WholeBody Massage Therapy, Inc.
An ongoing series of informational entries
An ongoing series of informational entries
Mother Earth Pillows - Your New Best Friend
Mother Earth Pillows - Your New Best Friend
October 23, 2022
One of the most soothing things I can think of is a warm pillow calming my stressed muscles. Even better would be a beautiful, herbaceous scent wafting up to relieve my racing mind. I love adding Mother Earth pillows to a massage session because I love how cozy they feel. I feel nurtured and who doesn’t love feeling nurtured. Someone put thought into this. The important part about adding extras is that it has to be something that brings your session to another level…maybe in a way that someone can’t explain but if I can leave someone feeling nurtured, seen, loved and accepted then I have done my job.
I found Mother Earth pillows through a podcast. It was a trusted Massage Therapist. I believed in her opinions so, on blind faith, I ordered some pillows. I wasn’t disappointed. I knew that I wanted my clients to experience the awesomeness of these pillows and even give them a chance to bring one home with them. After all, who doesn’t love to come home from work and have a beautiful warm pillow that will melt away the tension of the day?
Here are the reasons why Mother Earth pillows are worth your money:
It was started by a Nurse/Massage Theraist in Missouri who was looking for a way to administer Hot/Cold Therapy to her clients with high quality fabrics and dried herbs from her own garden. The beginnings of this company started with an old Singer Sewing Machine in her basement and moved into a commercial location when word got out how amazing her pillows were. She has since sold her company to a spa located in Missouri and they continue her mission to offer the highest quality pillows for everyone to enjoy.
They are made in the USA. The pillows are made with natural grains, herbs, spices and fabrics and all pillows are still hand-made.
They come in a variety of sizes and shapes to support wherever you may have aches and pains.
They have pillows made for children, with colorful patterns. There are sensory pillows that have weight to them and fabric rings to pull on. Perfect to help soothe a child that may be feeling overwhelmed or would like some comfort before a nap or bedtime. They can come in scented or unscented.
They create pillows that everyone can enjoy: “The Mother Earth Team is dedicated to creating only the most quality therapeutic pillows for salons, spas, massage therapists, veterinarians, dentists and physician offices, chiropractors, physical therapists, nursing home and assisted living facilities and consumers of all types, including pets, children with autism, athletes and anyone (person or animal) that is seeking relief from muscle and joint pain, arthritis, inflammation, sensory disorders, headaches, sinus pain, nausea, post-surgical concerns, chronic illness, fatigue, sleeping disorders and desiring overall relaxation.”
Everyone that has used Mother Earth pillows (or has purchased one) is completely smitten with them. You will be too! Ask to use a pillow in your next session and you will never want to use an electric heating pad again.
Why You Should Add Jojoba Oil to Your Life
Why You Should Add Jojoba Oil to Your Life
October 19, 2022
I have used lots of oils from a lot of different companies. LOTS! As a massage therapist, I have searched for years for oils that hit the mark. After all, I am using these oils on my skin too. I want my clients bodies and my own body to be getting the highest quality oils I can find. Not only that, they have to be great for the masses. I don’t need an oil that a large percentage of people are going to have an allergy to. I believe that I have found the blend that has worked the best for me (sunflower oil and rice bran) so I buy in bulk. This also means I need my oils to last a long time. So, where can I find an oil that has a long shelf life, is nonallergenic and has the silkiest texture? Cue Jojoba oil:
What is Jojoba?
The Jojoba plant is a desert plant native to California, Arizona and Mexico but has been cultivated across the globe in desert-like areas. The oil is actually not oil but a liquid wax and it is the closest thing to human sebum (the oils our bodies produce) so it is highly compatible with our skin. According to Hobacare (the company I get my Jojoba oil from), “Jojoba is nontoxic, nonallergenic (the extract is pressed from a seed, not a nut, and is safe for consumers with nut allergies), and noncomedogenic since it won’t clog pores with its sebum-compatibility. Being a liquid wax with very low levels of triglycerides, jojoba does not easily oxidize, making it remarkably shelf-stable and able to withstand heat without any loss in its properties, unlike most plant oils.”
Jojoba for every day use
Because of its compatibility with all skin types, Jojoba can be used to moisturize the face and body. It conditions the hair and beard. It is great for massage because it is nonallergenic and it is a thicker oil so you don’t have to use a lot. Jojoba feels light on the skin, absorbs quickly and has no scent. No leaving the massage room feeling like you just took a bath in oil. All the ways to use Jojoba:
- Can be used as a face and body moisturizer - ALL skin types will love Jojoba. And a little goes a long way. You can use only a couple of drops for the face and it will be enough.
- Safe enough to use on babies - cradle cap and diaper rash don’t stand a chance!
- Perfect for essential oil blends - Love aromatherapy? Jojoba is perfect as a carrier oil and can be used in salves, lip balms, beard oils, salt scrubs and more.
- Beard oil and aftershave care - Jojoba is great in beard oils (or on its own) and is great to soothe the skin after shaving.
- Excellent Make-up remover - add a couple of drops to a cotton pad and hold the pad to your eyes for a few seconds to allow for the oil to absorb into the skin and watch the days make-up wipe away! Wash your face as usual and then add a couple of drops to your hands and moisturize your face with jojoba.
- Safe for our furry friends - does your dog have a hotspot? Rub a little bit of jojoba on the area to soothe the skin and help it heal. It can also be used to condition the coat and skin. Just rub a little bit on your hands and smooth it into their coat. They'll love it!
- Other uses - Jojoba can condition wood furniture; wood cutting boards, children’s wood toys, furniture, garden tools, applied to metal to prevent rust, leather gloves, hand bags or garden gloves can also be conditioned with Jojoba (apply to a small area first to make sure it doesn’t change the color too much).
Where to buy Jojoba oil
From me, of course! I buy my Jojoba oil from the best company, HobaCare. You can learn about the company buy clicking here. Another small business and based out of Maine, HobaCare (or the Jojoba company) is “the only company in the world producing a First-Press quality jojoba where we emphasize quality over quantity in our specifications for pressing the jojoba seeds. Because we only press the best from the seed, HobaCare Jojoba feels light on the skin, absorbs quickly, and has virtually no scent – far superior from all other jojoba on the market.” They only source their Jojoba from one place; their own farms. That way they know they are producing the post jojoba oil.
Ask me about Jojoba oil at your next session or purchase it on my booking site. I have 4 oz and 8 oz bottles. Both of these sizes could last a while. Looking to buy a larger size? Let me know and I can get it ordered for you! You can look at my online booking site by clicking here.
5 Reasons Why I Love Simply Earth Essential Oils
5 Reasons Why I Love Simply Earth Essential Oils
October 18, 2022
- They are a small, family run business based out of Hingham, Wisconsin. The story goes they were tired of paying crazy prices for essential oils so they took matters into their own hands and started their own essential oil company. You can read all about it on the website by clicking here.
- They are transparent about the purity of the essential oils - Their essential oils are sourced all over the world by small, ethical farms. They even have a third party test oils for purity and post the results on their website. Some essential oil companies rest on their reputations so they aren’t completely transparent about the purity of their oils. This also means that their essential oils smell amazing!
- 13% of their profits go to ending a global pandemic; human trafficking. As a Massage Therapist, I can get behind this. No one deserves to be exploited so they send a percentage of their profits to companies that fight to end human trafficking. You can even see who they send their money to on their website.
- Their prices are amazing! Unlike other companies, Simply Earth prices are affordable. Since they aren’t an MLM company, you are not paying for several peoples salaries. For example, A 15 ml bottle of Peppermint with Simply Earth is $12.99. You will also see the GC/MS report (this shows you what chemicals are found in the batch). The same bottle of Peppermint from DoTerra is $32 (with no report of its purity) and Young Living is $32.57 (with no report of its purity). I am using these two companies simply because they are the most common companies I hear from clients when they say they use Essential oils. That is quite a difference in price!
- They have excellent customer service! I am all about customer service and I tend to turn away from companies that are terrible at it. Any time I have had an issue or just a general question, they are quick with a response.
I tend to be a snob when it comes to Essential oils. I have run through quite a few Essential Oil companies looking for my favorite. Simply Earth truly has delivered for me. My favorite blend is Bumps and Boo-Boos. I use it in Jojoba oil as a facial moisturizer as well as a sunburn and bug bite soother. I diffuse their Breathe Easy blend in my massage room. I have several clients that love their Sleepy blend as well.
Simply Earth is a great company to get behind. We need more companies like this that are compassionate and do their part to make the world a better place. The next time you are in my office, ask to take a look at some of their products. You won’t be disappointed.
Simple Steps to Prevent and Detect Melanoma/Skin Cancer
Simple Steps to Prevent and Detect Melanoma/Skin Cancer
August 3, 2022
Summer may almost be over but this is still an important thing to do. Let's look at some ways you can prevent and detect skin cancer.
Cover up with clothes and sunscreen.
As a rule of thumb, cover up as much as possible. Be sure to wear a broad-brimmed hat and UV blocking sunglasses. Use broad spectrum (UVA/B) sunblock with SPF 15 or higher every day. If you’ll be active outdoors, opt for a water-resistant, UVA or UVB sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. (Sunscreens should be used on babies over six months of age.)
Avoid harsh sun and tanning.
Avoid getting a sunburned at all costs. Skip the tanning and never use UV tanning beds. The sun is strongest between 10AM and 4PM, so try to avoid the sun during these hours and find some shade. Make sure to keep newborns out of the sun.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends everyone practices a self examination every month. Skin cancers found and removed early are, more often than not, curable. You may find having a doctor perform the initial examination will help assure you that any existing spots, moles or freckles are totally normal and treat any that aren’t. After that a routine self exam shouldn’t take you longer than 10 minutes.
Get your partner involved.
In addition to seeing your physician annually for a professional skin exam, have your partner keep an eye out for any changes in your skin. Sometimes they see parts of our bodies that we don’t see everyday (like the small of our back or behind your neck). Have a discussion about the importance of paying attention to changes in your skin and make sure you return the favor by keeping an eye on any changes on their skin.
Get regular massages.
First, you should know, it’s not up to your massage therapist to check you for signs of cancer, but it definitely can’t hurt having an extra set of eyes on you! When you are a receiving regular massage, your massage therapist will become familiar with your body and all the little markings that go with it. Sometimes, a massage therapist is a first line of defence since they will notice if a birthmark, freckle, or mole has changed size or shape.
Prevention is only half the battle. And hopefully it’s the only battle you will ever face. If you should happen to find yourself in a different battle, the early detection of skin cancer is paramount. The sooner you catch it, the better your chances are of beating it.
Enjoy your summer, but remember to protect yourself from the sun and bring ANYTHING suspicious to your doctor immediately.
11 Ways to Treat Yourself (That don't involve money or food)
11 Ways to Treat Yourself (That don't involve money or food)
August 2, 2022
It’s not hard to think up great ways to treat yourself. We’d all love a spa day topped off with a meal prepared and served by someone else. Maybe a sitter for the night, so the little angels are asleep when we get home. Or just a morning where the cat doesn't wake you up by sitting on your windpipe.
But for every article I see about self care, I roll my eyes at least 12 times and think "Who can afford that?" And sure, I would love to have an afternoon to myself and a bucket of fried chicken, and a cookie dough chaser. But that's not particularly healthy.
So I'm a fan of realistic self care. That is, activities that aren't expensive, don't involve food, and will make you feel good about how you spent that time. Here's a list of my favorites
Meditate, the easy way
If you're the kind of person who can't sleep during the day, napping can be more like torture. But guided meditation is a whole other story. It gives your mind something (easy) to do so the rest of you can relax a bit. There are plenty of free guided meditations online, my favorites are at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center website. http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22
Walk and a picnic
Okay, this one involves food, or just a beverage. Pack a little bag with a snack and a drink and go for a walk. Doesn't need to be far, doesn't need to be fancy. Just get outside, find a rock or a glade or a bench, settle in and sip your beverage. Listen to the quiet, or people-watch. Even better, bring a little trash bag and pick up litter along your route. You've just added in a random act of kindness to your personal time. Go, you!
Read a book
When was the last time you read for pleasure. Even if you can't get to your library, there are plenty of Free ebooks on Amazon http://ow.ly/T6FV302tFeI, and your local library probably may have a free online borrowing program. Or reread some of your favorite books from childhood if you have them hanging around.
If you choose the topic right, learning is great self-care. Pick a topic for FUN. Don't feel like you need to learn something pertinent to your work or a current hobby. Check out Coursera, MIT or Harvard to start. (But there are PLENTY of sources for free online classes, do your own searching, too!) https://www.coursera.org/ http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm https://www.extension.harvard.edu/open-learning-initiative
Bust out a piece for paper and draw something. Even if you don't have fancy pencils or crayons or markers, you can play with shading and pressure and make something cool. There are plenty of free coloring pages http://www.coloring-pages-adults.com/ you can download and print out.
Write a letter (this one will cost you the price of a stamp)
Remember letters? On real paper? It's becoming a lost art, which is kinda sad. it used to be so exciting to get a real letter in the mail. Not a bill, not an advertisement, but a real letter, with news, from someone you love. It was downright magical.
If you feel totally lost and don't know where to start, here's a site to help you out. http://www.nhcs.net/parsley/curriculum/postal/friendlyletter.html
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. There are plenty of free apps to help you learn geocaching and get started. My favorite is Geocaching.com. https://www.geocaching.com/guide/
For nearly every song out there, there's a karaoke accompaniment on YouTube. For reals. https://www.youtube.com/user/TheKARAOKEChannel Crank it up and let ‘er rip. You’re a stress-free superstar now.
Get a kid and play Uno, or find an old deck of real cards and fall into a game of solitaire.
You can go nuts and find a whole bunch of fancy recipes on the internet, or just throw some salt into big bowl of warm water. Put a foot in there. Scrub it a bit with a washcloth. It feels good, the warmth is calming (or use cool water if it's a zillion degrees where you're at), and your feet will be all soft and good-smelling when you take ‘em out.
Got a teabag? Throw it in. Got an essential oil you like? A few drops'll do. No big whoop.
When you're ready, dry that foot off and slather with some lotion. Or coconut oil. Or olive oil. Whatever you have is just fine. (Put some socks on to really make it last, and so you don't slip, ok?)
And when all else fails: Nap
Put your jammies on and take a nap. In your bed. Not all jammed up on the couch with the TV on. Close the shades in your bedroom and hunker down for a proper sleep.
There. You don’t have to spend money or fill your belly to feel great and treat yourself well!
Addressing the "Toxins" Myth
Addressing the "Toxins" Myth
August 1, 2022
I get this question several times a month. Does massage release toxins from your body? I will hear from pregnant or post-partum about “pumping and dumping” breastmilk after a massage because of the toxins being released during massage. This misinformation has been around for a very long time. A lot has been learned about what massage does and doesn’t do for the body so here’s the scoop on the toxins myth.
You’ve heard about detoxes from many different places. Juice detoxes, foot detoxes, liver cleanses claim to remove harmful toxins from your body. But what exactly are these toxins? And do these detox methods really work? In truth, there’s little scientific evidence to prove that detoxes of any kind work, and that goes for massages as well.
While there are plenty of health benefits to massage, it’s not because of its ability to rid your body of toxins. We’re here to debunk the myth of toxins and get down to the nitty gritty of what actually makes massage so good for you.
What are “Toxins?”
Before we jump into whether massages release toxins, let’s look at what “toxins” really are. They sound scary— like something that you should try to avoid or get rid of at all costs. But toxins are just a normal part of life, and, like anything else, in small doses they are perfectly fine.
Perhaps what it is that people truly fear is not “toxins” but “poisons,” which are two very different things. Poisons are any harmful substances, but it’s important to remember here that many things in too-large doses can then be considered poison, even your daily multivitamin.
Toxins are a kind of subset of poisons; they are poisons produced by living things. Technically, drinking scotch, getting a massage, and hard exercise all produce toxins, but these toxins are just part of how our bodies metabolize, rebuild, and process on a daily basis. In moderation and with careful attention, all are completely harmless.
Your doctor wouldn’t recommend that you give up your exercise routine to avoid toxins, and any toxins created by massage certainly aren’t harmful either.
What most people hope to cleanse from their bodies during a massage aren’t poisons, and they aren’t toxins (which naturally occur in our bodies as part of how they function), but rather pollutants. This can be anything from smog particles and other air pollutants that we inhale, to lead, to pesticides, which are definitely harmful to our bodies when we get too much exposure. These aren’t things that we can “detox,” but they are things to avoid when you can.
No, Massages Don’t Cleanse Your Body of Toxins. And They’re Totally Safe
In truth? Your body does a pretty great job of flushing toxins all on its own. If you are in good health, your kidneys, liver, and intestines should already be doing a great job of removing toxins. Except for very rare occasions like overconsumption of drugs or alcohol, your body doesn’t need extra help detoxing. It just needs time to do what it does best. This is where massage may come in handy. Your body needs time to rest. We all are running at top speed most of the time and your body needs time to rest, digest and recover. Massage gives you time to rest; to give your stress response a break. The relaxation response is the time for our body to recover from everything we put it through. Sleep is another time that the body goes into the relaxation response. (Are you getting enough sleep?)
Massage “detoxes” and other kinds of detoxes— like juice cleanses— don’t really do much to release toxins from your body. This is just a myth. In fact, many of these juice cleanses are actually just crash diets with major caloric deficits that can leave you feeling weak, sluggish, and tired.
On the other hand, some people might fear that getting a massage, especially a deep tissue massage, might actually be toxic; that the toxins released can be harmful to your body. There is some truth to this - kind of.
If you’ve experienced an intense, deep-tissue massage that has left you feeling sore, tired, or disoriented, what you’ve actually experienced is post-massage soreness and malaise (PMSM). Excessive pressure like this can cause rhabdomyolysis, or “rhabdo,” which is the poisoning by proteins liberated from an injured muscle. This is only dangerous for extremely vulnerable patients, like the elderly or those with other health issues, especially renal issues.
If you work with an experienced, knowledgeable massage therapist, this should never be an issue. PMSM should only cause slight discomfort as a mild side effect of a strong massage, but for most of us, there’s no need to fear these kinds of natural toxins leaving your muscles.
The Water-Toxin Myth
You may have heard that it’s necessary to drink water after a massage because some massage therapists claim that getting a massage releases toxins directly into the bloodstream, and that the best way to flush them out is to drink plenty of water to encourage your kidneys and the rest of your digestive system to process these and remove them from your body.
It never hurts to drink plenty of water, so it can’t hurt to rehydrate after a massage session. But massages don’t flush toxins into the bloodstream, and water wouldn’t help if it did.
There are a lot of scientific reasons why this is the case but know that massage doesn’t liberate these environmental pollutants from cells or “squish” them into your bloodstream or excretory systems to be expelled. Again, that’s what your kidneys and digestive system are designed to do.
The Lactic Acid Myth
Another myth about massages? That massage is a great way to release lactic acid in the muscles after a long run or hard workout. The soreness and stiffness you experience after your first run of the season actually isn’t from lactic acid building up in your muscles, it’s what’s called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
When you work out, it’s like pulling on a long rope - some of the fibers in your muscles may break during the workout, in what are essentially tiny microtears. Unlike pulling on a rope that loses some of its strength though, your muscles rebuild themselves and become larger and stronger.
Your muscles do create lactic acid, but this is something they do all the time, even when your body is at rest. So, the idea that your muscles are sore from lactic acid buildup is false. When you exercise, your body needs fuel, and breaks down some of its stored energy to get this, becoming acidic. Lactate is just a by-product of this process that is created all the time.
That doesn’t mean you should give up your post-run massage! There are still plenty of benefits to a good sports massage. Your massage therapist can reduce the pain and stiffness after a hard workout, which moves blood and fluid around your body, helping to heal microtrauma from your workout.
When you heavily work out a muscle group, it loses some of its flexibility and tenses up, making it easier to tear. A thorough sports massage eases this tension. It also reduces inflammation and swelling, and lessens fatigue, gearing you up to conquer your next race, conditioning class, or sweat session.
Other Benefits to Massage Therapy
Don’t worry. There are still plenty of reasons for regular massages, and benefits to even the occasional massage. Each massage is a great way to reduce stress and pamper yourself, sure, but there are major health perks as well.
With massage, you can:
● Reduce stress hormones like cortisol
● Improve joint function and reduce pain for those with osteoarthritis
● Lessen muscle soreness after a hard workout
● Speed healing of overworked, sore muscles
● Reduce inflammation and helping the muscles’ repair process
● Lessen fibromyalgia-related pain
● Help with anxiety and insomnia
● Lessen the effects of temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ)
Massage has countless health benefits, but flushing toxins isn’t one of them. If you’re looking to remove pollutants and poisons from your life, there’s no quick fix: you have to do so with conscious lifestyle changes. Once you let go of the “myth of toxins,” though, you can let go. Enjoy your massage and relish in the many other benefits you’re receiving from your time on the table.
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
June 1, 2022
Article taken from American Pregnancy Association's website (www.americanpregnancy,org)
Therapeutic massage has been used for centuries to improve overall health, reduce stress, and relieve muscle tension. Massage and pregnancy has often received ambivalent responses from the health community regarding the safety and purpose of massage during pregnancy. Modern investigation and research is proving that prenatal massage therapy can be a very instrumental ingredient in women’s prenatal care and should be given careful consideration.
Although most massage training institutions teach massage therapy for women who are pregnant, it is best to find a massage therapist who is certified in prenatal massage. Before you schedule a massage appointment, make sure to ask about qualifications.
Studies indicate that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health. Massage therapy addresses different needs through varying techniques, one of which is called Swedish Massage, which aims to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation through mild pressure applied to the muscle groups of the body.
Swedish Massage is the recommended prenatal massage method during pregnancy because it addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts during pregnancy.
Studies done in the past 10 years have shown that hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered, leading to mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health, when massage therapy was introduced to women’s prenatal care. In women who received bi-weekly massages for only five weeks, hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (“stress hormones”;) were reduced and dopamine and serotonin levels were increased (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression).
These changes in hormone levels also led to fewer complications during birth and fewer instances of newborn complications, such as low birth weight. The evidence points strongly to maternal and newborn health benefits when therapeutic massage is incorporated into regular prenatal care.
Reduction of swelling
Edema, or swelling of the joints during pregnancy, is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus. Massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce collection of fluids in swollen joints, which also improves the removal of tissue waste, carried by the body’s lymph system.
Improvement of nerve pain
Sciatic nerve pain is experienced by many women in late pregnancy as the uterus rests on muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. The pressure of the uterus spreads tension to the muscles of the upper and lower leg, causing them to swell and put pressure on nearby nerves. Massage therapy addresses the inflamed nerves by helping to release the tension on nearby muscles. Many women have experienced significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through regular massage.
Other potential benefits of prenatal massage:
- Reduced back pain
- Reduced joint pain
- Improved circulation
- Reduced edema
- Reduced muscle tension and headaches
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Improved oxygenation of soft tissues and muscles
- Better sleep
Precautions for prenatal massage?
As with any therapeutic approach to pregnancy wellness, women should discuss massage with their prenatal care provider. The best way to address the risks of prenatal massage is to be informed and to work together with knowledgeable professionals.
Body position during prenatal massage
Many professionals consider the best position for a pregnant woman during massage is side-lying. Tables that provide a hole in which the uterus can fit may not be reliable and can still apply pressure to the abdomen, or allow the abdomen to dangle, causing uncomfortable stretching of the uterine ligaments. Consult your massage therapist before your first appointment to verify what position they place their clients in during the massage.
Seek an appropriate massage therapist
It is important to seek care from a certified prenatal massage therapist. Certified therapists have received training beyond the national standards for massage therapists and know how to address specific pregnancy and massage needs. They are aware of how to position you safely and prevent strain to the uterine ligaments. They are also able to watch for symptoms of blood clots and varicose veins.
Women who have recently experienced bleeding, pre-term contractions, or have any of the following conditions should speak with a health care provider prior to receiving a massage:
- High risk pregnancy
- Pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH)
- Previous pre-term labor
- Experiencing severe swelling, high blood pressure, or sudden severe headaches
- Recently gave birth
Is prenatal massage safe throughout the entire pregnancy?
Women can begin massage therapy at any point in their pregnancy – during the first, second, or third trimester. Many facilities will refuse to offer massage to a woman who is still in her first trimester because of the increased chance of miscarriage associated with the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Prenatal Massage as part of Prenatal Care
The benefits of massage can improve overall prenatal health for many pregnant women. Along with the guidance and advice of a prenatal care provider, massage therapy can be incorporated into routine prenatal care as an emotional and physical health supplement proven to improve pregnancy outcome, and maternal health. Consult with your midwife or obstetrician before beginning any new therapeutic practice.
To schedule your prenatal massage, go to my booking page by clicking here.
Last Updated: 01/2014
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Field, T. (1999). Pregnant Women Benefit From Massage Therapy. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Mar;20(1):31-8.
Field, T. (2004). Massage Therapy Effects on Depressed Pregnant Women. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Jun;25(2):115-22.
What to Expect for your first Massage
What to Expect for your first Massage
May 1, 2022
A massage is intended to be a calm and relaxing experience. But if it’s your first massage, you may feel a little trepidation. Don’t let that hold you back. With a little information about what to expect, you’ll walk into your first massage feeling like a confident pro!
Expect a lot of questions at your first massage appointment. I’ll need to know a little bit about your health history and what your goals are for that session. With your confirmation email, you will find a link to my Client intake form. It is done online so you won’t need to fill any paperwork out at my office. Your clear and honest answers will help perform the best massage possible for you.
We’ll talk about why you’re coming in for a massage and what your goals are for the session. Are you having pain? Do you need to relax?
I’ll show you the massage room and walk you through the process. We’ll decide what to prioritize and how you should lay on the table (face up or face down, or on your side) before the massage.
Expect to Dress or Undress to Your Level of Comfort
What does that mean exactly? Many people worry about having to be undressed for their massage.
Most massage techniques are traditionally performed with the client unclothed; however, what you wear is entirely up to you. Simply put: you can leave your underwear on or take them off. We can discuss during the intake process what you would feel comfortable with when it comes to areas that are to be massaged. You are in control of what happens with your body. Massaging the hips and lower back are a part of my massage but you decide if I will work on your hips and if it will be over the sheet or if I can expose a section of your hips to work on the skin. The upper part of your chest will be addressed (it has a lot to do with upper back tension) but I keep your breasts covered and work just above them. You will give me feedback when it comes to pressure and your comfort level and I adjust if I need to.
I’ll leave the room so you may undress, get on the massage table (it’s super-cozy), and get comfortable under the draping sheet & blanket.
Movies and TV shows always show massage clients naked on a table with just a tiny towel for draping. That’s not what real massage draping looks like! I use sheets that cover your whole body. You’ll stay covered throughout the massage, I’ll only undrape the part of your body that I am massaging right then.
Expect More Communication
When I come back into the room, I’ll help you get comfortable with pillows or bolsters. Don’t be afraid to adjust and fidget as needed during the massage to stay cozy. You can talk during the massage or stay quiet and enjoy the peaceful environment. I will occasionally ask if you are doing ok or if anything needs to be changed and I will let you know when it is time to turn over. Remember that this time is for you. I am just the facilitator. You have control over what happens during the massage.
It’s great if you can let your body relax and sink into the table. If I need to move your arms or legs, etc, I’ll do the work! This takes practice, you’ll probably try to help me. I’ll remind you. Stretching can be done passively (I’m doing all the work) or actively (you will help me). If I need your help with relaxing certain areas, I will ask (this comes back to the intake process and whether you would like to relax or are looking for more therapeutic techniques).
It’s really important for you to tell me if any massage techniques I use cause pain. Pain is not okay. There may be a certain level of discomfort and ‘good ache’ if we’re working on a problem area. It’s important that you tell me about that, too, so we can tailor the massage to be most effective without causing injury.
My go-to for clients understanding pressure levels is this: If you are having a hard time breathing comfortably through a specific technique or area on the body that is being worked on, then the pressure is too much and needs to be adjusted. I take pride in being mindful of how your body is handling certain techniques or pressure and will ask how you are doing. You don’t have to wait for me to say something and please don’t hesitate to tell me because I will adjust what I am doing.
I’ll check in with you as we go, but please speak up with other little things as well. If you become too warm or too cool, if you are not comfortable on the table, or need another pillow, or if you just hate the music. Even if you need to use the bathroom, please let me know! They may seem like little things but every aspect of the massage is made to help you relax. If one thing is off, it takes away from the whole massage.
I’ll tell you when the massage is over and leave the room so you can slowly get up and dressed. Take your time getting up off the table as you may feel a little dizzy at first. I leave plenty of time between appointments so you don’t feel rushed. I will meet you back at the room with water (if you want it) and we will finish up with payment (if that’s needed) and, hopefully, reschedule for your next appointment.
Expect Some Final Instructions
You should expect to feel mellow and relaxed after your massage. We’ll talk about how you feel and I may show you some self care stretches or share some tips to keep you feeling great between appointments. We can also talk about how frequently you may want to get a massage to keep on feeling great.
If we addressed pain issues, you may immediately feel a reduction in pain, or it may take a day or two before you feel that relief.
You can make the most of your first massage by knowing what to expect and asking all the questions you like so you can feel cozy before, during and after the massage. See you at your first massage!
To schedule your first massage, go to my booking page by clicking here.
Should I cancel my massage if I am sick?
Should I cancel my massage if I am sick?
April 1, 2022
Short answer: Yes, please.
Long Answer: Yes, please.
In our ever-changing world, we are being exposed to more viruses that our body may not have been introduced to before. Covid-19 has thrown us all for a loop and, no matter how you feel about how our country handled it, it put a spotlight on how to handle being sick in publilc. We all know how our area works with allergies. My allergies get so bad during the spring and fall that they usually turn into an upper respiratory infection if I can't get it under control quickly. I've had plenty of clients in the past tell me that they just have allergies and are not sick. Now, we think twice when we get the sniffles...and this isn't a bad thing. We are all aware that massage is great! But it’s not always a great idea.
As cold and flu season approaches again, it’s important that you know when it may be necessary to cancel your appointment.
When you are sick, your body needs rest. It’s strange to think about it this way, but receiving massage is an active task, it is not entirely rest. Massage causes change in the body, and your body has to work to maintain stability. Getting a massage when you are sick takes attention away from infection-fighting. That’s no good. A lot of people think that it will help you get over it faster but it doesn't and can sometimes even make you feel worse.
You’re not going to be cozy on the massage table.
Sure, it sounds like a warm squishy massage table would be great. But the moment you put your already-stuffy head into that face cradle, you’ll realize the error of your ways. Gravity and pressure are not your friend here. Even if I do a great face massage to drain your sinuses, you’ll likely feel worse when you get off the table.
You could get me sick.
Since most of the common winter viruses are contagious even before symptoms show up, I could pass the cooties along to more clients before I even know it’s happening. I also have a young daughter at home that I can also pass this off to and I really don't want her getting sick from me.
Further, when I get sick, I have to cancel clients and take a few days off work. I work for myself, with no paid sick days to compensate for lost wages. Sure, as a responsible business owner I have a fund for these situations. But I would rather use that fund for a cool toy for my daughter or a fun new tool for work. So I’m gonna try to stay germ-free this winter.
So it’s a deal. You’ll cancel so as not to infect me and my massage room, and I’ll do the same for you. We’ll keep each other safe.
When to cancel
- If you have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea in the past 24 hours, or are still feeling bad from a recent bout of such things.
- If you’ve had a fever in the past 24 hours, or fever-related symptoms. This includes chills, aches, and fatigue. Even if you’re keeping the fever down with medicine, you’re still sick. The fever counts.
- If you are itchy, runny, and/or sneezy, and you’re not 100% certain it’s seasonal allergies. And even then, allergies may leave you so miserable that the hour on my table would be wasted time and money for you.
- If you are coughing constantly, or just a lot.
- If someone in your household is ill and you are feeling at all bad, please cancel.
There is often some gray area here, especially if you are in the recovery phase of a virus or bacterial infection. If you’re unsure about your situation, please call me before your appointment and we can make a decision together. I do not charge late or cancellation fees when you are sick. I would rather you cancel then come in thinking that you are losing money if you don't.
Things I don't care about vs. Things I do care about
Things I don't care about vs. Things I do care about
March 1, 2022
From my experience, I have found that many clients seem to have the same concerns when getting on my table. I thought it would be appropriate to address these concerns on a larger scale so you know where I stand on these topics. This is not the complete list of concerns but they seem to be the most common things I hear. I am separating this between 2 categories: Things that don't concern me at all and Things I do care about and want to know. I hope this list helps to ease your mind a little when you are on my table, ready to get a massage.
Things I don't care about:
1. Body Hair: I don't think a day goes by without someone apologizing for not shaving or for having a lot of hair on their bodies. I appreciate that you are very aware of this but it is not a big deal. I probably didn't shave my legs either that day. We are human. I'm a parent and a wife. I am happy that I get to wash my hair and wash my body before I am interrupted so shaving is not on the top of my list. The great thing about massage is that I am using a lubricant: oil or cream, so hair doesn't affect how I do massage. I am prepared for any amount of body hair.
2. Your breath: I think most people have a concern over this. I try to alleviate this concern by having mints next to the chair where you leave your clothes. I will be totally honest; I can't smell your breath. I'm not trying to smell your breath. I am focused on the massage (and more concerned that you smell mine). I am not a science person but I think the way you are lying on the table stops your breath from moving in my direction. It is not something I am specifically looking for so I never really notice.
3. Bodily Noises: I am specifically talking about 2 noises your body makes. 1. Your stomach. It is actually a great thing to hear! If your tummy rumbles during massage, that means your parasympathetic nervous system is activated. This is the part of your Nervous system that deals with relaxation. I hear a gurgle or two, it means I have done my job and I'm happy. 2. Gas. Who hasn't had a slight panic attack when you feel one coming on in the middle of a massage? I know I have! I totally understand that it is embarrassing but it's happening and there is nothing you can do but let it out. If you TRY to keep it in, all you do is tense up and I know something is wrong. It's best to just let it happen. I've said it before, many times; Better out than in. I am more than likely pushing down on an area that will make it impossible for you to not let it out. You can even warn me, if you like. Apologize afterwards but I'd rather you just let it out.
4. Falling asleep/snoring: I'm not sure why people apologize for this. You won't find too many people that are happy when someone falls asleep but that makes me proud. It means you are comfortable and feel safe with me. You trust me. That is a wonderful compliment in Massage Therapy. Sleeping around a complete stranger can be very vulnerable to some and knowing that you feel safe enough to fall asleep makes my heart sing. Snoring just adds to my joy.
Things I do care about:
1. Recent and Past Medical History: This may seem like a no-brainer but there are several reasons that I need to know your medical history. There are medications that I need to be careful with pressure. If you have had surgeries, cancer, dislocated shoulders; these are medical conditions that require modifications. I want you to get the most out of your massage and I certainly don't want to leave you with a negative memory. Being honest about your medical history benefits us both. We can work toward a common goal: a better quality of life for you!
2. Your comfort: This doesn't happen with every person but I find some people won't let me know if there is something that needs to be changed. Whether it's music or the temperature of the room or my pressure, I can only fix it if you tell me. The big one, Pressure, is most important because I want you to leave feeling good. I don't want you to leave feeling like you just got hit by a train. I have firm pressure! Not everyone wants that. You may think you do but in the moment you change your mind. That is the perfect time to say, "Hold on Lady, lighten up the pressure!" I totally will and I'll be so happy that you said something!
3. Talking vs. No Talking: Please don't feel obligated to talk to me. This time is for you! I know what I got myself into when I pursued this profession. I may go the whole day without talking to anyone. It's totally fine! You can even tell me before we start that you would prefer silence. I will talk only to ask if you are doing well and to tell you to turn over. I am happy that you spoke up about your preferences. My husband may not be thrilled with a quiet day because I will go home and talk his ear off but that was his fault when he married a Massage Therapist who loves to talk! I do love talking and if you want to talk, I'm down for it. I will usually let you wind down with some quick chitchat in the beginning but I'm taking my cues from you. If you want to talk, we'll talk but if you want silence, there will be silence.
5. Your skin health: Skin health is very important to me. I need to know if you have any known skin allergies (for obvious reasons) but there are other things going on with your skin that I need to know about. Warts, Athlete's foot and other types of fungus are very important for me to be aware of because they are very contagious! Remember that I work with my hands. If I get a wart, I can't work or I'll have to wear gloves (which is very annoying because it is hard to find gloves that fit). I am also on the lookout for any suspicious moles; especially on your back or feet (places you normally don't look at or can't see). I am not diagnosing you in any way but I want to be sure that you are aware of them and should have a doctor monitor them for any changes. It is not in any way to scare you but it is good for you to know.
I believe most Massage Therapists are with me on this. I hope you feel more at ease at your next session. It's good to remember that I am human too and feel the same feelings you do. My job is to make you feel at ease in my presence. I want you to feel comfortable being honest with me. See you next time!
What is Fertility Massage?
What is Fertility Massage?
February 1, 2022
There are many reasons a woman looking to have a child may seek out a fertility massage. Those using assistive reproductive technology use it to support their chances of successful implantation. Some women have been trying for years with no luck and are looking for alternative ways to conceive. Others are preparing to conceive and are working to become consciously aware in the process. Some women who are actively trying to conceive want the support of a trained therapist to open their body to the energy of conception.
As a Certified Fertility Massage Specialist, I follow a unique and effective massage protocol designed to enhance potential conception. The benefits of a fertility massage include the reduction of stress hormones, flushing the digestive system, stimulation of the reproductive system, emotional balancing and breaking up abdominal adhesions from previous surgeries or reproductive issues such as PCOS, fibroids and endometriosis.
The session begins with a relaxing castor oil pack applied to the abdominal area to cleanse the digestive system and possibly dissolve adhesions and cysts. Calming and centering craniosacral holds are then utilized, aiding in balancing and centering your energy while visualization techniques guide you to tune in and open the conception channel. A relaxing and therapeutic routine to shoulders and neck are next using a beautiful blend of essential oils to aid in relaxation, cleansing and hormone balancing. Compression holds follow along energy channels in the extremities to aid in removing any blockages of energy in the extremities. A specific reflexology routine for fertility is followed, stimulating reproductive areas, endocrine glands and the digestive system. Next, abdominal work to help flush the digestive system followed by deep, external pelvic work to break up adhesions and increase blood flow to your organs. You will then turn to lie on your abdomen and acupressure points on either side of your spine are stimulated to further open the channels of energy in your body. The low back/hip area is worked deeply to continue break up congestion and adhesions.
This routine is being used by many certified therapists with great success. You will go home with your own bottle of castor oil and fertility massage oil to utilize as often as possible and other educational material.
It is best not to receive this work when menstruating or possibly pregnant. There is also an optimal time in your menstrual cycle to do this work. Contacting me (757.553.4052) before you schedule your appointment is a good idea so we can choose the right time. I also encourage spouses/partners to receive similar work as well or to schedule a couples workshop session so they can be a part of this process.
Trying to conceive can be a very stressful time in a couples’ life. Having a strong support system is important and taking time for relaxation and meditation can be a big help.