One of the most common complaints I hear about as a massage therapist is muscle knots. What exactly are these knots…and what are they …well…not. To understand all this, let’s take a closer look at the body:
There are over 600 muscles in the body. These muscles overlap to give us the ability to move in a variety of ways. They allow us not only to move certain body parts but also to restrict movement so that you don’t go beyond a healthy range of motion, thus injuring yourself. Muscles also have specific properties. These properties are:
- Excitability: the ability to be stimulated by the neurochemical reactions (think TENS unit)
- Contractility: the ability to shorten (this is how conscious and subconscious movement occurs)
- Extensibility: the ability to stretch
- Elasticity: the ability to return to its original shape
Along with this, muscles are surrounded by fascia. Fascia is a sticky, glue-like substance that surrounds each muscle fiber, and the muscle group itself. One of its functions is to reduce friction of muscular force. This allows the muscle groups to glide on top of and alongside each other. Along with this, fascia provides a supportive wrapping for nerves, lymph vessels, organs and blood vessels as they pass through and between muscles. Like the muscle itself, fascia is also innervated by sensory nerve endings.
Okay, now that we have a bit more background on muscles, we can discuss what happens when we get a “knot.” So, firstly, the muscle does not tie itself into a knot! They can do a lot of things…just not that! A “knot” is a hyperirritable spot in a band of muscle that causes pain…also called a “trigger point.” There are many causes for this irritation. Lack of hydration in the muscles can cause it, chronic shortening of the muscles or the fascia around the muscle becoming adhere to surrounding structures-preventing movement or flow of energy.
If you find that you have these knots in your muscles, there are few things that you can do to help relieve them:
- Drink plenty of water. Water helps to hydrate the muscles, which allows them to function properly. It also helps to hydrate the fascia or connective tissue around the muscles. This may help to prevent trigger points from occurring so frequently.
- Stretch! Stretching helps to interrupt pain signals to the brain and keeps the muscles pliable. This is important in everyday life, but especially if you work out. Stretching after you work out can help to decrease tension and soreness in muscles.
- Get massage therapy regularly. Massage therapy helps to relieve muscles aches and pains while loosening sore, tense muscles.
Yours’ in Health,
Are you searching for an expert Licensed Massage Therapist, who knows the ins and outs of chronic pain relief, Look no further! I’m Ellie Dukes, Licensed Massage Therapist-specializing in prenatal and oncology massage therapy for 12 years. However, I offer an array of massage services.Visit me at Trinity Massage Haven in Blue Bell PA. Call to Schedule your appointment today at 267-584-3015 or Book online now.
As holistic health becomes more mainstream, the use of essential oils, which are oils extracted from plants and flowers, are growing in popularity. Aromatherapy is the art and science of using essential oils for health and well-being. Essential oils can be used for skincare, rashes, cleaning products, and to help with moods, including stress relief. Stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed their resources. It’s what we feel when we think we’ve lost control of events. While some stress is necessary, unmanaged stress has been shown to lead to or exacerbate heart disease, asthma, obesity, and depression.
Essential oils work by stimulating olfactory (smell) receptor cells in the brain. Using aromatherapy to soothe the body after a stressful experience, can help to change how the brain responds at that moment.
Many essential oils help with stress relief. Here are my favorites:
This versatile oil is a favorite amongst many because of its pleasant, floral aroma. It induces relaxation and is excellent for insomnia. It is also beneficial for pain relief and has anti-inflammatory properties. This oil is ideal for people who are experiencing physical pain along with stress.
How to Use
- Aromatherapy candles
- Flameless electronic diffuser for home or office
- Lavender massage lotion
Lemongrass is used in both culinary and pain-relieving preparations in Southeast Asia. Lemongrass leaves are used in Thai herbal compresses. These compresses are used for both physical and emotional pain relief. Its pleasant scent helps relax the body, and useful for those with insomnia.
How to Use
- For insomnia: 2 Drops on a cotton ball and place under pillow
- Car diffuser: This connects the cigarette lighter in your car and disperses the scent you add.
- Add 1 drop per ounce of lotion and massage into skin
Peppermint is an excellent essential oil to use if you are experiencing mental fatigue and exhaustion due to stress. Its scent is uplifting and can help motivate you to get the job done!
How to Use
- Add a few drops to a piece of cloth. Carry it with you and breathe into the fabric when you need a little pick me up.
- Steam Inhalation: Boil 2 cups of water. Carefully, pour the water into a bowl. Gradually add the essential oil, one drop at a time. Around 3-7 drops should do but use your discretion. Inhale from about 12″ away from the bowl. Take a few breaths in at a time. Stop if you notice any irritation or discomfort.
- Add 1 drop per ounce of jojoba oil and massage into skin
Here are a few words of caution:
Just because essential oils are natural, does not mean that they are safe in every instance. They can be dangerous if not used correctly.
- Some essential oils may not be safe for those who have epilepsy, are currently pregnant, or breastfeeding. Check with your healthcare provider to see which essential oils are safe for you.
- If you plan on using essential oils on your skin, do not use without diluting in a carrier. A carrier medium is a base used to dilute the essential oil to make it safer to use. Common carriers are olive oil, unscented lotion, and shea butter. Even after diluting essential oils in a carrier, test on a small patch of skin to make sure you aren’t allergic.
- Phototoxicity, or photosensitization, is a reaction caused when essential oils on the skin are exposed to UV light – whether from the sun or a tanning bed. Reactions can be severe, and even permanent.
Yours in Health,
If you are looking for someone with massage therapy expertise, who also is familiar with which essential oils to use for stress reduction look no further! I’m Ellie Dukes, Licensed Massage Therapist-specializing in prenatal and oncology massage therapy for 12 years. Visit me at Trinity Massage Haven in Blue Bell PA. Schedule your appointment today at 267-584-3015 or click here to book.
If you have no idea what Thai Massage is then Prenatal Thai Massage is not even on your radar. But, It’s not a new at all it’s been around for years. Most people have heard of Thai Massage but have no clue can be on Pregnant women also.
My friend and massage instructor Vanessa messaged me one day and said she had a class on Prenatal Thai Massage. I was so excited because Vaness studied Thai Massage in Thailand for a month. She has many years of experience in Thai Massage and Yoga.
Being a prenatal massage therapist for ten years and counting I got a bit weary of my skills as a prenatal therapist. I learned the foundation of prenatal massage in school in 2007. The side-lying position was the only option at the time. Then fast forward to 2009 I was four months postpartum (my 3rd and final child) I had what I call level II prenatal massage education. In this class, I was taught how to use The bodyCushion system so pregnant women could have the option to lay face down while getting a massage. I know right? My 2nd and 3rd pregnancies I did not know about the cushion system I had the table with the hole so my belly could fit in it. I was not a fan of this at all. My back hurt more than when I came, and the ligaments in my stomach were stressed even more. Not a good idea for me and my body. It was time to take my skills to the next level. It was time to get grounded.
What is Prenatal Thai Massage
Prenatal Thai Massage techniques are combined gentle, yoga-like stretching with compression of the muscles and energy lines with hands and foot, forearm rolling, thumb pressure and joint movement. A pregnant mom can receive her massage in side-lying, seated and sitting positions. While there are believed to have 72,000 hundreds of energy lines in the body, Thai massage focuses on the ten main energy lines with the intention to free stagnation of “lom” which translates to “wind.” When lom is not flowing freely, dis-ease can is present.
How is Prenatal Thai Massage Done?
Prenatal Thai is performed on the floor on a Thai Massage mat that looks like a futon mattress. It is firm yet very comfortable. There are a lot of pillow, bolsters, and cushions to support the pregnant mom as well as the practitioner. Thai Massage can also be performed on the massage table. However, I will be offering it the traditional way, on the mat.
On the Thai mat, I was able to get the body leverage necessary for the stretches and postures used in Thai Massage. Depending on the needs of the client. I was able to include my elbows, knees, and feet in addition to my hands. Yes, I did find my self-winded a few times when not using proper body mechanics. Once my posture was corrected it was smooth sailing.
I am so excited to add Prenatal Thai Massage new tools added to my toolbox of massage therapy skills to my practice as an option for my pregnant mommy clients. I consider this my level III prenatal massage. Prenatal Thai Massage is where training and preparation for your labor day take place. Your muscles must be healthy and well prepared, your endurance and mental grit will be enhanced for your delivery day.
P.S I got some much-needed bodywork myself for two days while in this class. I was so zoned and zen at night. On Monday I after I took my youngest to school I came back home and slept until 1:30 pm. My body had to process the two days of bodywork I received because I did not take the time to get a massage since late spring. I won’t be doing that again.
Prenatal massage is my specialty. As a prenatal massage therapist, I have taken extra training to provide the safest and most comfortable massage available during your pregnancy. I’ve also been practicing prenatal massage for ten years and counting. Here is a snapshot of what to expect in one of my prenatal massage treatments.
What to expect:
When you call to schedule your appointment, I may not answer right away; I apologize in advance. 95% of the times I am in a massage session and cannot answer my phone. However, my lovely voice mail will direct you to my website to schedule the next available appointment. Yes, you can schedule your massage appointment online. It’s quick, easy, secure and user-friendly. This option is perfect when you are considering a massage late at night and don’t want to wait to call in the morning.
If and when you schedule your appointment online, I will call to touch base, give directions if needed, ask a few questions to prepare for your prenatal massage and to help you prepare for your massage session. You can also read my FAQs page for more info.
On the day of your appointment give yourself some time if you do not know the area. Walk down the short pathway thru the garden. My office is private, away from traffic and noise, very comfortable and clean.
What I use in the treatment:
You do have to complete a health assessment form (arrive ten mins before) and chat a little about your needs and how I can help facilitate your healing. I offer the choice of several different positioning options for your massage. These are either side-lying, semi-reclined or I use the bodyCushion™. I use the bodyCushion™ so you can lay face down with ease and comfort and it is very safe for you and your baby. Warm towels are applied to the treatment on the back and feet. Here is a short video demonstrating how it works.
Source: Youtube ~ bodyCushion Positioning For Pregnancy Part 3 of 3
I know how it feels to be pregnant; I know the aches and pains, the good days and the not so good days. I also know and have personally experienced the nurturing, therapeutic benefits of prenatal massage can have on an expecting mom. So come on in, leave your aches and pains on my pregnancy cushions.
5 Star Review
” Eleanor gave me two prenatal massages, one at 33 weeks and one at 38 weeks ( 2 days before I was induced). She checked in with me a few times during the massage to check for pressure and concentrated on my lower back and once I flipped over. which was my sorest area. The cushions that cradle your belly and allow you to lay on your front are comfy- I never felt any pressure on my stomach or ribcage. I plan on returning for regular massages in the future. Highly recommend!!!” ~ Karen S
Are you Pregnant and Hurting?
Wondering what do pregnant moms do to relieve their Lower Back Pains, Stiff Neck & Swollen Feet?
Eleanor Dukes, Solo-preneur of Trinity Massage Haven is a licensed Massage Therapist, providing relief to your pregnant belly, lower back pains and tired feet. Most Pregnant women use Massage as a natural pain reliever to ease aching backs, sore, swollen ankles, and annoying hip pains. Modern research is proving that prenatal massage therapy can be a very instrumental ingredient in women’s prenatal care and should be given careful consideration.
Pregnancy involves more preparation than one might initially imagine, my goal is to reduce the stress that accompanies 40 weeks of scheduled doctor visits, birth plan composition, nursery building and design, and even the picking of the baby’s name. The journey to the motherhood can be a difficult one, even for the best-prepared mother.
80% of pregnant women suffer from body aches and pains – a staggering figure. But, while 80% seems high, not all is lost; thanks to proven clinical research that shows how pregnant women benefit from massage therapy.
Pregnancy causes a woman to change dramatically – physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially. Some of these changes are flat out uncomfortable. Prenatal Massage uses techniques designed specifically to address pregnancy’s challenges. Prenatal Massage can:
- Relieve nausea
- Increase circulation and flow of nutrients to the placenta
- Relax the baby-to-be-born with gentle massage
- Improve health of baby and mother by reducing negative impacts of stress on both
- Alleviate muscle pain and joint pain
- Enhance sleep quality and relaxation
- Reduce swelling in the feet and around the ankles
- Hormone Regulation
The bottom line is that expecting a baby is an exciting time, but it can be very stressful as well. Incorporating Pregnancy Massage as part of your Complementary Alternative Medical Care and your Traditional Prenatal Care you will be giving yourself and your baby the absolute best care possible.
5 Star Review
‘I’m 4 months pregnant and feeling all sorts of aches. Eleanor gave an excellent full body massage which relaxed and rejuvenated me! She made sure I was comfortable even when laying on my tummy. I recommend her services to anyone looking for a massage, pregnant or not!” ~ Veronica B
Call Ellie 267-584-3015 to schedule your massage today. Or use the online scheduling option.