Category Archives: prenatal, antenatal & postnatal information

Reflexology in Pregnancy

I am often approached by women who have reached their due date and are still waiting for labour and their new baby to arrive.  Reflexology has wonderful reviews for ‘getting things started’.  Other approaches can also help.  Reflexology is a therapy for all the time: for men, women, pre-pregnancy, all through pregnancy, after pregnancy, in childhood, old age, in good health and in poor health.  If you are pregnant, please consider enjoying this wonderful therapy and all it has to offer before a specified date on your maternity notes.

The fact is your baby is going to arrive and if reflexology is a last minute experience the focus isn’t about preparing you for bith, it becomes more about providing space in which to relax and accept where you are rather than enforcing time-bound expectations.  I am very happy to employ all the techniques I have been taught and learned through experience over the last 17 years but for me there is the disappointment of knowing that had we started earlier in pregnancy, then perhaps ‘last minute experiences’ may have been avoided.

It is much more satisfying to see you  for a course of appointments to prepare you and the baby for labour, but more importantly for recovery from and enjoyment of the baby’s arrival. I remember being very focused on my due date with my first child.  Having a baby in my arms was a complete shock! A course does not guarantee a delivery date.  I work with the idea that full term is 37 – 42 weeks; in some countries women are given a due month rather than a specific day which seems much more sensible, even liberating.

A course of treatment allows us to develop a working relationship and from that provide an atmosphere of support where you can practice your relaxation techniques and have time to connect with your unborn child.  There is also scope to incorporate futon-based or table bodywork into sessions.

So, to encourage you to make time for yourself during the final trimester (or before) I am offering you the following:

  • Six one hour appointments at £230 (saving £40)
  • Four one hour appointments at £160 (saving £20)
  • Six 90 minute appointments at £350 (saving £40)
  • Four 90 minute appointments at £240 (saving £20)

Payment can be at the start of the course or you can have the discount on your final appointment.  My usual charge is £45 for one hour or £65 for 90 minutes.  If you pay for a course and the baby comes earlier than expected you can book in after the birth and have some post natal care – babies are welcome and often enjoy reflexology!  In the middle of the night, reflexology can really be helpful for parents and their babies; there are some simple techniques to learn and use at home.

I do hope you will consider booking in.  I am at Yanley Court Monday to Friday and I usually need some notice for appointment times.

If you want to know more about reflexology, I have written a short article and included some recommended authors for further reading :allaboutreflexology

If you want to know more about me check out the rest of the blog or go to the website: yvonnecattermole.co.uk

 

 

Thai massage bodywork for antenatal and postnatal care

Thai massage is both a remedial and therapeutic massage. This form of bodywork is growing in popularity but is still misunderstood. I hear stories of being forced into unnatural positions or practitioners walking up and down the back. Asian bodies are amazing for their ability to bend and relax into remarkable shapes. Generally, Western bodies need a little more care. A good Thai massage can encourage flexibility, relaxation and balance and for some the experience is likened to yoga practice. It can support yoga practice and educate the receiver about their body, creating a new awareness of what is possible, what is useful and what is less useful. You can walk onto the futon feeling scattered and out of balance and step off the futon feeling grounded, taller and centred.

The technique: Thai bodywork uses sequences of soft tissue pressing and stretching and joint mobilisation. Sequences are unhurried and flowing. Considered deep tissue techniques are also incorporated for specific attention to muscle groups. This does not have to be painful. In fact, I have strong views about it not being painful. If your body is uncomfortable, why would pain be helpful? The body responds to being nurtured.

When pregnant: Techniques are easily adapted to provide a relaxing and effective massage. Working on the futon provides a safe and grounded space to release tension from tired muscles, encourage a sense of calm and improve circulation. The combination of acupressure and gentle stretches encourages openness in the body and mind. We also work with the breath which has a powerful effect on our emotional and physical wellbeing and is good preparation for labour.

The body becomes more flexible in pregnancy due to changes in hormones. If you attend a movement or exercise class, you may find you are able to access new shapes and positions. However, it is a common experience that the main belly of the muscle does not release and remains tense. As you lie on your side on the futon, I will use different techniques to release the whole muscle and work safely to encourage mobility. This is a nurturing space for you and your baby; it is a time to relax and tune in to your body and sense of self and be with your child. As pregnancy progresses, finding comfortable positions to sleep can be challenging, a good massage should facilitate rest at night. The more spaces we find in pregnancy for true relaxation the more easily we access this space during labour and parenthood.

Once you have had your baby Thai massage can support you in recovery from pregnancy and the new demands of having a young baby. The most common reason for seeking massage is shoulder aches due to feeding positions, whether that is the breast or the bottle. If childcare is difficult, bring your newborn with you. It may be that we focus on the feet and I will combine Thai massage with reflexology. We can see what happens at the appointment. Sometimes babies love the space … sometimes we have to rearrange!

The energetic philosophy: Thai massage is centred on the premise that flow and balance of energy or lom is necessary for health and healing. Lom flows through sen (as chi flows through meridians or prana flows through nadis – it’s all the same thing, just different names). Any disruption to the flow of energy will affect physical, mental and emotional processes, leading to pain and disease. Using palming and thumbing techniques on the main sen channels releases any blockages or stagnation, for example, leg pain and cramps are considerably eased through pressing and stretching muscles making them more receptive to energy flow. We can also access acupressure points for deeper focused work. Some acupressure points are useful for birth preparation. What we choose to work with will depend on the stage of your pregnancy.

The physical theory: When muscles are tense they contract, whether you are mobile or static. This can occur through repetitive movements, lack of use or emotional tension. The result of this is progressively restricted movement and the onset of stiffness, aches and pains. We often believe this is inevitable, but it may be avoidable with the proper care and attention. Often back pain is caused by muscular tension rather than skeletal irregularities; the shortened muscles pull on the vertebrae and tension runs through the spinal cord, creating back pain, neck pain and headaches. Thai bodywork releases muscle tension and balances energy levels, leading to flexibility and strength in the muscles which allows freer movement of joints. Changes may be subtle but are often long lasting.

The practice: I work on a futon which offers a space to work with more dynamic movements. Before we start, we will discuss the focus of your massage and I will ask you about your story to allow for a holistic and individualised approach. I work through clothes so please wear something comfortable and light, natural fibres are best.

I always encourage clients to come for a course of massage. A single appointment is lovely but a course is amazing! I offer a reduced price for the fourth appointment of your first course of Thai Massage:

One hour £45; 90 minutes £65; Two hours  £85
Four appointments to be used over 8 weeks: 3 appointments @ £45; 4th appointment @ £35

Concessions available on an individual basis – please contact me to discuss

The Therapist: I began my yoga journey with my first pregnancy in 1997. Since then I have trained in reflexology, Thai massage, yoga (class teaching and individual lessons) and reiki. I teach Thai Massage for Bristol College of Massage and Bodywork and am part of their teaching team for Anatomy, Physiology & Pathology.

Availability: I am available at Yanley Court, Long Ashton, from Monday to Friday. See my website for more details http://www.yvonnecattermole.co.uk or call 07954 416194 for a conversation