Tension headaches are nasty and can range from mildly uncomfortable to completely debilitating. They are caused by the tightening of the muscles in the neck and shoulders and are most often triggered by stress. It's a vicious cycle because once the headache starts dealing with the stress becomes exponentially more difficult and this quickly intensifies the headache.
Unfortunately in today's busy lifestyle the triggers for headaches are everywhere. The daily pressure on women in every aspect of our lives can be absolutely overwhelming.
Parenting, financial pressure, lack of sleep, juggling multiple roles and responsibilities and often feeling unable to fulfill your potential in any of these roles leads to stress and anxiety.
All of these triggers create very real physical reactions in your body. Muscles spams and hormonal changes are the most noticeable. Neck, back and shoulder pain, irregular periods and fertility issues, anxiety and increased blood pressure are some of the most common symptoms.
It's vital to find both long and short term solutions to managing both the symptoms of stress as well as the stress itself.
Short-term treatment options to provide pain relief include:
Research has found that regular exercise can relieve muscle tension and help alleviate stress-related symptoms such as tension headaches, anxiety, depression and some other mood disorders. Other ways to reduce the effects of stress in the long term, and help to decrease the incidence of tension headache, include:
Taking the first step towards managing your stress can be daunting, especially when you are already overwhelmed but just focus on one thing at a time. Find one exercise class, or make an appointment to see your doctor, or make a date to take a walk, or book a massage. The positive benefits of taking the first step to managing your stress levels can already make a huge difference in improving your health and quality of life.
Unless you're a celebrity or a fitness model it's likely that your tummy has not regained it pregnancy shape mere days after birth. However, there is nothing to feel worried about. Your abdomen stretches during the nine months of pregnancy to accommodate your baby. Therefore, it is natural that it shall take at least that much or more time, to tighten back to its original shape.
How fast your skin gets tightened usually depends on how active you were during your pregnancy. Also several other factors are responsible like your genes and bone structure, how much weight you have gained,
Here are some tips that will aid in tightening skin and overall regaining your shape after pregnancy:
1. Increase Your Water Intake
Water is an elixir for your body. It not only hydrates your skin but makes it more elastic. It helps in burning calories more efficiently It is a great way to keep your skin healthy and tight.
2. Breastfeeding Helps
Apart from being a healthy source of nutrition for your baby, breastfeeding is very important for you too. When you breastfeed, your calories are transformed into milk, thereby helping you lose the extra fat. It's like a workout on your couch!
3. Exercise is Essential
It is important to indulge in activity or exercise regime once your body is ready post-delivery. Make sure your doctor gives you the go-ahead to start before you begin. You can start with daily walking or postpartum yoga. Rigorous exercise like aerobics or cardio can work wonders on your abdomen. It also helps in strengthening your stomach muscles and burning calories.
4. Consume Proteins
Protein is good for muscle growth. It also contains an important nutrient called collagen which helps in firming your skin. It also helps you stay full making it easier to stick to your eating plan and avoid sugary snacks.
5. Exfoliate Your Skin
Another good way to tighten your skin is to use an exfoliating scrub on your belly when you take a shower. It helps in increasing the blood circulation by increasing the flow of blood in the area. It also creates new, healthy and more elastic skin.
6. Use of Lotions and Massage:
There are plenty of creams and lotions available in the market which contain collagen as well as Vitamin A, C & E. Apply such lotions on your loose skin as it will aid in skin tightening after pregnancy. You can massage with the lotion to improve the blood flow. Do this at least twice a day for good results.
7. No To Crash Dieting
When you opt for strict dieting, you might lose weight faster initially. But once you stop your regime the weight will bounce back faster.
To revive your body & mind and get your muscles back to pregnancy condition your can also book a Massage Mama postnatal massage in comfort and convenience of your home.
I get a lot of questions about positioning for my pregnancy treatments.
I consider the best position for a pregnant woman during massage to be side-lying. Tables that provide a hole in which the uterus can fit may not be reliable and can still apply pressure to the abdomen, or allow the abdomen to dangle, causing uncomfortable stretching of the uterine ligaments.
I use pillows and bolsters to align the body and ensure you and bump are completely comfortable. We first massage one side and then turn over to do the other side. It's very comfortable and allows for a great back and shoulders treatments. This position also allows very effective treatment of hips and lower back for sciatic and pelvic girdle pain.
You may already be struggling to get a good nights rest with the ever growing belly and baby tap dancing around on your bladder at night. Leg cramps are the last thing you need! These nasties radiate up through the calves and up your legs and are deeply unpleasant way to wake up in the middle of the night. They are unfortunately a fairly common occurrence during pregnancy, usually kicking off in the middle of the second trimester.
So what causes them? There doesn't seem to be one conclusive answer. Theories include: fatigue from carrying pregnancy weight, compression of the blood vessels in the legs, and possibly diet — an excess of phosphorus and a shortage of calcium or magnesium. While getting off your feet at night seems like it would help, this is often when fluid retention and fatigue are at their worst, making the cramps that much more likely to strike.
If a cramp strikes straighten your leg and gently flex your ankle and toes back toward your shins several times. If this doesn't help try placing the sole of your foot on a cold surface. (tiled floor or a cold wall) If you can, get your partner to massage calf.
What you can do to help prevent them:
Your trapezius muscles, or "traps," form a cape across your upper back, running from your skull and the spine of your neck and upper back to your shoulder blades and collar bones. The upper traps shrug your shoulders toward your ears. The middle traps pull your shoulder blades toward the spine, while the lower traps draw them down your back.
Trap pain is classic stress pain. Your shoulders ache, your neck hurts and it is often deep and achy. You may have a headache, especially in the temples or behind your eyes or at the base of your skull. You may feel burning between your shoulder blades after sitting at your computer without elbow support.
So what causes it and what can you do?
Massage Mama offers a range of relaxing massage treatments in the comfort and convenience of your home.
Mastitis is an painful infection usually caused by a build up of milk in the breast. Left untreated it can progress quickly and even require hospitalization. It is often initially overlooked as mom is tired and run down post birth and adjusting to life with a newborn. It is so important that moms take time out to take care of themselves during the postnatal period.
If you are experiencing any of the following accompanied by a fever, headache, and body aches, contact your doctor immediately.
In breastfeeding women, mastitis is often caused by a build-up of milk within the breast. This is known as milk stasis.
Milk stasis can occur for a number of reasons, including:
In non-breastfeeding women, mastitis most often occurs when the breast becomes infected as a result of damage to the nipple, such as a cracked or sore nipple, or a nipple piercing.
It is critical that you take care of yourself during the postnatal period. There is so much focus on caring for baby that moms so often forget how import it is to replenish their own bodies. Timing time out for yourself occasionally allows your to give 100%
Imagine yourself as jug full of water filling glasses until you are empty. You have to go to the tap and refill before you can give again. What is it that refills you? Make time to be refilled in your schedule regularly!
The birth of your baby will bring joy, exhilaration and profound changes and challenges to your life. As you make your transition into motherhood not only do you have to adapt to your non-pregnant state, but also to changes within your family, not to mention caring for your dependent baby 24/7.
Caring for Mum and Baby It is vitally important, therefore, to ensure that you receive care and nurturing to support you through this time. Receiving specialist postnatal massage is a wonderful way to heal and ease the discomforts in your body following your pregnancy & birth, improve energy levels and to provide nurturing support to you and your family.
Benefits for You and Your Baby...
Restores your body
Following your pregnancy and birth your body has undergone many changes and you may even feel that it is unfamiliar to you. Postnatal massage treatments will help you to re-adjust and return to your non-pregnant state. It addresses aches and pains including post-pregnancy back pain, joint stiffness and 'feeding shoulders'.
A postnatal treatments gives you the chance to deeply relax in between your baby care activities. Relaxed mama = relaxed baby! Gives you time to yourself to be cared for, boosting energy levels and reducing feelings of stress and anxiety.
Although my gynae was quick to assure me that my morning sickness was a wonderful sign of a healthy pregnancy, that did little to cheer me up while attempting to function like a normal person during my first trimesters. There are many theories on the cause but the main culprits seem to be raging hormones and low blood sugar, particularly first thing in the morning.
This smoothie contains some tried and tested anti nausea remedies and gives a great nutritional boost. Optimally it would be served at your bedside when you wake to avoid you having to move around to much with that low blood sugar but if that's not working for you it'll do the trick later in the day too.
Morning sickness is unpleasant but it usually not crippling. If your symptoms seem unusually severe, talk to your medical care provider. There’s a more serious condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum that sometimes requires more specialized treatment.
For a real feel good session make yourself a smoothie and book a relaxing prenatal massage right in the comfort of your home.
Whether you run for fun, competition or stress relief, here are four ways massage therapy can significantly improve your running potential:
1. Reduced Muscle Pain and Fatigue
When you have started a new training program, increased the intensity of your training or are simply just running more mileage, massage therapy can be extremely helpful. Often times, the increased workload results in muscle pain and fatigue. This pain is caused by the release of body-producing toxins such as lactic acid into the tissue. When left untreated, the tissue can become damaged over time. Where there is muscle damage, there is less circulation. Reduced circulation can lead to congestion, tightness and shortening of the tissue.
2. Increased Circulation and Blood Flow
Massage increases circulation and blood flow. With this increased circulation, overall healing is expedited by triggering the immune system to promote a healing response in the tissue.
Following a run, the body needs to recover from the stresses places upon it. When muscles are challenged during a run, the body releases toxins into the tissue. Massage is one of the quickest ways to promote recovery because it helps release these toxins from the tissue. In conjunction with proper hydration, toxins are flushed from the system, thus helping lessen soreness and fatigue while helping freshen your legs for your next workout.
3. Increased Flexibility
Increasing an athlete’s range of motion can help improve performance. When we can move properly, we can run more efficiently.
A good massage helps rebalance the musculoskeletal system. Runners frequently experience pain and tightness in the IT Band, Achilles tendon, knees and hamstrings. Many runners can pinpoint where they are experiencing pain. A good therapist will evaluate pre-exsiting conditions and postural errors that could be contributing to pain, as the source of pain is usually not where the pain is manifesting itself. For example, pain in the hamstring may be attributed to limited lumbar mobility. The hamstring could be over-stretched and compensating for shortening of the hip flexors. The body is like a weight and pulley system. When a muscle experiences fatigue from overuse, another muscle will kick in to try and bring balance back to the body. Often times, this secondary muscle is not meant to sustain that kind of responsibility. When left untreated, it undergoes strain and, much like a domino effect, other muscles become involved and affected. A good therapist will analyze all these factors and develop an appropriate treatment plan to help break a cycle of recurring injury.
Lastly, massage promotes relaxation, which has myriad benefits. Relaxing the muscles also helps relax the mind and reduces stress, which can help re-energize you following a big race or tough workout, or even when the craziness of life combined with the demands of training start to wear on you.
Visit the SPORTS MASSAGE treatment menu.
Prenatal massage has gained a lot of momentum over the past several years. Many women will seek massage specifically for their pregnancies even if they wouldn't have incorporated it into their schedules before. So, why is prenatal massage so important? In addition to all of the regular benefits, prenatal massage has some benefits specific to pregnant women.
Just like with regular massage, prenatal massage can help to improve circulation. This is especially important during pregnancy because your blood supply increases to about double the amount found in non-pregnant women. The improvement in your circulation from regular prenatal massage can result in benefits such as a decrease in swelling and a reduction of numbness/tingling. This can feel especially good in the last months of pregnancy when most women experience an increase in swelling in their legs and feet.
When you are pregnant, there are many things that can hinder your ability to breathe easily. First, your growing baby displaces your organs creating less space in your belly. This can restrict the amount that your diaphragm and lungs can move, and can decrease your ability to take deep breaths. Postural changes can also cause a decrease in space for the lungs to fill impeding breathing. Regular massage therapy can help to improve your breathing by helping to relieve some of the tension caused by postural changes, which can help you to feel like there is more space, and therefore more room to breathe.
Another common complaint during pregnancy is sinus congestion or sinus pain. This is due to an increase in the hormone Progesterone, which can cause swelling of your sinuses. Massage can help to ease sinus pain through the utilization of facial massage and acupressure.
Improved Gastro-intestinal Function
During pregnancy, the increased progesterone also causes your digestive system to slow down. It does this so that your food takes longer to digest, leaving more time for nutrients to be absorbed for the baby. This slow down in digestion can also lead to constipation, heartburn, a cit indigestion, gall bladder disease, bloating, and nausea.
Receiving regular massage during pregnancy can help to decrease these negative symptoms. It help to encourage faster food absorption which can speed up digestion. This can help to ease the negative symptoms listed above.
The skin can take a bit of a beating during pregnancy. Your growing belly makes the skin of your midsection tight, dry, and can cause stretch marks. Having soothing massage with oils that are beneficial for your skin can help to put moisture back into it making it feel less tight and dry. It can also help to decrease the appearance of stretch marks.
Relieves Musculoskeletal Discomfort
The changes in your posture as you are growing your baby can cause a whole host of uncomfortable symptoms which increase the later you get in your pregnancy. Your balance changes completely and you may experience symptoms such as sciatica-like pain, ligament pain, carpal/tarsal tunnel pain, restless legs, and headaches just to name a few. Regular massage is a great way to address all of these discomforts. It can help to release the muscular tension that builds up in the hips causing the sciatica-like pain. A massage therapist trained in pregnancy massage is able to recognize symptoms of ligament pain and has special techniques to help ease the pain. Carpal/tarsal tunnel pain is often caused or exacerbated by edema or swelling. Reduction in the swelling of hands and feet can help to ease symptoms of carpal/tarsal tunnel pain. Restless legs can be caused by overly tight calf muscles. While no deep work should be done on calves during pregnancy, superficial massage can help to relax the muscles enough that you will get some relief from restless legs.
Some women also experience what is known as Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction, where the ligament at the front of the pelvis separates. This causes a great deal of pain any time you do anything one sided such as walk, climb in and out of bed, climb stairs, etc. Massage therapy can help to correct it and has been known to even reverse it in some cases.
New mothers are under a lot of stress. Along with dealing with the regular stresses of their lives, they are also faced with growing a human baby, erratic hormones, and the fears and worry that can come along with becoming a parent. Massage is a great way to calm the mind and relax the body, helping to relieve some of the stress.
Good Preparation for Labor
Receiving regular massage therapy throughout your pregnancy can actually help prepare your body for labor. It can help to increase your flexibility and keep your joints supple and open. It can also help you to be more in tune with your body and what you are feeling by increasing your mind/body connection and creating kinesthetic awareness. Recognizing where you hold tension and learning to relax your muscles can work to your benefit when you are in labor. Massage can also help you get used to relaxing and focusing on your breath, both of which can aid you throughout labor and child birth.
Visit the PREGNANCY MASSAGE treatment menu.
Anice Lombard, Massage Mama. Mama of 2 and Massage Therapist