Category: Mel’s Meandering Massage Mind

July 11, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do we experience trauma in pregnancy, and more specifically, birth? To every person trauma is seen differently. Our past experiences may influence how we perceive certain situations. Every woman who goes through pregnancy gives birth in one form or another. On paper, two people can have had the exact same experience, the same outcome, yet they walk away feeling very, very different. One may feel encouraged and completely satisfied with the birth while the other may walk away from the experience with feelings of abandonment, fear, or simply discontent.

When we talk to new moms, we often ask how the baby is doing, however, I often ask how the birth was. It is important to ask both questions, but we have to truly listen to what they are saying (and they may skirt the birth part of the question). We need to change our language and ask not how the birth was but rather how they felt the birth went? Two questions that on the surface mean the same thing, but people will answer completely differently.

If we ask the first question, how was the birth, it gives the new mom an out. Similar to when we ask “how are you?” Almost automatically our response is “Good! Thanks!” While at the same time we are running through the list in our heads of all the things that are wrong. We think of these questions as pleasantries and as if people don’t actually want the real answer, as if we can’t burden them with the truth.

Asking how someone felt about something – that’s different. We immediately are asking the person to unload. We are trying to create a small modicum of safe space. Now, when you ask this question, you have to be prepared for the answer. It may not be pretty.

Personally, I felt like I had a great birth with Henry (2 years ago). During and after I felt I was supported and heard. I attempted to keep my mind open and to let things progress naturally (this is usually a huge struggle for me). Did I have the “perfect” birth? No, there was some pretty scary moments that could have severely changed the outcome, but I had great people who trusted what I was telling them and whom I trusted. However, my experience was mine. I know of other women who could have had the same situation and afterwards felt like they had been violated (maybe emotionally or even physically). A lot of how someone perceives their labour and birth is based on their previous experiences. These experiences change how we live our lives day to day, so why would they not also change how we view birth?

If a woman had gone through sexual abuse as a child, could the birth of her own child not seem like another abuse to a region of her body that has already been sensitized?

If a woman was taught that vaginal birth was the only true form of birth, but being forced into an emergency cesarean, would she not feel like she missed something valuable?

Someone may be traumatized by tearing or later finding out they have a prolapse.

Trauma comes in all forms. It can be physical, mental, or emotional. It can happen during pregnancy, labour, delivery, or postpartum. Awareness of postpartum depression is slowly increasing, but not as to why it may occur. The points listed above are just a small sample of what someone may go through or what may have been a trigger for her.

While I cannot personally help you through your trauma, I can be a sounding board, a shoulder to lean on, or someone who can help you find someone to talk to. Please reach out. You are not alone.

March 15, 2018

Did you know that you CAN exercise while pregnant, even if you haven’t really been that active prior to pregnancy? We just have to ADJUST what you will be doing.

Important factors to keep in mind while exercising:
✔️ check your intensity – target heart rate zones should be on your radar
✔️ your intensity should be somewhat hard
✔️ you should be able to carry on a conversation throughout your workout.

FYI: Target Heart Rate Zones based on your pre-pregnancy fitness level:
❤️ low or active- target 130-145 BPM
❤️ fit – target 140-160
❤️ obese – target 100-120

💡Remember: do NOT do Valsalva manoeuvre (holding your breath while you are exerting yourself ie, lifting a box off the floor) as it can increase your blood pressure and increase your chances of non-functional diastasis recti. Instead, exhale on exertion and inhale on relaxation.

‼️Important! You are not training for a competition, YOU ARE WORKING OUT TO MAINTAIN YOUR FITNESS LEVEL.

Working out during pregnancy will help you during your labour and delivery, but it has also been shown to have positive effects on your baby and their APGAR scores!

📣Disclaimer!! STOP if you have shortness of breath, chest pain, painful uterine contractions, vaginal bleeding, gush of fluid, dizziness or faintness.

Click Here for more practical tips and helpful info on your pregnancy!

October 31, 2017

Getting a massage can be both therapeutic and relaxing. Massage allows for time to unplug, tune in, take some time for yourself. And if you’re lucky enough to have a therapist that knows their stuff, you have the added bonus of fixing stuff while you’re there.

That being said, there are things you can do to make the massage experience better. Ready?

  1. Breathe

After the therapist has left the room and you are comfortable on the table, take the time to breathe. Not just normal breathing, but the deep belly-breathing kind. Focus on expanding your belly and filling your lungs. This will help calm you down, reduce your heart rate, and tune you in to what your body is saying.

Once the massage is in session, breathe if things get painful; this helps to release tight muscles and sore spots. Holding your breath will actually make the pain worse. Think of a labouring woman – she needs to breathe through painful contractions, and so should you.

  1. Communicate

You need to tell your therapist if the pressure is too much…or too little. As aware as therapists are to client’s bodies, we can’t always tell if you are in pain. Some people are great at showing it, some aren’t. But it may not even be pain that you are in, it could be as simple as you just like lighter pressure than what we are currently giving. Remember that they can’t feel what you are feeling. Communicating what you enjoy allows the RMT to treat you more confidently and lets you leave feeling your best.

  1. Tell us to SHUT UP

Therapists often get in a mode of talking with certain clients because that’s what we have always done with said client. So when you say “I just want to relax today,” we don’t necessarily think you mean your brain as well. So tell us to shut up! We are ok with it, I promise.

 

  1. Unplug

Ever notice how your fingers itch to check your phone if you hear a beep? Distracting. Turn off your phone so you don’t hear when a message comes in; this will help keep you in the space where your body needs you to be at that moment.

 

  1. See us regularly

Funny how your body hurts less when you see someone to treat all your finicky stuff regularly, eh? Seeing a RMT on a maintenance schedule can actually decrease your chance of injury and help prevent flare ups of pain.

BONUS!

  1. Be on time

Seems like a no-brainer, but being on time is a big deal. If you are on time to your appointment, we have ample time to treat what you need done and don’t have to rush through it. This will also help you feeling better longer. Plus there is nothing worse than being frazzled because you are late. As we said, massage is therapeutic, but if done right, it should also be a relatively relaxing experience.

 

Ready to book your massage at Whole Therapy? Give us a call!

Melissa Beals is an RMT with Whole Therapy. Melissa works extensively with athletes of all levels with a goal in mind to increase their athletic performance through education and understanding of their bodies. See more about Melissa here.

 

December 8, 2016

Mel’s Meandering: The Guilty Worry

Many of you know that I had a kid in September. I call him a kid because he was never the tiny blob that babies usually are. He was 16 days late and weighed in at 9lbs 6oz. He has had very good neck control since the beginning and has always had a grumpy face whenever he is put down. Thus, never a “baby” baby in my eyes but rather, a little man with his own attitude – I’m in for a heap of trouble.

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There was a long period in my life when I didn’t want kids. My husband and I were happy, we felt that life was complete, we had our own interests, and never felt guilty doing what we wanted nor when we wanted to do them. Then I got older….and started thinking…and started wondering…and realized I was scared. Scared of having a child.

So I started thinking some more. Will I let my fear of having a child stop me from having a kid and miss out on all the wonderful things that parenthood might bring? For a long time, the answer was a resounding YES. I was terrified. Then I grew older, maybe just a little bit wiser, more secure in my career, and switched to a clinic where I felt supported. I settled more and more into myself and more and more into realizing that having a baby wouldn’t be the end of the world…just maybe it would be okay.

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I have to admit that I was very fortunate in my pregnancy. With the exception of numerous migraines at the beginning, I had very few complications and worries. My Midwives were happy, my baby was happy, and I was happy. I was allowed to continue working out as long as I didn’t push too hard and I felt comfortable. I was at the gym until I was 41 weeks pregnant and only stopped because I didn’t feel like squats were comfortable anymore.

My labor process however….that was another story. The kid just didn’t want to come out. He liked his room too much! We tried everything non-medical we could think of. So, at 42 + 1, I felt I had had enough. I asked for a medical induction. It didn’t go so well. My body started rejecting the induction which forced me back to the hospital where I was admitted.

I was given narcotics to help my CNS recover and to decrease the pain, I was put on an oxytocin drip and given an epidural. This was not my birth plan, but I accepted it. That’s the thing with pregnancy and birth – you never know what is going to happen. You come into the process saying, I want A; if A can’t happen, I want B; if B can’t happen, I will settle for C. It’s never fun having to admit that your body has failed you, or rather, that you have failed your body, but it happens and plan A may need to be changed to plan B. In the end, all plans lead you to meeting your baby so it’s all good, right???

That’s when the guilt starts – or it did for me. What if I had just held on a little longer, could I have made it without having started the induction process? Would he have come in his own time and still be healthy? Could I have made it without having to have the epidural and oxytocin? Did I somehow do unknown damage to my child by starting the induction process and having all those drugs?

I started back at work relatively early – he was only 7 weeks old – so enter in a new set of guilty worry statements. Did I go back too early? Will he be okay? If I don’t go back, will I lose clients? Will we be okay financially if I stay home longer? Will my husband be okay caring for the kid while I’m at work? I must be feeding him too much. I can’t be feeding him enough! What if I don’t pump enough to keep up with the demand while I’m gone? What if I pump too much and then I have nothing left for him while at home? I don’t want my kid to starve!!

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In the end, he will be okay. He will survive. I will survive. It will be a process to let go of the guilt and the worry of returning to work so early on, but we will be alright. It will be our new normal. He is my rainbow baby and I love him.

 

Melissa Beals is an RMT with Whole Therapy. Melissa works extensively with athletes of all levels with a goal in mind to increase their athletic performance through education and understanding of their bodies. See more about Melissa here.

Melissa

June 11, 2015

MEL’S MEANDERING MASSAGE MIND: HOW DRY NEEDLING “SAVED MY LIFE…”

For most of my life I have noticed that my range of motion with my right shoulder isn’t quite up to par with my left. My right anterior deltoid has been in contraction for what seems like forever and I get headaches due to muscular tightness in my upper traps.

For relief in the past, I have gone to massage therapists, chiropractors and physiotherapists, seeking help for ailments that limit my training. Thus far, it has usually been focused on my shoulders and upper back, and the everything has worked temporarily, but I wanted a more permanent solution.

So I asked Bailey (our brilliant physio) to dry needle my upper traps a few times. For those of you who aren’t in the know, dry needling (also know as intramuscular stimulation -IMS) is similar to acupuncture but also completely different. It uses needles to go into trigger points in the muscle belly to try to alleviate the cause of the pain rather than using specific acupuncture points to achieve the same result.

So Bailey dry needled my traps, and lo and behold, my headaches have gone away. What’s more, the contraction in my anterior deltoid also disappeared without her even touching it.

dry needling

Not only has the pain relief been liberating, but the release of my traps has elevated the quality of my workouts; now when I bench press, my right shoulder no longer comes out of position (which used to throw off my bench press constantly). This means I’m now able to begin fixing muscle imbalances that have been creeping up; which means I’m going to be able to ultimately bench more weight! Getting my shoulder fixed has been amazing and is getting me back into lifting with more confidence.

Benching

If this doesn’t have you convinced already: a couple of weeks ago, I hurt myself in the gym. It’s not something that happens often, but when it does, it can be debilitating. On this particular occasion, I couldn’t move due to a rib which had decided it didn’t like its current position and moved slightly out of place. Ouch.

Although seeing Bailey with an acute injury is not always recommended (in most cases, there is nothing that can be done right away), I truly believe that if I didn’t get in to see her, I wouldn’t have recovered so quickly. As it was, I had to cancel my day of massaging; had I not seen her, I’m sure I would have been out for the rest of the week. And believe me, no one wants me to cancel my day; it means you don’t get the treatment that you want and we have to scramble to find another time to get you in quickly!

Now, I don’t want to say that dry needling is for every body, because it’s not. But I have found that this modality works wonders for me that other modalities (massage, chiropractic, and general physiotherapy) haven’t been able to touch. I am grateful for Bailey helping me out with all this, and I couldn’t ask for a better physio to work with!

 

Melissa Beals is an RMT with Whole Therapy. Melissa works extensively with athletes of all levels with a goal in mind to increase their athletic performance through education and understanding of their bodies. See more about Melissa here.

Melissa

May 14, 2015

MEL’S MEANDERING MASSAGE MIND: BETTER, STRONGER, SMARTER. DON’T BS MY SMARTS

This month we are talking about “Being Above Average.” I’ve been thinking about what this concept means to me. What does it mean to you?

Initially I thought to myself So I have to talk about me and how I think I’m better than everybody else? That’s a little conceited. But upon reflection, Being Above Average has nothing to do with everyone else, and everything to do with myself.

Allow me to explain.

I’m a Massage Therapist (duh). I love weight training and competing in Powerlifting. But this wasn’t always true.

When I was in Massage school, I felt extremely weak. It was hard to get through an hour treatment and I felt I gave no pressure. Being the type of person I am, I knew that I didn’t want to be a “Spa” therapist, but I would rather be able to get in and find those sore spots on people and have the knowledge to help them out.

I started lifting some weights, and guess what – I tore my pec the first time I tried the bench press. Not a good sign.

After my chest muscles healed, I went back to the gym; I knew that getting stronger would help me in the future and with the career I had chosen (or rather, that had chosen me).

Now, I’m not going to lie to you and say that I think I’m the strongest person I know, that I am fully confident in my ability to move weight around, or even that I know the most about training or treating injuries/imbalances. My inner voice routinely tells me I am the weakest person ever, that the weight will beat me, and that I know nothing and have to scramble to find words to try to explain something to a client when they ask “Why does this hurt when I do that?”

BUT there is a silver lining to these thought processes. I may not be “strong” compared to others like me, but I am stronger than I was last year, both mentally and physically. The weight might beat me today, but I will try again tomorrow, next week, next month. I might not have the answer for you right now, but I will do my best to find it.

Every day I’m in the gym or at work I learn from my training partners, my coworkers, and my clients. Every day I am bettering myself as a whole person. Every day I am working my butt off to be better at what I do and how I do it.

So I’m not being conceited when I say that I am above average, I’m saying I am above MY average. I am better than I was yesterday, the day before that, and the years before that.

Be better…be stronger…be confident in you! Don’t worry about the rest of the world.

 

Melissa Beals is an RMT with Whole Therapy. Melissa works extensively with athletes of all levels with a goal in mind to increase their athletic performance through education and understanding of their bodies. See more about Melissa here.

Melissa

April 16, 2015

Mel’s Meandering Massage Mind: Let it go – not the Frozen version

Pain – everyone gets it; and no one is left unscathed by its wrath.

I’ve been thinking a lot about pain in the last few weeks, so it’s fitting that Jen asked me to write about it and that the theme of this month is Letting Go.

In the last little while, I’ve made some changes that have affected my life drastically. Granted, the changes were for the better, but that doesn’t mean that letting go of my safe-holds was any less difficult.

When I wake up in the morning, I put on a suit of armour. I think this armour is going to protect me from the pain that I might endure throughout the day, but in fact, I am actually putting on a suit of armour that is made of pain. Every time something hurts me, the armour builds thicker and thicker around my heart.

The thing about adding thickness to this armour is that the extra material has to come from somewhere; so I take pieces out of other places to make that one spot stronger. In the end, my armour is heavy and lopsided in one area, but I’m completely vulnerable on another. At some point, I am going to grow too weak, fall, and break down when this weakness is exposed.

That breaking point came not too long ago on a massage table. I broke down. The massage was not at all painful, but it left me a shattered broken shell of a woman. I didn’t even know that I was on the verge of breaking. I didn’t know that I had so many pent up emotions. For the two hours post-massage, I had fits of hysteria and more emotional breakdowns (when it rains, it pours right?). It took all I had to gather myself and continue with my day.

Fast forward a couple of months. I was doing really well. I was sure that emotional breakdown wasn’t going to happen again.

I got it out, right?

I was looking inward at myself and dealing with the little things every day, so I was good, right? Nope. I was wrong. My last Grandparent passed away, and sent me in a month-long spiral from which I couldn’t escape.

So, after a month of feeling like garbage, I decided that it was time to turn things around. I have never really believed in energy work, but I was desperate and I decided to try it with Jen’s help. She helped me realize that I can let things go. I can accept them, process them, wish them well and just let go. The world isn’t going to end, a reign of terror isn’t going to come crashing down on me: I will be okay. I may feel a little wonky for a while because I am finally standing up straight again, but I am standing.

I’ve decided to throw my suit of armour away…you can see it…it’s at the end of my drive way waiting to be picked up by the garbage men. Anyone want to join me?

Melissa Beals is an RMT with Whole Therapy. Melissa works extensively with athletes of all levels with a goal in mind to increase their athletic performance through education and understanding of their bodies. See more about Melissa here.

Melissa

March 19, 2015

Mel’s Meandering Massage Mind: Are you a….Desk Potato??

deskpotato

Mr. Potato Head has a new job!

Often, we go from sitting at work all day to sitting on a couch all evening. Desk potato to couch potato.  I haven’t worked in an office setting in a long time, but I can remember the endless hours at my desk, followed by the long seated car ride home, followed by the ‘down time’ in front of the computer or TV at night. I was sore and tired A LOT. Sound familiar?

I say we take the opportunity to start fresh this month. Take those resolutions that you have forgotten about from January and restart them now. For those of you still going strong on your resolutions; re-evaluate them, see where you have come from and where you want to go, then adjust accordingly. Do something! Change something!

Don’t let yourself be a Desk Potato anymore. Maybe you can’t change jobs, but you can make the best of your situation. Your lunch hour is the perfect time to step outside and go for a quick jaunt around the block, have a dance party in your office (maybe close the door for this one), or you can put up a sign to see if anyone wants to have weekly lunch hour yoga sessions.

Spring begins tomorrow. It’s a great time to kick potatoey habits to the curb.

Melissa Beals is an RMT with Whole Therapy. Melissa works extensively with athletes of all levels with a goal in mind to increase their athletic performance through education and understanding of their bodies. See more about Melissa here.

Melissa

March 6, 2015

Thai Massage is an ancient modality used by Buddhists to stay healthy during their travels. They believed that through the combination of Yoga and Massage, one could heal from almost anything.  It is done in a relaxed setting, on the floor (with mats) and fully clothed. Each treatment is tailored to your needs, putting you through a variety of stretches combined with massage techniques.

The foundation of Thai Massage is that the whole body needs to be treated in order to aid in the healing process. Therefore, each treatment will not only focus on problem areas, the whole body will be addressed.  Thai Massage is designed help with mobility, flexibility, stress reduction, boosting your immune system, and helping to align the body’s energy through direct work on the Sen (the energy lines of the body).

Melissa Beals, RMT performing Thai Massage with Jen Wright, RMT

 

Although treatments can be done in 60 minutes, I highly recommend a 90 minute treatment for the full benefit of this style of therapy. The extra 30 minutes means a smoother and less rushed pace leading to increased relaxation.
If you get cold easily, I recommend long loose pants (sweats or yoga pants) and a long sleeve t-shirt. Or if you tend to be warm, shorts and a tee, or a combination of either. Remember I am moving you through the poses and you are expending no energy to keep yourself warm.

If you have any questions about Thai Massage, please feel free to contact me at the clinic!

To read about Jen’s experience with Thai click here.

Melissa Beals is an RMT with Whole Therapy. Melissa works extensively with athletes of all levels with a goal in mind to increase their athletic performance through education and understanding of their bodies. See more about Melissa here.
Melissa