What is Osteopathy and Why Did I Choose to Study it?

“The work of the Osteopath is to adjust the body from the abnormal to the normal; then the abnormal condition gives place to the normal and health is the result of the normal condition.”

– Dr. A.T. Still, Osteopathy Research and Practice, Eastland Press, 1992

Osteopathy is a form of manual therapy that was founded and created by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still in Missouri in 1874 (National Academy of Osteopathy, Osteopathy History).  Dr. Still believed that by treating the musculoskeletal system, you could treat a variety of diseases and conditions without the use of drugs or surgery. This would also spare patients from the negative side effects of these modalities.  Dr. Still also believed that the body has the ability to heal itself and it is the practitioner’s duty is to simply treat the factors that inhibit health to help restore the body to its optimal function.  Osteopathy is derived from the Greek words “osteo” (bone) and “pathos” (suffering).

Osteopathy is based on the following principles: 1) The human body is a dynamic unit of function.  It is intrinsic and works together. 2) Structure governs function. 3) Auto-regulation – the body is self-healing and regulating. 4) Treatment is based on the first three principles.

Osteopathy takes a holistic approach to healing as it focuses on the body as a whole – bones, joints, muscles, and organs.  Manual Osteopaths also emphasize the importance of proper nutrition, exercise and lifestyle choices as being key components to achieving maximum wellness and health.  Manual Osteopaths treat musculoskeletal disorders through the mobilization of bones and joints. They also use a variety of techniques to help restore function to the body such as muscle energy techniques (METs), soft tissue therapy, cranial sacral therapy and visceral manipulation. Other techniques that may be used include, but are not limited to, trigger point therapy, myofascial release, ultrasound and laser therapy (if trained).

Osteopathy has been shown to be an effective treatment for chronic and certain types of acute pain.  Some conditions that can be treated by osteopathy and Manual Osteopaths include: headaches and migraines, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, low back pain, shoulder injuries, constipation, patella-femoral pain/achy knees, infertility/PMS, TMJ pain and so much more.

In conclusion, osteopathy is a hands on manual therapy that takes a holistic and interrelated approach to treating a variety of conditions without the use of drugs or surgery.  A treatment plan from a Manual Osteopath may include exercise prescription, nutrition recommendations and lifestyle changes in conjunction with the hands on treatment received by the patient.

Growing up I was active in many sports.  During high school I began to fall in love with fitness and nutrition.  This passion led me to Humber College where I received my diploma in Fitness and Health Promotion.  After graduation, I began working as a Personal Trainer and continued teaching Group Fitness classes.  After several years of working, I began looking into other opportunities to advance my career. I had been interested in studying a manual therapy for some time and after doing some research I was drawn to Osteopathy.  This is when I heard of the National Academy of Osteopathy (NAO).  I was immediately intrigued!  I loved the idea that Manual Osteopaths treat the body as a whole and do not just focus on the location of pain.  This made so much sense to me.

Choosing to study at NAO has to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.  The hands on classes and the online videos have allowed me to practice and study at my own pace and get help when I need it. I have learned so much in my time at NAO and I am excited to go to class each day.

The professors are all very knowledgeable, passionate and personable.  It has been an incredible experience to learn from them.  The experience that I am also gaining in the clinical component has been amazing.  Aside from the lectures on osteopathy, exercise, biomechanics and more, the business lectures are second to none.  Each lecture provides you with many valuable tips that you can use to help build your dream business after graduation – I cannot wait to start using them!

 I have nothing but positive things to say about NAO.  Each class my passion for my new profession grows.  I would recommend Osteopathy and NAO to anyone who is interested in a career in the health and wellness industry, I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

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WHAT’S COOKING: Moroccan Lentil and Veggie Soup

Moroccan Lentil and Veggie Soup 🍲

“Mmm mmm good” is how I would describe this soup! It is so tasty, colourful and flavourful. It’s also vegan and perfect for Meatless Monday or you can make it ahead of time in a slow cooker 🍜

– 1-2 tbsp olive oil
– 4 cloves garlic, mimced
– 1 medium onion, chopped
– 4 stalks celery, chopped
– 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
– 1 tsp tumeric
-1 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
– 1 19oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
– 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
– small/medium bag frozen cauliflower florets
– 6 cups vegetable broth
– 1 cup lentils

1) Sauté onion and garlic in oil in a large pot over med-high heat. Once they are slightly softened add celery and sauté for several minutes.

2) Add in spices and cook for a few more minutes.

3) Add diced tomatoes, chickpeas and cauliflower and stir until well mixed.

4) Add the vegetable broth. Turn heat up to high and let boil. Then add the lentils.  Stir and bring pot back to a boil. Once the pot is boiling, turn heat down to med-low and let simmer for 30 minutes, or until lentils are soft.

5) Remove from heat and serve!

Voila! There you have it….a nice, quick and healthy soup waiting to be gobbled up!

Recipe adapted from Budget Bytes

TUESDAY TREAT-DAY: Protein Chickpea Blondies

Low sugar, high protein, flourless and low calorie. Oh wait, they are also delicious and no, you can’t taste the chickpeas! Simple to make too!


  • 1 can chickpeas (approx. 400 grams), rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup vanilla protein powder
  • 1/3 cup nut butter (almond or PB – I used PB)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup or sugar-free maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (if desired)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp natural sweetener, to taste
  • Handful of sugar-free or regular chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper
  • Mix all ingredients in a food processor or a high powered blender until smooth
  • Pour batter into pan and spread evenly
  • Top with chocolate chips. Tip: Lightly press chocolate chips into the batter so they stick
  • Bake 15-20 minutes depending on your oven

Makes 16 medium size blondies. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from @missk_j6 on instagram!

MEATLESS MONDAY: Southwestern Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash


This recipe is full of veggies, fibre and protein – plus it`s vegan, perfect for Meatless Monday! Designed to keep you full and energized!


  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinse before cooking)
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth or water
  • ½ cup to ¾ cup uncooked lentils
  • 1 – 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp chili powder or southwestern seasoning
  • Avocado, cubed (to go on top of dish)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Toss cubed squash with olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread on a cookie sheet. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, or until squash is soft.
  2. Meanwhile, cook lentils in one pot and quinoa and broth (or water) in another. Bring quinoa to a boil and then lower the temperature to me-high and simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Cook lentils until soft, about 25 minutes.
  3. To make the salad combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss until mixed. Serve warm or chilled with avocado on top!

*Recipe adapted from My Fitness Pal blog*

SNACK OF THE WEEK: Chocolate Avocado Pudding

One thing I love about baking is using healthy ingredients to turn indulgent desserts into nutritious, guilt-free recipes. On that note, this Chocolate Avocado Pudding is indulgent, yet healthy. Packed full of healthy fats, vitamins and fiber, this is the ultimate snack or dessert! The avocados give this pudding a nice creamy texture, and you can’t even taste them. Avocados can be used in many recipes to replace butter, oil and other unhealthy fats. This recipe is super easy to make – just throw everything into a food processor or blender and mix. Will help curb chocolate cravings. Could it get any better? No to mention, it tastes just like chocolate pudding, you won’t even know the difference!


– 2 avocados, peeled and pit removed

– ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

– ¼ cup honey or agave (or maple syrup)

– 3 tbsp. plain Greek Yogurt

– ½ cup milk of choice

– 2 tsp of vanilla


Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and mix until smooth. Cover and refrigerate leftover portions. One ½ cup serving is around 130 calories (most of which are healthy fat from the avocado).

*Pairs perfectly with fresh fruit*

**Recipe adapted from http://www.eat-yourself-skinny.com**

SUPER SHAKES: How to Build the Ultimate Smoothie

Looking for something that is convenient, nutritious and not to mention delicious? Try a Smoothie!

Smoothies are great because they are so versatile, you can literally make any combo you want, and are jam-packed with nutrition. But, buyer beware! The smoothies you see at Juice Bars and Fast Food restaurants are often packed with sugar, clocking in a more calories than a meal and will add inches to your waist, not help take them away. The best part about making your own smoothie is that you are in control of the ingredients and the portion sizes, and you can take them with you when you’re on the go. Keep on reading to find out how to make your very own SUPER SHAKE! You will also find my go-to recipe at the end. Happy blending!

*A ‘good’ blender is very helpful when making smoothies. A good blender will make sure all the food you put in the smoothie gets blended up and will crush ice without a problem. I use a Ninja Ultima – one of the best purchases I’ve ever made!*

Choose one or two items from each step below:

Step 1 – Choose a liquid:

  • Water
  • Milk (dairy or non-dairy, use unsweetened when possible)
  • 100% real fruit juice

Aim for ¾ cup to 1 cup of liquid (enough to blend). Less liquid = thicker shake, more liquid = thinner shake. You can also add ice cubes (in addition to the liquid).

Step 2 – Pick your protein:

  • Whey, casein, rice, hemp or pea protein (one or two scoops, choose serving size accordingly)
  • Greek Yogurt

You will want to make sure that the protein you use is easy to digest, tastes good and mixes well. If using a powder that you are unfamiliar with, mix with water or milk first and take a taste/mixing test.

Step 3 – Pick a veggie:

  • Dark leafy greens: Spinach (tasteless) or kale
  • Carrot
  • Beets or beet root
  • Cucumber or celery
  • Pumpkin (pairs well with vanilla flavours)

Use 1-2 handfuls. Option to use a powdered greens supplement.

Step 4 – Add your fruit:

  • Any kind of berry
  • Banana
  • Dates (pits removed)
  • Pineapple
  • Pear
  • Apple

Use 1-2 handfuls or 1 cup. Fruit can be fresh or frozen.

Step 5 – Pick a healthy fat:

  • ¼ an avocado
  • Flax/hemp/chia seeds
  • Nut butter

This is a small serving – 1 or 2 thumb sized servings


  • ½ cup water and ½ cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt and 1 scoop Neolife Shake or ½ scoop Veg Essentials
  • 1 handful spinach and 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • ¼ avocado and 2 tsp chia seeds
  • Plus enough ice cubes to create the desired consistency

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy! Smoothie is pictured.



WHAT’S COOKING?: Chili Covered Chicken (over Quinoa Pasta)

Hi everyone!  Brr…..this super cold weather in Toronto has me feeling a bit “chili” (pardon the pun).  Temperatures, like -35C, leave me craving hot comfort foods, which led me to make one of my favourite recipes: Chili Covered Chicken!

Just like the name says, this chili covered chicken is easy to make, not to mention, very delicious and healthy! This is also a great recipe to make when you have vegetables that you need to use up.  The vegetables that I used are listed in the recipe below; however, feel free to add or omit any of the vegetables.  I layered the chicken over quinoa pasta (you can use any kind or rice, if you’d like) to make this a more filling meal.  This recipe can also be cooked in a crockpot and is great as leftovers the next day (Tip: shred the remaining chicken and make Sloppy Joes).


Shannon 🙂

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