What Muscle is That?!?

During your massage, do you ever wonder that? Your massage therapist is just doing their thing, and all of a sudden you feel a twinge, pain, tension, or knot, and think, “what the hell was that?” Luckily, some of my clients will actually ask me, and I will explain what I am doing and why. One of the muscles I get asked the most about is the Trapezius muscle.

The Trapezius muscle is one of the major back muscles and moves, rotates, and stabilizes the shoulder blades. It works ALL the time and can be a culprit for stress headaches and it’s one of the main muscles where people “hold their tension.” They are very large muscles and are on both sides of your neck. Think of the Vulcan Death Grip muscles.

When we are on our tablets, computers, phones, driving, holding our head up, or really doing anything with our arms/shoulders/necks, we are using these muscles. Weak traps can lead to shoulder injuries. You can strengthen your trapezius muscles, without weights, by doing pushups (either on the floor or against a wall), shoulder shrugs, and squeezing your shoulder blades together for 3 seconds. Taking occasional stretch breaks from work can really help as well. Getting circulation into the area and keeping them “warmed up” can help them from getting stiff and losing range of motion.

Getting these muscles massages by a massage therapist can also help relieve tension headaches, increase range of motion, and can even help with arm pain. 100% of my clients have had pain, stiffness, and tension in this area. This is an expertise of mine. Lower those shoulders, take a deep breath, and schedule a massage!


Infant Massage: Foundation for Healthy Beginnings

We all want what is best for our babies. As a Certified Educator of Infant Massage, I realized that the modality of infant massage, that has been around since the 1970’s and practiced in 70 countries, is not being utilized by the millions of parents here in the US. I think that may be because we don’t know it’s something that is accessible or even what it is.

I teach parents of infants 0-12 months massage techniques that can help support better sleep (for all of you), colic relief, communication, bonding, confidence in parenting, and much more! These techniques are taught over a 5 week course, once a week in classes lasting 60-90 minutes. The moves also grow and adapt as your child grows and adapts, so this is something that can continue for the rest of their lives. These are small, intimate classes where we discuss many parenting struggles, victories, and as a collective, support each other. I am a mom, and what a great resource to have at your fingertips! 

I am a massage therapist of over 18 years, specializing in prenatal and post natal massage. I know from years of experience, the more you get massaged, the more in tune with your body you are. Your babies will grow up to be more self aware, have more self esteem, and be more open to communicate with you. What a great gift to give to your child and to yourself! We always ask permission before we massage, so consent, safe touch, self esteem, and confidence are instilled right from the start. I truly believe that infant massage can change the world. 

Studies have found that not only moms, but dads and partners benefit greatly from these courses. A lot of times they can feel lost, out of touch when a new baby arrives. For them to spend a full 90 minutes just watching, bonding, listening to their baby can do wonders for their confidence and attachment to the newborn. Siblings also love to learn and be a part of the process. Infant massage has been a family/community tradition in many cultures for years. 

By including massage into your daily routine, you are supporting your family, your community, and your babies future. 

Confessions Of a Massage Therapist

Confessions of a Massage Therapist:


Top 5 Industry Secrets to Know Before Your Next Massage 

  1. Skip the Razor and the Mascara

Don’t worry about not shaving your legs, armpits, face, whatever. I truly don’t care about hairy legs. I didn’t shave for you either, so don’t stress if you leave the razor on the bathroom shelf the day of your massage. Shaving right before a massage can actually clog pores with oil and cause ingrown hairs, so come in as hairy as you want to be! What we don’t tell you, is please don’t  wear mascara to your massage, if you can help it. It’s really for your own good, you will have what I call “massage face” for awhile and adding black raccoon eyes is not a good look on anyone. 

2. We Love Butts and Feet

Don’t let that scare you! Your glutei muscles (there are three of them) do a lot of work for you every day. They are working when you sit, stand, walk, lunge, bend forwards, etc. they do a ton of work and are a neglected part of the body when it comes to bodywork. Even as a modest client, you can still get some good glute work in without feeling vulnerable our exposed. As far as feet go, I love massaging feet. They are our foundation, our roots. They support us all day, every day. Even if you are going in for back discomfort, have the massage therapist spend some time on your feet and glutes!

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3. You May Feel Drunk Afterwards

It’s true. I have had many clients stumble out of the room and into the waiting room. The main reason for this is increased circulation. An hour massage increases your circulation as much as a 3 mile hike! This is all happening while you are laying still for an hour. Once you get up, you can feel a little light headed. Drink water before and after your massage to help with this detached, floaty feeling. Massage gets everything moving in your body and you want to keep it moving.

4. We Appreciate Tips

As with any service based job, tips are very much appreciated. Massage therapists that work in spas make a small commission for the amount of work they do. There are some days they could do 8 massages and that is a lot of work! Sometimes they even have to split their tips with a front desk person. Even self employed massage therapists still have overhead.  Cash tips help us take care of our families and do the work that we love. Industry standard is similar to restaurants. Of course, location, quality of services and financial means come into play, but 10-20% is fairly common.


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5. You Are Truly Cared About

When you are on the massage table, you are family. Your needs are considered and you are looked after. Massage is a sacred energy exchange between client and therapist to help facilitate in a healing, both physically and emotionally. There is no judgement, no shame, no need to hide who you are. Having a sacred space for you to heal is something we should all take advantage of. 

Massage for Round Ligament Pain

Who here has suffered from round ligament pain or are currently suffering? I sure did! The round ligament helps support the uterus and connects from the front of the uterus down to the pubic bone. It kind of looks like a rubber band and runs about two inches on either side of your belly button. Normally, it expands and contracts slowly, but during pregnancy, we expand quickly. Whenever you make quick movements, or sometimes “just because,” it can cause a sharp/jabbing pain.

The round ligament supports the uterus during pregnancy and if it is tight or contracted, your posture can struggle, which leads to more soreness and pain. It also can limit the space for baby to grow and move around. Lengthening it out can have you standing more upright and creating more space for baby.

This pain can occur after childbirth as well, so knowing how to massage this ligament will help you for years to come. You can help reduce your own pain, prevent pain form even occurring, and give baby more room to move and grow!

How to Massage for Round Ligament Pain:

  1. Put a little bit of natural/unscented oil or lotion on your belly (dime size- you can always add more.)

  2. The round ligament is located about an inch or two on either side of your belly button.Move your fingers up, so they are right underneath your rib cage and stroke down to your pubic bone.

  3. Stroke firmly (yet comfortably) up and down that “track” for about 5 minutes.

  4. Repeat steps on other side

Doing this simple massage routine at home every day can help you have a less uncomfortable pregnancy.

Please share with any pregnant mommas that may benefit from this!


Top 5 Essential Oils During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can bring so many changes to your body and mind. Essential oils are a great option for natural remedies during pregnancy for anything from congestion, sleep, and discomfort. I have been educating others on how to safely use essential oils for the last 5 years because I wish I would have known my options when I was pregnant! One drop of lavender oil when my son was 3 months old changed our lives. Below is a video of my top 5 essential oils to use during pregnancy (with 2 bonus oils).

PostPartum Anxiety and Infant Massage

First off, I want to say, I am not a doctor, therapist, or mental health professional, however, I have had my own experiences postpartum anxiety. I can speak to those and what helped me. Hopefully, it can help you too.

Going through some things a few months ago, I came across a “sleep journal” that I had kept when my son was a baby. Inside were nights and nights of entries like, “Fed 15 minutes before, 8:00pm-11pm, swaddled with one arm out, one arm in, both legs out, not swaddled…..” Entry after entry, and I thought, this is a crazy person. I kept track of everything he ate, how he slept, checked on him every ten minutes. I was terrified of something happening to him and it was a feeling I always had with me. My poor husband, looking back, I was a mess. I also now know that I was surrounding my son with my anxiety and was setting his nervous system on fire too. Now, I know it’s completely normal to worry or be overwhelmed when you are a new parent, but this was obsessive. This is how my postpartum anxiety manifested.

Due to my anxiety, I developed what I like to call, “postpartum detachment.” It wasn’t depression, but it was on the spectrum, and I didn’t even know that was a thing. We are shown and told that it’s either all bliss or you want to drive off a cliff, there is no in between. I didn’t hold my child as much, take him out of his little chair as much, and I was overall detached from physical contact. Sure, we cuddled, and I breast fed, and I held him a lot, I just wasn’t quite sure what to do with him, so I often did nothing. It’s hard to write this, I love my son something fierce, but I struggled.

If you are struggling too, please know you are not alone and you are doing a great job mama! It is the hardest thing you will have to do, being a new mom and you are crushing it! Check in with yourself and be honest, are you struggling? Are you just craving an adult conversation? Parenthood is a funny thing, we ALL go through the same thing and yet we often feel isolated and alone. You are not alone.

Learning from my experiences to help others is why I do what I do. You are the reason I do what I do. There are many things that helped me and would have helped me. Text that friend today, reach out. Your tribe and support team around you are very important, don’t be afraid to reach out. Be honest with your feelings with someone you trust. You can write it out as well. Honestly, Infant Massage Classes would have really helped. I know that may seem self serving, but truly, these classes would have helped with everything I was going through.

Every week for 5 weeks, you spend 60-90 minutes just focusing on your baby and touching them in a safe, healthy way. Massage connects two people and deepens the connection between those two people. Massage reduces anxiety, helps encourage better sleep, helps regulate your fight or flight, not to mention the physical benefits. These courses help connect you to other adults as well and to interact with the community. Find friends going through the same thing, get recommendations to pediatricians, lessons, etc. Having a community to rely on is HUGE asset as a new parent!

These classes would have been an amazing resource and I didn’t even know it was a thing. This resource is available to you and I hope you take advantage! Learn how to massage your new baby and truly connect with them. You will grow more confident as a parent and create a connection that will last a life time.

Sciatica Yoga

Sciatica is one of those conditions I see all the time as a massage therapist, and especially as a Prenatal Massage Therapist. It is very common, yet can be debilitating. Pain that radiates from your lower back and sometimes down into your feet. Legs can become weak and numb in some areas. Massage and Yoga can help loosen up the muscles, calm the inflammation, and help relieve the pain that you feel. Here is a quick 15 minute yoga routine specifically for sciatica. Schedule a massage with me, then do some yoga! Your muscles will be loosened up, circulation flowing, so you can get a deeper stretch.

Sleep (or Lack of) and Your Baby

Sleep is the foundation of our health, and I also know it can be quite elusive for up to 40 MILLION people! There are many reasons people suffer from sleep conditions: chronic pain, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, insomnia, having a baby, and many more. As a mom, I can relate to the lack of sleep that comes with being a parent. Wether it’s the night feeding, crying, or just the anxiety that keeps you up at night, it is exhausting and it’s not doing you or your family any good.

Lack of sleep has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, depression, self harm, and so many other health issues that can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle, which includes a healthy sleep life.

As a massage therapist, I know that getting a massage on a consistent basis can help with the quality and quantity of sleep! Massage releases Serotonin, which is a hormone necessary for the production of Melatonin. Massage also helps reduce stress, anxiety, pain, restless leg syndrome, and helps you relax. Guess what? This is also the same in babies!

Massage therapy is not just a frivolous thing you do on your vacation, it has proven health benefits for you and your baby. As an Infant Massage Educator, I teach parents/caregivers how to properly massage their infants to support bonding, communication, motor skills, colic relief, and better SLEEP, among literally one hundred more benefits.

I am a resource for you to take advantage of so you and your family can live healthy and happy lives full of Zzzzzzz’s. How empowering for a parent to help your child rest, and in turn, help you get the rest you need as well to be the best parent you can be.