Holistic Balance

{Holistic Balance}{363 Burwood Rd}{Hawthorn}{3122}{VIC}{Australia}{(039) 041-3232}
363 Burwood Rd 3122 Hawthorn, VIC
Phone: (039) 041-3232
February, 2019 | Holistic Balance

Upper Cross Syndrome:

Discussing the common signs and symptoms of Upper Cross Syndrome, and what you can do to avoid this painful condition.

Do you ever feel an intense pain in your neck and upper back after a long day at work?
Tight, achy, sore shoulders and pain in the neck are all symptoms of Upper Cross Syndrome or UCS, which is a common muscular imbalance, often caused by poor posture and slouching.

When you sit at a desk for long hours at work, you’re likely slouching and sitting in a “forward hunched” position.  These long hours of slouching put stress on your body in a repetitive way that leads to muscular imbalance.

Postural ergonomics are essential for good back and neck health, which is why eventually your body is going to tell you to correct the imbalance. Your body is communicating with you through pain and if we learn to listen to our body we can address the problem and eliminate the pain.

Identifying Upper Cross Syndrome (UCS)

The symptoms of Upper Cross Syndrome are usually localised at the base of the neck and shoulders, and sometimes can be felt in the upper back. Pain from UCS often feels very tight, especially when bringing your head towards your chest. You might experience a pinching or stabbing pain when looking up towards the ceiling.

How To Avoid UCS

Improve Your Posture – The best way to avoid Upper Cross Syndrome is to improve your posture awareness and be able to self-correct throughout the day. Practicing correct posture when sitting and taking short breaks throughout the day to move around and stretch will help.

Standing Desk – Proper desk set-up is also important for encouraging correct posture and preventing neck pain. To take tension off your neck and shoulders, make sure that your computer monitor is at eye level and your desk is not too high or too low.

While this condition is common and these symptoms are the usual identifiers for Upper Cross Syndrome, it is important to get checked out by your doctor to rule out other possible medical conditions.

Myotherapy VS Remedial Massage

“What’s the difference between Myotherapy and Remedial Massage?” It’s a common question asked by clients on weekly base if not on daily base. Fair enough given that most clients aren’t even aware of the difference of relaxation massage and remedial massage. Please click the linkage to see our related blog.

Myotherapists and Clinical Myotherapists are highly trained individuals who graduate with either Advanced Diploma or Bachelor’s Degree after the completion of 2-4 years of study at University. This enables Myotherapists to have a greater understanding of the human body, anatomy, and physiology when compared to a Remedial Massage Therapist.

Myotherapists have extensive knowledge of the musculoskeletal system. The aim when treating and assessing an individual is to trace any pain, complaint or discomfort as far as possible back to the original cause, with the goal of healing both the cause of the concern, as well as the symptoms in which they are presenting with.

Myotherapists have the skills and qualifications to assess and treat muscles, joints, and nerves using a variety of treatment modalities including:

Soft tissue manipulation
Trigger point therapy
Myofascial stretching
Dry needling
Kinesiology Taping
Rehabilitative exercises

Myotherapists provide evidence-based assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation for a wide range of musculoskeletal pain and associated conditions, for example:

Back pain
Neck and shoulder pain
Sports injuries
Rotator cuff problems
Occupational injuries
Achilles tendinopathy and other ankle injuries
Jaw pain and clicking
Fibromyalgia and other chronic pain presentations
Tennis elbow

You don’t need to be in pain to visit a Myotherapist. Prevention is always better than cure. There’s famous Chinese saying “上医医未病之病,中医医欲病之病,下医医已病之病。” Translation:“The best doctor treat unfound disease, the better treat occurring disease, the inferior treat occurred disease.”

When you feel stiff in some parts of the body, it’s signal of an upcoming problem such as too much tension built up, affecting the flexibility, reducing the range of motion, followed by pain if not treated in time.

Once symptoms have settled treatment may focus on restoring optimal activity (rehabilitation), reducing the likelihood of further injury and keeping you moving and performing at your best.

Myotherapists must be registered with a nationally recognized association such as ANTA (Australian Natural Therapists Association) or MAA(Myotherapy Association Australia).

Remedial Massage Therapists work exclusively on manipulating both the superficial and deeper layers of muscle as well as connective tissue to enhance function, release muscular tension, aid in the healing process, and promote relaxation and well-being.

Remedial Massage is more commonly performed on conditions that are either already diagnosed, or non-specific injuries (such as soreness or tightness) to provide some form of relief, whether it be a chronic pain complaint, postural related muscle tightness or simply want to relax.

Click on this link to book an appointment for a session of myotherapy or remedial massage.

Benefit of Hot Stone Massage

It’s winter time, quite cold in Melbourne. To have a remedial massage with Hot Stone is perfect option for pampering your body and mind. In our practice, we use hot stone frequently not limited for relaxation massage, also for deep tissue and remedial massage. Adding heated stones to a massage therapy session, hot stone massage promotes deeper muscle relaxation, and warmth that provides a great way to unwind from the stresses of daily life, especially on a cold day.

Hot stone massage is a natural therapy in which heated stones are positioned on parts of the client’s body of to maximize the therapeutic benefit. The stones used are typically river rocks or other very smooth-surfaced stones made of basalt. These stones are heated in sanitizing water before use. The high iron content in basalt helps the stones retain heat during the massage. Hot stone massages are beneficial on both physical and psychological levels.

A few clients asked “Can I not having hot stone please?”. Thinking of the nice warm sensation and loved by so many clients, we asked them why not? Below are a few answers:

“I never had hot stone but feel will be burned.”
“ I had hot stone once and they just left the stones on my back for 20mins and left there un attended.”
“There’s once the therapist put stone so hot that I jumped off the table.”

Those unfortunately bad experience certainly put clients off. It won’t happen in our practice. The temperature of the stones remains constant between 122-127 degrees Fahrenheit, which allowing for just enough heat to relax the entire body while warming tight muscles. Well trained therapists always cautious of the stone temperature, and never just leave the stones stacked on back like those stock photos which is quite misleading. Therapists will glide the warm stones over the tight muscles and certain acupressure points or trigger points if found, those stiff guarded parts will melt slowly underneath, quickly not against the pressure and help to relax thoroughly. Aches and pains are soothed as muscles and joints receive direct, transferred heat of the warm stones. The feeling is wonderfully “amazing”.

Often we have clients telling us that they felt “ very happy” after massage, many fell sleep. Snoring is rewarding sound for our therapists.

Muscle Relaxation

The heat from the stones helps your muscles relax, allowing the massage therapist to manipulate your deep tissues more effectively. Overly tense muscles can hinder the massage procedure, so if your muscles are extremely tight or stiff, the heated stones may provide the extra relaxation you need for the massage to be beneficial in releasing tension and easing sore muscles.

Pain Relief

While all types of massage can help relieve pain caused by tense muscles, stiff joints or injuries, a hot stone massage may provide greater relief due to the intense nature of the massage. Because the hot stones allow the massage therapist to penetrate deeper, you may find that a hot stone massage leaves you feeling physically better than a Swedish or deep-tissue massage that does not incorporate heat.

Improved Circulation

As the heat from the stones penetrates into your deeper body tissues, your blood vessels open, resulting in improved circulation. Poor circulation can lead to fatigue, which tenses the muscles, and a buildup of fluid and lactic acid in the muscles. Increased circulation delivers more oxygen to the muscles, which can help ease aches and pains.

Mental Benefits

Massage therapy can result in mental benefits as well as physical ones in many people. You may find that the relaxation afforded to you through a hot stone massage helps ease some of your mental stress and tension. A hot stone massage may also help you combat some of the symptoms of anxiety disorders and depression. While massage therapy is not a substitute for traditional medical or psychiatric care, it can be an integral part of your treatment plan.

Click on this link to book an appointment for a session of myotherapy or remedial massage with hot stone.

What is Cupping?

At Holistic Balance Massage, we strongly believe in natural therapy. Our body has incredible self healing function but long time negligence can kill that sense slowly. Cupping is one of the most common techniques we use on daily base to help clients with stiff muscles and pain relief. Here’s some basic knowledge about cupping.

Micheal Phelps’s cupping marks draw many audiences’ attention during the Olympic game. Cupping is also favored by many other athletes and celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Gwenyth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham to name a few. But really cupping isn’t something for Olympian or celebrities only.

Cupping is something we do for patients on a daily basis. Often can get breakthrough results for some clients who suffers from stiff or sore muscles, some even have been massaged on regular term but no real beneficial. Because massage alone is difficult to remove the toxin inside body, while negative pressure from cupping can break down the stiffness quicker than compressing alone, toxin is big bonus on top of that.

Cupping is not unique to Chinese Medicine

Many practitioners think cupping is one of the most popular techniques in the Chinese Medicine toolbox. But cupping is found in the Middle East, eastern Europe, Africa, and throughout Asia. The earliest pictorial records date back to the ancient Egyptians around 1500 B.C; translations of hieroglyphics detail the use of cupping for treating fever, pain, vertigo, menstrual imbalances, weakened appetite and helping to accelerate the healing crisis.

Cupping has been studied

Cupping may fall into the category of folk medicine, but that doesn’t qualify it as some woo-woo fringe crazy sauce vintage therapy. There are plenty of research studies such as this, this, and this where it has been specifically looked at for pain intervention. Clinical experience technically falls into the category of “Evidence Based Medicine”; and It’s our not-so-secret-clinical-experience-weapon for migraines, shoulder pain, neck pain, lower back pain, tennis elbow, golf elbow, IT band syndrome.

Because cupping works so well, everyone wants in on the action. You’ll sometimes see massage therapists, physical therapists, and chiropractors offer something called “myofascial decompression (MFD)”. Let me be clear: it’s cupping. There are a million different techniques: fire cupping, vacuum cupping, wet cupping, dry cupping, massage cupping, bamboo cupping, horn cupping, and magnetic cupping to name a few. We now have machine cupping which works fast magically to suit tight time frame. Rule of thumb; if you can drink from it, you can use it to cup.


Bruising is caused by impact trauma leading to breakage of capillaries and a reactionary rush of fluids to the damaged location from the tissue injury. There is no compression in cup therapy. The marks are the result of having internal unwanted toxins pulled up to the skin which can include such things as lactic acid, lymph fluid, stagnant blood, or medications. When a condition exists within a deeper muscle layer and is dredged up during treatment, discoloring will appear on the skin. If there’s no gunk, there are no marks.


Click on this link to book an appointment for a session of cupping therapy.

Relaxation Massage vs Remedial Massage

Many of us take our body for granted and lack of care and maintenance. When they feel like a massage, they have little knowledge about different types of massage and couldn’t decide whether need a remedial massage or simply a refreshing and stress reducing relaxation session. Here’s some explanation about the difference of relaxation massage and remedial massage, to help you decide which one to go for.

What is a Relaxation Massage?

Relaxation massage is usually a full body treatment that uses continual contact and long, flowing strokes which warm the body and help the body and mind to relax. Happy hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins are released which give that post massage glow. Relaxation massage has also been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, which in high levels can contribute to sleep deprivation, anxiety and depression. It is a pain-free way to relax both your muscles and your mind.

What is a Remedial Massage?

Remedial massage is defined as “the systematic assessment and treatment of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissues of the body to assist in rehabilitation, pain and injury management.” A remedial treatment focuses on a specific area of the body that is producing pain or not performing correctly. The main aims of the treatment are to reduce pain, increase the range of motion and correct postural abnormalities.

Remedial massage treatments will begin with a medical history, a discussion of what has brought you in, a few postural, range of motion and specialised tests which will help the therapist to pinpoint which area needs the most work. Then the area is treated using the most appropriate treatment. After the treatment some of the initial tests are redone which will determine if there has been a change in range of motion or pain levels. The level of improvement will help to determine the treatment plan going forward.

In remedial massage, there are multiple techniques used including, deep tissue, myofascial tensioning, cupping, trigger point, application of heat and stretching.

Deep tissue involves first relaxing the most superficial layers of muscle and sinking in deeper to the belly of the muscle where tension lurks.

Myofascial tensioning is the release of fascia which is the connective tissue holding our muscular system in place. When the fascia is tight the muscles cannot move correctly which in turn causes toxins to build up causing pain and restriction.

Cupping is one of the oldest treatments in the world and in remedial massage is used to release toxins from the muscles. It is done using either glass, plastic or silicon cups on the skin with the air sucked out with either heat or vacuum, this pulls the skin and muscle up resulting in increased blood flow.

Trigger points are small balls of muscle fibre that have gotten stuck together. This can be caused by many things including overuse, dietary deficiencies and incorrect posture. Trigger points can refer pain all around the body. They are treated with direct pressure and release which flushes the area with fresh blood.

The application of heat increases blood flow to the area by dilating blood vessels. When the blood is warm and flowing, toxins are removed and muscles function better.

Stretching increases blood flow and by lengthening the muscle fibres the body can achieve better posture.


If you are experiencing any pain in a specific area of the body including sharp shooting pain, dull aches or headaches.

If you spend hours a day with the body in one position, for example hunched over a computer or with legs crossed, this over lengthens or shortens areas of the body which may cause postural abnormalities.

While relaxation treatments have many benefits and will help you to feel revitalised and renewed, if your muscles are not working correctly the effects aren’t just on your body but can affect your emotional well being. The longer dysfunction is left unchecked the harder it can be to reverse. A high quality remedial massage is recommended before relaxation massage.


Click on this link to book an appointment for a session of myotherapy or remedial massage.

Five Keys for Balance

1) Food: the body’s fuel

A nutritious diet is one of the essential sources of fuel the body requires to maintain optimum health. Therefore, it is important to get to know the nutrients that suit your body type and then maintain a balanced diet that suits your body best. The key to a balanced diet is the right mixture of vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. However, global pesticide pollution and the ever-increasing availability of processed food make it more and more difficult to acquire nutrition from food. This is why consuming dietary supplements in the form of vitamins, multivitamins or minerals is necessary to help keep your body be fit and healthy.

2) Chi: the body’s life energy

In traditional Chinese culture, Chi is an active principle forming part of any living thing. The body has natural patterns of Chi that circulate in channels called meridians. If a path is blocked, the Chi does not flow properly; blocked or un- balanced Chi movement can disrupt the function of body organs.

Clearing meridians to let the energy flow properly promotes overall body wellness. Often used techniques include physical training regimens and bodyworks.

3) Exercise and physical wellness

Cardiovascular exercise keeps the heart and lungs pumping and healthy. A regular, vigorous exercise routine, that is performed for approximately 20 minutes a day or more, will also promote energy levels, help to keep you well and promote a strong immune system.

Additionally, blood pressure and cholesterol levels also tend to be lower for those who exercise than those who are inactive.

4) Breathing, meditation and mental wellness

It is now acknowledged that the mind can have an extraordinarily potent effect on the body. Meditation has been practiced in all major world religions for centuries, either in prayer and contemplation, or as a way to achieve a state of bliss. Today many people use it to induce a state of relaxation and harmony.

Studies suggest that meditation may help to reverse or reduce stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, migraines, depression and insomnia. Proper breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, is also a way to achieve mental wellness. It allows you to tap one of your body’s strongest self-healing mechanisms.

5) Body Maintenance

Due to stress and overwork, we deplete our body and mind of energy and other resources. However, we hardly think of recovering the expended energy back to our body. Eventually, our body and mind will likely lose balance and health, leading to an imbalanced life.

As beneficial for the body as good nutrition and regular exercise, body works help promote total wellbeing. Maintaining your body with a massage once a month encourages a sense of relaxation, reduces stress and fatigue, and restores loss energy.

Improve in one of these elements and experience the positive effect on all aspects of your life.


Click on this link to book an appointment for a session of myotherapy or remedial massage, a holistic approach to our health.


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