maternity massage

Swedish Massage Can Decrease Stress and Boost the Immune System

Do you often lack energy, feel stressed, and pick up every virus making the rounds?  The solution could be as easy as committing to regular Swedish Massage Therapy sessions.  Lorrie’s article on Page 10 in the April issue of Memphis Health and Fitness will catch you up on what the research has to say.  Click here to read the April issue.

Celebrating Ten Years

10 yearsThe last ten years have passed in the blink of an eye.  When I began my business in 2007, I had no idea that it would become such an integral part of my life and who I am.  My clients and I have studied the human body together with curiosity and compassion.  We’ve watched one another age and go through many life changes.  We’ve explored what it means to let go of trauma and to finally heal.  It seems that what begin as a business has become a laboratory in which to explore what it means to be human.

I’d like to thank each and every one of you who have walked beside me on the journey.  Here’s to the next ten years!

 

 

Sports and Myofascial Release

When it comes to sports, fascia can be your friend or foe. Whether you’re a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, John Barnes Myofascial Release is essential for stellar performance, less injury, and staying on top of your game as you age.

fascia manMyo means muscle and fascia is connective tissue. According to the International Congress on Fascia, “Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue system that permeates the human body. It forms a whole-body continuous three-dimensional matrix…”.  For muscles to contract and relax and tissues to glide against one another during movement, fascia must be hydrated and pliable.  Fascia is also the body’s shock absorber and when it becomes stiff or restricted force disperses unevenly throughout the body, leading to injury. Did you know tight fascia can even prevent muscle firing and lead to muscle weakness?

Fascia becomes tight and stuck in athletes for many reasons.  The healing process after trauma, surgery, and muscle tears can leave layers of fascia to stuck together (adhesions).  Poor body mechanics, repetitive strain, and chronic inflammation can cause tightness in fascia that doesn’t respond to traditional stretching.  Unfortunately, as we age, fascia becomes stiffer and less pliable.

John Barnes Myofascial Release is an effective form of bodywork that can get you moving with more ease.  It’s a non-aggressive modalitydr. g fascia that produces profound results. Your therapist will gently elongate your fascia for a minimum of 3-5 minutes, releasing the elasto-collagenous complex. No lubrication is used and your therapist may work in areas that seem unrelated to your symptoms.  This is because the fascial system is completely interconnected.

After a few sessions you will notice greater range of motion, less pain, and better performance. Even long-standing injuries respond to the gentle methods used in John Barnes Myofascial Release.  The longer you’ve been experiencing problems, the more sessions it may take to get you back in top form.  However, including self-myofascial release in your daily care regimen will speed up the results exponentially.

Where is fascia in my body?

Let’s imagine your body were an orange.  This is how your fascia would be arranged:

  • Superficial fascia is like the thick, white, hard tissue that attaches the orange to the peel.  In us it holds the skin to the body and provides a framework for subcutaneous fat.
  • Inner Layer-  Deep fascia is like the white fibers that separate the sections of an orange. For us, it separates our organs and keeps them in place. Without deep fascia our organs would drop down into our legs every time we stand!
  • Cellular Level- Cellular fascia is like the white fibers that weave through a single slice.  It holds the slice together and holds in the juice. In our bodies, cellular fascia keeps the 70% of our bodies that is fluid in the right place.

What does fascia do in my body?*

  • Supports and stabilizes, enhancing the postural balance of the body.

  • Is vitally involved in all aspects of motion and acts as a shock absorber.

  • Aids in circulatory economy, especially in venous and lymphatic fluids.

  • Fascial change will often precede chronic tissue congestion, creating fibrous tissue.

  • Is a major area of inflammatory processes.

  • Has it’s own contractile forces that allow fascia to contract during fight-or-flight.

  • When tight, can inhibit muscle firing, leading to weakness.

*John F. Barnes, PT

There’s no reason to be stuck on the side lines.  Call 901-496-2881 to schedule your first appointment for John Barnes Myofascial Release.

Massage Can Decrease Stress and Anxiety During Pregnancy

Did you hear the one about the 39week pregnant lady who ran a marathon and delivered her baby at the end of it? It may sound like the setup for a joke, but it’s a true story from the 2011 Chicago Marathon. Certainly that woman is a highly conditioned athlete, well prepared for such a feat that most wouldn’t want to do with baby on board.

Even if she’s not an athlete, a woman’s active lifestyle places demands on her time and energy that can get downright overwhelming, especially if she’s pregnant. Today’s expectant moms are maintaining regular exercise regimens along with the responsibilities of work and family. Long gone is the old prescribed inactivity and overeating. Pregnant women are encouraged to exercise, to the extent to which they were conditioned before pregnancy, and maintain a balanced diet. One thing that is difficult to control is stress, and any reduction of stress for an expectant mom is beneficial to mother and baby.pregnant-runner-272x300

According to the American Pregnancy Association, prenatal massage has been shown to reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains and even improve labor outcomes and newborn health. Just as massage does for any adult, in pregnant women, there is reduced stress level and stress hormones like cortisol. Pregnant women also show improved mood regulation and cardiovascular health. Biweekly massage for even just five weeks showed significant reductions in cortisol and increases in the pleasant hormones of dopamine and serotonin.

Not that there has to be immense stress or discomfort in order to justify massage. Prenatal massage is beneficial even for the most “unstoppable” of women. Whether athletic or not, all pregnant women experience reduced circulation and increased pressure on the uterus. That pressure causes edema (swelling). In later pregnancy the uterine pressure spreads to the legs, which leads to sciatic nerve pain. Massage stimulates tissue and removes toxins via the lymphatic system which helps improve circulation. It also reduces inflammation, effectively decreasing nerve pain.

The Touch Research Institute, an organization out of Miami devoted solely to touch and it’s application in science and medicine, further confirms the benefits of maternity massage. A study published in 2010 reported that women who received prenatal massage showed decreased cortisol levels, which apparently decreased excessive fetal activity. It also correlated a lower rate of prematurity in the massage group. Additionally, women in that study reported decreased depression, anxiety and leg and back pain. That study also showed a correlation with less labor pain and shorter labors from women who received massage.

Massage is safe in all three trimesters and until delivery. If the pregnancy is high risk, women should get clearance from their healthcare provider to receive massage. Before choosing a massage therapist, verify what position they place their clients during massage. The proper position includes being placed in a sidelying or semi-reclining position during the massage. Massage tables with the hole cut out and a sling for the belly aren’t considered safe because they can create strain on the uterine ligaments. Outdated concerns about acupressure points in a woman’s wrists and ankles causing early labor are unfounded. Only anecdotal reports exist of stimulating these points coinciding with the onset of labor. In all reported cases, the pregnant woman was within two weeks of her due date. The amount of pressure used (with the exception of deep pressure to the legs) during the massage should be appropriate to the activity and comfort level of each woman.

A well trained and experienced Prenatal Massage Therapist should be an essential part of every woman’s team during pregnancy. Whether she’s preparing for a competitive event or simply her new role in life.

Lorrie Garcia, LMT, NCTMB, is the owner of Evergreen Advanced Bodywork. She’s specialized in Prenatal Massage for nine years, taught Pregnancy Massage at The Massage Institute of Memphis, and worked with hundreds of women before, during, and after their pregnancies.