Why Your Massage Therapist Asks All Those Health Questions

IntakeForm

Before your first massage, I’m going to ask you about your medical history. 

I’ve got an online intake form that will ask about what medications and medical conditions you have, and a whole host of questions about your health history.

So why is this? Am I being nosy? Why do I need to know such detailed, personal information about you that you may only otherwise share with your doctor? 

While it may seem like a hassle or invasion of your privacy to fill out an intake form, there’s a great reason I want to know so much about your health: knowing your health history not only protects you from potential injury during your massage, but it also means I can better personalize your massage to your needs. This ensures that when you leave the massage table, you feel better than ever.

What is a contraindication, and what does it have to do with my massage?

Every so often, it turns out that for some people in specific health situations, massage could actually be harmful. This is referred to as a contraindication, and there are two different classifications of contraindications:

Relative Contraindication: Relative contraindication means that caution should be used when performing a certain procedure. In the world of massage therapy, this means that a massage therapy session can happen, but that the therapist will need to adjust the techniques and particulars of the session (like positioning, pressure, or massage products used) to stay safe and effective. 

Absolute Contraindication: Absolute contraindication is the term used when massage could cause harm, and should not be applied at all. This is pretty rare, but it happens.

While typically relaxing and healing, there are times when a massage can be painful or even dangerous, for various health-related reasons. In most cases, this means we can proceed with the massage, but I’ll ask some follow up questions to keep it safe and effective. 

Examples of massage contraindications include:

  • Varicose veins
  • Undiagnosed lumps or bumps
  • Pregnancy
  • Bruising, cuts, abrasions, and even sunburns
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart problems
  • Epilepsy

Don’t worry: Not all of the above listed medical conditions mean you have to give up your regular session with your massage therapist.

In fact, for some of these conditions, massage can have major soothing effects. However, it does mean that your therapist will need to give you specific care. This is one of the main reasons it’s vital your massage therapist knows your medical history.

Also, colds, the flu, skin infections, or the presence of a fever are all reasons to wait to get a massage until you are feeling better (read more here: Should I cancel my massage if I’m sick?).

Why does my massage therapist need to know what medications I am taking?

There are some medications that have an effect on your body’s ability to heal and process correctly, and I need to be aware of what you’re taking so I can make adjustments.

For example, a firm deep tissue massage could be very dangerous if you are taking blood thinners, or if you’ve been on corticosteroids for a long time, as you may have low bone density or thin skin as a result. 

Again, in almost all cases, we can make adjustments to keep your massage safe and effective, the key is to keep me fully informed.

In a nutshell, even if you think a detail may be irrelevant, it’s smart to complete my intake form entirely and honestly. That helps me create the best and safest massage, just for you. And don’t worry: all information is kept confidential and stored securely.

Can Massage Fix My Pain?

broken plateMany folks (including some massage therapists) view massage as a way to fix what ails you.

Fixing is something you do to something that is broken. A mechanic fixes your car. A plumber fixes your leaky pipe.

I understand what you mean when you say your back hurts and you want me to get rid of those “knots”, to fix it. But you’re not broken, and thinking that way robs you of your power. The words we use matter.

I’m not here to fix you. You won’t hear me calling myself a healer. My hands (and feet) aren’t magic. It would be nice if I could just push on the right areas and work out those “knots” and you’d be healed! The body is too complex for that, I’m afraid.

You come in and you’re in pain and you want it to stop. I get it. Pain sucks. But I can’t force your body to do anything.

I’m here to support you, to hear you, to see you.

To empower you.

You might think “if you’re not fixing my pain, why the heck am I getting a massage?”

Don’t get me wrong, massage can help you feel better, but I think we can ask a better question.

So often, we focus on how we don’t want to feel. What if we thought about it from a different angle?

What if you started thinking about how you want to feel?

Not less stressed or in less pain. Not running away from something.

But more of something? Moving toward what you want.

I view massage as a conversation between my hands and feet and your nervous system. I’m manipulating your soft tissues as a way to communicate to your nervous system that it’s okay to relax, that you can feel differently. We’re co-creating a new way of feeling, you and I.

We’re creating ease and freedom in your body.

The words we use matter.  

What if you challenged your story of your pain? What if that shoulder wasn’t your “bad” shoulder? 

You’re in a lot of pain and you think you need someone (your massage therapist, your doctor, your chiropractor) to “fix” you. When you come to me to “fix” something, that’s perpetuating a cycle that ultimately keeps you stuck in your stress or pain.

But what if, instead of running away from your pain, instead of trying to “fix” what isn’t broken, we worked on moving toward something desirable, like creating more freedom in your body?

Ready to get started? Book an Integrative Massage Session now.

 

 

 

What is BodyMind Coaching?

You are constantly stressed. Crunched for time. Feeling like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.

And sure, sometimes you do something nice for yourself, like get a massage!

And you feel amazing afterwards. Fully present in your body.

But soon after, that dull ache between your shoulder blades comes back, and before you know it, it’s a sharp pain. Back to the massage therapist to “fix” your shoulder!

I’m not here to fix you. I don’t believe you’re broken. Even in my massage school days, I’ve always seen massage as a reset or pattern interrupt to your busy life. And I’ve struggled with finding a way to help you take full advantage of that reset and get out of this stress loop. I’ve studied lots of massage techniques, aromatherapy, and yoga. I have all these tools at my disposal, but they weren’t cutting it.

I want better for you. I want you to have that just-had-a-massage feeling everyday.

What is BodyMind Coaching? Can it help me?

A little over a year ago, this thing called Body Mind coaching showed up in my life. I was a bit resistant to the idea. I wasn’t an athlete growing up so I had no real idea what coaching was, and it seemed a bit New-Agey to me. But I had this gut feeling it was the right next step for me, so even though it was scary and way outside my comfort zone, I took the leap.

Your body is always talking to you: gut feelings, that uncomfortable feeling in your shoulder before that full blown pain, that light feeling in your chest when you’re excited about something.

Many times, we fail to recognize these messages or just downright ignore them. And it leads to pain, stress, frustration.

BodyMind Coaching is a strategy to help you learn the language of your body, actually listen to it, and take action from there. You learn to notice that dull ache when it’s just a tiny uncomfortable feeling and take action before it leads to burnout. You listen to that gut feeling and pursue your dream job. You start to live your life intentionally.

If you want to feel like you are actually living your life — not just dragging yourself through BodyMind Coaching might be for you.

Let’s set up a time to chat to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Book Your Breakthrough Session Now!

**This is a no-cost phone consultation, and is not an office visit.

BodyMind Coaching and Massage

Through a structured BodyMind Coaching conversation, we discuss how stress is showing up in your body and in your life, your goals, and how you actually want to feel. Once you’re in this space of creating what you want rather than running away from what you don’t want, it’s time to embody that feeling with a customized massage! After spending an hour cultivating this feeling you want to create, we’ll talk about next steps, so you can keep expanding that feeling during the rest of your week.

Know you could benefit from a massage, but not sure about this whole coaching thing? My Integrative Massage Sessions are a great way to dip your toe in the water.

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What You Get With Your Integrative Massage Session

These are not your typical massage sessions.

Integrative Massage Sessions are designed to leave you feeling more at ease and bring relief from the physical discomforts that come from living with chronic stress. 

Personalized for you

At Restoring Balance, you receive so much more from your session beyond your time on the massage table. These sessions are designed to not only get you feeling better, but to support you in expanding that new way of feeling into your everyday life. 

During your session, we’ll talk about why you’re here, where stress or pain is showing up in your body and in your life, and how you actually want to feel. I’ll design a customized Massage or Ashiatsu Massage for you to address the tension in your body. And we’ll work together to create an action plan so you can expand that just-had-a-massage-and-I-feel-AWESOME sensation during the rest of your week.

Attention

You get my full attention. You are the reason we’re in the room. No ringing phone, email alerts, or people demanding your attention.

I’ll check in a few times during the massage, and you should feel free to speak up if you need me to change what we’re doing. Need silence? An extra blanket? Done.

Experience

I’ve given thousands of hours of massage. They were all just prep for your massage.

Your comfort is a priority. I’ve got pillow/towel propping tricks to keep you cozy laying on your side if you can’t lay on your stomach or your back or if you can’t breathe with your face in the face cradle. I got this. We’ll get you comfortable so you can fully relax and enjoy your massage.

Education

I’m not content to just relieve the tension that stress has created in your body and then send you home to continue the same actions that led to the tension. I want better for you. You deserve better. I want you have that just-had-a-massage feeling every day.

Helping folks get off the hamster wheel of stress and live from a place of ease is my passion. That’s why, in addition to the basic education to get my massage license, I’m always learning more and upgrading my skills studying massage therapy, stress management, yoga, aromatherapy and BodyMind Coaching through formal Continuing Education courses to maintain my license, as well as countless hours of self-study.

Clinical Prudence

I won’t practice any techniques that are unsafe for you or your health condition. In general, people on blood thinners shouldn’t be getting massage with very firm pressure. Ditto for folks with osteoporosis. It’s also unwise to use hot stones on people who have had lymph nodes removed. These are called contraindications. And I won’t mess around with them.

Very rarely, massage in general may not be a good idea for you and I would be unable to give you a massage. But I can almost always adapt the massage so it’s safe and effective for you.

High quality massage oil, cream, and lotion

Some therapists choose their products based on price. You deserve the best, so I choose my products based on quality.

Have you ever left a massage feeling slimy or greasy? Not here. Mostly, I use Hobacare Jojoba. It’s not actually an oil, it’s a wax ester, and it’s pretty close to your skin’s natural oil.

Have you ever had a reaction to a product you put on your skin? I have pretty sensitive skin myself, so I’m careful about what I put on it. Pure jojoba is also non-allergenic. The rest of the lotions and creams I use come from companies that value natural ingredients and skip skin irritating fillers.

Ease of Scheduling

Skip playing phone tag to book an appointment. I have convenient online scheduling right here.

And if you don’t see a time that works for you, send me an email at karyn@balancechampaign.com with some times you’re looking for and maybe we can make it work.

You get to support a local business

It’s just me! No conglomerate. No fancy management structure or corporate setup. Just a little business owner, paying her taxes, making a living, and participating in the same communities she serves.

What are you waiting for?

Your Integrative Massage session includes all of the above, plus the amazing benefits of massage.

Book Now!

What Should I Do After My Massage?

woman receiving shoulder massageSo you just had a fantastic massage! You’re no longer wearing your shoulders for earrings. You feel like you can take a full breath again. You feel like you could float out of the building.

What’s next? Rush back to the office? Run to the grocery store? Squeeze in just ONE more thing?!

We’re busy people! Always on the go! I get it.

But to get the most out of your massage, may I suggest you allow yourself just 5 more minutes to savor the relaxation.

Try not to rush to your next task.

Take a deep breath and notice how you are feeling in your body.

A few other tips:

  • You’re likely thirsty after lying on the massage table for an hour or two. Drink some water.
  • Be sure to schedule your next massage. Getting massage on a regular basis is a great way to manage stress and pain. Plus it just feels good and it can give you something to look forward to the next time you’re having a rough day.
  • Move your body. Do some gentle stretching.
  • Take it easy at the gym. It’s better to work out before your massage.
  • Always ask your massage therapist if you have any questions. If you think of anything after you leave the office, contact us here.

We’ll see you at your next appointment. And I know I already said this, but always ask us if you have any questions or concerns. 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do We Really Know About Pain?

man sitting hunched over in ocean
Photo via Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Pain is one of those “you know it when you feel it” kind of sensations. But it’s also a strange phenomenon, when you think about it. A snowball is cold, and so it feels cold when you touch it. A block of concrete is rough, so it feels rough when you touch it. But a knife isn’t painful on its own. Neither is a pot of boiling water or the leg of a table. We handle these things safely all the time, and experience their mass and temperature and texture.

But pain exists only in the body, and even more specifically (as people who’ve experienced anesthesia know firsthand) in our minds.

But that doesn’t make it less real!

So what exactly is happening when we feel pain, and how do we stop it from negatively impacting our lives?

How does pain work?

There are three primary types of pain, and each of them works in a slightly different way.

Nociceptive pain (tissue pain).

There are many different kinds of sense receptors in the body. Some are sensitive to heat or cold, some to touch or pressure. Others, called free nerve endings, aren’t specialized for any one type of stimulus. When a significant stimulus triggers these nerve endings, they send a message through the spinal cord and up to the brain indicating that something potentially dangerous has happened. The brain then decides (without consulting the part involved in conscious thought, alas) whether this is something to ignore or brush off, or if it seems likely that damage has occurred. This then sends this message back down to the affected part of the body.

If the message is “No biggie, ‘tis but a scratch,” then you’ll most likely shake yourself off and forget the incident even happened. If it’s “WHOA, THIS SEEMS LIKE A PROBLEM,” then you experience this as pain.

This is useful! Just ask someone with CIPA, or congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis, a disease that leaves people insensitive to pain. Imagine not noticing a bit of grit in your eye until it damages your cornea, developing stress fractures in your feet because nothing is telling you it’s time to sit down, or ending up with burns in your mouth and throat because you don’t realize your coffee is scalding hot. Pain stops us from trying to walk on a sprained ankle or go for a run when we have a fever. Tissue damage, high temperatures, low pH, and capsaicin (the active ingredient in hot peppers) are all common triggers for this process.

But brains aren’t always correct when it comes to assessing danger. Lorimer Moseley gives a brilliant example of this in his TEDx talk. What’s the difference between the pain from a scratch on the leg and the pain from a nearly-fatal snake bite? Spoiler: it’s whatever your brain is expecting. That’s why you might feel little pain after a bicycle accident, but be in agony when getting the wound stitched up two hours later. Pain is weird.

Neuropathic pain (nerve pain).

This is pain that results from an issue with the nervous system itself, rather than surrounding tissues. If you’ve ever banged your funny bone, you know this feeling well. Common forms of neuropathic pain include:

  • Sciatica: pain in the sciatic nerve running through the hip and down into the leg and foot
  • Diabetic neuropathy: nerve damage resulting from fluctuating blood sugar levels
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: pain resulting from the compression of the nerves that run through the wrist into the hand

Less common forms include phantom limb pain (pain that feels like it originates in an amputated limb) and postherpetic neuralgia, which occurs as a result of getting shingles.

Neuropathic pain can be especially frustrating because the normal things we do to reduce pain are often useless when it comes to pain originating in the nervous system. Moving or not moving our muscles, applying heat or ice, these can have relatively little impact on nerve pain.

What’s more, nerves don’t heal as well as things like muscles and skin do, which makes nerve pain more likely to become chronic pain.

Other pain. (Yeah, that’s a terrible fake category name.)

Pain is messy, and a lot of it doesn’t fall into either of the two categories above. Fibromyalgia is a great example of this. Is it pain resulting from tissue damage? Nope. What about nerve damage? Not as far as we can tell. It’s caused by the nervous system malfunctioning, sometimes in horrible ways, but that don’t result from actual nerve damage. Often a lot of it. And the world of medicine is still trying to figure out why.

So how do we alleviate pain?

There are several different options.

  • If the pain is caused by some kind of physical injury or stimulus, you can work on changing that. If your hand is being burned on a lightbulb, you can remove your hand, which will make most of that pain go away. If you’re experiencing a muscle cramp in your foot, you can flex the foot (manually, if necessary). If you’re experiencing pain from sitting in the same position for too long, you can move around and shake out your legs. If the cause of the pain is inflammation, anti-inflammatories and ice can reduce that. This is perhaps the ideal form of pain relief, although it’s not always in the realm of the possible.
  • You can block the messages that tell your brain you’re in pain. This is how many painkillers work. Ice can also numb nerve endings.
  • You can convince your brain that you’re not in any real danger. This is a tough one, because the brain doesn’t just listen when you tell it things. But it’s well documented that fear, stress, and anxiety lead to increased pain perception. And of course, pain leads to stress, which leads to pain … General relaxation techniques—from meditation to light exercise to getting a massage—can all be helpful in turning the brain’s pain alarms down a notch. Physical therapy (practicing certain motions in a way that isn’t painful) and talk therapy can also be useful here too.

How can massage help with pain?

Sometimes the issue is one that massage can help manage on a physical level. But even more often, massage gives the brain a chance to let down its guard and experience something non-painful and even pleasant in the body. And while there’s no silver bullet for pain, that can mean a lot for people whose pain has defied more straightforward treatments and whose injuries or illnesses are already healed.

Feeling the hurt yourself? There’s a massage with your name on it. Book your next one today.

Stress, Anxiety, and Massage

Why get a massage? According to a survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association, 28% of Americans who get a massage do so for relaxation and stress reduction. That’s a lot of people in the US who feel strongly enough about their own experiences with massage for stress reduction to put their money on it. But aside from individual feelings, what exactly do we know about massage and how it relates to stress and anxiety? And what does the research have to say about that?

What is stress? What is anxiety?

Stress is your body’s response to demanding circumstances. Working late hours? You’ll experience stress. Prepping for a big competition? Definitely stressful. Toddler throwing a tantrum? That’s no doubt stressful for both of you. When you’re stressed, your blood pressure goes up, your breathing and heart rate quicken, and you feel jittery and distracted. All this is useful if your stress is a result of the big race you’re running, when you can put that energy to good use. It’s less helpful if your stressor is a friend in need of patience and comfort.

People who regularly put themselves into stressful circumstances on purpose (public speakers, for example) often learn how to channel that stress response for their own benefit, but it takes practice. When stress goes from being an occasional experience to a chronic condition, health problems result.

Anxiety (not to be confused with anxiety disorders, see below), on the other hand, isn’t necessarily a reaction to circumstances. Most often, it’s related to anticipated future or potential stress. As with stress, anxiety isn’t necessarily an immediate health problem, although it’s unpleasant. Feeling a bit anxious about an upcoming exam, the imminent birth of a baby, or the quality of a presentation can give you a push to prepare as best you can. But anxiety becomes unhelpful when it is overwhelming, requiring you to focus all your energy on surviving your immediate feelings rather than addressing their roots. Pacing, nail biting, trembling, and vomiting are signs that anxiety is veering into unhelpful territory. Test anxiety, social anxiety, and decision anxiety are all common forms of anxiety.

Anxiety disorder is the general name given to chronic, excessive anxiety in response to everyday situations. Anxiety disorders include

  • Generalized anxiety disorder: excessive anxiety in general.
  • Social anxiety disorder: anxiety disorder related to interacting with others.
  • Separation anxiety disorder: anxiety disorder related to separation from specific people, often parents or caregivers.
  • Phobias: subset of anxiety disorders characterized by persistent fear of a specific thing.
  • Panic disorder: anxiety disorder characterized by reoccurring panic attacks.

Many people discover that they have more than one type of anxiety disorder, or deal with anxiety combined with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, alcoholism, or substance abuse. While stress and anxiety are more general terms that you can probably identify in yourself, anxiety disorders can only be diagnosed by a physician.

What kinds of studies have been done on massage for anxiety and stress?

Stress:

While stress levels are largely subjective, studies focused on pain, sleep, and other outcomes often find that patients report decreased stress levels as one of the major benefits they receive from massage therapy treatments. In one study on pain in acute care settings, more than half of the patients mentioned relaxation in their survey responses. One described the experience of receiving massage as “very helpful, soothing, comforting, and relaxing,” which is notable considering how stressful being hospitalized is. Improved emotional well-being and sleep were also mentioned by many patients and nurses, both of which are good indicators of stress reduction.

Anxiety:

Most studies done on massage and anxiety have focused on specific populations. One study found significant improvement in both state (long term) and trait (immediate) anxiety in children with cancer and blood diseases who received Swedish massage. Another measured the physiological responses to stress (blood pressure and pulse) in hospitalized children and found similar results. Cardiac care patients were the focus of another study. Again, massage was shown to be helpful at reducing anxiety. Still, larger and broader studies on the matter still need to be done.

Anxiety disorders:

There have been relatively few studies on massage therapy for anxiety disorders specifically, and those that have been done have been small and generally lacking good control groups. One randomized controlled trial found that massage therapy was significantly helpful for people with generalized anxiety disorder, but no more so than thermotherapy (relaxing with hot towels placed in different locations on the body) or being in a special relaxation room with no additional treatment. This study only measured improvement over multiple weeks, and not feelings of anxiety in the short term, before and after treatments. Because this study didn’t have a no-treatment control group, they weren’t able to state whether all three were equally effective or equally ineffective.

What does all this mean?

People regularly feel that massage helps reduce their stress and anxiety. There are also other techniques that seem to be helpful to varying degrees, depending on the situation and the person. This is helpful to know, because not everyone enjoys massage. For some, touch itself can be a source of stress and anxiety, so it’s helpful to know that there are other complementary therapies available that also create positive results.

Stress and anxiety are closely tied to pain, sleep, and other factors. Reducing pain reduces stress levels. Reducing stress levels can also reduce pain. Improving sleep can impact both pain and stress, and vice versa. Does massage therapy work primarily through either pain or stress reduction, or does it impact both equally? This is an area for further study.

Massage therapy is a fairly safe way to manage stress and anxiety. With relatively few drug interactions and a very low chance for injury, massage therapy can be helpful to a wide variety of people dealing with stress and anxiety in different situations. From infants to athletes to people in hospice, there are few who could not benefit from massage therapy.

There is a lot more to learn. While there is a lot of research on massage for pain, massage for anxiety (and especially massage for anxiety disorders) has less research to back it up. It will take time and money before a large body of knowledge has been built up.

If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, massage therapy is worth trying. The evidence is still rolling in, but what we have is promising. Are you ready to give it a try? Book your next massage today.

What Should I Do During My Massage?

Massage is kinda weird.

We aren’t a high-touch society.  We don’t touch strangers, and we may even feel weird touching our friends and family.  So it can be awkward to get massage.  We don’t know what we’re supposed to do.

Just telling us to “Relax!” doesn’t cut it.

To start, allow the full weight of your body to sink into the table and take full, deep breaths. This can be difficult. Don’t be hard on yourself. If you notice your mind racing, thinking about all the things left to do today, bring your attention back to your breath. If you’re clenching your jaw rethinking an argument with a friend, allow the muscle to soften.

Again, this can be difficult. Don’t be hard on yourself. But if you’re clenching your jaw or holding your breath because the massage hurts…

What if it hurts?

Sometimes, when getting a massage, folks describe feeling a “good pain” or a “good hurt.” It’s an intense sensation, but it feels right. Like sweet relief. This is totally fine.

But sometimes, pain is just pain. If you find yourself tensing your muscles in an effort to avoid the pain, tell your massage therapist.  We can adjust the massage so it doesn’t hurt. We’re here to help you feel better, not worse.

Should I talk?

Although some people prefer to talk throughout the massage, don’t feel like you have to make conversation with the massage therapist. Many people close their eyes and try to relax. Your massage therapist should take the cue from you.

But please be sure to speak up if you:

  • Feel too hot or cold
  • Are in pain
  • Have any questions about the massage
  • Forgot to mention a health issue during the consultation

What if I fall asleep?…or drool?!

Falling asleep during a massage is very common. I almost always fall asleep when I get a massage. It’s totally fine to snore or drool.

What if I have to pee?

Please tell us. We have a bathroom in our office. Holding it for the duration of the massage is not relaxing!

So there you have it. A few guidelines for what to do during your massage. Did I miss anything? Let me know.

And remember, your massage therapist will ask about the pressure and your level of comfort. This is your massage. If you are too cold or hot, if the pressure is too light, deep, or painful or if anything is interfering with you relaxing it is important to speak up.

Book my massage now

Massage Myth #4: You can’t get a massage if you weigh too little or too much.

Welcome to myth #4 on our reasons-you-can’t-get-a-massage-myth series.  Be sure to check out Myth #1, #2, and #3.

Myth #4: You can’t get a massage if you weigh too little or too much.

scale and measuring tape

There are so many variations of this one. Skinny people don’t have enough “meat on their bones” to get a massage, so they’ll just bruise. Overweight people can’t get a “real” massage because there’s too much fat between their skin and their muscles. People without perfect bodies shouldn’t show their skin to anyone. (And so on. Blah, blah, blah.)

Big people like massage. Small people like massage. In-between people like massage. And massage therapists love providing massage to all kinds of people. It’s a perfect combination! Are there different techniques better suited to bodies with specific needs? Of course. Is weight or size a prohibitive factor? Nope. Not by a long shot. The folks who make these kinds of arguments in the name of “health” are either misinformed or just being mean.

Massage myths aren’t usually malicious, but they can still hurt. Who knows how many people avoid getting a massage due to some myth they heard from a source they trusted? If you’re one of them, why wait? Since you now know truth from tale, get that bodywork you’ve been dreaming and schedule your appointment today.

Massage Myth #3: You can’t get a massage while breastfeeding.

Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

Welcome to myth #3 on our reasons-you-can’t-get-a-massage-myth series.  Be sure to check out Myth #1 here and Myth #2 here.

Myth #3: You can’t get a massage while breastfeeding.

This myth is so insidious, because nobody needs a massage more than postpartum parents. The idea behind this misunderstanding is the belief that massage somehow squeezes toxins out of a person’s tissues, which are then released into the bloodstream. Since the body is “toxic” after a massage, the story goes, any breast milk produced at this time is also toxic. The choice is between “pumping and dumping” after receiving bodywork, or avoiding massage therapy altogether until the child is weaned.

Fortunately, this isn’t even one of those half-true-but-it’s-complicated situations; it’s 100% false, no question. Normal cell byproducts are filtered by the body and are not a danger to breastmilk, and massage doesn’t release toxins anyway. And keep in mind that massage can improve depression, body image, and (perhaps most importantly to new parents) SLEEP.

Need a break? Schedule your appointment today.