Home Births Compared to Hospital Births - by admin@mcb on January 27 2016

Home Births Compared to Hospital Births

Are Home Births Risky?

A recent magazine, in their “Health Scare of the Week” section, led with the headline “Home Births Riskier”. They went on to say that the “likelihood that an infant will die during birth or shortly thereafter is 2.4 times greater” for home births compared to hospital births. No doubt, it was a health scare based on how they presented the story. But what were the actual numbers?

Oregon Home Births

The study being quoted was conducted by the Oregon Health and Science University, whose researchers looked at 79,727 Oregon births during 2012 and 2013. (Citation: December 31, 2015, Snowden J.M., Tilden E.L., Snyder J., et al. N Engl J Med 2015; 373:2642-2653)

Oregon has the nation’s highest home-birth rate, 2.4 percent in 2012. The headline of 2.4 times greater risk of death was based on the following statistic: There were 39 deaths per 10,000 from home births, and 18 deaths per 10,000 from hospital births. The deaths occurred during birth or within the first month after birth.

One statistic that didn’t make the headlines: Risk of C-Section was 4.7 times greater with hospital births. Planned home births ended in C-Sections in 53 of every 1,000 births, while planned hospital births ended in C-Section in 247 of every 1,000 births.

Overall, home birthers had higher rates of unassisted vaginal births, and hospital birthers had higher rates of induction and intervention.

The study concluded with these words: Perinatal mortality was higher with planned out-of-hospital birth than with planned in-hospital birth, but the absolute risk of death was low in both settings. (Emphasis ours.)

Ontario, Canada Home Births

A similar study was conducted in Ontario, Canada and published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in December 2015. This study found that women who were having a low-risk pregnancy home attended by a midwife did not have any increased risk of infant death compared to similar women having a hospital birth. This was true for both first-time births and subsequent births. (Citation: Outcomes associated with planned place of birth among women with low-risk pregnancies CMAJ 150564; published December 22, 2015, doi:10.1503/cmaj.150564)

Numerous studies prove that women in both a home birth or hospital birth setting have improved outcomes with the presence of a doula. To learn about being a Certified Massage Doula, visit Institute of Somatic Therapy

Link to full Oregon study: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1501738

Link to full Canada study: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2015/12/22/cmaj.150564.full.pdf+html?sid=c8f65549-2b5d-45a7-bb30-f8f5649c82f7

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Cold Stone Massage is Beneficial, Too - by admin@mcb on January 21 2016

Cold Stone Massage is Beneficial, Too

Cold Stone Massage

Much has been written about hot stone massage and the many benefits that it can add to a massage session. Massage therapists should not overlook the benefits that cold stone massage can have as well.

The use of cold stones during a stone massage session helps to minimize soreness when performing deep tissue therapy. The cold stones also help to pull excess heat out of inflamed areas. By reducing inflammation, you can help your client’s natural healing processes to begin.

The use of cold massage stones are also known for helping to reduce anxiety, PMS and menstrual discomfort, nasal congestion, and fatigue.

During the early onset of a migraine headache, cold stones are excellent for directly impacting the vascular component of the migraine. By helping to constrict the blood vessels around the head and neck, blood flow will be reduced to a more normal level. This will help to reduce the throbbing  sensation,  which will enable the client will begin to feel more calm.

Cold Stones’ Impact Varies by Duration

Short application of cold can increase peristalsis in the colon, stimulate muscles as well as help reduce inflammation, help constrict blood vessels, and speed digestion.

Prolonged application of cold will cause blood vessels to constrict, which can be helpful in situations like a nose bleed. Be careful with prolonged application of cold, as you can burn yourself or a client with cold, not just with heat.

How Cold Stones Differ From Hot Stones

Most cold stone sets are made from marble, while most hot stones are made from basalt. Not only is marble easy to cut and sand to the desired shapes and sizes, its light density allows it to absorb more heat away from the body than a denser stone does. Marble stones do require proper handling, as they can break or get scratched easily.

Learning to Perform Cold Stone Massage

To learn more about the use of cold stones in massage,  watch this video.

To take a 10 CE course in hot and cold stone massage, the Institute of Somatic Therapy offers a course available here.

Image courtesy of suphakit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Raindrop Aromatherapy - by admin@mcb on January 12 2016

Raindrop Aromatherapy

Raindrop Aromatherapy

Raindrop aromatherapy sessions have become quite popular over the past few years, and claim to heal all types of viruses and conditions. Due to popular request, for a time the Institute of Somatic Therapy included raindrop aromatherapy in our Aromatherapy for Massage continuing education course. We have revisited the topic and no longer give instruction on how to perform a raindrop aromatherapy session. This is due to the direct application of undiluted essential oils on the skin.

Unsafe Levels of Exposure

Aromatherapy industry leaders have repeatedly studied the raindrop technique and the claims behind it, and find that they are unsubstantiated and can cause harm. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy has officially come out with policy against performing raindrop aromatherapy sessions. Similar policies have also been adopted by the Alliance of International Aromatherapists and by the Aromatherapy Registration Council.

The idea that “if some is good, more is better” is not true with essential oils. In fact the reverse is true. Generally speaking, 2% dilution is considered a safe level for essential oils, with 2% essential oils to 98% carrier oils. Using oils at a higher concentration can result in skin dryness, burns, allergic responses, and possibly even lead to anaphylactic shock. Using oils at a higher concentrations can also cause sensitization, which is exposure to a substance that leads to hypersensitivity to that substance. Sensitization to one oil can also lead to hypersensitivity to other oils.

It is the policy of the ARC to revoke the credential of any practitioner who topically applies essential oil at greater than 2% concentration.  If a particular oil is more or less potent, any usage higher than is generally accepted as safe for that particular oil is cause for revocation of credential. That works out to approximately 12 – 15 drops of oil per one ounce of massage oil or lotion.

Scientific Evidence for the Raindrop Technique

Raindrop technique is often touted as being a cure for scoliosis, but evidence does not back up this claim. There is not a single published clinical research study using common measurements such as x-ray or MRI to substantiate these claims.

Precautions to Take

Raindrop aromatherapy is opposed in part for its standardized technique over a broad range of clientele. They believe that raindrop therapy as commonly practiced can be dangerous for people with various health concerns. This includes people who have compromised liver or kidney functioning, heart disease, use blood thinning medications including aspirin, or have any allergies.

Given the above stated concerns, we recommend that you refuse to perform a raindrop aromatherapy session. If you have learned this technique, or plan to seek out this technique elsewhere, we urge you to adopt the following policies:

1. Be overly cautious in making the determination that the session is necessary and appropriate.
2. Be overly cautious to avoid making any assessment that could be considered a diagnosis.
3. Be overly cautious to avoid making any unsubstantiated claims of cures for any conditions.
4. If you believe that your client is a suitable candidate for raindrop therapy, rule out the presence of any condition that may reasonably contraindicate the use of undiluted essential oils.  Conduct a 24 hour skin patch test for each oil prior to the session.
5. You should create a disclosure and release form that you have your client sign prior to the session. Be certain that you have liability insurance and that it specifically covers Raindrop Technique.

To learn the proper use of essential oils in a massage therapy setting, the Institute of Somatic Therapy offers an online continuing education course valid for 20 CEs. Click here to view the course: Aromatherapy for Massage.


Aromatherapy – How Does It Work? - by admin@mcb on January 06 2016

Aromatherapy – How Does It Work?

Aromatherapy and the “Nose Brain”

When the nostrils pick up a scent, such as from aromatherapy, that scent becomes a nerve impulse. The nerve impulse travels along the olfactory nerve to the limbic system of the brain. The limbic system was originally called the “rhine encephalon” which in English is “nose brain”. The limbic system is far more developed in mammals than in other species such as reptiles, birds, fish, etc. Among mammals, primates have the most developed limbic system. Among primates, humans have the most developed limbic system. The average, healthy human being is capable of recognizing around 10,000 different scents.

For most sensory systems, there are a number of synapses (junctions between two nerve cells) which must occur before the sensory system communicates with the brain. The fewer number of synapses between a sensory organ and the hypothalamus , the faster and more influential that synapse will be. Olfaction is just one synapse away from the hypothalamus. Compare this to, for example, an herbal supplement, which travels from the mouth through the digestive process into the blood stream and finally to the brain. You can see how aromatherapy will have a much faster response on the brain.

Aromatherapy and Emotions

The limbic system is where human emotional responses originate. In fact, scientists have declared that all emotion is utterly driven by the limbic system. Therefore, the use of aromatherapy essential oils can have an immediate impact on emotions.

To fully grasp the limbic system and its link to emotions, you might enjoy this lecture by Robert Sapolsky from Stanford University: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAOnSbDSaOw

Learning to use Aromatherapy

To learn more about incorporating aromatherapy essential oils into your massage therapy practice, Institute of Somatic Therapy offers a twenty hour continuing education course available. Just click here to go to the course description page.

If you want to enroll in Young Living, which is widely regarded as the purest essential oils available,  but you don’t have a local sponsor, you are welcome to enroll under Institute of Somatic Therapy. Our member number is 3510095. Enroll at www.youngliving.com