Physiotherapy is a primary, drug-free health care profession.   Often working within health care teams or independently, physiotherapists assist people to restore, maintain, and maximize their strength, function, movement, and overall well-being.  Physiotherapits have in-depth knowledge of how the body works, and how the body moves.  They are considered experts in the field of non-surgical treatment of a wide range of musculoskeletal problems and injuries, as well as their prevention.   They use specialized hands-on clinical skills to assess, diagnose, and treat various conditions, injuries, and disabilities.  Treatment includes but is not limited to specialized manual therapy techniques, mobilization, joint manipulation, soft tissue therapy, exercise therapy and home exercise prescription, postural therapy, gait, balance and coordination re-training, muscle tension release, and so much more.  Physiotherapists may also employ electrotherapy, ultrasound, acupuncture, and other modalities.  Physiotherapy is broad enough to include rehabilitation from injury, pain reduction, prevention of injury, postural improvement, as well as promotion of health.

A small example of conditions treated include back pain, neck pain, muscle tension, headaches, sciatica, sports injuries, joint pain/injury such as knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, and wrists, whiplash, arthritis, diabetes, spinal cord injury, nerve conditions, post-surgical, etc.  Come in and speak to your physiotherapist to see if they can help.  You don’t need to be in pain to see a physiotherapist!


Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and nervous system, and how these effect movement as well as general health.  Chiropractors utilize a hands-on, drug-free approach that includes examination, diagnosis, and treatment.  Although conditions most often treated include neuromuscular complaints such as back pain, neck pain, joint pain and headaches, chiropractics are also trained to recommend therapeutic exercises and utilize modalities.

The most common therapeutic procedure performed by chiropractors is “spinal manipulation,” or an “adjustment.”  The purpose of this manipulation is to restore joint mobility and function.  Force is applied in a very specific direction in a very controlled manner into joints that are locked, or hypomobile – restricted in their movement.  This can occur after injury, with poor posture, repetitive strain, or other conditions.  Joint maniuplation restores mobility and helps to restore function and alleviate pain.

Chiropractic care is often a primary method of treatment for conditions such as low back pain or stiffness.  However, like physiotherapists, chiropractors often function within a health care team to provide a more complete care plan for the patient.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is a therapeutic hands-on technique that involves manipulation of the superficial and deeper layers of muscles and soft tissue in order to enhance function, aid in healing, promote relaxation, health, and well-being.   Massage therapists use calming, therapeutic processes of stroking, kneading, and pressing the various body areas to ease pain, reduce stress and tension, or relax, stimulate and tone the body.  Massage is used to treat musculoskeletal, lymphatic, circulatory, and nervous system issues.

There are various types of massage therapy, each utilizing different techniques.  Some popular techniques include Swedish, Shiatsu, Sports Massage, and Lymphatic Massage.  Massage therapists are trained professionals and are registered with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario.

Sport Massage Therapy

What is Sport Massage?

It is the application of basic and treatment oriented massage techniques to an athlete with the purpose of enhancing the athlete’s preparation for, or recovery from the physical demands of training and or competition.

There are several stages of the application of sport massage and this depends on the stage of training and competition the athlete is in;

–       Pre-event (off-site)

–       Pre-event Warm-up

–       Pre-event Performance (on-site)

–       Inter-event

–       Post-event Cool-down (on-site)

–       Post-event (off-site)

–       Restoration (recovery/recuperation)

–       Conditioning (training/maintenance)

–       Rehabilitation

The techniques of sport massage are applied with purpose. Their intent is to create physiological effects that result in therapeutic outcomes, which translate into performance enhancement.

Overall Sport Massage is an integral part of the athletes training and competition program. It complements all other health care approaches as well as many physiological and performance related benefits.

For more information on Sport Massage Therapy please visit the Canadian Sport Massage Therapists Association. ( )

Benefits of Sports Massage

Massage, applied skillfully, is the most effective therapy for releasing muscle tension and restoring balance to the musculoskeletal system. Received regularly this may help athletes prevent injuries, which might otherwise be caused by overuse. A constant build up of tension in the muscles from regular activity may lead to stresses on joints, ligaments, tendons, as well as the muscles themselves.

These muscle imbalances may develop and often go undiagnosed until they are serious enough to cause the athlete discomfort or impede performance. The skilled massage therapist will be able to detect variations in the soft tissues and by using the correct techniques, help the athlete maintain a much healthier physical state.

It may therefore be reasonably claimed that one of the greatest benefits of sports massage is in helping prevent injury.


The World Health Organization and the National Institute of Health have endorsed acupuncture, declaring it to be effective in the treatment of:

  • headaches
  • fibromyalgia
  • pain managment
  • acute and chronic injuries
  • sports injuries
  • tennis elbow/golfers elbow
  • muscle and joint pain
  • low back and neck pain
  • arthritis
  • pelvic pain, urinary problems
  • menstrual problems, hot flashes
  • digestive problems
  • mood problems
  • addictions
  • various other health care problems.

PhysioHealth Studios offers both Contemporary Medical Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture.


Contemporary Medical Acupuncture is a safe, natural, and clinically effective option for the treatment of a variety of common orthopedic and functional health conditions.  It involves the insertion of very thin needles over carefully selected areas of the body where nerves and their receptors are found.  This stimulates numerous responses in the central nervous system (scientifically documented), that are of potential benefit for many conditions.

Contemporary Acupuncture works by activation the natural pain control and healing mechanisms of the body.  It improves local circulation and muscle nutrition, restoring muscle strength and decreasing pain.  it normalizes nerve communication at many levels of the central nervous system, resulting in better hoormonal, visceral and muscular activity, and a higher sense of well being and relaxation.

Contemporary Medical Acupuncture aims to bridge the gap between classical acupuncture therapy and contemporary medicine to achieve their ultimate integration. Medical Acupuncture is the biomedical adaptation of Chinese acupuncture methods, and is an effective and simple treatment approach based on current concepts of neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, and pathophysiology.

As in traditional acupuncture, Medical Acupuncture involves insertion of solid needles at relevant points on the body in combination with manual needle stimulation or electrical stimulation. Medical Acupuncture does not involve tongue or pulse diagnosis. Rather, a diagnosis is attained through thorough history taking and physical examination. Based on this process, anatomical points that are relevant to the condition are selected for needling.

In general, contemporary Acupuncture is always integrated with other therapeutic interventions and used either as a first line treatment or as a modality for other treatments. This is dependent on the nature of your problem and on the physiological mechanisms available to your individual case.


Contemporary Acupuncture practitioners use a painless insertion technique, with a two hand contact, providing comfort and control at all times.  Modern acupuncture needles are very thin, sterile, and single use.  They are solid with a round tip that gently parts tissues without damaging them.  Discomfort during this process is minimal.  At times, a special electrical device is used to improve the effects of the treatment.  This electrical stimulation is quite comfortable.


Adverse effects of acupuncture are rare, the most common being minor bruising or minimal bleeding (about 0.3% in 1000 treatments).  Mild drowsiness and/or a sense of euphoria may occur after treatments, so you should keep this in mind before driving.  Truly rare adverse effects can be explained to you by your practitioner.


In most cases, a positive response is seen quite early, sometimes in the first session.  Your practitioner will design the best plan for you, based on your condition, from 2-3 times a week to once per week.  positive responses for simple pain problems require 6-8 treatments, while chronic conditions may require 10-12.


Contemporary Acupuncture practitioners are conventional health professionals with a special skill.  They design your acupuncture treatments based on a thorough evaluation of your neurofunction.  They select specific goals based on the most important physiological functions in need of regulation, using precise peripheral nerve stimulation sites to best promote these therapeutic responses.

All acupuncture interventions are potentially beneficial because of their expected effects on human physiology.  Contemporary Acupuncture practitioners have studies these effects and know hot to best achieve the desired therapeutic goals in a clean, logical, reproducible, and scientific manner.


Unlike Contemporary Medical Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Acupuncture has a broader scope of practice and is used to treat conditions beyond those that are musculoskeletal in nature.  TCM Acupuncture works on the principal of unblocking chi (ch’i or qi) by inserting needles at particular points on the body to balance the opposing forces of yin and yang. Chi is an energy that allegedly permeates all things. It is believed to flow through the body along 14 main pathways called meridians.

When yin and yang are in harmony, chi flows freely within the body and a person is healthy. When a person is sick, diseased, or injured, there is an obstruction of chi along one of the meridians. Traditional Chinese medicine has identified some 500 specific points where needles are to be inserted for specific effects.

In Ontario, Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) receive 4 years of training and hands-on clinical experience in acupuncture techniques and Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat a variety of conditions, some of which are:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Pain management
  • Headaches
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Digestive issues/ condition
  • Balancing energy
  • Fertility

An acupuncture session typically takes between 30-40 minutes depending on your individual needs.  Treatment may be combine biopuncture with acupuncture, when indicated. Research shows that a series of 6 sessions closely spaced delivers best results. If you have any questions or concerns, Dr. Smith will work with you to develop a protocol that you are comfortable with. For more information please call us and we’d be happy to answer any of your questions.


Contemporary Medical Acupuncture is preformed by Jason White, Certified Athletic Therapist and Registered Massage Therapist.  He has completed certifications in Contemporary Medical Acupuncture.

TCM Acupuncture is performed by Dr. Kirsten Smith, ND.  She has practice locations at PhysioHealth Studios as well as her uptown location.

Click here to visit our practitioner bios.

Athletic Therapy

Athletic Therapy is a health care profession that specializes in the care of musculoskeletal disorders (muscles, bones, joints), especially as they relate to active individuals pursuing an active lifestyle.  This includes assessment, treatment, rehabilitation and education of the injured person.

Athletic Therapists employ a sport medicine model of rehabilitation to physical injuries incurred from sports, recreation, accidents, daily activities and occupations.  They utilize a wide range of active rehabilitation techniques to optimize healing and correct long-term problems associated with injury.   Athletic Therapy stresses patient education as an essential pillar to a health and rapid route to recovery focusing on exercises, reconditioning, awareness of injury prevention measures, and how to avoid injury re-occurrence.  lifestyle modification and counseling can help you better understand the fastest route to your recovery so you can be back on your feet doing the activities you love.

What is the difference between a Physiotherapist and an Athletic Therapist?

Certified Athletic Therapists specialize in orthopaedic assessment and rehabilitation of all physical injuries as well as sport specific exercise rehabilitation. Athletic Therapy is based on the sports medicine model of rehabilitation and unlike physiotherapy, does not involve the study of neurological, respiratory, or cardiovascular rehabilitation.  Athletic Therapists often work in conjunction with physiotherapists and other health care professionals to help the patient achieve the best result as efficiently as possible.  At Physiohealth Studios, our Athletic Therapists work very closely with the physiotherapist, chiropractor, massage therapists, naturopathic doctor, and personal trainer to create the best possible treatment plan for clients.

Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct system of primary health care that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional natural forms of medicine. Naturopathic medicine is the art and science of disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention using various safe natural therapies.  Our naturopathic doctor – Dr. Kirsten Smith – offers a complete family practice and thus sees a full range of conditions.

A naturopathic doctor is a primary care practitioner that seeks to restore and maintain optimum health in their patients by emphasizing nature’s inherent self-healing process. A naturopathic doctor views the individual in their entirity including the physiological, structural, psychological, social, spiritual, environmental and lifestyle factors affecting health. In the naturopathic paradigm, symptoms are seen as signs of improper functioning at a deeper level and disease as a process on a continuum, rather than as an entity. The goal then, is to treat the underlying cause of the disease rather than suppress symptoms. Accordingly, treatments are created for the individual not the disease, and not on the generality of symptoms. The human body is intricate, intelligent and complex, and responds to thoughts, emotions, foods, physical trauma and the environment, and naturopathic doctors consider all factors when taking a case and building a treatment plan.

Lymphatic Massage

Lymphatic Massage – also known as manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) – is a highly specialized and gentle massage technique used to increase lymph flow and encourage the natural drainage of the lymph from the body tissues.  It is a very safe and effective technique that is useful for many conditions where lymph flow may be compromised, such as lymphedema, swollen limbs caused by a variety of different things, in diabetics, sports injuries, post surgical, etc.  For example, many clients require lymphatic therapy or lymphatic massage to treat the increased swelling and lymph accumulation that occurs after a mastectomy, or other surgical procedures, especially those where lymph nodes may be removed or damaged.

The lymphatic system relies on intrinsic contractions of the cells that line the walls of the lymph vessels, as well as the contraction and movement of skeletal muscles, to propel lymph through the vessels and to the lymph nodes.  From the these nodes the lymph travels to the lymph ducts, which return the lymph to the cardiovascular system.  Manual lymph drainage uses a small amount of pressure (<9 oz per square inch) and rhythmic movements to stimulate lymph flow. Treatment may also include specific exercises prescribed by your lymphatic therapist, breathing techniques, and compression garments or self-bandaging techniques to further promote lymph drainage after therapy and between treatments.

Click here to learn more about lymphatic therapy, lymphedema, and manual lymphatic drainage.

Cranio Sacral Therapy

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a light-touch approach, generally no greater than 5 grams –about the weight of a nickel, which can create dramatic improvements in your life. It is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance. It was pioneered and developed by Osteopathic Physician John E. Upledger after years of clinical testing and research at Michigan State University where he served as professor of biomechanics.

CranioSacral practitioners aim to release the restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system. CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.

CranioSacral therapy is suitable for all ages, from newborns to the elderly and all ages in between. The patient remains fully clothed for the treatment and though the touch is light, the enhancement of the body’s self-healing mechanisms is profound.

Click here to learn more.

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