Massage Oil for Infant Massage - by admin@mcb on February 24 2016

Massage Oil for Infant Massage

What is the best massage oil for infant massage?

When choosing massage oil for infant massage, the most important rule of thumb is to not put anything on their skin that you would not put in their mouth. Petroleum based oils, or oils with synthetic fragrances and artificial preservatives, are not recommended. For years, the Institute of Somatic Therapy has taught that plain powdered cornstarch (but not talcum powder) is ideal when working on an infant. Cornstarch is a food grade substance that doesn’t penetrate the skin.

Is massage oil for infant massage even necessary?

We recently ran across some studies that indicated that babies who are massaged with oil received greater benefits than babies who were massaged without oil. (The studies did not cover alternate agents such as cornstarch, which we feel would give the same benefits of oil. But since that was not specifically part of the study, we are unable to confirm that fact.) If you prefer to use oil instead of cornstarch, try to find a light, food-based oil that is cold pressed and unrefined. Vegetable or plant oils absorb quickly and digest easily if your baby puts an oil-covered hand in his or her mouth.

Massage Oils to Consider

According to BabyCenter India Medical Advisory Board, coconut oil makes a good choice in the summer due to its cooling effect. They also suggest sesame oil or almond oil, which can be used year-round. A warming oil for winter use is mustard oil, which is said to have a warming effect, although it has a strong smell that your baby might not like.

Avoid using any aromatherapy essential oils, which can be too active for a newborn’s sensitive skin. If you know that your baby has sensitive skin, or has any skin outbreaks, avoid oils that are high in oleic acid (olive oil and sunflower oil fit in this category). Instead, select oils that are higher in linoleic acid (grapeseed oil and safflower oil fit in this category).

Click here to learn more about infant massage or to become a Certified Infant Massage Instructor/Therapist through the Institute of Somatic Therapy.

Photo credit: Freedigitalphotos.com

Prenatal Massage Compared to Standard Massage - by admin@mcb on February 17 2016

Prenatal Massage Compared to Standard Massage

Prenatal Massage Compared to Standard Massage

Certified prenatal massage therapists are often asked how a prenatal massage differs from a standard massage. It boils down to having an understanding of the changes going on in a pregnant body, and adapting the massage accordingly.
Every system of the body is affected by pregnancy, and these systems both require, and benefit from, adaptations in massage technique. Without an understanding of all of these changes occurring in the woman’s body, an untrained therapist is not going to give the most beneficial and safest massage possible.  Below are two examples.

Cardiovascular System

During pregnancy, the cardiovascular system increases the output of blood by 20 to 30% by the 27th week of pregnancy, the heart rate increases about 10 to 15%, and the total volume of blood in the entire body increases from 30 to 50%, most during the final trimester.

This requires three modifications from a general massage: 1) Avoid all percussion strokes, 2) watch for varicose veins and proceed as instructed in their presence, and 3) use positioning to keep the weight of the baby off the vena cava.

Skeletal System

During pregnancy, the skeletal system is stressed from the extra weight being carried during pregnancy which causes a shift in the body’s center of gravity. This extra weight primarily in the midsection can cause pregnant women to experience unusual lordosis of the lumbar spine. Their joints are less stable due to the presence of the hormone relaxin, which relaxes the ligaments to allow the pelvis to spread for delivery.

This requires two modifications from a standard massage: 1) Look for and address any back pain caused by lumbar stress. 2) Avoid strenuous stretching or range of motion techniques, to be mindful of the lowered stability of the joints.

Comprehensive Prenatal Massage Training

The above are just two examples. For the best outcome, prenatal massage requires modifications for the other systems of the body as well. Respiratory, digestive, renal, endocrine, and integumentary changes and their impact on massage should be part of a comprehensive prenatal massage education course.

To learn more about becoming a Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist, visit Institute of Somatic Therapy’s two step prenatal massage courses:  Fundamentals (Step One), and Techniques (Step Two).

Spa Mud Wrap Clay Options - by admin@mcb on February 03 2016

Spa Mud Wrap Clay Options

Spa Mud Wrap Clay Options

When performing a spa mud wrap, there are several different types of clay available. Each clay will have different properties.

Green Clay

Spa mud wraps with green clays are probably the most popular, as green clays seem to be the most active. They are good for cleansing, moisturizing, and detoxifying. They are high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Green clay helps energize connective tissues and increase lymphatic flow. They are therefore effective for the reduction of swelling or inflammation. Green clays oxygenate tissue, and have a comforting feel.

Red Clay

Red clays are high in iron and potassium. They activate circulation, oxygenate cells, and regulate the body’s water balance, and are good for grounding. They are a good cosmetic choice for moist skin. Be cautious when give a spa mud wrap with red clay, as it more readily stains the skin – and everything else in comes in contact with. Red clays can be used for cleansing, moisturizing and soothing sensitive skin.

Yellow Clay

Yellow clays contain magnesium, which helps the body utilize vitamin C. Yellow clay can increase energy, giving an uplifting feel to the treatment since they contain highly energetic crystals. Yellow kaolin is useful for bone disorders. Yellow clays are usually used for cleansing, moisturizing and soothing the skin, and are good for sensitive skins.

Pink Clay

Pink clays are also good for dry and sensitive skin, and normal skin. They help to absorb impurities due to a high aluminum and silicon content. They are warming and calming.

White Clay

White clays are deodorizing, and can ease swelling, bruises, burns or other skin irritations. They are often the least active of clays.

Learn to give spa mud wraps

To learn how to perform spa mud wraps, the Institute of Somatic Therapy offers a 10 CE continuing education course for massage therapists. Click here for details.