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Dry Needling

If you have been a regular recipient of remedial massage over the years then there is a reasonable chance then at some stage you would have been offered the opportunity to try dry needling. More and more massage (and for that matter physiotherapists) in Sydney have been trained to provide dry needling. Some of the therapists who work with Inner West Mobile Massage are trained to provide dry needling treatments.

But what is dry needling, is it different to acupuncture and is it effective?
Deactivation of trigger points through use of dry needles in SydneyA technicial definition is that dry needling uses a variety of needling techniques to initiate change in soft tissue dysfunction which are the results of physiological loading causing inflammation or irritation of the soft tissue. A more normal description is that dry needling is used to de-activate trigger points in the muscles (for information regarding trigger points then there is more information here). The insertion of a needle is considered as being an effective way of relieving the pain and discomfort which may be attributable to the trigger point.

For a dry needling treatment, then a thin needle is inserted into the trigger point (which the therapist has identified through palpation). If the needle is positioned correctly then there will normally be a local twitch response, an involuntary reflex as the muscle fibres of the taut band of the trigger point contract.

As with any bodywork modality, the effectiveness of a dry needling treatment is directly related to the skill of the practitioner. Obviously just sticking needles into the muscles and hoping is not likely to provide good results. The therapists palpation skills and knowledge of anatomy are critical to the success of the therapy.

Dry Needling and Acupuncture
Although both modalities use needles to initiate healing for the body there is a distinct difference regarding the philosophy behind dry needling and acupuncture. Dry needling aims to reduce pain through the de-activation of trigger points. The needles are inserted into the trigger point but they are not left in the muscles for much more than a few seconds.
Acupuncture uses needles to enhance energy and chi flow through the meridians of the body. An acupunturist would normally leave the needles in the meridian points for an extended period of time.

Now whilst there is a huge underlying difference in the intent of the two modalities, there is also a significant area of commonality. It is often reported that there is an overlap of somewhere between 70-90% for trigger points and the meridian points used by acupunturists.

Effectiveness of Dry Needling
Research on the effectiveness and efficacy of dry needling is fairly limited. Some commentators will argue that many positive findings are based on small sample sized research studies which may or may not have flaws with respect to methodology. One of the major problems is similar to research studies into acupuncture: the skill, training and knowledge of the practitioner is a variable largely out of the control of researchers. Also most practitioners will vary their approach depending on issues that the client presents with and for them, there is no standard treatment.

  
Dry Needling – Inner West Mobile Massage
Whether or not dry needling can be clinically proven to provide pain relief through de-activation of trigger points may be considered as being a mute point anyway. The issue is whether it can work for you.

If you are interested in trying dry needling then a couple of the therapists who work with us are trained and qualified to offer this therapy. Give us a call on 0421 410 057 if you would like more information.

By Richard Lane

Pregnancy Massage Tables

Pregnancy massage is an important part of our Sydney mobile massage business. Although we believe that for many people there are great reasons for choosing a home massage over a clinic, these advantages are magnified for pregnant women – particularly in the latter stages of their pregnancy. It just makes sense for a woman to have a therapist visit her at home so that she can truly relax post massage rather than having to traipse to and from a clinic.

Whilst there is a fair amount of discussion about massage in the first trimester of pregnancy (check out http://www.innerwestmassage.com.au/first-trimester.php for more information) there is no debate that after the first trimester then massage can be considered effect therapy for a pregnant woman (assume that there are no pregnancy massage contraindications). However, as the pregnancy progresses then it reaches the stage that the woman is no longer able to lie prone (or on her stomach) for the massage on a normal massage table.

Often we get calls from women who are aware that there are massage tables with holes that have been cut out for the stomach (and occasionally the breasts) looking to have a massage lying on their stomach on one of these tables. Click here for an example of such a table.

Pregnancy massage in side-lying positionHowever, we only ever massage pregnant women who are too large to lie prone in a side lying position. There are good reasons for this and the vast majority of experienced pregnancy massage therapists would never consider using a table with cut out hole(s). More information about our pregnancy and pre-natal massage service is at http://www.innerwestmassage.com.au/pregnancy_massage_cushion.php

The issue about the merits (or otherwise) of pregnancy tables with holes cut-out was recently conducted and some of the comments have been included below.

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Nasal congestion and breast tenderness are some of the issues that a lot of pregnant women deal with and prone position is just going to aggravate that. Pregnancy tables don’t take different bodies into account so I think those specific tables are a waste of money but there are plenty of body cushioning systems out there so you can adjust to each woman. However, side-lying position is a widely under-used position and that is a shame because of the ability to move the shoulder and hip through it’s full range of motion and the fact of how nurturing and relaxing this position actually is. There is always a possibilty of increasing lumbar lordosis or uterine ligament pressure in prone especially if you are not monitoring her and as long as she is very good at communicating with you when she becomes uncomfortable. Oakworks also has a great side-lying bolstering system that eliminates pressure on the shoulder and hip that is being laid on. Ultimately, you are going to make your decision on what you will feel comfortable doing. I am very confident and comfortable with my side-lying routine and I know my clients leave very happy because they come back and they send their pregnant friends to me. I am comfortable with side-lying position and that is what I offer. I won’t spend my money on a body cushion system that will allow them to lay prone. I am ok with that. If I lose a client because of that, that is fine. There will be another to take her place.

I received massage throughout my two pregnancies and was side line. I went to the beach one summer and dug a hole in the sand to fit around my big belly so I could lay on my stomach. That was the best nap I’d had in a long time. There is no problem with lying on your stomach if you are supported correctly. Where I work we have a water table and so they start out on the left side to get the back and then face up for legs, arms, head and neck. The water table is wonderful.
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As I just had a baby and had several massages during my pregnancy as long as there is a sling in the belly cutout that is snug enough to not have the ligaments in a bind and there are breast recesses the prone massage wins HANDS DOWN!!! The sling in the belly recess gives enough support for an hour or 2 of massage. NOT recommended for long term use (to those of us pregnant that have a prenatal table) but I personally LOVE the prenatal table and prone massages (best naps EVER while big and pregnant!)
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As a LMT who specializes in prenatal work and had also been pregnant (3 times) before, most mama’s will lay on their belly until its uncomfortable. If their own body weight pressing on the belly is too much then it’s time for side lying. Knowing they are in early pregnancy you should not be pressing deeply on the low back area anyway so if mama is still able to lay prone this should not be an issue. I personally don’t use a cutout table, and I don’t see how one set non adaptable system can accommodate mama’s of all shapes and sizes….just my opinion though so please no negative comments. I prefer my side lying set up with a body pillow and other regular pillows to adjust the comfort of side lying or the incline when supine.
I set my table with pillows at the head and foot so my clients can lay supine in a reclining position. I am able to work on their entire body in this position. Then I will readjust the pillows for them to lie on their side to finish off on their back. My clients are very comfortable in this position
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No table with the hole. It puts strain on the lower back. Lying on the stomach, although super comfy, is not an ideal position for anyone. But for the ladies that love being prone, there is an special cushion set for them for our tables. I forgot the name though.
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I used to work in a spa that had pregnancy tables and the clients LOVED them. Especially women that normally sleep prone, for them to be able to lie prone again after months of not doing it is a real treat for them.
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There are pregnancy pillow set ups that allow pregnant women to lie on their stomach without putting undue stress on the back. Having had 2 children I would have LOVED this option!!! I have used one of the commercial body systems on a preg friend who loved being prone and didn’t feel any undue stress on her back muscles or ligaments (she is also an LMT).
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I’ve seen all the support cushions for pregnancy massage, and I too am curious to hear/see information about the benefits and contraindications. I have only been exposed to side-lying and reclining massage.
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I don’t do pregnancy massage, but we were taught in school they are not supposed to be prone at all and not to waste our money of a pregnancy table with the cut out that allows you to because it’s still a contraindication.
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In my practice I used a pregnancy pillow and my moms loved it. I had a handful of expectant mothers that were too small to be comfortable lying prone so we just adjusted to a side-lying position. Being able to lay in a comfortable prone position many of my clients were able to achieve a deeper state of relaxation. I myself have used it and I am not pregnant. The pillow reduced the tension in my back and allieveated pain due to two bulging disks.
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I have the Body Cushion system and have done a few pregnancy massages. Being able to lie prone was a relief to them. The cushions can be adjusted so there isn’t stress on the back. Just like any other client, though, you just have to adjust to each one, and each session as they get farther along. My policy is to ask for a new written Dr.’s release every thirty days, since the see the Dr. at least 1 x per month.

If you wish to receive a massage on a pregnancy massage table with holes cut-out then unfortunately we would not be able to help you but we certainly can provide a safe and effective pregnancy massage with you lying on your side.

By Richard Lane

Getting the Rancid Smell
from Massage Towels

Anyone who has been a professional massage therapist for any length of time knows that after a while their massage towels will begin to smell a little rancid. This is regardless of how fastidious and diligent they are with respect to washing their towels. They will try to wash them hot, try to wash them cold and use various proprietary products in an attempt to rid them of the all pervasive smell.

Getting rid of rancid smell from massage towelsAny time they go for a massage with another therapist then they will be highly attuned to how their towels smell and will be immediately aware of any rancid smell.

If you go visit any massage forum and search for questions regarding the rancid smell in massage towels then there will be a plethora of potential solutions that you may be willing to try. Some of these may work; some may not be as effective.

Some of the solutions are based on changing the carrier oil you use for your massage and coconut oils are frequently suggested.

However, a simple method that I have found effective for my towels is to add some normal washing up liquid to hot water in the bath and soak the towels for an hour or so. Adding a few drops of tea-tree oil has been suggested to me. When the water has cooled a little then, with bare feet, stomp on the towels for a few minutes as though you are crushing grapes (can be quite therapeutic by itself or a job for the children).

  
Then just wash the towels normally (I would normally give them an extra rinse just to make sure that you maximised the chances of eliminating all the washing up liquid).

There is no need to do this again until such time as the towels show the first signs of starting to smell.

By Richard Lane


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