What the Expecting Can Expect – A Primer on Prenatal Massage

Massage can be a great help, especially when the stresses of life–good or bad–become more intense than usual. Pregnancy is one of those times of life that, for most, is an exciting and anticipated event, but which brings with it challenges that massage can help you handle.

Christie Ellis, LMP, formerly of The Good Life Massage, is an expert in prenatal and post-natal massage.

Our resident expert in prenatal massage, Christie Ellis, LMT is a former employee of The Good Life Massage and has special training in prenatal massage. As a prenatal massage expert we consulted with her to share some of the fundamentals and benefits of prenatal massage.

What exactly did your special training consist of, Christie?
“Most people don’t get a lot of training other than just very basic contraindications (signs that prenatal massage should be avoided). So I actually got extra training in prenatal techniques at Bastyr University. Carol Osborne was my instructor there, and she is one of two or three national experts on training massage therapists in prenatal massage. So I took her training, which was four days, and it was all just exclusively prenatal and post-partum massage. So I’m certified in that, and I just have more experience in working with that population than most.

You’re a mom. Did you have any experience getting prenatal massage during that time?
I did, once. That was for my first pregnancy. It was actually my first-ever professional massage. I don’t think I even began to understand the positive impact that massage can have on the pregnant body. I think I totally thought of it as a luxury service, just getting pampered. But I didn’t know it would have an impact on my bodily structures. I think that was something I didn’t really understand until after I had my second child and was post-partum and was having all kinds of problems after having two babies.

What are some of the major benefits of prenatal massage?
I would say that there is stress relief, which is really valuable. It effects the nervous system, and is able to calm down everything when there’s anxiety, potentially, about becoming a parent, giving birth, and just preparation for the big event–it lets the brain kind of take a break for a while.

And then, I think, dealing with common pre-natal concerns like psiatica, low back pain, and pain in the shoulders can be alleviated or mitigated with prenatal massage.

What’s the value of one session versus regular sessions for expecting mothers?
Essentially, there is value in one treatment. When you’re doing fewer treatments, the value is more for the nervous system. It takes longer for lasting value and lasting change for the muscles.

I think weekly massage is very reasonable for pregnancy, and is not overkill. Definitely monthly, weekly, or twice a month is great to be able to address issues and kind of help compensating muscles as the baby’s growing and putting stress continuously, increasingly over the pregnancy.

Are there any safety concerns?
Prenatal massage completely safe. Our bodies are protective, and there are a lot of protective structures in between the outside of our body and the baby.

Having said that, there are precautions that need to be taken. Someone adequately trained should be taking those precautions, such as using a side-lying position later in pregnancy or elevating the side of the pelvis, and avoiding areas of inner-tension, such as the inner-thigh. That is, the inner thigh should be an area where caution is used in late pregnancy and post-partum. When you have a practitioner who is trained, and who knows those caution areas, it’s just as safe as any other time. There shouldn’t be any alarm about it causing any harm to the baby.

There’s an increased volume of blood in the inner thigh during prenancy, and most women have a good amount of blood clots in the inner thigh. The hormones released in giving birth cause those to dissovlve on their own, but heavy pressure on the inner thigh can dislodge them and cause problems. It’s better to just keep the pressure light. And then, a few months post-partum, regular pressure can resume.

Are there a lot of signs or contraindications women should be aware of to avoid prenatal massage?
Very few.

If there is a complication, such as preeclampsia, that is probably the biggest red flag to not proceed. Some of the indicators of preeclampsia include high protein in the urine, and high blood pressure to the point where it could cause fetal demise. It’s a highly managed complication. If someone has it, they’re in with their doctor a few times a week, probably.

Where there’s high blood pressure, massage would have to be at the discretion of the healthcare provider as to whether or not the person could tolerate that.

But for the bulk of people who just have aches and pains, maybe a little nausea, but no medical complication: with proper positioning, there are no concerns.

What session enhancements would go particularly well with prenatal?
I think one of the things that is most helpful is hot stone spot treatment. This is because, especially with late pregnancy and the positioning being on their side, getting on the deep pressure can be more challenging. But if the practitioner has a tool, such as a stone, to really go into the muscle with added heat, it can really get to a deeper muscle change than without it. Those are really nice. For work along the spine and pelvic work, it’s really nice to get to those with hot stones.

I also think aromatherapy is a nice enhancement for stress relief and also, again, since the positioning forces us to use less pressure, and because pregnant women are more sensitive to pressure, aromatherapy using something like the deep blue fragrance, or something that will relax the muscles is a nice way to still get the muscle change you want with the limitations on pressure.

Are there any myths about prenatal massage that are worth dispelling?
That it can put you into labor! That is a myth! Massage does not cause labor. Acupressure can precipitate labor, and that would be on the level of applying direct pressure on a very specific spot for two or three minutes every fifteen minutes over the span of about forty-eight hours.

So there’s no way to come in for a prenatal massage and come out a mother?
(laughs) No! And to be clear, acupuncture and acupressure are very different than massage. We’re using much broader strokes with massage and there’s absolutely no concern that a nice foot massage could put a woman into labor.

Another myth I would point out is that abdominal massage can cause miscarriage. That’s out there, too, especially for people who are concerned about the first trimester.

I do think it’s important to have someone that’s trained for any sort of abdominal work, but massage in general is very safe for expecting mothers.

Thanks, Christie!

Book your prenatal massage now.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about your particular case:

Email:
support@goodliferenton.com

Phone:
425-243-7705

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is the marketing director and blog editor at The Good Life Massage. Find him online at TGunnWriter.com

Advertisements

What Everybody Ought to Know About Frankincense

For millennia, it’s been traded heavily in North Africa and the Arabian peninsula.

It’s a gift fit for kings.

And now it can be yours.

Frankincense is an essential oil extracted from the bark of Boswellia trees–a tough, scraggly form of brush most commonly found in the middle east and North Africa. Its distinctive aroma hits you first with a rich, inviting musk that warms with your body heat, turning almost sweet with citrus-like undertones.

The aroma has a subtly calming and mood-boosting effect, but it’s also beneficial for the health of your skin. It has been shown to restore damaged or aging skin in some measure while helping to maintain the health of existing skin cells.

Research at Cardiff University also suggests that frankincense can be an effective treatment for arthritis. It has also been shown to be effective for joint and muscle inflammation.

We use Frankincense primarily in products where skincare is essential, including our All Natural Eye Cream.

Frankincense is an option when you book a massage session with the aromatherapy enhancement.

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is the Marketing Director and blog editor at The Good Life Massage. You can follow him on Twitter @tomgunnpoet or visit him online at tgunnwriter.com.

A Sweet Treat for Hands and Feet: Handmade Sugar Scrubs

It sounds weird.

It sounds delicious.

It’s neither, actually. Our handmade sugar scrubs are a sweet treat for your hands or feet. This product is a gentle exfoliation treatment that’s perfect for the extremities, but can be used anywhere you would like softer, more rejuvenated skin.Peppermint Handmade Sugar Scrub

Where does it come from?
Like most of our products, Handmade Sugar Scrub is made under the same roof as our massage clinic using all-natural ingredients. These ingredients include:

  • Granulated Sugar
  • Pure Vegetable Glycerin
  • Fractionated Coconut Oil
  • All-Natural Fragrance, including essential oils

Our own Amy Gunn formulated this product herself and does most of the manufacturing with her own hands and with the help of our staff. Ingredients are locally sourced wherever possible.

Why sugar?
While salt is often favored for spa products like this, salt can dry out your skin. Sugar has a similarly rough texture to exfoliate without damaging the skin.

How do I use it?

1. Before applying, open the container. The ingredients may have settled, so you’ll need to stir things up before using. Use the scoop (included) to gently stir the product so all the ingredients are well mixed.
2. With the scoop, apply the product to rough or dry skin. Most people use it for hands or feet, but it can be effective anywhere on your body.
3. Gently scrub in a circular motion.
4. Rinse with warm water, moisturize, and enjoy softer, healthier skin.

What does it smell like?
Handmade Sugar Scrub comes in five fragrances, including:

Sweet Pea
We use this fragrance popular fragrance in several of our products. This floral smell manages to gently delight your senses without coming on too strong.

The subtle smell of sweet peas makes this fragrance one of our most popular, for all our products, but especially the sugar scrub.
The subtle smell of sweet peas makes this fragrance one of our most popular, for all our products, but especially the sugar scrub.

Peppermint
This fragrance comes from therapeutic-grade essential

Peppermint essential oils add a crisp and sharp fragrance while feeling cool and soothing on the skin.
Peppermint essential oils add a crisp and sharp fragrance while feeling cool and soothing on the skin.

oils. Not only does it have a crisp, clean scent, it creates a pleasant cooling sensation on the skin.

Energize!
The natural citrus oils in this fragrance will get you moving. This is perfect if you plan on using it first thing in the morning or any time you feel a lull in your energy.

Citrus Blossom
This is a sweet blend of mostly fruity undertones with the slightest hint of floral and musk. The effect is that it slightly elevates your mood while soothing your senses.

White Grapefruit
This is scented with therapeutic-grade grapefruit essential oil. Sweet and mouthwatering.

Custom Order
If there’s a scent you’re particularly fond of, we may be able to make it for you! Email or call (425-243-7705) for more information.

Where do I get it?
You can stop in at our clinic to pick some up! We’re open 9 AM to 9 PM Monday to Friday and 8 AM to 8 PM on Saturday. We’re located at 200 South Tobin St. in Renton, Washington.

It can also be purchased online from our products page. If you’re from Renton or the greater Seattle area, you can save on shipping and pick up your order directly from our clinic.

Tom Gunn is the official blogger and marketing director at The Good Life Massage. You can follow him on Twitter @tomgunnpoet.