Dry Skin Brushing Tutorial

Looking for ways to improve your health at home?  We are developing a series of tutorials to teach you many techniques that you can use for self care.

For this first tutorial, we will be exploring how to Dry Skin Brush. This is the perfect time of the year to perform this technique, as it will aid in spring detoxing and getting out all of those winter cob webs.

Tune in to the video to learn more ūüôā

Happy Spring ūüĆĽ


Monica Ander, RTCMP, R.Ac


Today I wish to write about the secret ingredient to pain relief: flow. ¬† The definition of flow is “to move in a stream”. ¬†Our body is the very essence of a stream – blood and lymphatic fluid move through channels in large bodies of water when in our trunk (think aorta and vena cava) – then trickle outwards to our extremities into bubbling springs and smaller creeks (think capillaries, and smaller veins and arteries). ¬†For thousands of years, Chinese Medicine has been making the link between the human body and how we show similarities to bodies of water. ¬†We are, after all, mostly made up of water.

There are many things that inhibit our inner flow – but to depict this, let’s examine some antonyms of flow: clot, coagulate, congeal, gel, harden. ¬†In Chinese Medicine, these words describe very accurately a condition called Blood Stasis and Qi Stagnation. ¬†Blood stasis, therefore, IS the antonym to flow.

There is a TCM quote that says, “Where there is blockage, there is pain.” ¬†Blood stasis and Qi stagnation are the most common causes of blockage in the body. ¬†Hence, by removing the blockage, pain can no longer reside.

How does one develop a condition of Blood Stasis?  Life events such as acute trauma where there is direct damage to bones and tissues is one obvious cause.  Sitting too much, eating greasy cold foods, excessive icing, overuse, exposure to weather, and the Seven Emotions are important factors as well.

In the case of excessive sitting, not only are the blood vessels in the glutes and hamstrings compressed, but there is a systemic flow that is lacking. Sitting is a vicious cycle, because the more pain someone is in, the greater desire they have to sit or lie down.  Unfortunately, this only aggravates blood stasis.

Diet is another aspect that can lead to blood stasis. ¬†Cold foods cause vasoconstriction: which means a narrowing of the blood vessels. ¬†If the patient who consumes a lot of cold food also eats copious greasy foods (which produces phlegm in the body) – now this person has narrowed vessels that are trying to pump through gooey blood. (yes, “gooey” is a technical term)

While on the topic of vasoconstriction, I’d like to say a few words about icing. ¬†Icing causes rapid and pronounced narrowing of the blood vessels. Therefore, placing ice on a muscle group repeatedly will eventually lead to blood stasis. ¬†Muscles depend on blood flow to heal, so continuously inhibiting this need causes detrimental effects. ¬†There are many patients who have experienced pain relief immediately just from the suggestion of avoiding icing.

A chronic cause of Blood Stasis that should receive more attention is the Seven Emotions.  In Chinese Medicine, it is said that the Seven Emotions are the ONLY cause of internal disease.  This is a very powerful statement, because it unlocks the secret to a full recovery from chronic pain.  Emotions makes a person want to sit and eat more; they feel hopeless, and lost.  This can lead to blood stasis quite quickly because strong emotions, mingled with the lifestyle that the emotions produce, compounds the situation.

Each of the Seven Emotions has an energetic property. For example, Anger creates heat in the body, which causes energy to surge upwards to the head. ¬†Patients with Anger often complain of headaches. ¬†Quite literally, in this case, the Anger has made its residence in the tissues of the patient’s head. ¬†This is why, as we start to release the tissues, the patient may temporarily experience more Anger. ¬†Eventually, if the Anger continues, the heat will burn up body fluid, and then there is not enough blood to create flow – which causes the small amount of blood that does remain in the tissue to stay trapped there.

Anger is just one example of how the Seven Emotions effect the body, but each emotion  leads to stagnancy via its own unique pathomechanism.

Overusing the body through overwork or repetitive movements during exercise is an extremely common cause of blood stasis.  Think of muscles like a pump Рthey rely on the relaxation as much as contraction.  It is during the relaxation phase of muscular contraction that the tissues fill with blood and nourish the tissues. If a person is locked in the same position all day through exercise of work, fresh blood is unable to enter the tissues Рand the blood that is already in the muscle becomes stagnant. After years of this cycle, the patient will inevitably develop chronic pain.

To conclude, there are many causes of chronic pain and blood stasis. Unleash the antidote and create more flow in your life. Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to help regain body flow, in conjunction with personalized Chinese herbal formulations.  Book your appointment today and put some flow back in your life. Everyone needs a catalyst Рthen once things are flowing, nothing will stop you from living a healthy pain free life.

Yours in health,


This Saturday is “TISSUE TALKS”: Is Scar Tissue Hijacking Your Muscles?

This Saturday, April 30, 2016, at “Your Best Health Fair”, in the Hart Hall (see Facebook page for details) ¬†from 10-10:30am, come experience:

TISSUE TALKS with Monica Ander: Is Scar Tissue Hijacking Your Muscles?

Most people, whether they have sustained an injury or not, have scar tissue lurking somewhere in their body. In this informative talk, Monica will be examining the hidden causes of scar tissue, and how it relates to imbalances in the body – and ultimately pain. She will answer the following questions:

How does scar tissue form?

What is the overall effect on the functioning of the body when scar tissue is present?

What is the Chinese Medicine perspective on scar tissue?

How is stubborn scar tissue treated?

What can be done at home to facilitate a therapist in removing scar tissue?

Come learn how to achieve better posture, by alleviating the glue that is encouraging misalignment in the body.


Monica Ander is Registered through the CTCMPAO as a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner, Registered Acupuncturist, and Registered Traditional Chinese Herbalist. Monica has been working with the human body for 16 years – beginning as a fitness trainer, progressing to education in Massage, and finally to her education as a TCM practitioner. Monica places a special focus on stubborn pain relief through application of deep pressure and mobilization techniques. She draws on all of her many modalities to design treatments that are effective and alleviating.

To see what people are saying about Monica, click here:


Hope to see you all there!

Post Massage Pain Busters



You just came for a massage, which is exciting because you and I are now a team. ¬†Once you leave my clinic, I have passed the baton to you. ¬†How much or how little you participate post-treatment will dictate the success of our treatment. ¬†Since I strive for your success, I’m going to share a few tips to keep those muscles loose apres massage, while avoiding delayed muscle soreness.

1) Believe in the process

This may be one of the most difficult steps. ¬†Chances are if nagging pain has kept you awake every night for years, it will be hard to imagine a life without it. ¬† The nervous system is hardwired to carried out patterns. ¬†I can help break the physical patterns, but only you can break the mental pattern by having faith in your body’s ability to heal. ¬†The most successful patients are the ones who believe in the process. ¬†Sometimes, things have to untangle and become worse before they get better.

2)  Keep circulation flowing

According to Chinese Medicine, pain is often (but not always) caused by stagnancy of blood and Qi.  This can be due to poor posture, overuse, a previous injury, or a sedentary lifestyle.  The techniques I use during treatments target areas of stagnancy to help regain free flow of circulation.  Self-care methods that will help maintain circulation are: baths with essential oils and/or epsom salts, a brisk walk, Qi Gong, stretching, and my favourite Рdry skin brushing.  Dry skin brushing helps the lymphatic system clean up any debris released during our massage, inevitably speeding up healing times and strengthening the immune system.

3) Tennis balls and foam rollers

A few days after your massage, using a tennis ball or a foam roller to keep muscles loose will prove to be beneficial.  A foam roller is perfect for larger muscle groups such as the IT band and quadriceps.  On the contrary, the tennis ball excels in areas which require a more pinpointed type of pressure Рfor example, the forearms, pectoralis muscles, rotator cuff group, and in between the shoulder blades.  The key to success when using these objects, is to move very slowly.  I often watch people rolling with the foam roller at a speed that would be injurious if a massage therapist performed that move with their elbow.  Hence, a snail like pace is imperative.  Feel the muscle melt before slowly moving it along the band of tissues.  Should any radiating sensations occur, hold it in position until it dissipates.  In this way you can perform a mini trigger point release treatment on yourself in the comfort of your own home.

4) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

A massage can be a lot for the body to process.  Staying hydrated will keep tissues plump and healthy, while assisting your lymphatic system in eliminating any waste products that were released during your treatment.

To recap, self-care is everything. ¬†I only spend an hour with you a week, so let’s make it count. ¬†I value your time and money and strive to help you see results. ¬†Follow the above tips and reap the benefits of pain relief. ¬†I look forward to our next treatment, and as always, contact me if you have any questions. ¬†Have fun playing outside in this glorious sunshine!

Yours in pain busting,