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Pregancy Massage from a Pittsburgh Massage Therapist

 

So I'm starting to reach the beached whale phase. This comes after the 'sick as a dog' phase and before the 'get this baby out' phase. That puts me at around 30 weeks along. Ok, I'll admit I did have a nice solid month of cute baby bump, feeling good. That's the month you take all your preggy pictures :)
While on vacation I booked a couples massage for my husband and I.  Mine, of course, being a prenatal massage (yes, massage therapist like to be pampered too!) I was a little apprehensive because I am also a bit of a massage snob and like to be worked on by caring therapist I know (as in my talented co-workers). It ended up being a great experience and we both enjoyed our massage but it got me thinking about how and why pregnant mommas might shy away from getting a pregnancy massage.
I always felt prenatal massage was one of the most rewarding, but to be honest, trickier massages to give. An ever changing time for the client, it is really important for the therapist to be present and aware of the comfort level given. Clients should know it is more than ok to say they're too hot, too cold, uncomfortable in a certain position, or "please, more pillows!" I often have clients say, "Can I take you home for the rest of the pregnancy?!" And this is the rewarding part I mentioned above. My favorite part though would have to be, after navigating through and finding the sweet spot of comfort and relaxation for my client the often experienced connection with the baby they have for that precious hour or so (the baby often gives a kick of gratitude when doing belly work). A little rest and connection to the little one about to come in to the world can sometimes make getting through the "phases of pregnancy" a little easier for my clients, and that is no small feat.
One phase I'll be starting soon is my maternity leave. I'm grateful to my clients and their patience as my baby bump starts to literally come between us, lol. It's bittersweet (thanks, hormones) the excitement to meet my little one but saying goodbye for now (I'll be back I promise!) to my awesome clients, quite a few who I've seen regularly since I started over four years ago at PCCHH. I feel truly blessed at witnessing some amazing transformations all through the power of touch. Thank you for allowing me to work and grow as a therapist through all of your openness. Ok, instead of more hormonal rambling I'll end with some tips for a great prenatal massage experience!

 



Pregnancy Massage 101:
*Speak up! A therapist will never be offended if you need something to be more comfortable.
*Be open! Prenatal massage is slightly more interactive, you will be in different positions than a normal massage, (side lying, wedge pillows, etc..)
*Yes it's ok to say you need to take a bathroom break mid massage, we understand :)
*You can say if you feel okay or not having your stomach massaged, but before you are quick to decline, there are a lot of benefits to it including some relief on your diaphragm (think breathing easier, hallelujah!)
Lastly, enjoy the time...you won't be pregnant forever (really!) and you just might miss those kicks to the bladder when they're gone.

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Lymphatic Drainage

One fun thing about being in the wellness field for over a decade is seeing modalities evolve. When I first took my lymphatic drainage course in 2001 it was still relatively new and not requested by very many of my clients. I am now pleasantly surprised, years later that it is something I'm able to do often because of...I don't know, probably many reasons. Clients have a better understanding of their bodies or at least a curiosity of how to do better for themselves.

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The Art of a Customized Massage

I've been a massage therapist for over a decade and a lot of my techniques have become second nature. I can easily find myself weaving through different modalities in a single session. I may start a normal Swedish massage off simple enough and before I know it I've found that their back needed the forearm work of Lomi Lomi, their feet begged for reflexology and their energy needed Reiki's loving touch. It's what I love about our customized massage at PCCHH, it truly is customized. I love the time I get to spend with my clients beforehand, just asking them "how are you"...and then really listening to their response. In this space it's not just a question asked for pleasantries but a real, sometimes heavy question. The reward of someone's genuine appreciation of being heard is just one of many bonuses in this job.
So we talk. As we go over the intake and they update me on any pertinent information they want to disclose we start to form a "game plan" for the session. I'm always surprised and happy how open my clients are to trying different techniques. They may never have heard of lymphatic drainage but when I explain that it may help with the edema of a recent surgery they are almost always on board. I often hear from clients that we (the massage community) are filling a need left by a medical field that has chosen to cut nurturing to a minimum. I am humbled and proud to be filling that void and yet still hope that that changes. That we will come full circle and see that the power of a nurturing touch should never be left out of any healing institutions. I really love this quote I found making the rounds on the internet. I thought it perfectly sums up the work I strive to do, on a good day I leave feeling like an artist.

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The Zen of a Yarn Ball

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Developing a Patient Perspective: How To Learn From the Babies in Your Life

Patience is a virtue, not a given. I wouldn't say I'm the most patient person to begin with: I'm a "Let's see the results now" kind of girl. So you can imagine having patience for my own self very hard. "You're your own worst critic" is a mantra I'm trying to break this new year.

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