Blog Banner

Monday, October 28, 2013

Post-Natal Massage: Preparing the New Mom’s Body for the Busyness of Motherhood

Post natal massage therapy is a great way to prepare the new mother’s body for the brand new task of motherhood. Motherhood is a very demanding job for anyone, and young mothers especially have a hard time of it, since it can be extremely taxing to care for a newborn.
Continuous nursing of the new baby, picking up and putting down of the new baby, as well as changing and carrying, are very demanding on the new mother. Aside from nursing, these same activities are very demanding on the new father. New fathers are expected to perform these same activities, and are always trying to decrease the burden on their wives, as well.

All of this is not even taking into consideration the extreme demands that a growing child will place on the new mother and father. Soccer practice, swim teams, and the myriad of other activities that the modern child is expected to take part in can all add to the stress of being a new mother.

Post natal massage therapy is an excellent way to restore the mother’s body as closely as possible to the state that it was in before the pregnancy ensued, especially with regard to the extreme demands placed on the body during the intense stages of labor. Labor causes a number of issues for the new mother’s body, including possible tears to the muscles of the pelvic floor, along with pain to certain muscles on the side and lower back of the body, especially the quadratus lumborum and the psoas muscles.

If you would like more information about post-natal massage, there are several other blogs specifically related to post natal massage therapy and the benefits thereof, and you can also check out our post-natal massage page by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pre-Natal Massage: An Under-Utilized Form of Help For The Future Mom

Pre-natal massage is a seriously under-utilized and misunderstood modality that most pregnant women are not aware of as an excellent form of preparation for their impending motherhood. Massage therapy has been shown to have numerous benefits for pregnant women.
One of the most important benefits of pre-natal massage is its helpfulness in preparing the body for the actual act of birth. By relaxing the muscles involved in childbirth, it can help to make the process of birthing slightly less painful, and it can also help reduce the trauma of labor on the new mother’s body, especially when employed during labor. Some of the more common muscles which can be hurt by the process of labor are the quadratus lumborum, the iliopsoas, and the muscles of the pelvic floor.

Certain techniques of pre-natal massage can help to prepare the pelvic floor for the process of birth, and these techniques are used in the last trimester or pregnancy. Other techniques can be used throughout the process of pregnancy to alleviate the muscular tensions created by the baby being formed within the pregnant woman.

Some of the most useful benefits of pre-natal massage are the techniques that can be taught to the pregnant woman’s partner, as well as postural lessons and teaching helpful breathing techniques to alleviate the anxiety that can occur when the baby starts to press on the lower ribs and take up some of the space normally reserved for the mother’s lungs. Suddenly being unable to breathe fully, where you had been previously able to take a complete deep breath from the front of the body, can cause unnecessary anxiety in the new mom.

Another benefit to pre-natal massage is the stimulation of the lactation hormone, oxytocin. This hormone promotes lactation, and also helps with the birthing process, as it stimulates uterine contractions when the baby is ready to be born. Massage therapy has been shown in some studies to promote the production of this important hormone.

Of course, one of the most understood forms of massage is post-natal massage, which is sought because of the extreme amounts of tension that the new mother is experiencing from the act of birthing along with the strain of having the weight of the baby pulling on her back. However, new moms should know that some of these tensions can be prevented through regular pre-natal massage before the birth of the baby.

Pregnant women can benefit from pre-natal massage in many ways. If you are pregnant and thinking about receiving a pre-natal massage, please visit our pregnancy massage webpage by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Massage Increases Immune Cells and Reduces Anxiety in Breast Cancer Patients

Massage therapy has been shown to have numerous beneficial effects on people suffering from cancer. From alleviating anxiety, pain, anger, and depressed mood, to more definable immune effects, massage therapy is an excellent adjunct care method for those suffering from cancer.
Several studies have demonstrated that individuals suffering from certain types of cancer including breast, lung, and stomach cancer, patients who were given massage therapy had a lower amount of nausea and vomiting following chemotherapy treatments. Additionally, these same patients reported have lowered anxiety, physical discomfort, fatigue, and mood disturbance when tested against a control group that did not receive massage.

Perhaps even more importantly than the outcomes mentioned above are the effects noted on cancer patients with regard to their Natural Killer (NK) cell activity. In two separate studies, one reported in Autonomic Neuroscience, and another reported in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, (see references at the end of the article), massage therapy had a positive effect on Natural Killer cell activity.

Natural Killer cell activity can often deteriorate during radiation and chemotherapy, which has a negative effect on the body’s own ability to fight off infection. Oftentimes, people being treated with radiation and chemo will contract secondary infections in addition to the cancer, further complicating their medical treatment.

In the study reported in Autonomic Neuroscience in 2009, “massage decreased the deterioration of natural killer cell activity occurring during radiation therapy…” Since radiation therapy is so damaging to the body’s immunity, the fact that massage therapy can help to counter that negative effect is very important news for those undergoing this type of treatment.

In the study reported in Journal of Psychosomatic Research, a group of women with Stage 1 or 2 breast cancer were treated with massage or a control group receiving no massage therapy. At the end of the study, a subset of the women had their blood drawn to measure their immune system. The women had increased Natural Killer cell activity versus the control group after the massage intervention. Since cancer is a disease that has negative effects on overall immunity, and the treatments provided also decrease immunity while they are active, massage therapy shows promise as an adjunct treatment to help with these specific issues.
In conclusion, it appears from these and other studies published in the scientific literature that most cancer patients, whether in active treatment or just diagnosed with cancer, can benefit from massage therapy. To view more studies about massage therapy with regard to various conditions, please visit our studies page by clicking here. For information on booking a massage therapy appointment, or for our long term massage care packages for your loved one, please visit our website by clicking here.


The effect of massage on immune function and stress in women with breast cancer--a randomized controlled trial; Billhult A, Lindholm C, Gunnarsson R, Stener-Victorin E. Auton Neurosci. 2009 Oct 5;150(1-2)

Breast cancer patients have improved immune and neuroendocrine functions following massage therapy; Hernandez-Reif M, Ironson G, Field T, Hurley J, Katz G, Diego M, Weiss S, Fletcher MA, Schanberg S, Kuhn C, Burman I. J Psychosom Res. 2004 Jul;57(1):45-52.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

CranioSacral Therapy For Common Health Complaints

CranioSacral Therapy is slowly gaining recognition in the medical community as an acceptable alternative healthcare modality. Part of the reason that the acceptance is so slow is because it challenges long held beliefs that there is no movement in the dura mater or the craniosacral system as a whole, which is the basic principle that inspired the creation of craniosacral therapy.
There are some scientists of late, however, who have determined that there is a movement in the craniosacral system. Their contention, though, is that it cannot be detected by the therapist but only by means of specialized instruments. While it is true that specialized instruments can detect it, the sensitivity of the therapist’s hands has long been under-appreciated. Micro movements, such as the movement of the craniosacral system, can be detected with practice and development of sensitivity. In the classes, learning to feel the rhythm is the most important part of the teaching.

One of the more common health conditions that craniosacral therapy has been shown to be effective in treating is migraines. As healthcare professionals are well aware, migraines have been studied for a very long time, and conclusions have been reached about what they are. Migraine is a type of headache that is caused by vasoconstriction in the area of the occiput and neck. A possible but unstudied cause of migraine can also be that the vasoconstriction occurs because the occiput has become improperly set upon the atlas, or first cervical vertebra.

When patients are treated with craniosacral therapy, this issue is reversed, and many of the participants in the studies related to migraines reported an immediate relief of symptoms. The most promising part of these studies was that some of the migraine sufferers reported that the migraines did not return for a month the treatments had been discontinued. This is great news for those suffering, since most of the treatments available must be continuously administered.

Another health condition which is a great deal rarer than migraine, but no less difficult to treat, is fibromyalgia. When patients were treated with craniosacral therapy for fibromyalgia, they reported less anxiety, less pain, and a better quality of life. Fibromyalgia is another condition that requires life-long treatment most of the time, since it is such a mystifying disorder without a thoroughly understood causative relationship having been determined.

Many patients with this disease are given regimens of various pharmacological interventions throughout their lives. However, alternative methods such as massage therapy and craniosacral therapy are gaining recognition as acceptable treatment methods, since they improve the quality of life and reduce the pain these patients experience.
There are many other examples of conditions that can benefit from craniosacral therapy, which will be discussed in greater detail in future blogs. If you would like to learn more about CranioSacral Therapy, please visit our CranioSacral Therapy page by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Post Natal Massage For Healthy Mother and Baby Bonding

Post natal massage therapy has been recognized as an essential part of post-partum care in cultures around the world. In India, the mother and baby are secluded for a period of 40 days, with the mother receiving massage therapy and giving her baby regular massages throughout the day.
Oxytocin is a hormone that has been shown to facilitate the bonding between a mother and her baby, in addition to the widely known effects of increasing breast milk production and making feeding easier for the infant. A recent controlled clinical trial performed at UCLA determined that massage therapy, in contrast to a control group, was able to increase levels of oxytocin in a person’s bloodstream.

This is great news for first time mothers especially, but also for all mothers in general. Very often, first time mothers have a hard time producing enough milk for their infant, and are forced to seek out formula rather than underfeed. Since this hormone is known for increasing milk production, it makes perfect sense that other cultures have appreciated the effects of post-partum massage therapy.

An article published on strongly suggests infant massage by their mothers are further facilitating the bonding between the mother and baby. Simple infant massage techniques can be taught to new mothers by massage therapists or by books readily available online and in bookstores. Massage therapy’s stimulation of oxytocin production in the infant and the new mother has also been shown to help the new mother and baby bond.
For more information about post-natal massage and how it can benefit you and your baby, please visit our post-partum massage page by clicking here.