Friday, January 6, 2012

Pregnancy And Massage

There have been mixed feelings about whether or not pregnancy is a contraindication to massage. I can tell you that most establishments will not accept you as a client until you have reached your 2nd trimester. This is for liability concerns due to the fact that the first trimester of pregnancy is the riskiest in terms of miscarriage. Massage has a lot of effects on your body including the flushing of toxins, raising of your core temperature, as well as it's effect on your immune system. For these reasons, though there have been no conclusive studies showing that massage can have any impact on increasing your likelihood to miscarriage, most establishments will still not accept you until you have entered your 12th week. Not only that but because of sensitivity issues, receiving a massage in your 1st trimester may actually leave you feeling nauseated and exhausted.

In 2nd and 3rd trimesters the concern surrounding massage is relatively low. Specialty "Pregnancy Massages" are offered that take certain basic precautions to provide a comfortable massage for the expectant mother. This usually involves pillows or bolsters to provide a side-lying massage and omitting any added heat (i.e.: hot stones or table warmers) or aromatherapy which may adversely affect the expectant mother. Deep Tissue work is not advised. Therapists are also careful not to overstimulate certain "pressure points" which have been rumored to enduce labor. Again, there has been no conclusive data to show these pressure points are of any real concern though it is advised not to use excessive heat and/or sustained pressure over these specific points.

It should also be mentioned for those who come in for post-pregnancy massages, mothers who are breast-feeding should pump and discard their first feeding due to the metabolic waste released into the system during a massage.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Good Massage VS. Bad Massage

I learned something very important at the Orange County Massage school I attended. And that is, you can't teach a good touch. 30 students, 15 massage tables, one day we would give massages, the next day we would receive. My instructor would have us alternate partners so that we were able to experience all our classmates different approaches to massage. The people I turn to today for massage are still a few of the fantastic classmates I met in Massage School. Others, however, I would never let massage me again, not even for free!

I remember one particular classmate of mine who was very dedicated to being at the top of the class. He diligently studied every page of the textbook memorizing theory, technique, anatomy... the works. When I got on that table though, I knew all the book learning in the world wasn't going to gain him any God-given talent. This is why it's important to find a good massage therapist that works for you. And this is also why so many client's show their therapist customer loyalty with their return business. Because when you've had a bad massage, you can really appreciate a good one.

The hunt for a good massage therapist can be a humourous version of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears.

Massage #1 : "Excuse me, do you think it's possible I can get some more pressure, please? This is, afterall, a Deep Tissue massage."

Massage #2 : "Excuse me, do you think maybe you can warm up the muscles a bit before just JAMMING your elbows into my back? My muscles are clamping up on the defensive and this is, afterall, a Deep Tissue massage."

Massage #3 : "Excuse me, is your other job in construction? Because I don't remember asking for any exfoliation on my back. Your not using any scrubs and yet your calloused hands are sloughing off valuable skin cells I'd like to keep!"

Massage #4 : "Excuse me, I'm not too strict on draping protocols but I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to tuck the sheet into the crack of my buttocks to hold it in place. Just a suggestion."

Massage #5 : "Excuse me, do you think you can use less massage oil? I feel like a slip and slide and you've elbowed me in the head 3 times."

Massage #6 : "Excuse me, do you think you can use more massage oil? I'm getting Indian burns all over my body."

Massage #7 : "Excuse me, I don't mean to criticize your technique or anything, but I paid good money for this massage so I'd appreciate less massaging my "aura" and more putting your hands on my body. This is, afterall, a massage."

Massage #8 : "Please, for the love of God, do not stop what you're doing between my shoulder blades. I will give you all I own."

In conclusion, find the massage therapist that works for you. And when you do, do not let them go. :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

10 Great Points for Self Massage

In this entry I will review some great tips on self massage. Not all of us have the time or resources to go in for a massage every time we need it. I understand this. Though it’s most beneficial to receive a full body massage from a skilled professional, sometimes a little self massage can temporarily alleviate muscle pain and tension until we are able to get in for a session. That being said, here are some great spots to work on that help with those daily aches and common problem areas.

1.) The Brows – A great area for those nagging headaches. Start by applying pressure with your thumbs at the start of the brow bone, closest to the nose. Hold down pressure here for a moment before sliding your thumbs out along the brow bone towards the temples. Repeat slowly several times.

2.) The Chin – This is a great one that most people don’t think of. It works wonders for my headaches as I have a tendency to clench my jaw and hold a lot of tension in my facial muscles. Apply firm pressure with the knuckles of your index and middle fingers. After a few moments of direct pressure, massage out in a circular motion.

3.) Behind the Jaw – This is great for tension headaches in particular. Just behind your earlobe is a small niche directly behind your jawbone. Your thumb fits perfectly here and with firm pressure here for 10 to 30 seconds you can regulate some of the blood flow and help ease the pain associated with tension headaches.

4.) The Shoulders – Poor posture and body mechanics can really be a common cause for tension in the shoulders. A fantastic way to help loosen these muscles a Pincer technique. Lay your hand on the top of your opposite shoulder. Scoop as much of the shoulder muscle as you can in your hand and squeeze. Pinch for about 30 seconds, pulling the muscle forward and down as you move your elbow back.

5.) The Palms – You can find some great tissue to work on in the meat of the palms. They are often neglected and hide unexpected relief when worked on. There are two spots to focus on here. The side closest to the thumb and the side closest to the pinky. Here you can use your knuckles or your palm if you’d like. I prefer using my elbow. With firm pressure, work the meaty areas closest to the wrist in small circular motions. You may feel some crunchy feeling knots in these muscles; this is an easy way to tell if you’re not getting enough water.

6.) The Wrists – For those worrying about symptoms of carpal tunnel, it is a good idea to do regular, preventative stretching and self massage. Stretch your hands up, down, left and right with palms open, then with closed fists. Do this periodically throughout the day if you are using your hands a great deal. Also use your thumb to massage the inside of your wrist. The idea here is to start at the center of the wrist and stretch it outward toward the thumb and pinky finger.

7.) The Forearms – Another great one for people who do a great deal of typing or work with their hands and fingers. Lay your fingers on the top of your forearm just below the elbow. Wiggle your fingers as if you were typing. You’ll be able to feel the muscle in your forearm that controls these fingers. Strip the muscle in an upward motion using your palm or even your forearm if possible.

8.) The Chest – Opening up the chest can also alleviate hard to reach opposing muscles in the back. Using the pads of your fingertips or your palm, work out the tissue running underneath the collarbone in small circular motions. Follow it up with long gliding strokes from the breastbone out toward the shoulder.

9.) The Legs – The best thing you can do for your legs is stretching. I struggle to think of one person that stretches as often as they should. Stretching these large muscles can be uncomfortable at first but try to hold the stretch for 30 seconds to 2 minutes if possible. Holding it for this long causes an extra release in the muscle if you wait for it. Restore circulation by jostling the leg muscles from top to bottom. Another good tip for leg cramps is soaking your legs in Epsom Salts.

10.) The Feet – The feet are amazingly resilient. Just a brief massage for your feet can really restore energy and vitality to them. Rub the pad of each toe with your Thumb use your knuckles in gliding motions along your arches, and finish off the ball of your foot and heel with firm pressure using the palm of your hand.

These tips should help alleviate some tension temporarily until you are able to see a licensed Massage Therapist who is skilled in more thorough manipulation of the soft tissue. Nothing really compares to skilled hands that can reach those tense back muscles you can’t. To see just what my skill and knowledge can do for you, visit my Menu of Massage Services to schedule an appointment. I would love to work on you!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Orange County Massage In A Personal Setting

One thing that I really pride myself on providing in my massage practice is a more personal massage experience. I have had many clients tell me how much they appreciate the time I give them. Often a person will walk into a popular day spa for a massage and they simply get lost in the shuffle. They get on the table, there's no communication, they receive the same massage every other person received before them.

As someone who specializes in providing Deep Tissue Massage, I know the importance of keeping communication open with my clients. It is so important to get constant feedback so that I can provide the right amount of pressure that is unique to every one of my clients. Each person is different and so are their set of aches and pains.

My clients really appreciate the time I spend with them before their massage, asking questions and finding out their unique needs. And I, of course, appreciate being appreciated!

To experience the difference of the service I provide, book your appointment with me online at Massage Orange County today!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Deep Tissue Massage VS. Swedish Massage

When it comes to Swedish massage, many people are unclear about what it is. As far as Deep Tissue massage goes, many people fear it because they have a distorted perception of what to expect. Today I will be clearing up exactly what each type of massage is, and how to choose the one that is right for you.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is probably the most popular type of massage out there. When you hear "massage" and get an image in your mind, it's probably of a Swedish massage. The reason Swedish is so popular is because it is your basic relaxation massage. It is comprised of gentle, gliding strokes that circulate your blood and lymph fluid and flush out metabolic waste. Other swedish massage strokes include: compression, vibration, and percussion style tapping. If you are very sensitive to touch or are looking for a gentle, superficial stroke purely for relaxation or circulatory benefits, Swedish massage in the way to go.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep Tissue massage is massage with purpose. It specifically targets tense knots in the deeper layers of muscle. Deep tissue releases tension in those reoccuring problem areas that cannot be treated by Swedish massage alone. Many people are hesitant to sample Deep tissue massage because they assume it will be painful and unpleasant. However, a seasoned deep tissue specialist is trained in keeping communication open between themselves and the client and consistently asks for feedback so they can adjust pressure to their client's needs. An expert in Deep Tissue massage will know how to properly utilize cross fiber friction and muscle stripping techniques in order to break up the tissue in a way that does not leave the client with kickback pain the next day.

My Personal Choice

As an Orange County Massage Therapist, my personal favorite has got to be Deep Tissue. I love being able to provide my clients with the kind of pain relief that they have been desperately seeking for their chronic muscle tension. If you have had bad experience with Deep Tissue massage, my recommendation would be to find another therapist. One that will work with you to provide you with the experience you are looking for. I know that many people live with chronic pain and tension every day and shy away from seeking the real help they need. That is why I price my Deep Tissue massage considerably lower than my Orange County massage competition. I want to make it easy for you to come in and sample my services. I know that once you see how beneficial and affordable massage can be, I will have a client for life!

To sample my services, utilize my online appointment booking at: Http://

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Massage And Your Health

It's time we rethink the way we look at massage. Living in beautiful Orange County, with its overflowing amenities and posh environment, it's easy to see how so many of the locals have associated massage with a luxurious frill. But I'm here to tell you: Massage is not a frill, its fundamental!

Therapeutic Massage is quickly gaining momentum as a method of healthcare. Massage Therapy has long been associated with numerous health benefits. As time progresses, more and more people are taking a look at the way that massage therapy can positively affect their lives.

Massage is not only valuable physiologically to the muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems but has shown to have great effects psychologically as well. Many people suffering from chronic anxiety and depression have found that the addition of regular massage to their lifestyle can help significantly reduce the impact of such mood disorders. The promotion of general relaxation not only reduces stress but conversely impacts blood pressure, immune function, and overall heart health. Reduced stress also makes for better relationships and helps regulate sleep patterns. All these positive side effects translate into longer lifespan and a happier outlook on life. Massage is not an indulgence, its indispensable!

Not only are the benefits of stress reduction easy to see, but the negative side effects of too much stress are also clearly seen. Studies have shown that heightened stress levels also increase the suffering related to pain and illness. As if that weren't enough, the relation between stress and weight gain have long been apparent. Do yourself a favor and stop thinking of massage as a "once in a blue moon" pampering session. Rather, consider using therapeutic massage as a preventative addition to your healthcare regimen.

For more information on the Wellness Programs offered by Massage Orange County visit the Discounts and Incentives page at