Achieve Optimal Fetal Positioning with Spinning Babies

   To enhance her Prenatal Massage offering at ilumina, our highly experienced massage therapist, Audrey Blanchard has recently completedadvanced training in the Spinning Babies method for optimal fetal positioning and body balancing during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. These self care and specific bodywork techniques can be utilized starting at 25 weeks to help bring balance to the muscles, ligaments and fascia in the pelvis and to release some discomforts such as low back and groin pain, rib pain, round ligament pain and discomfort above the pubic bone. If baby is presenting in a breech, transverse or occiput posterior (sunny-side up) position these techniques can be incorporated to help baby ease into a left occiput anterior position which is optimal for easier labor and delivery.
    Spinning Babies uses the three principles of balance, gravity and movement, emphasizing balance first.The muscles, ligaments and fascia of the pelvis must be balanced in order for gravity and movement to help open the pelvis for better fetal positioning. Gravity includes maternal positioning with gravity friendly postures during rest, but particularly during sitting activities to help baby move into a head down position. Using movement with yoga, walking and stretching help to keep the pelvis balanced and ensure comfort for both mom and baby.
    Belly mapping is a fun and interactive waymom and partner can identify fetal positioning by feeling the bumps, kicks and wiggles starting at 34 weeks. This information is used to identify which techniques and self care activities will best help baby turn or “spin” if they are presenting breech, transverse or occiput posterior.
    A Spinning Babies session can be added on to your Prenatal massage or used as an adjunct treatment along with Acupuncture to help turn a malpositioned baby.

Need a Resolution? Personal Responsibility for Proactive Health Care in 2017

No matter your personal feelings about the outcome of the election, one thing is sure to be true: health care as we know it is changing. Actually, there has been a slow, but steady change in premiums, deductibles, covered benefits and out-of-pocket expenses over the past decade with the net effect that patients are shouldering more and more of the financial responsibility. On the other hand, care seems to be less personal, with less provider continuity and less time allocated for patient appointments and follow-up. This has led many government officials, providers, and patients to call for reform. Unfortunately, there appears to be little consensus on how to fix the problems and more concerning is the question as to whether our current system can even be fixed?

 

One thing that seems to be clear is that most of the illnesses Americans are struggling with are those related at least partially to lifestyle and thus potentially preventable. By modifying our habits and keeping an eye towards prevention, we can significantly decrease our risk of the most expensive and debilitating illnesses. Recently, the CDC named “heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis as the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems”. For example, according to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the US, affecting over 30 million adults and a growing number of children. These figures relate to what is known as Type 2 diabetes, a largely preventable condition that also significantly impacts the risk of cardiovascular disease. Another nearly 100 million Americans have pre-diabetes. Medication to control diabetes can exceed $250 per month and combined with the costs of regular doctors visits, and related medication for blood pressure and cholesterol, it may be possible to spend $5000 per year to manage this one condition.

 

On the other hand, what would happen if this money were spent on improving individual general health and wellness; efforts to improve diet, manage weight, and decrease stress. In doing so, we can decrease our risk for all the aforementioned conditions named by the CDC and therefore improve overall health and quality of life, maybe even avoiding medications altogether.

 

This is a laudable goal and not an easy one to achieve. It requires us to shift our focus from a reactive, treatment-focused approach to health care to a proactive, preventive approach where the patient takes responsibility for her own health, utilizing the medical system for support and guidance along the way. It is important to acknowledge that even with our best efforts, not all disease can be prevented, but by taking an active role in partnering with providers to improve health as much as possible, significant progress can be made. By addressing symptoms early, being informed about family medical history and disease risks, screening for blood pressure, glucose, weight, and nutritional deficiencies, and following recommendations for cancer screening, you can significantly impact your risk for chronic disease in the face of the changing health care landscape.

 

2017 is the year of the fire rooster, a sign of dawn and awakening, of triumph and success, only achievable through hard work and patience. We at Ilumina are committed to prevention and proactive care, happy to help guide you to improve your general health and address specific concerns through our naturopathic and Chinese medicine services with diet, exercise, and supplement advice, acupuncture, massage, and meditation. Together, we can work to make 2017 your healthiest year yet.

Massage Therapy and Breast Cancer: Myths and Facts

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Myth: Massage is a luxury.
Fact: There are many benefits to receiving regular massage, especially during times of stress or health crisis. Many people use massage a part of their regular preventative health maintenance program.
Some benefits of massage therapy include:
    -Massage is relaxing and rejuvenating
    -Calms the nervous system
    -Helps you cope with mental/emotional stress
    -Relief of physical pain and fatigue
    -Increase flexibility and range of motion
    -Speeds recovery from surgery
    -Improves circulation and immune system
    -Speeds the removal of metabolic waste from the body

Myth: Massage is NOT safe for someone newly diagnosed with cancer.
Fact: Initially, it is best to err on the side of caution and receive gentle massage techniques such as Swedish massage or Reiki energy healing to help calm the nervous system. Deep tissue work should be avoided as well as work directly on the tumor area.

Myth: Since massage stimulates the blood flow it can increase the risk of metastasis (spreading to other parts of the body).
Fact: Massage does stimulate the blood flow but so does walking, exercising, taking a shower or a bath, all of which are highly recommended during cancer treatment.
Recent studies show that massage induces the production of the hormone oxytocin which counter acts cortisol also known as the “stress hormone”. Cortisol is very useful when we need the fight or flight mechanism, but under constant stress excess production of cortisol can be harmful by decreasing the immune system response. A cancer diagnosis is very stressful and a person is susceptible to anxiety and depression. Since massage aids with the relaxation response and the release of Oxytocin it can be a major aid in strengthening the immune system and release of toxins and promote healing.
 

Myth: Women who had lymph nodes removed should never receive massage.
Fact: Extra caution is necessary in this case due to the risk of developing Lymphedema. Receive only light massage on the compromised quadrant of the torso (arm, chest and back) but a regular massage can be administered to the rest of the body. It is best to see a professional who is trained in oncology massage.
 

Is massage OK during chemotherapy and radiation?
Fact: Yes, however a waiting period of 4-7 days after chemotherapy treatment is recommended depending on the treatment and the individual. It is OK to receive bodywork during radiation, but massage and oils should not be administered to the radiated area.
 

How about massage after surgery?
Fact: After surgery it is recommended to wait 7 days and up to 6 weeks before receiving bodywork, depending on the type of surgery and reconstruction and healing progress. However, energy work and gentle massage to non affected areas can be administered as soon as the client feels up to it and the doctor approves it.
 

What about massaging around tumors?
Fact: Direct pressure to the area should be avoided. Once the tumor is removed and the wound is healed, massage is very helpful to prevent scar tissue adhesions. Avoid deep massage to the quadrant of the body where lymph nodes are compromised due to the risk of Lymphedema.
 If tumor is deep and cannot be removed massage should be administered with caution.
 

Body image issues
Some women are self conscious about their body, especially after a mastectomy. This is understandable and most practitioners use draping techniques which reassure the client’s privacy. If the client is not comfortable with work on the breast area, or prefer that area covered they should make sure the practitioner knows.

How can I find a practitioner?
Since cancer diagnosis requires some modifications it is best to find someone who is experienced and has Oncology Massage training. However, if one already has an established relationship with a practitioner, trust and rapport are just as important as skills and knowledge. It won't be a bad idea to ask the practitioner if he/she is comfortable with educating him/herself before providing massage therapy during the cancer treatment. Audrey has recently completed a 24 hour National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork approved Continuing Education class for Breast Cancer and Massage Therapy to better understand and treat her clients that are breast cancer survivors.

Reference:
Massage Therapy and Breast Cancer. Eeris Kallil, Lic. CMT. Boulder, CO. bodyworkwisdom.com

 

Massage Therapy for Breast Cancer Support


“Massage therapy has great potential to aid in the rehabilitation of the patient who has undergone treatment for breast cancer. We actually under utilize massage, and the early institution of that therapy might actually prevent some of the more long-term complications, such as retraction of the skin and lymphedema.”
-Oncologist Frank Senecal, M.D.

    Massage therapy can be beneficial for women recovering from mastectomy, lumpectomy and lymph node removal by alleviating pain, fatigue, and anxiety. Massage therapy can increase range of motion and reduce scar tissue adhesions after surgery and radiation. By gentling stretching tissues surrounding the surgery or radiation site, muscles and ares of tightness can be opened and soothed increasing circulation and improving skin tone.

    Gentle manual lymph drainage, decongestive techniques, and light effleurage help to relieve and prevent lymphedema. Lymphedema is a condition that is caused when a person’s lymphatic system is compromised due to fluid retention and swelling. This is a problem because tissues that have lymphedema are at risk of infection.  Also, as part of the diagnosis for breast cancer many women have a large number of the lymph nodes removed through surgery for diagnosis. The greater the number of lymph nodes that are removed the higher the chances are that woman will have swelling that is called lymphedema. Deep tissue massage is contraindicated in areas where lymph nodes have been comprised (removed or irradiated) even if the patient/client is not experiencing lymphedema.

    Other benefits of massage therapy for breast cancer patients include an increase in immune system function. Massage aids the patient’s ability to relax, thus reducing levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and increasing levels of oxytocin, natural kill cells and lymphocytes.  According to one study, breast cancer patients have “improved immune and neuroendocrine functions” following massage therapy [study conducted by the Touch Research Institutes, Department of Pediatrics, Hematology/Oncology Clinics, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Department of Medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine].
 In the study, 34 women with either stage 1 or 2 breast cancer were randomly assigned to either a massage therapy group or a standard treatment control group. In the massage therapy group, the women received three 30-minute massages per week for five weeks, including stroking, squeezing and stretching on the head, arms, legs, feet and back. Urine tests showed that the massage group had increased serotonin, dopamine, and natural killer cells and lymphocytes. Questionnaires administered in the study showed reduced anxiety, depression, anger, and hostility in the massage therapy group.
  

The decision to receive massage therapy after breast cancer treatment is something to discuss with your doctor and/or surgeon.  He/she can help you decide if and when massage therapy will be of benefit during the treatment process. Post mastectomy massage generally takes place several weeks after surgery. It is important to choose a Massage Therapist who has additional training in treating oncology patients, and specifically treating breast cancer patients.

Resources:
“Breast Cancer: How Massage Aids Recovery”. Yvonne Meziere. Massage Magazine, April 2014.
Massage Therapy and Breast Cancer. Eeris Kallil, Lic. CMT

 

Massage Therapy Can Improve Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia affects millions of Americans, many of whom are women. The main signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia include deep muscle pain, painful tender points, and morning stiffness. Other symptoms may include sleep problems, fatigue, and anxiety. Regular Massage Therapy sessions have been proven to decrease pain levels, muscle stiffness, and improve sleep quality.

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In a study conducted by the Touch Research Institute, 30 adult fibromyalgia subjects were randomly assigned to a massage therapy, a transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS), or a transcutaneous electrical stimulation no-current group (Sham TENS) for 30-minute treatment sessions two times per week for five weeks. The results showed the massage therapy subjects reported lower anxiety and depression, and their cortisol levels were lower immediately after the therapy sessions on the first and last days of the study. The TENS group showed similar changes, but only after therapy on the last day of the study. The massage therapy group improved on the dolorimeter measure of pain. They also reported less pain the last week, less stiffness and fatigue, and fewer nights of difficult sleeping. Thus, massage therapy was the most effective therapy with these fibromyalgia patients.

Audrey Blanchard, LMT has successfully treated fibromyalgia pain syndrome with Massage Therapy here at ilumina. A customized massage session is developed specifically for each individual to reduce muscle pain, fatigue, and increase the quality and quantity of nightly rest.

Massage Therapy Can Improve Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia affects millions of Americans, many of whom are women. The main signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia include deep muscle pain, painful tender points, and morning stiffness. Other symptoms may include sleep problems, fatigue, and anxiety. Regular Massage Therapy sessions have been proven to decrease pain levels, muscle stiffness, and improve sleep quality. In a study conducted by the Touch Research Institute, thirty adult fibromyalgia subjects were randomly assigned to a massage therapy, a transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS), or a transcutaneous electrical stimulation no-current group (Sham TENS) for 30-minute treatment sessions two times per week for 5 weeks. The results showed the massage therapy subjects reported lower anxiety and depression, and their cortisol levels were lower immediately after the therapy sessions on the first and last days of the study. The TENS group showed similar changes, but only after therapy on the last day of the study. The massage therapy group improved on the dolorimeter measure of pain. They also reported less pain the last week, less stiffness and fatigue, and fewer nights of difficult sleeping. Thus, massage therapy was the most effective therapy with these fibromyalgia patients. Audrey has successfully treated fibromyalgia pain syndrome with Massage Therapy here at ilumina. A customized massage session is developed specifically for each individual to reduce muscle pain, fatigue, and increase the quality and quantity of nightly rest.

Massage Centered Information for Massage Awareness Week

In honor of massage awareness week, our Licensed Massage Therapist Audrey Blanchard will be sharing with us helpful information all week. 10/22

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome in which the person experiences long term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the muscles, joints, and soft tissues of the body. It has also been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression, and anxiety. Fibromyalgia most commonly affects women between the ages of 20 and 50. A new study showed that massage myofascial release techniques improved pain and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia. Patients in the massage group received a 90 minute massage for 20 weeks. The study found reduction in sensitivity to pain in tender points in patients with fibromyalgia. Immediately after treatment and one month after the massage program, anxiety levels, quality of sleep, pain, and quality of life were still improved.

We have seen similar results with patients that suffer from fibromyalgia here at illumina Healing Sanctuary. Our Massage Therapist has many years of experience treating fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions. She will tailor the massage therapy session to meet the needs of each individual, including myofascial release techniques, trigger point therapy, and gentle stretching to relieve pain and tension in the muscles and joints of the body.

References: Castro-Sánchez, A.M., Matarán-Peñarrocha, G.A., Granero-Molina, J., Aguilera-Manrique, G., Quesada-Rubio, J.M., Moreno-Lorenzo, C. (2011). Benefits of massage-myofascial release therapy on pain, anxiety, quality of sleep, depression, and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011:561753.

10/24

Mayan Abdominal Massage is beneficial in treating a multitude of menstrual and digestive disorders, can increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, and decrease pain in the lower back. Here is a link to a great article in Care Healthy Living magazine about the benefits of Mayan Abdominal Massage. If you haven't tried this type of massage modality yet, you don't know what you're missing.

Advanced Training in Mayan Massage

Our Massage Therapist, Audrey Blanchard, has recently returned from Michigan where she completed her Certification in The Arvigo Techniques of Mayan Abdominal Therapy TM. Audrey has learned advanced techniques to enhance fertility, treat a retroverted uterus, as well as pelvic floor pain. Mayan Abdominal Therapy has been shown to improve symptoms associated with endometriosis, prolapsed uterus or bladder, ovarian cysts, low back pain and digestive disorders including IBS, GERD, chronic constipation. If you suffer from any of these conditions or have not tried Mayan Abdominal Therapy yet, now is the time to schedule your appointment.

Lecture Series Aug 13: Mayan Abdominal Massage

Mayan Abdominal Massage is an external, non-invasive massage modality that specifically addresses the uterine position and other internal organs to support the optimal flow of blood, lymph, and chi throughout the body.Some common symptoms/conditions this type of massage can benefit include displaced or prolapsed uterus or bladder, infertility, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids, as well as pelvic or abdominal pain from previous surgeries or scar tissue. Join us August 13, at 6:00 pm at ilumina to learn more about this modality and how it can be a benefit to you. Spaces will be limited so please call 602-957-2602 to reserve your spot.

We are very excited to have the lecture series back in action, we are currently putting together a schedule of topics that promise to be informative and promising.

Also heading your way is a Infant Massage Class taught by our amazing massage therapist Audrey Blanchard.

Q. I have had recurrent shoulder pain for 2 years. I am a tennis player and at times I am unable to play due to the pain. Can acupuncture help me?

A. Yes. The shoulder’s muscles, tendons and ligaments are prone to a variety of repetitive stress, trauma and degenerative problems. Pain and restricted range of motion are the most common symptoms. There is now evidence that shows acupuncture treats pain. Dr. Bruce Pomerantz, a neurophysicist, holds the theory that acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s own natural painkiller. For treating shoulder pain, we give a series of acupuncture treatments that work together to build the release of these endorphins. Along with the acupuncture, we often include Chinese medical massage for tendinitis; cupping for myofascial release, and needling trigger/motor points.

Our goal is to find the shortest route to your full recovery.

Amazing Benefits of Prenatal Massage

ilumina's  Audrey Blanchard, LMT, shares the many benefits of Prenatal Massage. During pregnancy, women’s bodies go through gradual yet significant changes. Prenatal massage is a great way to relax and ease some of the discomfort that may be experienced during each trimester. Prenatal massage can help to alleviate leg cramps and stress on weight bearing joints such as the hips, knees, and ankles which have to support the additional weight of the growing fetus. Neck, shoulder, and low back pain that occur due to shifts in posture are also relieved. Blood volume can increase up to 40% during pregnancy, which can lead to swelling, or edema, in the hands and feet. Massage can help to increase the efficiency of the blood and lymphatic vessels to drain the excess fluids from the extremities. The increase in circulation brings fresh oxygen and nutrients to different cells and tissues of both mother and fetus, allowing for optimal  development of the fetus. The relaxing affects of massage have also been shown to decrease levels of cortisol, or stress hormone, in the body which decreases feelings of  depression and anxiety in mom, and may decrease excessive fetal activity.  Studies have shown that women who receive massage during pregnancy have fewer complications during labor and lower rates of premature delivery.

Don’t forget about yourself after the baby arrives, post natal massage can help to realign the pelvis following birth by relaxing muscles around the pelvic bowl and allowing the uterus to shrink back into its optimal position.  Decreased levels of stress hormones in the body after giving birth can help to increase milk supply to make breastfeeding easier.

 

 

References:

Field, T. et al. Pregnant women benefit from massage therapy. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology. 1999;19:31-38.
Osborn, C. Pre- and Perinatal Massage Therapy, A Comprehensive Guide to Prenatal, Labor, and Postpartum Practice. Baltimore, MD:Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 2012.

 

Massage Special, March 5-10

March Massage Special valid March 5th-10th. $20 off all one hour massage or add a half hour massage to any acupuncture treatment for just $35. Adding the half hour massage to an acupuncture can give fertility patients a taste of the Mayan Abdominal massage which addresses the position of the uterus, reduces scar tissue, and increases circulation to the reproductive organs. Other patients can add a therapeutic half hour massage to address chronic neck/shoulder or low back pain to accelerate healing and improve range of motion.