At the age of 16 I was diagnosed with Scoliosis along with a message from the Chiropractor that I would not be able to walk by the age of 30. This scared my parents and myself so we attended this provider for 3 years, twice per week where he manipulated my spine. I was not given any self-care advice or lifestyle advice to improve my health outside of his treatment. I realised that the treatment wasn’t helping and when I looked back I wasn’t in pain as a result of the scoliosis. In fact, it was the x-rays that looked terrifying and I was filled with fear.
The experience with my own body got me interested in learning and understanding more about the human body. I tried many years ago to learn massage at a private college. The course was part time and only ran for a few months. It didn’t seem right and seemed unprofessional. I wasn’t learning the information I had hoped to, so I gave up.
I decided to focus on starting a family and keeping a stable job in an office for 15 years. I have two children, a son aged 10 and 8-year-old daughter. At age 7 my son suffered a fracture to his right ankle. He was just being a kid, jumping over a rock and rolled his ankle. Over the next 2 years, he managed to fracture the same ankle twice more and spraining the ankle another 5 times. The fractures occurred from gymnastics and at a trampolining centre. Rolling and spraining his ankle happened from walking. The laxity in his ankle ligaments had reached a point where such simple movements were causing injury, including a ligament tear.
He was a frequent flyer at the Campbelltown Hospital Emergency Department and often recognised by his favourite male nurse. He was also a regular at Physiotherapy. It was here the Physio recommended we find him a good massage therapist to help with the pain he was developing in his muscles and the hip pain from constantly being on crutches.
Around the same time I was managing my son’s injuries, I was suffering from some intense burning pain down my right leg coupled with lower back pain. After a visit to the doctor he gave me a referral for a scan. I was feeling desperate as I was due to fly interstate with two small children the very next day. I Dr Googled ‘Sciatica’ & read that massage can assist, so I made a desperate phone call to my local massage therapist who managed to squeeze me in that day. It wasn’t until I drove away that I realised I had struggled to walk in to the appointment, but one hour later, with zero pain, I ran to my car! I couldn’t believe how much of a difference just one massage treatment had made!
During the massage, we often talked about how I wanted to be a massage therapist. We would joke about my germaphobia. I have funny habits due to worry about germs in public. I hate my children touching the bottoms of their shoes and handrails in public spaces. I clean the clean cutlery handed to me in restaurants and I sanitised the kid’s hands whenever they got home from pre-school. I was worried how I would feel when being in other people’s personal space and whether it would prevent me from touching other people. My Massage Therapist told me that she only saw the muscles and tissue underneath that was being worked. It got me thinking about how I could overcome my worries and go back to my passion to learn more about the human body.
3 years ago, I suffered a health scare where I was getting random nerve pain, brain fog and numbness throughout my body. At first, the doctors weren’t sure what was going on. I was being investigated for Multiple Sclerosis and autoimmune conditions. During their investigations they accidently did a different scan than requested by my neurologist. Incidentally they found I had an aneurysm behind my left eye. This required surgical repair and that lucky find has now been resolved. The reason for my other symptoms is yet to be discovered but they have all settled. I realised life was too short and it was time to take a leap.
After receiving regular massages & feeling like a new person after every treatment, I realised this is something I would love to be able to do for other people. After much deliberation, I finally bit the bullet, enrolled into TAFE & haven’t looked back since. It seemed the stars have been aligning over the years and the signs have been there for me to care for my own health, my family’s health and how I can use these skills to help others.
I have loved learning about anatomy, how the body works and how massage helps in so many ways. It has brought out a passion for helping others, instead of instilling fear about health. I want to be able to guide my clients with self care between visits and see those improvements in their health extend to their family life.
With my germaphobia tackled, I am now confident with massage and realised that the focus is on the tissues underneath the skin. I really want my clients to know that I am in no way grossed out by touching them, but I will always have extra clean hands and workspace for every treatment so not to pass on my own germs.
The nicest part of this story, is that the massage therapist who helped me out that day, was Melissa Woodward! Not only has she inspired me to start studying massage again but has given me the opportunity to start my career here at Evolution Health Services. I look forward to helping many families like my own to improve their health.
Pregnancy Massage is one of our big passions here at Evolution Health Services. We aim to help women enjoy a more comfortable pregnancy experience. When our pregnant clients first experience Pregnancy Massage, their next question is ‘how often should I be having a massage in pregnancy?’. There is never a standard answer for this as it depends on each individual experience. We will aim to work with you to create your very own Pregnancy Massage Treatment Plan to guide you through your pregnancy. As a general guide, we recommend the following frequency for Pregnancy Massage.
First Trimester (0-13 weeks)
Pregnancy Massage in the first trimester is often a debated topic as there is so much misinformation and fear around massage in the first trimester. We need to remember that Massage is just touch. We are touched all the time by our partners or children and there is not a cause for concern to our unborn babies. Where care needs to be taken is where there is a high risk circumstance that might preclude you from having a massage. Our trained Massage Therapists will also be able to guide you through any fear, position you safely and avoid any areas that are required.
In the early stages of pregnancy, massage frequency will be dependent on how you are feeling. Often aches and pains from pregnancy do not start this early but fatigue has well and truly set in. Many pregnant women are still working in the early stages so aches and pains could be related to work postures. Also if you experience morning sickness, we can help to relieve the tension that develops in the chest, diaphragm and upper abdomen as a result of frequent vomiting. We would recommend seeing you every 4-6 weeks during this time or as required.
Second Trimester (14-27 weeks)
During the second trimester you will start to feel the impact of hormones and the postural changes of your growing belly. It’s the time where ligaments are relaxing and muscles are tightening to compensate. You will start to experience lower back pain, hips aches and pelvic pain. You are likely to begin sleeping on your side now, so aching down the sides of legs or shoulder pain are likely to occur too. Now that you are feeling better you might get back into exercise so helping with any post exercise muscle soreness is another benefit of treatment.
During this period we recommend seeing clients every 3-4 weeks. We also give tips to self manage between treatments to keep you active, at work and feeling great.
Third Trimester (28+ weeks)
By the beginning of the third trimester you will well and truly be feeling pregnant. This is the most popular time women start to come and see us. Mostly because they have been able to manage themselves. But usually because they have just been dealing with the pain and didn’t know where to get help. Regular massage earlier in pregnancy helps to keep these third trimester aches at bay. Also if you are able to be active, strength training can help prevent the severity of lower back and hip pain during the whole pregnancy.
By this stage we recommend receiving fortnightly pregnancy massage. The load your body is under has increased significantly from the first trimester and your baby is developing at a great rate. It’s amazing to think back and realise it wasn’t that long ago your watermelon was once a poppy seed. You have made it so far and the end is in sight. We would love to see you breeze through these final months and enjoy the jiggling bub inside your tummy.
The Final Stages (36+ weeks)
We are often asked how far into pregnancy you can have massage and you can have it all the way up to labour. If you have a caring partner who can help, you may even be lucky enough to get a massage in the delivery ward. While pregnancy massage in the last weeks of pregnancy is not guaranteed to bring on labour, it can help to relax the body and mind in preparation for childbirth. As your Massage Therapists are also mums we are here to listen to your fears and empower you to believe that you can do it. We have held the same or similar fears in our own circumstances so while we work to relax your body, you can release those fears and settle the mind. In the weeks leading up to your due date, we often see mums-to-be on a weekly basis. The aim in the final weeks is to help relieve those aching muscles to help you sleep better at night so you are well rested.
We send you the very best wishes for a happy and healthy pregnancy. We are here to help if you need advice about preventing or relieving pain throughout your pregnancy. Let us create a Pregnancy Massage Treatment Plan for your needs. Book Online today.
Today’s Blog comes from our newest Team Member, Remedial Massage Therapist, Paul Mingay. Paul has developed a passion for long distance running and in particular trail running. He understands the importance of recovery when it comes to creating your training program, managing the workload and achieving your fitness goals. As any fitness enthusiast would know, training is hard work so rest becomes just as important too. Paul has some big running goals ahead of him and we look forward to following along in his journey.
‘Overtraining Syndrome’ is the process of repetitively training beyond your body’s ability to recover. It affects many athletes and you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Reduced performance
- Decrease in training capacity & intensity
- Consistent feeling of tiredness, lack of energy & motivation
- Muscular & Joint pain and tightness
- Decreased immunity (leading to colds, coughs, sore throats, infection etc)
- Moodiness, anxiety, irritability & depression
- Increased incidence of niggles and injury
It can be tempting to continue to push hard with your training even when not feeling 100%. You may be worried that you will lose your recent gains, or you may be caught in the addictive nature of routine training & exercise. It is important however, to recognize that by doing this you may in fact run the risk of significant down time in the future from illness & injury.
The following guidelines are key for effective RECOVERY:
- Diet, Nutrition & Hydration. Follow the ’JERF’ principle, ie. Just Eat Real Food. And drink plenty of water.
- Sleep. At least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
- Reduce training volume and intensity. Listen to your body and have at least one full rest day per week to allow your muscles to repair.
- Massage. A good remedial treatment will help address any areas of tightness, providing improved healing times through increased blood flow to tissues. Improved range of motion will result in less painful and more efficient training on your return to activity.
I include Remedial Massage and mobility exercises at home to form a major part of my training program. This will ensure that I am able to keep up with the workload and sufficiently recover between runs or workouts. If you would like me to help you recover from your training workload, or discuss a treatment plan to suit your needs, contact us today or book your next Remedial Massage Online now. I look forward to being part of your training team and to support you reach your goals.
Over the last year we have refined our focus at Evolution Health Services to bring a voice to women’s health issues. It’s something I’m passionate about as the owner of the business, but it’s a passion that my team share. While we have male staff that may not fully understand women’s health, they have wives, sisters and daughters who will be impacted by different issues and it’s important to be aware. We have always been about more than providing just a massage or having you just come in for a workout. Why we care about women’s health comes down to adding value to our services and discussing issues which impact the people we care about most, our clients.
Benefits of Caring for Women’s Health
The Impact on the Whole Family
How often do we, as women, put other people first? We make sure our kids have enough after school activity for their physical and mental development. We see our partners take time for themselves at the gym or playing golf with their mates. We prioritise spending more time at work caring for clients or customers, instead of taking that time to care for ourselves. We say yes to friends when we would prefer to be home taking the rest we need. I’ve even seen female clients book their husbands in for a massage before they look after their aches. Often it’s the wife that books her husband in too.
When we see our female clients start to take care of their health first, we see the knock on effect it has for her family. We see her living life with less pain and doing more with the family. We notice her confidence increase and stress decrease. Her family see a role model for health and want to follow in her footsteps. Her friends and extended family or community see the changes and benefit from how much more she is able to give or achieve. We believe that focusing on the woman will ultimately help the whole family.
Opening up the Conversation on Taboo Topics
I have lost count of the number of times women have said “I just thought that was normal” or “why didn’t anyone tell me that?”. We see this most in our pregnant clients. Women are sharing the movie version and horror stories of labour but often we forget to talk about the more intimate or embarrassing parts. Many women still believe that’s it’s just a part of having children that you will now experience incontinence. It’s a common effect of childbirth but there is help available so that it’s not an issue long term.
Another common topic is period pain. Women believe it’s normal to be in pain each month. Painful periods are a sign of something going on in our bodies that should be investigated. One in ten women are now diagnosed with endometriosis which can be a cause of these painful periods. Opening up on taboo topics, helps women seek medical advice and realise they don’t have to live like this forever.
Enjoy a Better Pregnancy Experience
Sometimes Pregnancy Sucks! We see the images of glowing women with perfectly round baby bumps, clear skin and luscious locks. Unfortunately, the pregnancy experience can be much different for some women. We often don’t know how to manage the pain, the changing body or the hormonal symptoms that occur. We feel that we just have to deal with it and don’t know where to get help. It’s also a time of high anxiety, fear and misinformation. There are some health providers who will not touch a women in her first trimester for fear of miscarriage. There are others who will only provide gentle pressure to aching muscles which does not provide relief. I’ve heard the flip side where pregnant women are getting treated while laying on their stomach without support.
I’ve spent plenty of hours and continue to learn more about pregnancy and the postnatal period. Personally, my pregnancies have been tough so I’m passionate helping women experience a more comfortable pregnancy period. I support mums-to-be by providing firm massage with safe positioning to relieve muscular aches and pains. I
Understanding How to Have a Safe Return to Exercise
Post Natal recovery is poorly represented. Women look at other women ‘bouncing back’ and feel that their body should be doing the same. Our bodies need time to rest and recover. Every body is different so for some, it will be easier to return to exercise and for others it will take some more TLC. I am very passionate about making sure women know what can be done following pregnancy and how to prevent any long term pelvic health issues. Following my own post natal recovery experience, I did a lot of study (and continue to do so) to understand what was happening with my body and how to heal issues. I experienced abdominal separation, recovery from a c-section, pelvic pain residual from pregnancy, breathing difficulties and migraines. All of these were able to be managed with corrective exercise, remedial massage, foam rolling, self massage and giving my body more time to recovery before returning to intense exercise. Sharing what happened in my own body helps other women know that there is help available. I also hope to prevent women from rushing back into exercise without retraining some areas of the body changed through pregnancy.
Connecting us Together
I care about women’s health so much and was sick of seeing so much rubbish being pushed into social media for women. I created a private Evolution Health Mums Facebook Group to allow a space to exist where women could connect about health related issues. I also invited other health professionals to join in including a Women’s Health Physiotherapist and Counsellor to share their expertise about pelvic floor health and post natal depression. I share information about pregnancy, including my current experience, as well as how I’m managing Gestational Diabetes and a busy life. I don’t believe in telling people what to do but I want to show what is available and possible. I want to set a positive example through my own actions and it’s not about being perfect. The group connects on many topics and while some don’t share in the group, it opens up conversations with me in private. It’s helping women connect and share even the most embarrassing issues.
If you would like to discuss any women’s health issues with myself or one of the team, please Contact Us today. We are here to help with Pregnancy Massage, Remedial Massage, Mums & Bubs Fitness and Women’s Health Coaching Services. Online Bookings also available at www.evolutionhealthservices.com.au
This week I had an interesting conversation with one of my pregnancy massage clients. She said that everyone talks about the pain of childbirth but no one tells you about the pain during pregnancy. It got me thinking about the conversations around pregnancy and she was right. How often do we talk about the common pains in pregnancy? Generally, the conversation is about a sore lower back or swollen feet. We forget about the other pains that come along with a body full of relaxin, the hormone helping all of those ligaments loosen up.
Lower Back Pain
Ok let’s start with the most common pains in pregnancy. Lower back pain begins as a result of the change in centre of gravity. We have a large wait growing out the front of our bodies and putting extra pressure on our lower back as it arches and muscles contract to counteract the load. When sitting, we can help by placing a step under our feet to take pressure off the lower back. While standing, try a step under one foot to give the back a little support. Pregnancy Massage can help to relieve the tightness in the muscles. While exercises to the glutes and lower back can help strengthen those muscles under pressure.
There are a few reasons for pain in the hips as those hormones get to work in this area. We can experience pain in the front of the pelvis where the ligament at the pubic symphysis is loosening. Pain can occur when your hips are twisting during movement. Pain in the back of the hips also occurs as a result of the sacro-iliac joint ligaments loosening with Relaxin. The gluteal muscles may tighten, also causing sciatic pain, as they work to support the hips. Pressure from side lying during sleeping may also contribute to hip aches.
Care must be taken when rolling over or getting in and out of the car. Try keeping your knees together to support these joints and to prevent that twisting action. A maternity support belt may be recommended to give greater support to the area. Until relaxin has settled in the body, support and prevention are your best ways to avoid pain. Pregnancy Massage can help relieve overworked muscles in the hips and provide you some relief. Improving your hip strength will also help support the area.
Shortness of breath is not something you expect to occur so early in pregnancy. However, our dear hormonal friend progesterone begins to relax the lungs early, as we increase our blood volume and oxygen intake. There may be times where this becomes painful, stressful and worrying as we try to get enough air in. Focusing on diaphragmatic breathing will help provide a deeper breath, also reducing the anxiety that comes with it. During the early months, you may also be experiencing ‘morning sickness’ resulting in frequent vomiting. You may not realise the impact that the constant upchuck movement is having on your diaphragm and abdominal muscles. Gentle stretching and deep breathing can help to ease this muscle tightness to improve the effects of vomiting on your body.
Later in pregnancy, the size of your uterus and kicking baby will have the greatest impact on your ability to breathe. Practicing deep breathing from an earlier stage in pregnancy will have you in a good position to relax and take the deepest breath available to you. However, it’s never too late to start. Pregnancy Massage can help to gently release the abdominal muscles and muscles between the ribs to help allow more space for baby and breathing.
Round Ligament Pain
As the uterus grows during pregnancy, the round ligament is working to support the uterus. As you grow, the ligament is stretching to continue to provide support. It can present as a sharp pain in either one or both sides of the lower abdomen, or in the groin. The best way to ease the pain is to rest, put your feet up and take some pressure off the ligament. Pregnancy Massage can help to ease the pain through gentle touch through the hips and abdomen. We would focus more on you bonding with the baby with abdominal massage, relaxing your mind and allowing your body to rest to allow the natural stretch to occur.
Mid Back and Neck Ache
Our belly is not the only area that is growing in our bodies during pregnancy. Often one of the early pregnancy signs is enlarged breasts. This growth continues as the body prepares for breastfeeding. This growth can put further pressure on the neck and mid back as your posture changes, bringing the shoulders forward to compensate. Pregnancy Massage can help release the muscles of the chest that shorten as a result of the rounded posture. We can also work on easing pain in the muscles of the mid back feeling the strain. Gentle stretches to the chest and neck will help prevent further pain and improve your posture for the duration of your pregnancy.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In pregnancy, some women experience tingling, numbness and pain in their hands. This condition can occur outside of pregnancy when the space where your nerve travels through the wrist is restricted. In pregnancy, often swelling is a culprit for restricting this space in the wrists. We can ease the pain and numbness through gentle massage to help with movement of fluid from the wrists, while easing any muscle tension in the forearms which may be contributing. Gentle stretches to the forearms can help, as well as taking care when sleeping not to flex your wrists, further restricting that space.
Cramping in Calves
I’m sure many pregnant women will share their stories of being woken up at night with a painful cramp. I know it usually involves me swearing in pain and my husband wondering what is going on in his half asleep state. While it’s funny to look back on, at the time it’s terrible. Often it’s the simple movement of pointing your toes that sets it off. There’s many theories out there as to why cramping occurs. Generally, we find that stretching the calves, keeping hydrated and resting with your feet up all help with easing cramping. Pregnancy Massage can help to relieve tight and tired calf muscles, especially if you are still on your feet regularly while pregnant.
While every pregnancy is different and each women will experience different symptoms, let’s open up the conversation about pain during pregnancy. Also know that while you may have pain, there is help available. Pregnancy Massage and Exercise with the qualified therapists at Evolution Health Services will give you the tools you need to enjoy a more comfortable pregnancy experience. We are passionate about helping to support you in pregnancy and beyond. We aim to give you advice for your individual needs, so please get in touch today to book your appointment or contact us with any questions.