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Fertility, Prenatal & Postpartum Massage

Massage can help women in all stages of childbearing

Recently there has been a lot of research into the benefits of massage in increasing fertility for women hoping to conceive, for women who are already pregnant, and for women who have recently delivered a baby.

The most widely studied technique for helping infertility is the Wurn technique. This technique attempts to break down pelvic adhesions which can block the fallopian tubes and is useful for women who have a history of reproductive disease or surgery. This technique must be done under the supervision of a licensed medical doctor or physical therapist, and currently, you would have to travel to Florida, California, or Iowa to go to a clinic that uses the Wurn technique. If there are doctors or physical therapists in NC trained in the technique, we were unable to find their location. Visit the Clear Passage website for more information.

pregnancy massageHowever. women who are trying to conceive and become pregnant can benefit from more conventional massage especially if stress is a factor in inhibiting fertilization. The ability of massage to increase blood circulation and to help organs better align as the adjacent tissue relaxes helps conception occur. Furthermore, the energy modalities, like Reiki and Polarity Therapy, have anecdotal evidence of improving fertility in a number of women.

Once you are pregnant, massage can alleviate some of the discomfort you may feel. Massage can relieve myofascial pain, especially in the lower back, neck, hips, and legs. It also can reduce swelling by improving lymph circulation (lymph drainage massage is especially effective in doing this). Finally, massage before delivery may ultimately ease labor pain in some women.

Obviously there are some modifications that must be made for the pregnant client. Usually the client is asked to lie on her side for the massage and is generously bolstered with pillows for extra comfort and support. Some massage therapists use a special "Prego Pillow" which allows the client to lie prone while receiving the massage. Deep work is not advised, and it is best to wait until the second trimester before having a massage. If your pregnancy has complications or you have certain health issues, be sure to get your doctor's permission before scheduling a massage.

After the baby is vaginally delivered, massage may be highly recommended. If you've had a Caesarian, you should get permission from your doctor as a precaution until you are fully healed. Chief among the benefits of post-natal massage are that it reduces fluid retention, helps the uterus to return to its original size, reduces cellulite and improves muscle tone.

The aim of massage at all points in the pregnancy timeline is to give physical nurturing and emotional support to the mother-to-be or to the new mother. We at Tapestry Life Resourceswant to support you in any way we can.

Please call Suzanne Eller at 828-315-9900 to schedule an appointment soon.


How to Give an Infant Massage

Better bonding and improved development are the result of gentle touch for newborns
infant massage

Research tells us that an infant must be touched in order to thrive. A new baby needs to be cuddled, caressed and carried. The importance of touch in developing neural pathways for optimal growth and development are well-documented. Furthermore, touch helps an infant bond with his/her primary caregiver, and that bonding is necessary for mental and emotional health later in life.

Researchers are also finding that massage improves a baby's immediate physical well-being. It promotes better sleeping, relieves colic, and enhances the newborn's immune system.

To give your baby (or grandbaby) a massage, sit on the floor with your feet together so that your legs create a diamond shape. Lay the baby face-up on a soft towel or blanket that you've draped between your legs at a time when he or she is quiet (not fussy) but alert.

Be sure to use a non-allergenic oil. Jojoba oil is surprisingly close to the natural oils of the body, but there are others that also work well. You will want to use light, gentle strokes that are firm enough not to tickle but not so firm as to harm the skin or soft underlying tissue. Naturally, you'll be careful around the spine and soft spots, and you will avoid massaging around the navel until the cord falls off.

Be aware of the baby's responses to your touch. If he or she becomes fussy or doesn't seem to like what you are doing, change the stroke or delay the massage until another time. The baby will give you signals about what he/she likes and about when to stop. Typically, the massage will last between ten and thirty minutes. Just remember to keep your pressure lightly firm and to modify your strokes as you notice what your baby likes and dislikes.

To begin the massage, hold your fingers so that your pinky's edge can move like a paddle across your baby's belly. Then start genlty stroking at the base of the rib cage and move down. Stroke with one hand and then the other with a paddle-like motion. Then use your fingertips to massage the abdomen in light circular, clockwise motions. (Clockwise motions help digestion and follow the natural direction of the large intestine; counter-clockwise motions can slow or even block the bowel.) Walk your fingers lightly around the navel, also using a clockwise motion.

One way to remember direction is to do the "I Love You" stroke. Trace the letter "I" down your baby's left side; then trace an inverted "L" along the base of the ribs and down the right side. Finally, trace and inverted U up the right side, around the navel and back down the left side.

Holding the baby's knees and feet together, gently press the knees toward the abdomen. Rotate the baby's hips to your right a few times. This move can help the baby expel gas.

Now you can move to the head and face. Avoiding the fontanel or soft spot, cradle your baby's head in both hands, and gently massage the scalp with your fingertips, as if you're shampooing. Use your thumb and forefinger to gently massage the ears, and use both your forefingers to trace a heart shape on your baby's face from forehead to chin. Use your thumbs between your baby's eyebrows, stroking outwards, and then stroke from the bridge of the nose out over the cheeks. Lastly, use your fingertips to massage the jaw in small, feather-light circles.

Now move to the baby's chest. Using your fingertips, trace another heart shape up the baby's breastbone, around the shoulders, and back down to the bottom of the breastbone. In a crisscross pattern, stroke diagonally from one side of your baby's hip, up and over the opposite shoulder, and back down to his/her hip.

To massage the baby's arms, hold the baby's wrist with one had and with the other hand form a C-shape around the upper arm. Stroke from the shoulder down to the wrist. Massage the palm of the hand by moving your thumbs in a rotating stroke from heel of the hand to the fingers. Gently squeeze the fingers when you come to them.

If your baby sis continuing to enjoy his/her massage, you can turn him/her over to massage the back and legs. Be sure you keep the baby's hands in front of him/her and not to the side. Use both your hands in a paddle-like motion to massage the baby's back from the base of the neck to the buttocks, somewhat like you were moving a spill into a container. Then hold the buttocks with one hand and use the other to stroke down from the neck to the buttocks in one long stoke. Do this several times before using your fingertips to massage in small circles down one side and then up the other of the baby's spine. Never press on the spine directly. Follow this by massaging the shoulders and then the buttocks in circular motions. Finally, lightly rake your fingertips up and down the baby's back.

End the massage with the baby's legs by holding the ankle with one hand and using the other hand in the C-shape you used on the arms. Start at the tip of the thigh and stroke down to the foot. At the sole of the foot, use the same thumb-over-thumb technique as you used on the hands to massage from the heel to the toes. Then use your whole hand to stroke the bottom of the foot from heel to toes. Gently squeeze each toe, and massage around the ankle using small circles.

Massage can become a part of your baby's daily schedule. Babies benefit from nurturing touch, and parents can become more aware of their baby's non-verbal cues through lvingly delivered infant massage.


Essential Oil Blend of the Month: AWEO's Serenity

sunset in florida
Peaceful Sunset in Florida
photo by Genelda Woggon, used with permission

Serenity is Ancient Wisdom Essential Oils' version of Young Living's Peace and Calming.

Both oils are blends designed to calm tension and stress and promote deep relaxation. The blend's aroma is especially pleasant, and the oils are used by many clients instead of cologne.

What makes this blend so special is the combination of essential oils of tangerine, ylang ylang, blue tansy, orange, and patchouli that make the blend both fragrant and calming.

Each of the oils has particular properties:

All of these individual oils influence the brain's limbic system, which engages the senses and helps us integrate with our environment. The limbic system tells us when our life is out of balance. Serenity essential oil can help the limbic system rebalance and thus help us cope with life's stresses more easily.

Many clients like the effects of Serenity when used as aromatherapy in a room. They diffuse it and find it helpful in calming overactive children and pets. Caution: Do not use the oil directly on the skin of pets or children under two years of age. Although Serenity is generally safe for all but the most sensitive skin, for most the most prudent safety, dilute the oils for those with sensitive skin, including children over two, pets, and the elderly. Women who are pregnant should not use essential oils unless a doctor approves them.

Other anecdotal evidence points to the positive benefit of Serenity on those with nervous disorders, hypertension and heart disease. Some suggest it can be used to help cure the smoking habit.

Suggested uses:

Order Serenity directly from our storefront at left, or call us and we'll order it for you.

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Apr 2010

In This Issue

purple spiral

Quotes about Spring

peacock tulips

"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."
~Rainer Maria Rilke

"Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day."
~W. Earl Hall

"April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go."
~Christopher Morley

"I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden."
~Ruth Stout

"Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world."
~Virgil A. Kraft

"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."
~Margaret Atwood

"April hath put a spirit of youth in everything."
~William Shakespeare

"If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom."
~Terri Guillemets

"Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems."
~Rainer Maria Rilke

"I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring. Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature's rebirth?"
~Edward Giobbi

"Every spring is the only spring - a perpetual astonishment."
~Ellis Peters

purple spiral

serenity essential oil blendAncient Wisdom Essential Oils
Serenity 15 ml: $24.00

TLR logo
Copyright 2010
Suzanne H. Eller


azeleas in hickory nc

It's a beautiful spring after a long, cold, wet winter. Most of us have enjoyed being outdoors and taking in the beauty of nature. Some of us have overworked our muscles and needed a little TLC from our massage therapist to get the kinks out. We've enjoyed seeing those of you who have stopped by our practice, and hope you are continuing to enjoy the improved range of motion that a good massage can provide.

The flowers this spring have been amazing, and Suzanne Eller has been taking pictures of azaleas and tulips in the neighborhood. More blooms appear each day, and they make in impressive statement about the beauty of the earth. Staying grounded is essential to good health, and a walk among this beauty will heal your body, hear, and mind.

Suzanne will volunteer at the NC chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association Convention in a couple of weeks and will also attend some continuing education classes in Deep Tissue and Therapeutic Touch. She'll be excited to try out new techniques with her clients.
With all the new life around us, it seemed a fitting issue to talk about massage for expectant and new mothers. We've also included an article on giving your baby or grandbaby a massage. Plus, there are our regular features of essential oil blend of the month, recommended reading and seasonal quotes.

Call Suzanne soon to schedule appointment. We look forward to serving you.

purple spiral

Suzanne's Picks: Good Books for Warm, Spring Days

spring reading (purchased istock photo)

Spring means sitting outside in the evening, watching the birds, and if you're like me, reading on the patio. In my younger days, I enjoyed a good book while sunbathing by the pool or at the lake. If diving into a good book is your idea of a perfect day, perhaps you'll enjoy one of these.

I read this book as part of the Let's Talk about It series at the the Hickory Public Library. Set in the coal mining region of Kentucky during the Sixties, it is about two sisters who are opposites and yet who love each other with unbreakable intensity. The prose is beautiful, the characters engaging, and the story unforgettable. With the recent mining tragedy in West Virginia, it will be all the more poignant for you.

I've been raving about his book and its sequel on Facebook for weeks. McTaggart is a journalist who began researching the world of quantum physics and discovered the scientific proofs of what seems to be a unifying theory of the universe. If you can read this book and come away not believing in God or that we are not all connected, then you are far more cynical than I.

I actually read Bartlett, who is a chiropractor, before McTaggart. His book uses some of the principles McTaggart discusses in a healing modality. The practical application of quantum theories is working in the here and now with this and other healing methods like Theta Healing, which I practice. Bartlett's presentation is more scientific, but his ideas mirror those of Vianna Stibal's Theta Healing, I am now trading sessions of Theta with a Matrix Energetics healer with good results. For the science behind this kind of work, this is a good place to start.

This book is the Big Read this year in Hickory, and Julia Alverez will be here to discuss it on April 16, at The P.E. Monroe Auditorium of Lenoir-Rhyne University. The novel is about four sisters who flee the Dominican Republic and have to adjust to life in the United States. The style is readable and engaging, and Alverez, who is also from the Dominican Republic, skillfully gives the reader a glimpse of immigrant life in the United States.

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