Get Healed With Heather Atkinson At The Cabbagetown Chiropractic Health Centre

By on February 12, 2013

Toronto is a city of secrets. Finding a good massage therapist takes diligent research or a trusted referral. But as I said, most people do not want to part with their best-kept secrets. Lucky for you I’m about to divulge on a diamond in the rough.

I met Heather at Queen Mother Café, the only restaurant left in the area with any semblance of character or authenticity. On a cold winter’s day she waltzes in and orders her coffee black to which I wonder: “In the world of lattes and frappes who orders their coffee black anymore?” It’s a slightly intimidating fact, as black coffee drinkers are part of a dying breed and that could be said of massage therapists that truly heal and care about their craft. Heather has a face of a porcelain doll and as she mentions a recent milestone birthday I’m puzzled that she does not have a single wrinkle to accompany that age. “How do you take care of yourself Heather?” I’m digging here and expecting some miracle cream or cosmetic acupuncture reveal. “Recognizing imbalances in my life and correcting them, implementing change in how I spend every hour of my day and being aware of the simple things in life. Like having my black cup of coffee and really tasting it; being fully present with every sip.”

Heather is the only massage therapist I have ever encountered who touches you with the intention to heal, with genuine care and concern. In her hands you are not a heap of dough kneaded to a pulp. Instead her powerful touch resembles an artist working with clay that she creatively and intelligently crafts. “Healing takes work,” she remarks. “You must be patient. In our society we want things fixed immediately. We expect convenience and speed. When it comes to healing the body there is no fast way. Patience is key.” We all question what exactly goes through a massage therapists mind as they work on you for hours at a time. “I try to keep my mind as blank as possible so that I can feel. I try not to think about extraneous things. I let my gut and my hands do the thinking.” You can tell that Heather is with you; focused and invested in every moment she is treating you. There is no idle chatter or forced conversation. Energy is so easily dispersed with flapping of tongues to fill up an empty room especially when the focus should be directed on unleashing tension in the body. When I ask where she thinks blockages in the body come from her answer makes me wiggle in my seat: “Fear.” I know she is not going to elaborate in the way she delivered that one word like a sealed envelope that everyone must open, read and interpret on their own.

In a world where we are increasingly agitated, stressed and over-stimulated I am always amazed at how just being in Heather’s presence is so calming. In one hour she can make you feel like you took a week long beach vacation under an umbrella of palm trees and cerulean waters at your feet. “It is rare that people can un-tap from their busy lives free of guilt. Regular massage imparts a subconscious knowledge that relaxation is our right and a path to health.”

Just as our interview is coming to a close Heather shares an interesting anecdote: “When I was a little girl a supply teacher looked at my palms and forecasted that I would do something very powerful with my hands one day.” It may have been a whimsical projection, or a wise foreshadowing of the future. Either way, there is no doubt that Heather was meant to work and heal with her hands. “When we comfort another we use our hands. It is the area of the body we make contact with and perceive the world.” But all touch is not created equal. Some people give wet soggy hugs that leave you feeling more confused and depleted than restored and embraced. A handshake can be overly firm or deficient in substance. Massage is the ultimate interaction of touch. For one hour you rest literally in the hands of another. As my work colleague once put it “She’s a goddess.” The nickname has stuck and she is well deserving of it.

Heather Atkinson is located at the “Cabbagetown Chiropractic Health Centre” on 214 Carlton St. but is also available for on-site massage therapy.

For Booking and inquiries: 416.922.3020 and mention Toronto City Gossip

Deep Tissue – Swedish – Thai Massage – Reiki – Prenatal – On-site












Natalya Sebastian

About Natalya Sebastian

Natalya is a fitness and health devotee with her hand on the pulse of what's innovating in Toronto's fitness community. She's been teaching Pilates and Yoga for over a decade, is a former professional contemporary dancer, freelance writer, Mother and lover of life. Notable fitness career highlights include working with Athletes, guest appearances on ET Canada, contributions to Canadian Living, Tonic Magazine and leading Pilates and Yoga classes all over the GTA. What can you expect from her biweekly column? An educated fitness professional's scoop on any given workout. Catch Natalya reviewing everything from a rock climbing gym to a Jiu-jitsu class, spinning, parkour, barre classes, yoga for the hardcore, yoga for the newbies and so much more. Have a fitness question? Need information on a workout method, style or training? Email Natalya at: or visit her website at & sister-site:

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