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What You Should Know About Pregnancy Massage

While nine months can seem like forever at the time, pregnancy is a brief, beautiful time in a mother’s life. Treating yourself to a pregnancy massage soothes some of the pain and tension associated with pending motherhood while also encouraging serenity during the last weeks of your pregnancy.

It’s normal to have a few concerns about the massage process while you are expecting – here’s what you should know about prenatal services before you book.

Is prenatal massage safe?

Safety always comes first, especially with so much at stake. Our licensed therapists are trained in prenatal techniques to provide the best care for you and your baby. To avoid blood flow complications, all pregnancy massages are performed side-lying with comfortable support.

What’s the difference between pregnancy massage and a regular massage?

Reasonably, there are several necessary adjustments to our traditional massage techniques. For example, some pressure points in the ankles and abdomen can trigger contractions or early labor so these areas are avoided.

Similarly, we only use gentle strokes rather than deep tissue pressure to avoid releasing stored toxins into the blood, which could potentially affect the developing baby.

When should I schedule a pregnancy massage?

We recommend starting pregnancy massages at about six to eight weeks. In some cases, your massage therapist may allow you to start prenatal massages in the later stages of your second trimester.

Due to the risk of miscarriage in the early stages of pregnancy, it is not recommended to receive a massage in the first trimester.

What are the benefits of prenatal massage?

Pregnancy massage delivers several therapeutic benefits both mentally and physically. Generally, labor is made harder due to the tension and stress that builds up in your muscles. Relaxing these muscles and decreasing overall stress may make delivery easier and a bit faster.

Aside from relaxation, you may experience any number of perks from a prenatal massage:

Less Swelling

Swollen ankles, hands and feet are hallmarks of pregnancy. Massage improves blood and fluid circulation, which transports more nutrients and oxygen to your baby while releasing some of the fluid build-up in your extremities.

Hormonal Balance

High levels of cortisol – the stress hormone – have been linked to early childbirth. The soothing touch of massage decreases the cortisol levels and increases “feel good” hormones like serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin to improve your mood.

Reduced Muscle & Joint Pain

The uneven weight shift that happens during pregnancy impacts your posture and puts pressure on various nerves. Prenatal massage aims to relax tight muscles that may be compressing nerves and relieve lower back pain.

Better Sleep

Of course, the increased relaxation from your massage session may promote better sleep, but the reduced pressure on areas of your back can also make it more comfortable to rest.

With all the stress to prepare your mind and home for a new baby, taking an hour for self-care keeps you healthy and well-rested during what can be considered one of the most demanding times of your life. At Total Body Chiropractic & Massage, our experienced massage therapists will work with you to ensure that each pregnancy massage session is as pleasant and soothing as possible.

In a Pinch? Treat Pinched Nerves with Chiropractic and Massage

A pinched nerve – you’ll know it when you feel it. While some medical complications lead to this condition, even everyday work requirements can increase your likelihood of experiencing the symptoms. Fortunately, non-invasive techniques like chiropractic and massage can heal this issue, without hassle, quickly and effectively.

What is a pinched nerve?

A pinched nerve results from the compression of a nerve root along the spinal column or in any joint throughout the body (as is the case with carpal tunnel). Issues with the surrounding tissue, including bone, cartilage, muscle and tendon directly cause this condition. The resulting inflammation worsens the problem by adding more tension on the nerves.

Causes of a pinched nerve

Health conditions, aging, genetics and lifestyle habits can all lead to nerve compression.

As you age, the spinal discs – or cushions between each vertebra – begin to wear down or can rupture and protrude. Such is the case with degenerative disc disease and herniated discs, respectively. With these conditions, the bones and discs put pressure directly on the nerves, which can cause issues in any part of the body.

While those conditions commonly cause pinched nerves, symptoms can result from several circumstances:

  • Poor posture
  • Injury
  • Stress, which causes you to hold tension in your muscles
  • Obesity
  • Repetitive movements in the wrists and shoulders
  • Pregnancy
  • Sports
  • Arthritis

Symptoms of a pinched nerve

Due to the widespread connection of nerve endings, you may feel pain radiating to any part of your body, depending on the location of the affected nerve root. However, pain is not the only tell-tale signs of a pinched nerve, look out for these symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Neck pain
  • Low back pain

Chiropractic treatment for a pinched nerve

While you may feel that the nerve pain is bearable, it is vital to address it with a professional. Once adjusted, your nerves can resume normal function and blood circulation. When left untreated for long periods, nerve compression can lead to chronic pain and permanent nerve damage.

Chiropractic care and massage therapy provide a natural treatment for pinched nerves by relaxing muscles and properly aligning the spine. Your chiropractor will locate the affected area and discuss your medical and social history to identify the potential cause.

Through adjustments, they will properly align your vertebrae, so they are no longer hindering your nerve function. Your chiropractor will also guide you in light stretches to do at home, which may prevent recurrence and keep you limber.

In some cases, the pinched nerve occurs due to contracted muscles and the associated inflammation. Gentle massage techniques decrease tightness and stretch out muscles to encourage blood flow and mobility.

You don’t have to live with the pain from a pinched nerve. Keep your back and body in line to prevent nerve compression and other preventable conditions. The physical, non-invasive treatments offered by Bend Total Body Chiropractic and Massage work to provide relief as soon as the first visit.

 

Should You Book a Deep Tissue or Sports Massage?

Massage not only promotes relaxation and calmness of the mind, but it also acts as therapy for the body by releasing tightness and improving mobility. Understanding the difference between the deep tissue massage and the sports massage can help you determine the best service for your needs.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage focuses on full-body relaxation by applying more pressure on the deepest layers of tissue and muscles. The techniques of this massage relieve small, newer areas of tension in the muscle tissue and break up adhesions in the fascia (the connective tissue surrounding your bones, muscles, and joints.)

Patients prefer deep tissue massage for its many benefits:

  • Muscle relaxation
  • Reduced chronic pain
  • Lower stress levels
  • Decreased tension in the upper back, shoulders, and neck
  • Relief from lower back pain

Sports Massage

Sports massage caters to athletic patients of all types, including professional, collegiate and high-school level players – and even people who exercise regularly. By evaluating your posture, the physical demands of your particular sport and past sports injuries, your massage therapist can concentrate on the areas of your body that are overworked or stress from aggressive and repetitive movements.

Sports massage uses deep tissue and stretching techniques on the muscle-tendon junctions to provide certain advantages to athletes:

  • Pre-game warm-ups and post-game cooldowns
  • Healing and preventing injuries
  • Improving flexibility
  • Quicker recovery time between games

Deep Tissue Versus Sports Massage

For many people, these two massages seem very similar, but depending on your lifestyle, you may benefit from one more than the other.

Unlike the deep tissue massage, the sports massage mainly focuses on the areas most vulnerable to injury or stress as well as older and larger areas of built-up tension. For example, runners may need more work on their legs, while baseball pitchers may benefit from a shoulder and arm focus.

With the deep tissue massage, you receive full-body therapy to relieve new areas of pain in your muscles and tissues.

However, both massages apply deep pressure, which may cause slight discomfort.

Choosing the Right Service

If you’re deciding between these two services, then there are a few questions to ask your therapist that may help you choose the best option:

  • I used to play sports, but I haven’t in years. Which massage is best for relieving the tightness I still have from my time playing?
  • Can I get a deep tissue massage that concentrates on one area, or do I have to get a sports massage for targeted areas?
  • I experienced whiplash recently, should I get a sports massage to heal the injury, or am I better suited for a deep tissue?

Regular massage therapy and chiropractic care can help heal and repair sore and tired muscles and lower your likelihood of general muscle strains and sprains. Your massage therapist will be able to answer any questions you may have and help you determine the best treatment options for your specific issues.

 

How to Choose the Right Massage for You

Massage is not one-type-fits-all. People need different types of massage to best address their specific issues. That’s why choosing the right type of massage therapy for your needs is essential. You don’t have to do this on your own – our massage therapists will evaluate you to determine your needs, trigger points and imbalances and then personalize the type of massage best suited for you. Following are several of the varieties of massage therapy that we offer at Total Body Chiropractic & Massage, and who can benefit most from each technique:

  1. Deep tissue massage – this whole-body massage is designed to relax joints and muscles. While it is similar in many ways to the better-known Swedish, or relaxation, massage, its deeper pressure aids chronic pain sufferers.
  2. Myofascial massage – this technique concentrates on pain that stems from tough myofascial tissues, the membranes supporting the muscles and is beneficial for back pain sufferers. It also improves blood circulation, which relieves pain by bringing oxygen and nutrients to tissues. A related type of myofascial massage known as gua-sha is also available. Gua-sha is especially recommended for those with longstanding muscle tension requiring a release.
  3. Pregnancy massage – expectant mothers appreciate the relief offered by this massage, as it can dispel many of the common conditions of pregnancy. These include edema – or swelling – backaches, cramping, and overall stress. Also known as prenatal massage, the practice can help mothers-to-be relax and sleep better.
  4. Sports massage – athletes know the effects of a good massage. Regular sports massage can prevent injuries and increase flexibility and range of motion. The massage therapist targets the most vulnerable areas in the individual’s body based on the type of sport they play.
  5. Swedish massage – this classic form of massage improves circulation and aids in muscle relaxation. It is also effective for minor pain relief. If you’ve never had a massage before, this is a good place to start.

Massage therapy can significantly improve a patient’s overall well-being both physically and emotionally. When combined with proper nutrition and ongoing chiropractic care, massage therapy promotes proper body alignment, balance and function.