resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
March, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 03
Help Your Client Achieve a Natural Labor: Four Simple Tips for Pain Relief
By Michelle C. Larson, MAc, BA, LMT
Most women are nervous about labor pain whether their goal is an unmedicated labor or not. Pain is part of the right of passage into motherhood, but there are many simple things you can do to make it more comfortable and assist your body in the natural process of birth.
As massage therapists, we have a wonderful opportunity to assist expectant moms in creating the best birth experience possible. Over the last year and a half, I studied natural pain relief techniques for labor and delivery. Using my background as a massage therapist, acupuncturist and labor doula, I applied the principles of hydrotherapy, massage and acupressure to find the most effective and fundamental techniques.
My goal was to decrease anxiety, keep labor progressing and decrease pain. The following are four procedures you can use with your clients to make labor and delivery less stressful:
Hot Foot Bath
Place her feet in hot water, deep enough to cover the feet and come above the malleoli. This will not only feel relaxing, but also will help to draw energy downward and promote descent of the baby. By relaxing the muscles in the feet and legs, her pelvic floor also will relax. As she relaxes her mind, she will find a decrease in pain during contractions.
Many hospitals will have plastic tubs you can use for this purpose. Simply ask the nurse. This also is a great treatment to use at home in early labor before you head to the hospital or birth center. If you like, you can add essential oils such as rosemary or lavender to enhance the energetic effect of the hot foot bath and add a wonderful aroma. Keep in mind some women are very sensitive to scents during labor.
"Mind over matter" works. Here is a tried-and-true meditation you can guide her through at any stage. Have her close her eyes between contractions, ask her to take her mind deep inside. "With every inhale imagine breath in life and energy. Each breath is as nourishing and energizing as your favorite dinner. You are drawing in energy from the world around you, filling yourself. Even though you are tired, you are becoming more and more energized. With every exhale allow your pelvic floor to relax and open, exhaling out any tension, fear and anxiety. Focus on the relaxation."
Starting the next contraction with this new-found relaxation will make it more productive and less painful. The pressure and stretching of the pelvic floor can be very frightening. This fear will cause a woman to tense these muscles which will delay labor and make it more uncomfortable.
Here are three simple, very effective acupressure points. You can use them at any stage of labor, but not during pregnancy. These points have a very strong, energetic action and are not to be used during pregnancy. Have her talk with her primary care provider to decide when she is ready for labor to begin, because these acupressure points can stimulate contractions.
With all of these techniques, the key is to communicate. Invite her to let you know what seems to work and what doesn't. Application of pressure over these points can be done with thumbs, hands, elbows or massage tools. You can use these points as little or as often as you'd like. As long as it feels good to your client, keep going.
Essential oils are a wonderful way to relax and ease tension. Not only is the scent therapeutic but also the application of the oils on the skin. Most oils are not to be used during pregnancy because they have a strong moving effect and can stimulate contractions. During labor, however, this is exactly what you want.
You can use a few drops of your favorite essential oil in a diffuser to scent the entire room, or place a few drops on a tissue to enjoy a light fragrance. A drop of essential oil applied to your fingertips during an acupressure massage will enhance the effect of the treatment.
Keep in mind that a scent she really likes normally may not be pleasing during labor. It's best to use the oils in such a way that you can easily remove them from the room or take the scent away if you find it becomes aggravating.
Lavender is one of the most commonly used essential oils. It provides very relaxing, nourishing feminine energy and helps to sooth pain.
Rosemary is very invigorating and uplifting. If labor has been slow and you find energy fading, the lively scent of rosemary is a huge help. This is also a good one to use during acupressure to stimulate the points.
Orange is a sweet smell that also is very invigorating. Use orange as you would rosemary for an extra energy boost or during your acupressure massage.
Massage therapists often are asked to assist a regular client during labor. This can be very intimidating, especially if you have never been through the birth experience. Use these simple techniques to feel empowered to confidently assist her. And remember, not all births go as planned. A successful birth ends with a healthy mom and a healthy baby; the process is unique and can never be planned.
Michelle Larson is a certified massage therapist with a masters degree in acupuncture and a bachelors degree in holistic health. As a faculty member of the Cortiva Maternity and Infant Massage Program, she travels nationally teaching continuing education for professional massage therapists.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.