Antidepressants Lead to Autism - by admin@mcb on August 22 2017

Antidepressants Lead to Autism

Antidepressant Drugs in Pregnancy Lead to Autism

Recent studies show that the use of antidepressant drugs during pregnancy lead to a significant increase in autism in children. The April 2017 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association was titled “Association Between Serotonergic Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children.” The study analyzed 2,837 children of mothers who, during their pregnancy, took two or more consecutive prescriptions of the most common types of antidepressant drugs.

Those children were compared to women who did not take antidepressant drugs during their pregnancies. The article reported that children whose mothers took antidepressants had a 216% increase in autism (“4.51 per 1,000 person-years compared to 2.03 per 1,000 person-years”).

This study confirmed the results of previous studies which also found a similar 200% increase of autism in children whose mothers took antidepressant drugs during pregnancy.

Antidepressant Drugs No More Effective Than Placebos

What makes this all the more troublesome is that several studies have shown that antidepressant drugs are not statically significantly more effective than a placebo for patients experiencing mild to moderate depression. (Example:

By taking the drugs, patients are taking significant risks for a very small chance of benefit. There are far safer alternatives, including massage therapy.

Massage Therapy Alleviates Depression

Research has repeatedly proven that massage therapy for depressed pregnant women has a positive impact, by increasing levels of dopamine and serotonin, and decreasing levels of cortisol and norepinephrine. More importantly, massage therapy during pregnancy carries none of the risks that antidepressant drugs do.

Becoming a Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist

The Institute of Somatic Therapy offers online continuing education courses in prenatal massage, as well as doula training, infant massage, and fertility massage. Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the NCBTMB (National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork) as a continuing education approved provider. Our courses are valid for AMTA, ABMP, and most states. Please refer to the state guidelines section of our website for specific information about your state.

Birth Plans – Covering the Bases - by admin@mcb on August 07 2017

Birth Plans – Covering the Bases

Birth plans are a valuable tool for a massage doula to understand the goals of her client. Some women want to birth completely naturally, while others prefer an epidural so they can give birth with the least amount of pain possible. Women who have had a prior C-Section may just want a vaginal birth, regardless of what intervention they may need to achieve it. There is no right or wrong answer; each woman gets to determine what is right for her and her baby. The doula is in a better position to support her client if she understands the goals and mindset of that client.

Birth plans need to factor in the woman’s individual tolerance to pain, and past emotional experiences (such as sexual abuse) that might resurface during the childbearing process. It is important to help clients realize that what they plan might not be what happens during labor. Birth plans, to be most effective and complete, should consider common contingencies, and include back-up plans accordingly.

Birth Plans Don’t Always Match Reality

Labor is a “roll with the punches” pursuit if I ever saw one. Yes, it is great to have an ideal birth plan in mind, and even more wonderful if you actually get to have that type of labor. But anything can happen, and the more regimented you were mentally to stick to a rigid plan, the harder it can be to process emotionally what happened after the fact. I found in my practice that it was unrealistic to make an absolute determination in advance of whether or not you would accept various interventions.

Birth Plans Without Pain Medications

While the doula client may have every intention of having a natural labor, nature might not allow that. Maybe her water will break and contractions don’t start and artificial induction becomes necessary to lower the chance of infection to the baby. Often induced labors result in harder contractions, so going drug free becomes more challenging.

It is impossible to plan length of labor in advance, and a slow labor will lead to tiredness and stress that can make staying focused and fighting off the pain more difficult. Or maybe the mother is doing great but the baby starts to experience fetal distress and internal monitoring or even a C-Section become necessary. In all of these circumstances, failing to consider pain medications in the birth plans could result in later feelings of having been out of control or forced into something unwanted.

Birth Plans That Rely on Pain Medications

It is just as unrealistic to decide in advance that you’re going to have an epidural, in an effort to have a pain free labor. What if you progress slowly and you aren’t prepared for the pain that will happen before you’re far enough into labor that you can receive an epidural? What if you get to the point where you can have it, but you’re third in line for the anesthesiologist, and by the time he/she arrives, you’re too far along to have it? I’ve seen both of those situations occur. Failing to plan a strategy and mentally prepare for pain will make these types of situations more stressful.

The best birth plans are going to lay out the woman’s ideal birth, but they will go beyond that, and give consideration to the more common complications or interventions that may arise.

To Become a Certified Massage Doula

Massage therapists who want to become certified to attend births with their prenatal massage clients can earn the title of Certified Massage Doula through the Institute of Somatic Therapy. Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the NCBTMB as a containing education approved provider. Our courses are valid for AMTA, ABMP, and most state massage continuing education requirements. To learn more about becoming a certified massage doula, click here. To become a certified prenatal massage therapist, click here.


Fibromyalgia and Massage Therapy - by admin@mcb on August 02 2017

Fibromyalgia and Massage Therapy

Most massage therapists encounter clients with fibromyalgia, a condition whose name means “pain in the muscles and connective tissues of the body.”

Image from Shutterstock
Image from Shutterstock

Testing revealed that fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome patients showed identical brain wave patterns, tender points, pain and fatigue. Many doctors consider the two diseases as being two names for one disease. The major difference seems to be that those diagnosed with fibromyalgia tend to experience greater muscle pain, while those diagnosed with chronic fatigue seem to experience greater fatigue.

Another condition, Polymyalgia (meaning “many muscle pains”) is, for massage purposes, essentially fibromyalgia that extends beyond the 18 points.

Two measurable changes occur in the brain chemistry of fibromyalgia patients. These are: 1) An increase in Substance P, a neurotransmitter that increases the sensitivity of nerves to pain, and 2) A decrease in Serotonin, a neurotransmitter than reduces sensitivity to pain

What causes fibromyalgia? In two words: nobody agrees. While theories abound, there is no concrete medical evidence that clearly proves the cause of fibromyalgia. More likely than not, fibromyalgia is the result of a number of interdependent causes that, when existing together, make some people more susceptible to developing fibromyalgia.

In a study of 6,240 fibromyalgia patients, 59% felt they were able to identify a specific trigger of their condition. Of those, 39% felt their disease was triggered by a physical injury, 27% by a major emotional shock, 15% by a severe infection, 9% from surgery, 5% from exposure to chemicals or drugs.

Benefits of massage in fibromyalgia

Therapeutic benefits of massage have been proven in a wide variety of conditions, and fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are no exception.

A study was published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, volume 2, pages 18 – 22 compared massage therapy to transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). The massage resulted in improved sleep patterns, decreased pain, less fatigue, fewer incidences of anxiety and depression, and decreased cortisol levels.

The Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Volume 3, Number 3, 1997 included a study of massage which indicated that patients receiving one-half hour of massage twice a week for five weeks showed less depression, pain, cortisol levels, anxiety, stress and increases in dopamine levels and enhanced sleep. The patient’s decrease in symptoms began immediately after receiving the first massage, and continued to decrease throughout the duration of the study.

Working with fibromyalgia clients

Institute of Somatic Therapy offers a 16 CE online massage therapy continuing education course for fibromyalgia. Techniques that are taught in this course are useful for most massage therapy clients, even those without fibromyalgia, since the 18 pain points of fibromyalgia are common areas for tension and pain, such as the neck, shoulders, and hips. This course will teach you:

  • Passive Neuromuscular Re-Education Strain/Counterstrain: These are a series of passive techniques shown for all 18 pain points, where the patient simply receives the treatment without muscular participation. These are excellent to use in clients who are experiencing extreme pain
  • Active Isometric Neuromuscular Re-Education Exercises: These are a series of isometric/isotonic neuromuscular re-education techniques demonstrated on all 18 pain points of fibromyalgia. These are active techniques that are very effective for promoting the release of chronically tight muscles. With these techniques, the client is actively involving the muscles while the practitioner applies counter pressure. This technique is effective for clients who are stronger and healthier.
  • Lymph gland work at major lymph drainage points: There are four major lymph drainage points in the body. The technique involves pumping motions designed to promote the flow of the lymphatic fluid through these points.
  • Abdomen: Working the abdomen will not only promote peristalsis, but also gently massage all the major organs in this region.
  • Mobilizations/Stretching: A series of passive stretches to promote muscle mobility.
  • Reflexology targeting PMS, a scientifically proven technique for combating a common ailment associated with fibromyalgia.

To learn more about our fibromyalgia CE course, click here.