Truths and Myths Surrounding Prenatal Massage.

One of the most rewarding parts of working with specialized populations such as expectant moms, is dispelling common myths about what type of massage is and is not appropriate for them. In many of my lectures about prenatal work, my first comment to the therapists in my class is, “Pregnant women are not sick! It’s Ok to touch them!” This opening line stems from the hundreds of comments I have received from prenatal clients expressing frustration with the timid, fearful touch they have received in previous prenatal massage experiences. While caution is absolutely necessary in working with prenatal clients in particular, I find that my prenatal clients are not nearly as fragile as most textbooks and teachers make them out to be. Especially our female athletes. In fact, a woman’s activity level before and during pregnancy is a great indicator of what kind of intensity is appropriate during her session. Here is a short list of some considerations for expectant moms and how therapists can work with them.

1.) One of the big concerns with pregnant women is their propensity for blood clots. There is a possibility of a therapist dislodging a clot and that can cause other complications. But in women who are more active, their blood is already being circulated more aggressively, so that risk is minimized. Also by using slower techniques, the therapist can deliver effective work without putting their client at any increased risk.

2.) Another factor to consider during pregnancy is the little extra elasticity present in tissue created by the presence of a hormone called relaxin. Again, if a women was not very active or strong before pregnancy, this could be minor cause for concern as any aggressive manipulation could cause instability in her joints. But in the instance of our athletes who were probably lacking a little bit in flexibility before pregnancy, this risk is very minimal.

3.) One of my absolute favorites that I hear about often is the potential to induce labor by massaging the feet or other acupressure points in the body. At Loosen Up we have been offering what we call an “induction massage” where if the mom is at least 38 weeks along and has no complications, we will put a little extra focus on activating the points and reflexology zones associated with inducing labor. We have had some moms go into labor shortly after leaving our facility but many women don’t go into labor for another day or two or some even still need to be induced. So while many therapists are very apprehensive around these areas, even with intense focus on these points, rarely do women go into labor from working on them.

So many women are participating in advanced level competitive sports now and our previously-held notions of women as these “delicate flowers” who should just rest and stay indoors need to be crushed. The health benefits of activity and a good massage greatly outweigh the minimal risks. The bottom line is that every person and every pregnancy is different and women should be encouraged to explore what works best for them and their families and not be told that they should be fearful of what feels appropriate for them.

More Studies Show the Health Benefits of Massage Therapy

Deep Tissue Massage Walnut Creek CA 94595A recent Wall Street Journal article reported on scientific studies on massage therapy. One huge benefit from the research is that it could increase insurance coverage for massage.

Another benefit is the increased legitimacy of massage,  not only for pampering, but an  integral part of your Holistic Self-Care Routine.

Some of the highlighted results include:

  • People who receive massage once a week for 10 weeks had less pain & disability than those who didn’t. Some benefits lasted more than 9 months after the last treatment.
  • A full-body massage boosted immune function and lowered heart rate and blood pressure in women with breast cancer undergoing radiation treatment.
  • A 10-minute massage upped mitochondria production, and reduced proteins associated with inflammation in muscles that had been exercised to exhaustion.


The article gives helpful tips on finding a qualified massage therapist. At Loosen Up Bodywork, all of our massage therapists have over 500 hours of training and are Certified and Licensed by the State of California. We guarantee that our clients will love the quality and care our massage therapists provide.


Souce: Don’t Call It Pampering (WSJ)

Health Benefits of Massage for Atheletes

Walnut Creek sports massage The benefits of massage therapy for athletic training have been in the spotlight of many news articles recently. A study performed by the Buck Institute has demonstrated what we have known for years.

Athletes that receive massage therapy after events and training experience a decrease in recovery time and an increase in ability to

Read more about the Buck Institute massage study in the Marin Independent Journal.

The Difference Between Swedish & Deep Tissue Massage

Pleasant Hill Massage ThearpistA common question we get is, “What’s the difference between Swedish Massage & Deep Tissue Massage?”

Often, people think of pressure.  Most people think that Swedish massage is light & stress-relieving, while Deep Tissue is strong pressure & can even hurt.

Pressure is part of the answer, but the real difference is the Intention of the massage.

If you want to relax, relieve stress, improve circulation, and even sleep better, Swedish massage may be the best massage modality (or style) for you.  The pressure can be moderate to light, but did you know you can have a deep Swedish massage?  Yes, pressure can be adjusted to each individual’s preference.

The intention for a Deep Tissue massage is to work on the deeper layers of the muscles and breaking up adhesion (or knots) that can refer pain to other parts of the body.  Deep Tissue massage is rarely light pressure, but it’s not necessarily digging in with the elbows all the time either.

So here’s the tricky part — not all massage therapists know the difference!  When you select your massage therapist, be sure to select someone who is not only skilled technically at different types of massage, but also has great  communication skills.  Look for a massage therapist that asks for feedback from you without disrupting the rhythm of the massage or your relaxation and can adjust the massage accordingly.