Massage for Postpartum Joint Pain

Recently someone asked if I was familiar with the phenomenon of women experiencing joint pain after the delivery of a baby. I was not. But this conversation certainly got me thinking! Given my model of understanding pain as an indicator of imbalance, then massage could certainly be of benefit in this circumstance. As I’m always on the lookout for new material for this blog, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore and  share.

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It seems quite common for hormones to be imbalanced during this time of major transition. I find Swedish massage to be spectacularly helpful for supporting hormonal health. Manual therapy is a lot like wringing out a sponge. Massage can physically stimulate the removal of cellular waste and other debris from the tissue. The lymphatic system can then “take out the trash”, encouraging the body to return to equilibrium.

Another obvious factor would be the change in structure of a women’s body once the baby is no longer within her. The center of gravity shifts and the hip flexors and extensors negotiate a new relationship. This will have an impact directly on the hips, knees, and back. From here, imbalance can radiate to the entire body. Releasing tension from tired, overworked muscles and stimulating circulation to weak and underused muscles can absolutely assist the body in returning to structural balance.

Never having delivered a baby myself, I don’t have first-hand knowledge of what the experience is like. I do think it’s safe to say that as far as the nervous system is concerned, it is a traumatic event. Regardless of the possible joy of bringing new life into the world, or achieving the important goal of becoming a mother, the physiological response to pain is swift and thorough. From the first contraction, the sympathetic nervous system is triggered, and muscles tense. Massage can help reset the parasympathetic nervous system and nudge the body back into balance through activating the relaxation response. Reiki can be wonderfully helpful in this aspect as well.

Upper body discomfort is common with new mothers as the body adjusts to carrying, holding, or nursing a baby. This is more of a repetitive movement issue as muscles are being asked to behave in new ways for great lengths of time. Massage can indeed provide relief for those achy and exhausted muscles of the upper back, shoulders, and arms.

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of deep-tissue massage in most cases. In this particular case, I’d go so far as to say that intense pressure would only cause more tension and create more pain. Deep-tissue work is actually contraindicated if a mother is breastfeeding, but even if she’s not I fail to see any possible benefits. Skillful and mindful work in the hip flexors, lateral rotators, and gluteals might edge on unpleasant, but crossing the border into pain is going to be counterproductive.

As always, it’s important to check with your doctor when experiencing pain. Western medicine is brilliant when it comes to detecting severe health issues. It’s not so great at treating pain, so unless there’s a condition preventing you from receiving treatment, I have no doubt that some TLC for mama could help tremendously.

 

Time Does Not Heal All Wounds

The more I learn about trauma and its devastating effects, the more I realize that the adage “time heals all wounds” is completely wrong. Not matter how long ago one experienced a traumatic event, if the energy generated at that time has not been released and integrated, it remains in the body. It might hibernate or seem dormant, but it lurks beneath the surface, often creating pain or influencing behavior and emotions from the shadows.

“If you are experiencing strange symptoms that no one seems to be able to explain, they could be arising from a traumatic reaction to a past event that you may not even remember. You are not alone. You are not crazy. There is a rational explanation for what is happening to you. You have not been irreversibly damaged, and it is possible to diminish or even eliminate your symptoms.” Peter Levine, Waking the Tiger

I find this quote from one of the world’s leading experts on trauma to be so helpful. Many of my clients suffer from mysterious symptoms that their doctors are unable to explain. Just because western medicine doesn’t have an answer does not automatically mean that there is none; they just haven’t fully understood the affects of trauma or the awesome power of the body-mind-spirit connection.

I was horrified to hear that a neurologist told a woman experiencing hand tremors that she should see a psychologist because there was nothing physically wrong with her. I have nothing against psychological treatment, but this doctor was implying that she suffered from a mental illness because he was unable to find a diagnosis. I wonder if he would have treated a male patient the same way, but that is a topic for another day.

“Traumatic symptoms are not caused by the “triggering” event itself. They stem from the frozen residue of energy that has not been resolved and discharged; this residue remains trapped in the nervous system where it can wreak havoc on our bodies and spirits. The long-term alarming, debilitating, and often bizarre symptoms of PTSD develop when we cannot complete the process of moving in, through and out of the “immobility” or “freezing” state. However, we can thaw by initiating and encouraging our innate drive to return to a state of dynamic equilibrium.” Again from Waking the Tiger

Clearly I am enamored with this book! I believe it offers valuable wisdom in a form accessible to the layperson. Somatic Experiencing is the therapy that has evolved from Levine’s work. While I am not a practitioner of this modality, I have absorbed and integrated much of its philosophy into my therapeutic massage and Reiki practice. Acknowledging the whole person, compassionate listening, nurturing touch, allowing an organic unwinding of tension patterns, and supporting the process of body-mind-spirit integration is the approach that has benefited so many of my clients.

While I have much to learn about healing, for my own journey and to support my clients, what really stands out to me is that trauma requires some form of intervention to be released. This appears to be a physiological fact, according to Levine. It does not simply go away over time. There is no shame in reaching out for help healing a wound, no matter how old, how seemingly insignificant, or how much we might believe it shouldn’t be affecting us anymore.

Please know that whatever terrible experiences you may have endured, you are not broken. Your spirit remains perfect, whole, and complete. Your body and mind can be healed and the residue of any trauma is treatable. There is hope.

Here’s a link to a directory of Somatic Experiencing practitioners.

If you’re interested in exploring if long-distance Reiki, or in person Reiki or Swedish massage for stress and pain relief through body-mind-spirit integration might be right for you, please do contact me to schedule a complementary 15 minute phone consultation.

 

Reiki for Sexual Trauma

Like many Americans, the evidence and aftermath of sexual assault has been on my mind lately. It seems that this type of trauma has touched the lives of most people I know. I’m saddened by the daily #metoo reports I find on social media, and the secrets that have been held for decades that are rising to the surface. Yet, I know that this is how healing begins. I’m finding hope for the future, and intrigued by the power of Reiki to support the process.

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Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

Being saturated with spiritually-guided life-force energy is an amazing strategy to encourage body-mind-spirit balance, to prevent trauma from becoming internalized or a point of self-identification, and to tap into inner resources of intuition and resilience. Reiki can help keep emotions and energy flowing, expressing, releasing, and integrating. It can connect us with our wholeness, beauty, and perfection; which are eternal and rightfully our own despite any experiences which might suggest otherwise.

Compassion and non-judgment are part of the foundation of this practice. As Reiki is given as a gift from the divine, it is never tarnished with blame, or opinions and interpretations of society or the practitioner. It is pure, healing energy that is available to be used as each individual’s higher self deems it is needed.

In addition to being such a beneficial treatment for trauma, Reiki can be administered without any touch. It can be offered from across the room, and received while fully clothed and seated upright if lying down feels too vulnerable. Reiki can even be received from the comfort of one’s own home if this feels more secure, comfortable, or convenient. One of the sacred symbols is a tool for bridging time and space, and allows level 2 practitioners to share healing energy with people who are elsewhere.

If you’re in need of support for healing of sexual trauma, I  encourage you to explore distance Reiki as a viable option. If you’re a Reiki practitioner, I encourage you to join me in offering Reiki to the collective feminine, to be received by those who are suffering and open to accepting energetic healing. If you’re eager to be an agent of support for those of us who are struggling in these difficult times, I encourage you to seek a Reiki teacher for training. I don’t know of any other modality that is completely natural, holistic, can do no harm, complimentary to all other therapies, and so easy to learn.

The only way out is through; let’s help each other along the way.

 

FREE Distance Reiki Offering

Recent events have been extremely difficult for many of us to digest. The news has been especially traumatizing, and old wounds have been ripped open. Emotional pain has been brought to the surface and deep wells of anger have been exposed. It’s easy to feel helpless and hopeless about the state of the world, and while that’s understandable, it’s a recipe for brewing disease and discomfort.

On Friday, October 12, 2018 at 10:30 AM, EDT, I will send Reiki to all those who wish to receive. You don’t need to do anything except send me a message and let me know you’d like to be included. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing, as long as there is an openness to receiving.

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Given my desire to do something, anything, to help alleviate pain, I turn once again to the gentle power of Reiki healing energy. Reiki can help us process and integrate experiences and emotions so they don’t fester within. It can provide the insight and motivation to take appropriate action. It can help reconnect us with Spirit and remember that no matter our histories, we are not broken or damaged beyond repair. We are much, much more than the traumas we have survived.

Acknowledging and releasing physical, mental, or emotional trauma is a necessary step in the healing process. Spiritually guided life-force energy is a loving, holistic tool that can help us tap into our inner resilience and intuition. If you’re struggling emotionally and would like to receive some healing, I invite you to message me. It’s not necessary to share any details that you don’t want to; it’s only necessary to be willing to receive this healing energy for your highest good.

For those who have difficulty asking for support, know that you will be helping me to feel helpful! Saying yes to this invitation is actually a gift to me.  🙂