Do I Work on Pregnant Women?

Yes, I do. I have worked on pregnant women since the late nineteen-nineties when I was in massage therapy school back in Central Florida. The day we learned side-lying, the most common position in which a pregnant woman receives massage after about four months gestation, I partnered with my class-mate who actually was pregnant.  It was easy and not intimidating. Because I started off with a pregnant recipient from the beginning, I work with competence and confidence on these sweet ladies, these lovely vessels who are gestating their tender young babes.

Nowadays, in Tallahassee, I soothe tired mamas with my loving touch. They say the baby senses what the mother is sensing. Imagine the bliss the baby feels when mama is so at peace!  When I was pregnant with my daughter, I got massage as close to once a week as I could.  I walked every day, too.  My pregnancy was beautiful and comfortable.  I want this for you, too.

I understand the changes in circulation during pregnancy, I know where to massage and where not to, and generally when I massage people, I really aim to create the most peaceful and loving vibration I can for whoever is on my table.

Let me nurture you, pregnant mama. You’ll be in good hands.

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Why do I treat the abdomen?

I have been massaging for about fifteen years, the first half of that time in Orlando, the second half in Tallahassee.  I have had my hands on hundreds, maybe thousands of bodies.  My training in Orlando included an advanced program at Florida College of Natural Health, where one of my teachers always emphasized balance in posture.

I work on people’s abdomens.  Many therapists do not.  Most of my clients say, “Nobody has ever worked on my abdomen before.”  I tell them I couldn’t, in good conscience, leave it out.

My best guess as to why therapists don’t treat bellies is that they were not trained adequately.  A lot of schools must not spend much time teaching abdominal massage, so therapists probably feel less confidant in their abilities on that part of the body, and maybe some LMT’s think clients don’t want their bellies treated.  So many therapists skip it.  And really, since our tummies house our vital organs and are such a vulnerable part of the body, who wants an inadequately trained therapist poking around there?

The abdomen is also a place where people may guard themselves because it is a seat of emotion in the body and they guard their emotional selves.  If a therapist who didn’t know what he was doing attempted to treat an abdomen and he was feeling unsure, the client would, on a body level, pick up on the sketchy vibe and most likely, muscles would tighten up instinctively for protection.

That’s why it’s best to leave it up to me.  I approach the belly with confidence and competence.  I have you resting on your back, with your knees bent up and your feet on the table, creating slack in your surface abdominal muscles.  I always tell you what I am doing and why.  First, I gently place both hands on your abdomen and move them in a wavelike circular motion, warming up the area, and letting your body know with slow and gentle movement that I am not a threat.  This clockwise, circular wave motion follows the flow of the large intestine, increasing blood circulation, aiding digestion and elimination. Then I gradually work deeper.  All the work is gradual and methodical.

My clients are glad I do it.  I help them with digestion, postural distortions, and lower back pain. 

Regarding digestion, when blood circulation increases in the internal organs, it brings oxygen and nutrients to the digestive organs.  This makes each organ better able to absorb what the body needs to take in, and/or get rid of what it needs to eliminate.  Not only do you better gain vitality from the food, but you also have more energy left over from efficient digestion to do other things you love.  Pretty cool, huh?

In various schools of Asian medicine, massaging the abdomen is considered a very important part of good health, for that very reason.

But wait, there’s more.  Regarding postural distortions and back pain, I treat the surface and deep abdominal muscles as well.  One leading culprit in lower back pain is the psoas (pronounced like SO AS), a muscle situated deep in the belly, attached to the front of the spine.  I know just where to find it and I can treat it for you.  Just today a woman I’d treated a couple weeks ago told me she had been skeptical when I had told her that something deep in her belly would help her lower back pain, but she let me work on her abdomen anyway, and she was pleased to find that it relieved her pain.

Have you ever heard the superstition that it’s good luck to rub the belly of a Buddha statue?  I am certain it is even better luck for you to rub your own belly or have it rubbed by a professional!

Why I Like to Receive 90-Minute Massages

I like to get 90-minute massages.  For years, I almost always got 6o-minute massages, then my LMT friend, Dawn, and I were setting up a trade and she suggested we do ninety minutes.  This was about two years ago.  Wow, I don’t know how I made it 12 or 13 years as a massage therapist, often giving long massages, but never really thinking to get more than an hour myself.  Now, I won’t settle for anything less. 

I like 90-minute massages because the therapist takes time on each section of the body to really work in depth.  The therapist can work on more than just one or two of my areas that seem tight or sore, and still work thoroughly on the other areas that may need it too, but may not have been sending out as much of a pain signal. 

Everything is connected.  Fascia is one big network.  Treating one muscle group affects the whole body, and so does not treating a muscle group. Skipping the legs for instance, can affect the whole body.  Maybe kneading the Achilles tendons above the heel will release tension enough on the connective tissue to finally loosen up the tension at the base of my skull. 

During the long treatment, my therapist takes time to soothe my nervous system, working slowly enough to allow the nerves to be calm and signal the muscles it is safe to relax and let the therapist work more deeply. 

Getting a nice long massage on a regular basis helps me remember what I do for my clients.  It also promotes body awareness.  The therapist’s touch brings my attention to various muscle groups, and helps me check in with my body regularly.  I can notice that my hips are not so tight anymore, or gosh, this is the third massage in a row where I noticed my abdomen was really tight; what can I do differently? 

I deserve this!  I deserve to be soothed and healed.  I deserve to lay down for ninety minutes in the middle of a busy day or week.  I deserve the oil soaking in and nourishing my skin.  I deserve to release the tension I have been carrying. 

I deserve good circulation to my muscles and tissues, healthy digestion, stress reduction, all the benefits of massage really occurring because I took the time to receive. 

And as I pointed out before, in my recent blog, I deserve things that nurture and feed me, that fill my cup and energize me so I have more to give to others.