic system in fighting infections, can destroy cancerous cells, and clear out the toxic waste products of cellular function.


3. Calms your mind.

Yoga quells the fluctuations of the mind, according to Patanjali’sYoga Sutra. In simpler terms, it slows down the mental loops of frustration, rumination, anger, fear, and comparison that can lead to stress. And since stress is connected to so many health problems—from migraines and insomnia to many autoimmune disorders, high blood pressure, and heart attacks—if you learn to calm your mind, you’ll be likely to live healthier longer.

Yoga class

4. Yoga is the Beginning of a Healthy Lifestyle

Move more, eat less—something that is key to any diet. Yoga can help with both. A consistent Yoga practice gets you moving and burns calories, and the spiritual and emotional connections of your practice could lead you to address any existing eating and weight problems on a deeper level. Yoga may also inspire you to become a more mindful eater (a part of the new Canadian Food Guide).


5. Supports the Bigger Connections

In reading and personally experiencing all the ways yoga improves your health, you probably notice a lot of overlap. That’s because our mind and body are so connected. Change your posture and you change the way you breathe. Change your breathing and you change your nervous system. This is one of the great lessons of yoga: Everything is connected—your hipbone to your anklebone, you to our community, our community to the world. These connections are key to understanding yoga. Yoga is a holistic system that simultaneously taps into many parts of the mind and body that have additive and even multiplicative effects. This synergy may be the most important way of all that yoga benefits your health.


January 27th, 2019

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AnnMarie Wolf, Breathe YTT Alumni doing a yoga pose

AnnMarie Wolf on Transitioning
from Dabbling Yoga Student to Certified Yoga Teacher. 


After retiring and moving to Toronto, AnnMarie Wolf went from what she calls a “once a week yoga habit” to immersing herself fully into her yoga practice, and becoming a certified yoga teacher.

In the midst of entering a new phase in life, which at the time she felt was “not an exciting one”, AnnMarie decided to “do something for herself.” She chose yoga.


What brought you to Breathe?

“Toronto is home to many yoga studios and I thought, ‘I am going to find one that really clicks with me’. And then I found Breathe. I really loved the atmosphere – the warmth, the peace.”

“I loved the teachers, the practice, and decided I wanted to pursue yoga even more.”


Why become a yoga teacher?

“I became passionate about bringing yoga to my age group, because they need it.”

As a retired high school physical education teacher, AnnMarie knew she can teach. She did, however, have reservations about being physically able to complete her training.

Why Breathe YTT?

“Svitlana was the only studio owner that found the time to meet with me personally. And she gave me complete faith in my abilities. Until then I questioned whether I would be a candidate a studio would accept for their program. I was thrilled Breathe embraced me, my age group and my vision.”


Since completing the YTT Program

AnnMarie embraced what she initially perceived as her limitations. The program has given her “the ability to understand herself and her body better.”

“Physically I was amazed at the changes that can happen to the body at this age. And the changes that continue to happen. I continue to grow and change and find deeper ranges of motion.”

Yoga, YTT, Yoga Teacher Training Toronto, Breathe YTT, Retirement

“When you study yoga, your own practice will grow. You will develop a new sense of empathy for yourself and for others.”


AnnMarie’s advice to anyone considering becoming a certified Yoga Teacher

“Just do it. What they said on the first day of the program is true – it will change your life, whether you become a teacher or not.”


To learn more about the Breathe Yoga Teacher Training, click here.

Written by: Magda Mroz
Photos by: Waverly Wyld


June 7th, 2018

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Mother Daughter Yoga

Mother-daughter duo Julia and Lindsey Gallagher have discovered stillness in yoga.

Julia, a busy mom who suffered from body pain and Lindsey, a 16-year old dancer and student, explain why practicing yoga at Breathe has completely transformed them: body and mind.

Photo by Waverly Wyld

How did you discover yoga?

Julia: It was an incredibly stressful few years so I needed to do something mentally and physically. Yoga just seemed like the logical thing. Because of the stress, my hips were giving me problems, my whole spine, I would have back pain. I was trying to discover what would be gentle but challenging and something mental as well as physical.

Lindsey: My mom. I was excited to do it just because I saw how happy my mom was and how much she talked about it. I was excited to explore different parts of my body and well being and to see what the hype was about. Where’s mom? Oh she’s at yoga.

Photo by Waverly Wyld

How has yoga changed your life?

Julia: The chronic pain in my hips and shoulders is gone. I was having problems walking too. That completely resolved itself within six months and I sleep better. I have better energy through the day. I used to feel exhausted all day. I don’t feel that anymore.

Lindsey: It’s helped me as a teenager. There’s a lot of stress with school, social life…when you’re a teen everything is stressful. Doing yoga and learning how to breathe helps me calm down.

Julia and Lindsey say that practicing mat to mat has brought them closer together.

Lindsey: Practicing with my mom is nice and we’re close. I feel comfortable with her. It’s not embarrassing to me.

Julia: I love it. I think yoga is such a great thing for us to do when we’re not just rushing around. We can take an hour together to enjoy the quiet time.

Julia says her teachers at Breathe have helped her the most in learning how to… well, breathe!

Funny enough, one of the most important things I’ve learned from teachers at Breathe, is to just breathe.  And I pass that along to my dance students.  Focusing on your breath and slowing things down.  I feel very nurtured in Margot’s restorative classes. And as a mom who nurtures 24/7, it’s extremely meaningful to me to take a class that nurtures me.  Also, in so many classes, I feel like I’ve learned the very factual anatomy of the human body and why certain poses do what they do, and how to use that in every day.  I’m kind of an information junky, so I love Suz’s Yin class where I can hold a pose and settle in and listen to her fill the room with knowledge. Lindsey likes Waverly’s Yin class the best. Learning to slow down.  It’s comfortable and relaxing for her, as well as challenging.”

Thank you to Julia and Lindsey for sharing their amazing story. We love having you as part of the Breathe family.

March 22nd, 2018

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