Ouch My Neck! Why it Hurts & What You Can Do About It.

The Neck. Neck pain is one of the most common Massage Therapy complaints that clients come in to see me for. It’s such an amazing, flexible part of the body but when it hurts…OUCH!

Massage Therapy for the Neck at Teresa Graham RMT in Calgary ABFree movement of the neck when muscles are loose

Tight neck muscles can lead to pain, tension, headaches, jaw pain, pain in the shoulders, upper back and even the upper chest. There are 26 muscles in the neck that help to stabilize the upper body, allow us to look up and down and from side to side, let us bend our ear towards our shoulder, allow us to swallow and talk, and help to elevate our rib cage when we breathe.

It’s important to keep these muscles flexible so you can enjoy their full function and mobility!

Technology and Neck Pain

Massage for tight neck muscles at Teresa Graham, RMT CalgaryTaking a break from devices can help to rest your neck muscles

While the technology we have is amazing, it is probably the worst culprit and what brings Massage Therapy clients in to see me the most.

​Straining or holding our neck muscles as we look at computer screens for work throughout the day, or tilting the head down to look at phones and other devices, puts undue stress on our neck muscles unless we take time to care for them. If you’re regularly taking breaks from computer screens and your devices throughout your day as well as taking time to counter stretch the neck muscles, you may not be having issues. Unfortunately we can get drawn into the job or the conversation and forget to take those breaks.

This Neck Pain, I Just Woke Up With It

Massage Therapy for painful muscle spasms in Calgary NW with Teresa Graham, RMTPainful Muscle Spasm in the morning can be helped

No reason that you can think of as a cause, but when you woke up this morning you experienced severe neck pain. It hurts to move it, it hurts to not move it, your head feels too heavy to hold up… Has this happened to you?

Another reason I see clients for a Neck Massage is because of Torticollis (or Wry Neck), a spasm in the neck muscle. It’s likely that your neck has been tense and strained for some time but you may not have been paying attention. While you were sleeping you unknowingly moved into a position where the strain became an intense muscle spasm and because the muscle was already strained and fatigued, it’s now yelling at you. Torticollis can be very painful.

How Can I Help Your Neck Pain?

Massage Therapy in Calgary NW with Teresa Graham, RMTMassage helps to release tight neck muscles

Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy can help to loosen all of the muscles of the neck, shoulders, upper back and upper chest. Clients often feel some immediate pain relief and notice increased flexibility and mobility.

Myofascial Release

A form of Massage Therapy, Myofascial Release focuses on encouraging the fascia around the muscles to loosen and release. Through rolling the muscles with the fingers, and gradually massaging in more deeply. The tightness begins to let go. Not usually recommended when the muscle spasm is acute, as it often feels too aggressive and painful.

Craniosacral Therapy

Gentler than Massage, Craniosacral Therapy will encourage the fascia that surrounds the muscles, ligaments and joints to gradually begin unwinding. As the fascia loosens the muscles have more room to move.

Spinal Touch

Through specific techniques Spinal Touch encourages good posture throughout the entire body to promote good spinal alignment. (read more about Spinal Touch here)

Hot Moist Heat

Muscles just love hot moist heat. It brings circulation to the area and can often encourage the muscles to relax. Getting into a hot bath to soak your neck and back muscles is the best way to apply this form of therapy. You can also place a damp hand towel in the microwave to heat up and place on the affected areas.


It’s important to remember that your neck muscles have probably been under strain for a period of time and they are unlikely to completely loosen with just one treatment.

Let’s work together to get them loose through regular therapy, some home self-care and stretches. 
Once loose we can create a plan to keep them that way!

Optimal October Wellness Mini Sessions

You may already know which therapy is your go to for your optimal well-being, but have you tried others? Here is your opportunity!

Holistic therapies with Teresa Graham, RMT Calgary ABHolistic therapies with Teresa Graham, RMT

This month Teresa will be offering mini sessions in some of the holistic therapies she shares (some, because not all services fit into a shorter time period).

~ You can add a mini session to a longer appointment that you have booked, or book just a mini session, or book up to 2 mini sessions back to back in a day.

~ You can only book a mini session for a specific therapy once during the month. Your sessions must be booked and received between October 1 and 31, 2019.

~ Mini -sessions are 25 minutes long and cost $45 (plus gst). Sorry, gift certificates can not be purchased towards or used to pay for monthly sessions.

​Choose from:

Reflexology for your hands or feet.

Calgary Reflexology sessions with Teresa Graham at Hand to Health

Reflexology sessions for the Hands in Calgary with Teresa Graham at handtohealth.com

Indian Head Massage
​(without oil)

Calgary Ayurvedic Sessions with Teresa Graham in Calgary, AB at Hand to Health

Reiki – a short introduction

Calgary Reiki Treatments with Teresa Graham, Reiki Master in Calgary AB

Relaxation Massage
​(one area only)

Relaxation Massage in Calgary with Teresa Graham, RMT at Hand to Health

By Email: handtohealth@gmail.com
​By Phone: (403) 620-0561

When You Let Yourself Down…Then What?

The ever typical peace keeper, despite best efforts not to be, I find myself slipping into that role time and again. Boundaries were never something I learned. Growing up in an alcoholic home they just didn’t exist. I earned my gold medal in peacekeeping just to try to maintain some space between myself and the chaos that surrounded me. Unfortunately it’s a tough role to break…but I will continue to make it a work in progress.

With a lot of self work and reflection, boundaries have become something more familiar and I’ve identified a number of them that work for me. The difficult thing about having boundaries is knowing when to set them. For myself, it’s usually after I’ve allowed them to be pushed, a number of times, in my efforts to keep the peace and oh yes, did I mention I’m also working towards becoming a reformed people pleaser as well? 

Calgary Reiki Treatments with Teresa Graham, RMTI usually will get to the point of being in exhausted tears before I realize I haven’t held my boundaries and have overextended myself to please. The stress of people pleasing is finally outweighing everything. Once again, I’ve let myself down. Any of this sounding familiar? I suspect it does because I meet a number of others in this life who will tell me of similar circumstances. So what do I tell them and what do I tell myself? 


First and foremost cut yourself some slack. After I’ve kicked myself a couple of times and wiped the tears away I remember to tell myself that yes, I caught myself again, I messed up, but I did catch myself and perhaps next time I will catch myself sooner.  That does happen.


As soon as you realize the boundaries have been breached put them back in place. Take a few moments to recognize where you’ve been lax in holding your own space and gift yourself by putting those boundaries up. Then take a breath.

I use to feel that I couldn’t, that it was too late, that people wouldn’t like it…yeah, the people pleaser raises it’s loud and ugly voice to say “What will others think of me?”. But the more important question is how will you feel about yourself if you don’t? I thought so…nail those things up if have to, but put them up.

3. Say NO

Say no and don’t justify it. You really don’t owe anyone a reason or justification for putting your boundaries up and beginning to say no. Yes, it means you have switched gears, people may not like it, but is it worth the stress to not do it? Certainly if people ask and you feel as though you want to explain, you can, however at times that can be exhausting. Right now you’re doing the work of holding the boundaries in place and rebuilding yourself, and that needs to come first.

4. Celebrate you

Be You

Celebrate your Amazingness!

Hey, you were successful, you figured it out, you caught up with your boundaries, set them, took a breath and now it’s time to celebrate that amazingness that is your achievement. Yes, there will likely be more occurrences of boundary violation and people pleasing mishaps, but not today.

​Your only human and that is something to celebrate. Give yourself the pat on the back, the toast with champagne or whatever way you celebrate you!

Gentle Stretches for Weekend Warriors

Despite it’s title as being for gardeners, this clip that I discovered has really great gentle stretches for most weekend warrior activities. What I like is the information given to work with YOUR body and where it is now in it’s ability and flexibility, and not to push to a point of pain. I would recommend these stretches to my dance students and clients who are more physically active on their time off. It is really well done!

Weekend Warrior Muscle Care

261538_10150305603031539_681361538_9623919_3322552_nThe dictionary describes a Weekend Warrior as “someone who participates in what is usually a very strenuous activity only on the weekends, or part time.”
Can you guess who books in for sessions the most in the early days of the week, especially during the spring? Weekend Warriors, especially the gardening variety!

I totally understand it. As soon as the weather starts to warm, even just a little, I’m out digging in my garden and forgetting that hours have passed….until I go to move. While I am active as a dance teacher, I use different muscles groups to garden and they are the ones that complain.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting blogs that focus on some tips that will help those hardworking muscles whether it’s gardening, golf, hiking, picnic12dancing, or whatever your warrior pleasure may be. Ways to ease the muscle ache or avoid it all together

Probably something we all forget is that once we’ve pushed ourselves in an activity our muscles have had a really good work out and need to be treated. This includes drinking extra water, gentle counter stretching, and some warm water treatments such as soaking
in a bath with epsom salts. Muscles just love warm moist heat to help them ease, relax and recover.

Coming up…
Stretches487357_263419263767005_1115576424_n for before and after your warrior session
What is the best muscle treatment after a warrior weekend…not necessarily massage
Foods that keep your muscles hydrated

​…and more

Positive 2014 !

Happy New YearLike most years, the past 12 months have certainly been ones of change, struggle and blessing for all, with many people saying that the world and it’s changes seem to be pushing us along at a breakneck speed….I certainly did find that to be true this year!

There were 2 big events in my life last year that pushed me to grow, change and love more! I met the beautiful woman whom my son has chosen to share his life with and fell in love with her quickly. The sparkle in her eyes, the warmth in her smile and the joy I see in my son’s face…  what more could a mum want?
The 2nd being the opening of my new clinic space in Abbotsford, which isn’t as big an event as were the changes it forced me to make from within.

I’ve found this past year that in allowing myself to go with the flow of events and opportunities that life presented me with, (which by no means is an easy task) and giving up the need to know all details in advance, that’s right….just trust …life and its many gifts have flowed more easily and effortlessly. That’s not to say that it isn’t a struggle to just let go and move with the flow, it really is, but I’m finding it easier and easier as I see results coming quickly and in much better ways than I even imagined. Sounds like something out of a self-help manual, I know…I’ve read so many of them and have finally, after many years, come to the experience of just allowing the flow of good and allowing myself to be surprised by results.

In that allowing I’ve also experienced drawing new and different people into my life. People who match more closely that new path that my life appears to be flowing along. It’s been fascinating to share with and learn from them and to have made some amazing new friends.

Things surfaced this past year that forced me to look at what was working in my life and equally, what was holding me back. What was I struggling to “make” work, what experiences were sucking away at my energy…and what I had to take the difficult steps to just let go of. I’m not sure. but I think that letting go of things/people/problems/events is harder than trusting the flow, to trust that if it is meant to be then it will stay or flow back into your life and if not…well, the white flag of surrender goes up.

This past week I’ve seen quite a few articles, pictures and conversations happening around New Years Resolutions and promises…I don’t tend to make them and after the year I’ve just had I think life brings you greater blessings when you resolve to be the wonderful person that you currently are and grow from there, when you trust that things will get better and then allow life to lead you down that path of wonder (even though it may not be the path you had chosen), when you trust, when you let go, when you open yourself to receive.

Wishing you a wonderful and healthy 2014 filled with energy, peace, joy, surprises, openings and blessings!

At a soon to be announced upcoming Open House, many will have the opportunity to see what wonderful holistically healthy life choices are going to be coming available at the Abbotsford clinic!

Back to Nature…in more ways than one!

We are enjoying a truly fabulous time of beautiful weather. My garden has exploded with greenery!

It doesn’t happen often and it doesn’t stay for long so I want to offer YOU the opportunity to enjoy a natural Holistic Health Session outdoors this week (inside if you prefer).

outdoor session Collage