Prenatal Massage and Bodywork

One of the most interesting and rewarding skills a massage therapist or bodyworker could learn is prenatal and postnatal massage. This post will be a different then most because I would like to share more than just some useful and interesting information about this topic but also something far more personal and intimate about my experiences with this work. I hope that not only will woman but also their co-parent (male or female) will read this post as well. It is apart of profession that changed me as a person as well as a practitioner.

 

My prenatal massages have just a few simple goals: 1. Calm mothers mind and body through quite and comfort. 2. Help mothers coupe with some of the physical changes a pregnancy. 3. Allow the co-parent (when possible) to learn how to help in the mom with the physical changes of a pregnancy. Every session is about leaving the world behind you, where no one has advice for you that you never asked for, and where you can just be yourself and nothing else. 

 

Many expected parents never even think of massage during pregnancy and if they do I often hear, “It’s a luxury at a time when money is about to get a lot tighter.” To all of them I would say that if they were going to every consider it to call a practitioner and talk about what sessions are like and what they could offer. I tell people to contact me personally before counting out the idea. A free consolation is always worth the call. A prenatal and postnatal massage for me is one of those rare times I think as a male massage therapist and bodyworker this kind of session really allows me to be chivalrous and a true “gentlemen” in the modern word. I treat the client with a compassion and reverence that i think we do not see in the service industry anymore.

 

So how does this whole thing work? Simple really…a call from mom or a gift giver who is looking into the idea. During that conversation I will ask some simple health questions as well as get an idea of what the person already knows about the topic (more often then not people have done their homework already to one degree or another). Then it’s just a matter of preparing the gift card or making the appointment. 

 

How does one prepare for a prenatal massage? Well, mom just needs to make sure there is enough time to get to me for the appointment and also have time to use the bathroom once arrived. If you have a 5:00pm session in general getting in the door by 4:50pm works. Once you get toward the end of the pregnancy then 4:45pm works better. Bring with the stuffed animal or favorite pillow to cuddle with for its calming effect. Sometimes bringing in special music that is calming to you is also nice. If at all possible I encourage the co-parent to show up at the end of the session time by coming with and hanging out in the waiting area or just coming in about 10 mins before the end of the session for education and bonding time. Water and a small snack helps too if it has been a long day. 

 

Prenatal massage routines and and positioning of people is somewhat controversial but I will tell you how I do it.   Mothers are always welcome to start prenatal work with me starting at the beginning of the second trimester if there are no medical concerns. I always place people on the their left side and with many pillows to provide support and comfort. To make things even easier I adjust the height of the table to make sure you can get on and off the table more easily. 

 

Sessions are normally 90 minutes in the beginning to as little as 30 minutes at the end of the pregnancy depending on time constraints or medical needs. Most people will have one hour massages up until the end of their pregnancies if they are health without complications. 

 

So what physical changes can prenatal work help with? 

  • reduce swelling in the joints as the pregnancy progresses by using lymph drainage techniques.
  • soothe back pain as your spine changes shape through the trimesters
  • release tight muscles in the hips and legs  
  • With my help show the co-parent the safest and most effective was to help mom with those little aches and pains

 

At the end of every session I walk as little as possible and offer any assistance needed. There are often those with questions in which case like with most session I leave time for those so you can leave with confidence. 

 

Some people say you can induce birth through points on the body is that true? Ya it is possible but  in order to do so you have to hold pressure on the spot for some time. I do not do that. I need deeper pressure to get ride of these tight muscles how hard can you push? I do not use deep pressure to release tissue on any client, I relax the tissue so I don't have to push hard. During pregnancy many people think its ok to use great pressure to release muscle and the truth is it’s more metal desire for pressure than the body actually wanting and accepting the increased pressure. How often should I come in? In general once every two weeks keeps you on top of changes in your body and allows me the chance to stay ahead of the coming changes before you feel pain. 

 

So now a more intimate and personal confession about my time doing prenatal work…I feel compelled to share so people truly understand what this work means to me. I learned basic prenatal in massage school which was serval weeks of book reading and practicals (which is more than most in the industry). After leaving school I starting my own massage business and during that time I never had the need to use it. For a short time I worked in both a spa and running my own massage and bodywork business on the other side of town. There at the spa I got just a hand full of prenatal and postnatal clients. Only two of those clients ever disclosed to me in advance that they were pregnant. The spa had its own prenatal protocols of which I agreed with and followed carefully. The remainder of those clients did not disclose their pregnancies and were in their first trimester so they had not started to “show” which means that I could not have know. Those three clients stated later in later sessions (sometimes months later) miscarried. It was difficult to hear that word…miscarried…it destroyed my confidence even after I asked why they had not disclosed it at the time of there massages thou they had been told to left the staff know if they were before any appointments no matter what. Though the risk of a standard massage leading to possible miscarriage is very low it is also the most likely time of a miscarriage in a pregnancy. It took me two and a half years to ever work on another pregnant person again. Before I did to help restore my confidence and ensure my skills I did take another prenatal bodywork certification course. Sense then I have worked with many clients who are expecting on my own terms using my protocols and I have seen ladies throughout their pregnancies. An even greater feeling is being able to hold those children in my arms after they are born healthy and happy. 

 

I hope that is posting has been helpful. This posting has taken a long time to write for many reasons but I wanted to be informative and meaning full for everyone who reads it. 

Legal Disclaimer: Due to the litigious nature of many people I am forced to issue this statement: Any information contained within blogs, websites, postings, or news articles suggestions which I make to be open for interpretation that if you believe it may fit a concern or medical problem you may be having or suspect that you may have that you discuss it with your qualified healthcare practitioner including your physician. I do not take responsibility in any way for any content provided to you that you choose to act on without talking to a medical doctor or other qualified medical practitioner with legal standing of authority. You are free to act on any information from any source that you choose of which the consequences are your responsibility.

NRT Experience (nutritional response testing)

Nutritional Response Testing, Applied Kinesiology, whatever you want to call it let me tell you about how it has changed my life. Maybe you will find something in here what will ring true for you as well. Whatever the case maybe I think this is one subject that might create at the very least some internal conversation. This is one of the most often asked referrals among my clients with chronic symptoms.

So lets go back in time a couple of years to what I call my “frustrated time”. After years of declining energy, increasing wright, and interrupted sleep I realized that for someone who was (at the time) under 30 years old there as a problem. With my increasing concerns I looked to my husband for help who had always been lean to spite eating dam near anything whenever he wanted to. Needless to say that nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’. 

I choose to eat basically nothing but small low calorie salads and lean protein while increasing my activity level to 90 minutes of cardio and weightlifting with the help of a personal trainer six days a week. My issues only got worse over the few months I tried this approach (which was not all that different than I was a young guy). Even after enlisting help from other alternative healthcare provider nothing seemed to be helping. During this timeframe my husband and I where for the first ever able to see the same doctor and because my husband hates doctors I set up matching physicals. This appointment really became the catalyst for the change I will be talking about from here on out. 

We went to the doctors office on a Friday afternoon for our physicals with our new doctor. We did the talk and the blood draws all the normal stuff. Then all started talking about my health. I was surprised by the response of the doctor to my symptoms. The presumption that I was bound by my genetics and that I was fibbing about my food intake kinda bothered me because it assumed that I was just like everyone lying to get more easy answers for my weight loss. At one point I even told the doctor, “If there was someone here that would indite me for the satisfaction of just being right it would be my husband but I don't think even he could say that I have not been willing to eat right and exercise in order to understand what is wrong with me”. After the doctor suggested a blood pressure medication and a weight loss plan I looked at it with my husband….I was not only eating the plan he had suggested but if not better. I was for lack of a better term stupefied. Oh and by the way my husband who had been suffering with nightmare, skin issues, and chronic flu was told he was fine and in good health. 

Out in the parking lot I told my husband I wanted to call someone who did Traditional Chinese Medicine work who I was already seeing for acupuncture. I called from the car and asked if there was any chance we could get in for a consolation that day as their NRT program was new. They said yes they would make the time for me because I was such a long time client. After dropping my husband off at home I headed the five miles to their office with no exceptions. The consultation was more about what they did and what my concerns were more than treatment that day. For my part I was concerned about why the treatment could work compared to the nothing everyone else had told me.

I did the treatments for several months which involved a muscle based allergy test and then a muscle based nutritional deficiency test. The “treatments” were plant and animal based supplements produced less then 50 miles from my home the ratios and effectiveness were independently verified. As I bought and took the supplements my the crap got drained off and my body started to heal itself in ways I did not think was possible. So instead of treating the symptoms I went after the tools my body needed to treat the cause of the problems I was having. The cost was not cheep and frankly time intensive but here is what I found:

  1. The body, more than I had ever really realized as an innate ability to heal itself under the right conditions. 
  2. Our food is no longer as nutrient dense as we thought it was causing outward signs of our bodies being in distress.
  3. We are better off being informed consumers of healthcare than to be forced to pay for government mandated care from an HMO.
  4. Health is a matter of priority and the ability to pay. Which means the key to good health is observation and education not medication and misinformation.

So what did they find out about me? Well, I had been exposed to CFL lights for years prior and the mercury has poisoned me to a very extreme level (one I later found out should have killed most people). They also found two allergies that I never knew I had, which after changing my diet a little bit had greatly improved my health. And finally, the I was extremely deficient in some vital vitamins and minerals (which I was able to verify with a blood test). 

What were some of the results? Well, I lost 40 pounds and I eat more than I ever had before. I don’t use sunblock or acne creams because I don’t burn and done get acne anymore. My heartburn is all but a memory and my energy level is better than when I was 19 years old. 

If you want to know more just ask me. So many people have asked over the years it’s a story I don't mind sharing because its my experience  not a sales pitch its just my story. I have sent other people to get this work done and sometimes I stop seeing those clients for awhile but I know that helping people is why I do what I do and if I do that everything else will follow.

Legal Disclaimer: Due to the litigious nature of many people I am forced to issue this statement: Any information contained within blogs, websites, postings, or news articles suggestions which I make to be open for interpretation that if you believe it may fit a concern or medical problem you may be having or suspect that you may have that you discuss it with your qualified healthcare practitioner including your physician. I do not take responsibility in any way for any content provided to you that you choose to act on without talking to a medical doctor or other qualified medical practitioner with legal standing of authority. You are free to act on any information from any source that you choose of which the consequences are your responsibility.