Month: February 2015 (page 1 of 2)

Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massage is a great way to treat yourself and your baby

The better you treat yourself during pregnancy, the better you’re treating your baby!

Prenatal massage, like any other massage, aims to provide a comfortable environment, bring a sense of peace and fulfilment to the recipient, and prevent and relieve pain and stress. However, prenatal is specifically tailored for the needs of pregnant bodies. Massage therapists practicing prenatal massage work to accommodate changes that the body may be experiencing, and is sensitive to the baby that is growing within.

During prenatal massage, your body must be properly supported in order to protect the growing baby, and to ensure the comfort and safety of the mother. This can be done with padding and pillows, or with a specially designed massage table.

For a face-up massage, pillows will be placed underneath the shoulders and knees to create a semi-sitting, or semi-reclining position. In order to perform a back massage, your massage therapist may ask you to lay on your side, and place pillows under your head and between your legs. Or, you may be asked to lay face down on a specially designed padded table with cutouts that will allow a safe, comfortable face-down massage.

The Benefits of Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massage meets the needs of pregnant women by relieving stress, alleviating pain, and improving bodily functions.

1. Improve Blood Flow

Massage techniques can bring blood circulation to congested areas. This improves oxygen flow throughout the body, invigorates strained muscles, and enhances organ performance.

2. Get Rid of Toxins

Massage can improve the flow of lymphatic fluids, which overall enhances the performance of the lymphatic system. This is essential for the safe removal of toxins from the body, and a healthily functioning immune system. During pregnancy, a healthy immune system is crucial, and so your lymphatic system must be in top shape.

3. Relieve Muscle Tension

During pregnancy, your muscles may feel more strained than usual because they have to accommodate a growing body.  By encouraging blood flow to affected areas, prenatal massage can reduce swelling and strain on aching muscles. Prenatal massage can also help improve the flexibility of certain muscles, helping prepare them to bear a heavier burden.

Prenatal massage makes your pregnancy glow shine a little brighter!

Prenatal massage makes your pregnancy glow shine a little brighter!

4. Headache Relief

By focusing on areas around the neck and head, prenatal massage can provide relief to the headaches that so often accompany pregnancy. The overall relaxing effect of massage can also reduce occurrence of stress migraines and tension headaches.

5. Reduce Swelling

Swelling in the hands and feet is common during pregnancy. Foot and ankle swelling can occur due to increased pressure from the growing baby and water retention, especially later in the pregnancy; swelling in the hands and wrists also occurs, sometimes leading to carpal tunnel. Massage helps reduce swelling and the accompanying cramps by increasing circulation to the area.

6. Emotional Boost

Many studies have shown that receiving massage decreases incidence of the stress hormone cortisol and increases the presence of the “happiness” hormone serotonin – in other words; massage can induce feelings of happiness and reduce anxiety. It has been suggested that massage is a good option for those who experience  stress, anxiety, and depression along with their pregnancy.

7. Improve Sleep

A stress free mind sleeps better. Often, pregnancy brings restless nights due to stress and anxiety. In reducing the incidence or severity of these negative emotions, prenatal massage has been found to improve sleep patterns in pregnant women.

When to Get Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massage is especially beneficial during the second and third trimesters, when added weight can strain muscles – especially the back and leg muscles, which bear the heaviest burden.

However, as with all specialized massage, it’s always important to check with your doctor before booking a massage, especially during the critical third trimester. Prenatal massage might not be the right choice for you if you have diabetes, intense morning sickness accompanied by violent vomiting and stomach pains, preeclampsia, or high blood pressure.

Remember not to lie on your back during the second half of your pregnancy – the weight of your baby and uterus may put too much pressure on your placenta, which can cause damage.

Be kind to your body, especially when it’s under strain. Prenatal massage has numerous benefits that can promote health and relieve stress during your pregnancy. The better of you are during your pregnancy, the better of your baby will be!

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Watch Your Back While Shoveling Snow

This snowy winter weather makes me want to do nothing more than crawl under the covers with a nice, hot cup of tea, a cat on my feet, and series of good books, and remain in that position until the snow melts to reveal spring.

Unfortunately, this will remain a fantasy as long as I need to do things like work, eat, stretch, and the like.

In order to maintain any semblance of a normal life in this snow-covered universe, clearing snow off of walkways, driveways, and car tops is essential. However, it’s all too easy to injure yourself while shoveling snow.

As with moving boxes and lifting heavy objects, you wind up bending and straightening your body frequently while shoveling snow. Shoveling snow also requires you to lift, move, and drop a heavy burden.  Learning how to do these tasks properly can save your back, knees, shoulders, and hips from future pain.

So, without further ado, here are 5 tips on how to safely and effectively shovel snow this winter!

1. Warm Up Beforehand

Think of shoveling snow as a specialized snow sport where it’s you versus the snow. Like any sport or competition, it’s important to prepare your muscles before hitting the field.

Do a few stretches and quick exercises before going outside to get your blood flowing. It may be good to stretch your hamstrings, as shoveling involves repeatedly bending and straightening your knees.  Loosen up your upper body, especially your shoulders, as you will be lifting heavy piles of snow. Do a few jumping jacks or quick running in place, as well, to warm up your body before braving the cold outside.

2. Stay Grounded

As we all know, snow and ice can be incredibly slippery! Thus, it’s incredibly important to wear proper shoes when going outside to shovel snow. Make sure the shoes you’re wearing have good treads and can handle ice.

Falling is actually one of the most common ways that people injure themselves while shoveling. Aside from wearing good shoes, sprinkling rock salt, cat litter, or gravel on the ground where you will be standing can help reduce slipperiness and prevent falls.

3. Use The Right Shovel

As a single shovelful of snow can weight up to 20 pounds, an ergonomically designed shovel can make all the difference when shoveling snow. Good shovels are generally lighter and have handles contoured to your hand.  They also reduce the need to bend as far or lift as high when shoveling snow.

When choosing a snow shovel, make sure that your shovel is neither too long nor too short for your body — a short shovel will cause you to over-bend, and a long shovel will cause you to over-lift.

4. Take Your Time

No one ever said you need to do all of your shoveling at once!

The best time to start shoveling is early. If you start shoveling after the first few inches of snow, it’ll make your life that much easier later, when there is a great accumulation.

Removing snow early and frequently will help you avoid densely packed piles of snow, which are heaviest and cause most lifting-related injuries.

It can be easy to overwork yourself while shoveling because the cold weather keeps you from noticing that your body is heating up. To prevent overheating, wear lots of layers so you can regulate body temperature as needed. Make sure you stay hydrated, as well! Take breaks frequently and drink lots of water before, during, and after your shoveling excursion.

5. Lift Like A Champion

Champions become champions by applying technique, staying focused, and not rushing! So when you’re lifting up heavy piles of snow, think like a champion.

When shoveling snow, the champion move is to move as little as possible. Try to push the snow, rather than lift it. If you must lift, bend with your knees, grab a small shovelful of snow (it’s best to avoid overloading your shovel), and hoist with your legs – not your back! Then, as slowly and minutely as possible, bring your small load of snow to the dump pile. Having a predetermined dump pile is always a good practice – why shovel the same snow more than once?

If you must actually lift a pile of snow – rather than push it around – walk your shovelful of snow over to your dump pile. Flinging the snow or twisting around to deposit it can strain back or result in pulled muscles. Over-twisting or flinging is also a great way to fall in the snow.

Bonus tip – don’t shovel!

Shoveling snow isn’t the only way to wipe your walkways or clear your car.

If shoveling hurts your back, you always have the following options.

  • Salt everything. This definitely won’t remove all of your snow, but it will make your job easier by improving melt times.
  • Use a snow-blower. These machines are faster and more efficient than shoveling, though they’re also heavier than shovels and a bit more expensive. If you do choose this option, there are other health and safety considerations to take into account.
  • Get someone else to do it. There is definitely a kid down the block who will accept $20 in exchange for shoveling duties; or, call a professional snow plow company. Either way, there WILL be someone willing to clear away your snow for you!

Whether you’re shoveling your own snow, using a heavy duty snow blower, hiring someone else, or waiting out the cold with a cat on your feet, stay warm the rest of this winter!

And above all, stay safe!

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Show Off The Way You Love This Valentine’s Day

This Friday and Saturday — that’s Friday, February 13th and Saturday, February 14th — Darcy Doggett and Jill Breier are offering exclusive couples massage packages!

Last week I wrote a post telling you all the benefits of couples massage and why it’s so important to do something different from time to time if you want to keep a spark alive in your relationship; why it’s so essential to show the people in your life that you care about them, and why Valentine’s day is a yearly celebrate of that love and closeness.

I just wanted to remind you that you only have two days left to call or email Darcy (973-744-1576 or darcy@massageinmontclair.com) to secure your spot this weekend for one of these incredible massages.

Each couples massage session is 60 minutes long, and comes with a *special Valentine’s gift basket* filled with surprise treats from local vendors!

Because this is such an exclusive opportunity — we only do this for two days out of the whole year! — we do NOT allow online booking for our Valentine’s day couples massage. (But we do allow online booking for everything else!)

There isn’t much time left! If you’re interested, I’d suggest calling (973-744-1576) or emailing Darcy AS SOON AS POSSIBLE because spots have been filling up fast!

We hope to make your Valentine’s Day the best one you’ve had yet. Looking forward to seeing you!

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