Flow Shiatsu RMT Clinic

Flow Shiatsu RMT Clinic Registered Massage Therapy Acupuncture Supporting Olympians .

Professional athlete & Dancers.
30 yrs experienced therapist
Registered Massage Therapy
Shiatau.Acupuncture .


"TAD's Method for Checking the Health of Your Legs and Hips"

Today, I will introduce a simple method for checking the health of your legs and hips. This method is based on my own assessment, ranging from patients suffering from back pain to Olympic gold medalists.

◆ TAD's Leg and Hip Health Check Method ◆

Stand upright with your feet parallel.
Slowly bend your knees and ankles while lowering your hips without lifting your heels off the floor.
You will end up in a position similar to what is commonly called "yankee sitting."
If you can lower your hips to the end without lifting your heels and without losing balance, you pass. If you can only lower your hips partway, it's likely that your legs and hips are fatigued.*** Why can't you lower your hips? ***It's often due to fatigue in the ankles or buttock muscles.*** What problems arise from fatigue in the ankles or buttock muscles? ***Poor ankle mobility can lead to easy falls and slower running. Tight buttock muscles can restrict movement at the hips and the base of the legs, leading to back pain.
How to prevent it?A well-known method for relieving ankle fatigue is the "person watching the sea at the pier + thinking person" introduced in my 18th column. (It can be found in the Health & Beauty category on TORJA's website.) Additionally, the method I want to introduce today is "self-massage."

◆ TAD's "Self-Massage" ◆

Sit in a cross-legged position and carefully search for the knotty area behind the inner ankle bone (near the bone).
The area to target is about 5 cm above and below the back of the ankle.
Apply sustained pressure for one minute. (Once you find a tight spot, apply continuous pressure for one minute, making it feel comfortable.)

BenefitsThe key to "self-massage" lies in touching the problematic areas yourself. By touching and loosening hard-to-reach areas while in a stretching motion, you can expect a 100% effective method. This means you can prevent situations where you've been doing it every day yet see absolutely "no effect." As these areas likely haven't been properly tended to for years, improving them could potentially alleviate chronic symptoms such as "pain" and "movement restrictions" in about a week. This approach is effective not only for ankles but also for relieving fatigue around other joints.


Do children get stiff shoulders too??I often receive questions like, "Do children also get stiff shoulders?" Basically, since adults and children are composed of the same body elements, children can also experience stiff shoulders. The causes of stiff shoulders are similar to those in adults, including overexertion (such as from sports or studying) and stress from interpersonal relationships. Generally, the reason why it might be thought that "children don't get stiff shoulders" is because children may not often complain to their parents about such discomfort due to a lack of awareness of stiff shoulders. On the flip side, when children seem tired, having a third party touch their muscles, such as shoulders, back, and thighs, to assess and release their physical fatigue can be a very effective way to manage their physical condition. Releasing "body tension = stress" may lead to improved blood circulation, increased oxygen supply to the brain, and even effects like "improved intelligence⁉". This is supported by feedback received from many students who report increased reading speed and sustained concentration after receiving treatment for study fatigue. Checkpoints for "body tension release" include 1) tension on the side of the neck, 2) tension around the middle of the shoulders, 3) tension on both sides of the spine, 4) tension in the thigh muscles above the knee cap, and 5) tension on the shins. Recently, when children experience inefficiency in studying, lack of concentration, or frequent injuries during sports, changing the perspective a little and releasing physical fatigue and discomfort often leads to improvement.


Do you have areas in your body that don't seem to loosen up even after stretching, attending Pilates classes, or working on your core? Here's the reason why:
Typically, exercises you do yourself involve active motion, meaning movements you generate. One reason they might not be effective is the limitation of these active motion exercises.

For instance, if muscle fibers are extremely flexible or longer than average, there might not be enough tension in the muscles at the maximum joint range, rendering active motion exercises ineffective.

The solution lies in incorporating "two-motion exercises" such as active motion exercises along with massage.

Taking the quadriceps femoris muscle as an example:

Sit in seiza position (sitting on your heels) and extend one leg forward.
While supporting with your arms, arch your upper body backward to stretch the front of your thigh.
If the quadriceps femoris isn't adequately stretched, additional approaches like targeting the inguinal area or the tendon of the quadriceps femoris above the knee can be effective.
A reliable way to determine if you're stretching adequately is to physically feel the muscles.

By neglecting this simple step, many ineffective conditioning practices become prevalent.

The essence of conditioning lies not in continually adopting new methods or increasing time but in understanding the purpose of conditioning and ensuring the effectiveness of each approach.

By personally explaining two-motion exercises to all patients, I've achieved positive results in long-standing issues.


Training Methods Learned from Calgary Stampeders #19 Toshiki Sato

Tad:Please tell me about the training methods of football players.
Sato: In football, due to the intense contact involved, training on the field is not permitted until a certain level of neck strength is achieved for safety reasons. The training regimen typically consists of three days of practice simulating real gameplay out of six days, with the remaining three days dedicated to weight training and field exercises, meticulously separated. In the professional realm, there are restrictions on practice hours to mitigate the risk of concussions and maintain fairness among teams.
Tad;Could you provide specific training methods?
Sato: There isn't a set routine for football players. What's crucial is adopting training methods tailored to oneself, based on solutions accumulated from past injuries and setbacks encountered throughout one's career, learned from individuals with diverse backgrounds.
Here's the process to find one's own style:
Identify movements seen in top NFL players that one can't replicate.
Determine whether it's a technical issue or a physical difference.
Address technical issues by adjusting one's approach and body mechanics.
Consult specialists to pinpoint physical deficiencies hindering desired movements and work on targeted muscle strengthening and joint mobility for improvement.
I believe that clear identification of problems yields precise solutions from experts.
Training Points to Remember
Sato: It's crucial to constantly communicate with one's body, assessing fatigue and identifying areas of poor movement to adjust training volume and intensity accordingly. The era where pushing through high volume with sheer determination leads to results is over.
For me, the training goal is to maintain the movements required for kicking in optimal condition and to kick the ball farther. The ideal motion I aim for is when the body's axis is aligned.
I learned from Aoyashima-sensei that "when things don't go well in play, there's always a problem somewhere in the body," which resonated with me.
Tad:It's gratifying that this message has been conveyed.


To skate with beautiful edges in figure skating, it's important to pay attention to the following points:

Maintain Posture: Keeping a good posture is crucial. Keep your back straight, head up, and distribute your body weight properly.
Maintain Balance: When using edges, focus on maintaining balance. Distribute your weight appropriately and maintain stability while skating.
Be Conscious of Blade Edges: Figure skating boots have inner and outer edges. Be aware of which edge you are using while skating and control it accordingly.
Understand the Skating Surface: Feel the skating surface while skating, considering the condition of the ice and any irregularities. Adapt to the surface flexibly to maintain stable edges.
Ensure Smooth Movement: When using edges, aim for smooth movement while skating. Avoid unnatural movements or sudden changes, and strive for a flowing glide.
Training and Practice: Regular training and practice are necessary to improve edge work. Work on improving your technique with the guidance and advice of coaches or instructors.
Keep these elements in mind as you aim for beautiful edge work in figure skating.


There are several methods to jump higher:

Strength Training: Perform weight training exercises like squats and leg presses to improve leg strength. Strong muscles generate more power for higher jumps.
Flexibility Improvement: Higher flexibility allows for greater force during jumps. Incorporate stretching and yoga to enhance flexibility.
Technique Enhancement: Improving jumping technique helps to utilize force more effectively. Practice proper posture, footwork, and knee bending.
Explosiveness Training: Rapid force application is crucial for higher jumps. Include exercises like box jumps and bounding to increase explosiveness.
Center of Gravity Control: Controlling the body's center of gravity during jumps is essential. Core training helps maintain balance.
By combining these methods, you can improve your ability to jump higher. However, it's important to train safely to prevent injuries.


the use of the left hip in an Axel jump in figure skating:

Maintaining Balance and Posture: It's important to use the left hip to maintain balance and stabilize posture during the jump. Proper use of the left hip helps control the jump without compromising body posture.
Supporting Rotation: The left hip supports rotation during the jump. How the hip is utilized affects the speed and stability of rotation, maintaining posture in the air.
Role as the Starting Point: The left hip serves as the starting point for the jump. How it is utilized influences the success of the jump from the start to the landing.
Transmission of Force: Force transmitted from the left hip affects the height and rotation of the jump. Using the left hip at the right timing and transmitting force appropriately is crucial.
Improving the use of the left hip through practice and feedback from coaches is essential to mastering a stable Axel jump.


Tad: What does weight training entail?

Sato: Typically, in team sports, everyone follows the same training regimen provided by the team.

As a specialist in kicking, I question the relevance of performing the same exercises as defensive players who engage in intense contact, as it may develop muscles unnecessary for kicking, leading to compromised movements. Thus, I incorporate additional exercises focused on building quality muscles essential for kicking.

"The most important aspect of weight training is to prevent injuries!"

This may sound cool, but it stems from bitter experiences during high school. There was a prevailing atmosphere where lifting heavy weights in awkward positions to show off was considered admirable, leading to a back injury from competing with friends.

Tad: That's a common mistake.

Sato: This injury prompted me to reconsider weight training. I learned about body structure from team trainers and started analyzing why the injury occurred and how it could be prevented. Now, I prioritize lifting weights with proper form, even if it means reducing the load by 10 kg.

Tad: Are there still players competing in weightlifting?

Sato: Some players focus on building impressive muscles for appearance.

Tad: Could you share your approach to injury prevention?

Sato: Simply put, it's about building a strong body capable of withstanding stress and ensuring thorough warm-up and cool-down before and after physical activity.

When I injured my MCL in high school, I initially didn't understand what it was. However, by embracing the guidance and explanations from trainers, I developed an interest in understanding the body's mechanics, stress distribution, and preventing injury recurrence.

MCL = Medial Collateral Ligament (supports the inner knee and is susceptible to damage from strong impacts from the side)

Tad: Meeting excellent trainers laid the foundation for your fundamental training concepts.

Sato: Acquiring proper form is also crucial. Even intense movements, when done with correct form, can prevent injuries and strain on the body.

Sato: Ultimately, the key is how high one's awareness of injury prevention is. For professionals, a high level of consciousness toward injury prevention and seriousness towards conditioning sets them apart from amateurs.

Tad: I agree. I consider my job to advise young players with zero awareness of body management to adopt the mindset of players like Sato before getting injured.


Reasons why stretching might not be effective:

Lack of precise understanding of the movements.
Insufficient time allocated for stretching.
Lack of understanding of critical points.
Solutions for effective stretching:

A. Points to consider for shorter durations involve finding efficient methods and addressing the causes of pain and stiffness to observe changes. For instance, addressing ankle issues to alleviate lower back pain. Understanding that joints are interconnected, focusing on smaller joints before larger ones in a sequence can maximize effectiveness.

B. Points for enhancing comfort include controlling the speed and intensity of stretching. Maintaining a rhythm similar to deep breathing and stopping just before discomfort sets in can ensure a comfortable experience while effectively loosening muscle fibers.

By being mindful of these points and controlling the sequence and speed, previously ineffective stretching routines can become more fruitful.

Now, an exercise to introduce is "Door Frame Pull":

Stand within the door frame (as if entering the center with the door open).
Bend the right elbow at a 90-degree angle, keeping it close to the body, and grip the door frame with the right hand.
Take one or two steps forward with the right foot (about 30-40 cm forward).
While keeping the upper body (spine) extended, lean forward about 45 degrees.
Maintain the grip on the door frame with the right hand, allowing the elbow to naturally extend. The position resembles a ski jumper's gliding position when viewed from the side.
Maintain the position for about 30 seconds.
This stretch targets the deep areas around the front of the shoulder. Adjusting the position of the grip on the door frame higher or lower can target various parts of the shoulder for relaxation.


"Stretching for stretching." Many people regularly engage in stretching, but it's not often heard that "stretching works wonders." Why is that? It's because there are individual differences in the condition of muscles and joints. Generally recommended stretches are designed for everyone, so they don't necessarily fit everyone perfectly.

So, what should you do? Adding stretches for parts not addressed in typical stretching routines is recommended. Accumulated fatigue around joints, large and strong muscles, and deep muscles in the body are major reasons why stretching might not be effective.

Let's briefly consider the structure of muscles. Muscles consist of muscle fibers, tendons connecting muscles to bones, and fascia covering the surface of muscles. Chronic fatigue often accumulates in tendons. To target this, it's essential to understand that stimulation is transmitted only after muscle fibers are maximally stretched during a stretching movement.

To enhance the stretching effect, two-stage stimulation is necessary: stretching the tendons continuously after stretching the muscles. During stretching, gradually extend the muscles and hold for about a minute after reaching maximum extension. Carefully and accurately performing this final minute is expected to increase the stretching effect (relaxation effect on tendons).

Another simpler method is to directly stimulate difficult-to-stretch muscles or tendons. TAD's "Stretching for stretching" demonstrates this with the Achilles tendon as an example.

Grasp the Achilles tendon in a relaxed state and push it towards the outside of the foot, holding for about a minute at the stopping position.
Next, perform the same movement in the opposite direction, pushing towards the inside of the foot, and hold for about a minute at the stopping position.
There are individual differences in the stiffness of the Achilles tendon, ranging from those hardly movable to very flexible individuals. Use the same method to loosen it.
It's expected to have a domino effect: loosening the Achilles tendon leads to relaxation in the calf, knees, and hips.


The upper arm triceps, often overshadowed by more prominent muscles like the pectoralis major, quadriceps, and gluteus maximus, is considered a less glamorous group. In comparison to the well-known biceps brachii, responsible for the iconic Popeye bulge, the triceps' lower recognition is evident.
However, despite its lower fame, the triceps play a crucial role in elbow movement, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging all muscle groups during daily workouts. This discrepancy in popularity can lead to incomplete exercise effects, as focus tends to gravitate towards more visible muscles, neglecting their supporting counterparts.

During strength training and stretching routines, it's essential to recognize that each movement engages multiple muscles and approach exercises accordingly, addressing muscle sets simultaneously.

By adopting this approach, akin to enhancing a main dish with gyoza or fried rice in a delicious ramen bowl, exercising muscle sets collectively can amplify results.

As for targeting the triceps, a key technique involves massaging the area just above the elbow (towards the shoulder) while the elbow is bent and the triceps, positioned on the outer side between the shoulder and elbow, is stretched.

(Note: The translation emphasizes clarity and conciseness, adhering to the original content's meaning and structure.)


3D Stretching
The 3D stretching I am introducing today is not about using trendy 3D printers, but rather an idea to enhance the effectiveness of exercises such as stretches that everyone usually performs. The "3D" stands for three dimensions, commonly used to denote a three-dimensional aspect.

Why incorporate the concept of 3D into exercises? Because our bodies are not flat but three-dimensional, integrating the 3D concept into exercises makes them more effective. For instance, the waist can move in various directions such as forward, backward, left, right, and rotational movements. This is because muscles pull from various directions.

Performing stretches that involve muscles related to the movement of the waist collectively enhances efficiency. To achieve this, it's essential to have knowledge about the movement of each joint.

Anatomy Key Points (Directions of Joint Movement)

Movement of Neck, Shoulders, and Waist - Forward, Backward, Left, Right, Rotation
Movement of Elbows and Knees - Flexion, Extension
3D Exercises (Movement of the Waist)

Extend the knees and perform forward and backward bends. Hold the position for 30 seconds after the movement stops.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees extended, and tilt the upper body to the right and left. Hold the position for 30 seconds after the movement stops. (Bringing the palm of the hand down along the outer thigh naturally leads the movement of the upper body.)
① Stand with your back against a wall with knees extended.② Position both hands for a high-five.③ Without changing the posture, twist the body backward as if reaching for a high-five against the back wall.④ Hold the position for 30 seconds after stopping the movement.
The purpose of 3D exercises is to efficiently combine stretches in different directions according to specific goals.

Please give it a try.


Common Challenges of Moms Raising Children

At our clinic, we welcome various patients, not only athletes but also many moms raising children who face several common concerns. While each mom's challenges vary, some typical ones include:

Lack of sleep
Shoulder stiffness
Wrist pain
Lower back pain
Mental stress
Today, I'd like to discuss "wrist pain". The most troublesome symptom is experiencing pain with simple wrist movements. This becomes particularly stressful as moms often carry their children and need to handle numerous items, leading to wrist pain with any exertion.

Why does this pain occur? In many cases, it's due to inflammation of the tendons caused by overuse of the wrists.

Why does inflammation occur? The wrists concentrate many tendons to control finger movements, leading to friction due to frequent use, resulting in inflammation and pain.

As inflammation gradually develops over time, many patients experience chronic conditions. The best approach is to minimize strain on the tendons.

While resting without movement is optimal, it's often not feasible. Therefore, performing stretches related to the affected area helps alleviate the strain. The muscle groups controlling wrist movement consist of the inner and outer parts of the arms, requiring two types of stretches.

Stretch 1:

Extend the right arm forward (also straighten the elbow).
Relax the right wrist (let the fingers droop).
Use the left hand to grasp the back of the right hand and pull it towards your body.(The wrist bends inward, stretching the outer part of the arm).
Stretch 2:

Extend the right arm forward (also straighten the elbow).
Relax the right wrist with the palm facing upward.
Use the left hand to grasp the palm of the right hand and pull it towards your body, stretching the inner part of the arm.
Repeat the stretches for the left hand. By loosening both the inner and outer muscle groups, the strain on the wrist tendons is reduced, gradually improving chronic symptoms. The key is not just to learn the movements but to understand the principles behind them. Once understood, you can explore other methods, such as "leaning against a wall with stretched arms", that suit you better. Why not try various approaches and see what works best for you?


4th Edition: Low Back Pain ChecklistMany patients suffer from chronic low back pain, which can be challenging to diagnose due to its often invisible nature. When considering what low back pain entails, it is pain felt in the lumbar region due to reasons such as inflammation, nerve compression, or restricted joint movement.One reason for the lack of long-term recovery is that some issues do not show up on hospital tests, or the cause of the pain cannot be identified. Why? It's not that the cause cannot be found, but rather that the cause of the pain exists in areas deemed "problem-free" by medical examinations.In simple terms, if it's just muscle tension, often no treatment is provided. Even after X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs, patients may not receive any specific treatment. However, the reality remains that "pain is pain," even if nothing seems wrong.Today, within the scope of massage therapy knowledge, I will explain a method to reconsider low back pain that you may have been giving up on.

Low Back Pain Checklist

Where does it hurt?
When does it hurt?
When did the pain start?
On a scale of 1-10, how severe is the pain?
Are there movements that increase or decrease the pain?
Which part of the movement causes the pain?
Are there movements that trigger the pain?
Do you have a history of accidents or injuries?
Is the pain improving or worsening?
What type of pain is it? (Radiating pain to other areas, electric shock-like sensation, etc.)
Is there heat in the affected area?
Observing these aspects can help narrow down the cause of the pain.

Is it in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments?
Is there a more significant underlying issue?
Is there inflammation?
Is it acute or chronic?
Understanding these factors helps determine the appropriate approach. Whether for treatment or daily exercises, it becomes clear that certain approaches are more effective. For example, if pain occurs at the end of joint movements, it's often due to issues with tendons or ligaments rather than muscles. While chronic symptoms like these may seem untreatable, seeking appropriate care can lead to dramatic improvements. So, rather than giving up on long-standing low back pain, consider consulting a specialist. Of course, we also welcome consultations at our clinic!

Anatomy Point:Muscle: A collection of muscle fibers (muscle cells) that move the skeleton, skin, and organs. The attachment of skeletal muscles, relatively smaller for origin and larger for insertion, indicates where the muscle attaches.Understanding muscle origins and insertions is crucial for effective stretching.

Ligament: Fibrous connective tissue that joins two or more bones or cartilages. Mild damage to ligaments due to excessive force at the joint is called a sprain.

Tendon: Fibrous bundles of connective tissue that attach skeletal muscles to bones or cartilage. Tendons are often prone to inflammation due to physical stress or bacterial infection, resulting in conditions like tendonitis


Origin: The anterior surface of the chest, ribs 3, 4, and 5.Insertion: Coracoid Process (a bony protrusion near the shoulder joint under the clavicle, part of the scapula).

Movements controlled by the pectoralis minor include extending the arms and lowering the shoulders, such as lifting weights in bench presses.

While the pectoralis minor itself is less prone to injury, excessive tension in this muscle can lead to various symptoms like numbness in the arms since arteries, veins, and nerves pass beneath it.

Postures leading to fatigue in the pectoralis minor include leaning forward, as seen in computer work.

To ease tension in the pectoralis minor, it's recommended to stretch with the elbows positioned higher than the shoulders. Instead of forcibly stretching the hard-to-reach pectoralis minor, it's advisable to directly massage the muscle, especially when it protrudes during arm elevation. Since these smaller, less noticeable muscles like the pectoralis minor are often neglected, athletes are encouraged to prioritize their care to prevent injuries and optimize performance, ultimately leading to achieving gold medals


Mutual understanding and trust mark the starting point when both parties can finally stand on equal ground. "It's not a one-way street; it has to be mutual to yield results," reflects Aoshima-san, drawing from years of experience. The athletes who come to practice in Toronto are primarily those who have already achieved results in Japan, but many of them haven't properly maintained their bodies. Aligning with these athletes requires immense patience, as even something as simple as stretching must be done correctly, understanding muscle and tendon structures beforehand.

Beyond the scope of a massage therapist, particularly with athletes, Aoshima-san provides not just physical therapy but also long-term emotional support towards competitions. Recently, he has taken on the role of a paternal figure for athletes in Canada, supporting them in their daily lives as well as their physical well-being. Nutritional management, sleep, and even stress control are crucial elements, with Aoshima-san aiming to optimize the body's flow continuously. To achieve this ideal, teamwork is essential. While athletes may share stresses among themselves, resolving them often requires conversations with professionals from different fields or even fellow athletes from different sports.

In the case of Hanyu, conversations with skiers have led to new discoveries, which still serve as the cornerstone of his training. Aoshima-san believes that whether treating athletes or the general public, his experiences with athletes are condensed into his general practice. Taking someone with a shoulder injury from weekend golf as an example, rather than simply alleviating pain temporarily, he delves into the root causes and provides tailored treatments based on individual needs.

Issues like cold sensitivity and menopausal symptoms are common among women, and while massages offer temporary relief, Aoshima-san emphasizes the importance of addressing underlying causes through nutrition, sleep, and stress management. He recognizes that both athletes and the general public experience symptoms due to unconscious body tension, highlighting the universality of stress-related conditions.

As a certified massage therapist in Canada, Aoshima-san aims to leverage his 20 years of experience and his work with top athletes, including Olympic medalists, to benefit the general public. Since massage therapy is covered by many insurance plans, he encourages those seeking regular body maintenance or facing health concerns to consider it. He invites people to consult with him casually about any physical discomfort or stress they may be experiencing.


720 Spadina Avenue Suite 507
Toronto, ON

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Wednesday 9am - 7pm
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