Pregnancy and dealing with a newborn can be stressful, and we all know that isn’t good for us or our children. When Jennifer Johnston* was expecting her second child, she found her magic stress reliever – an excellent massage therapist.
“In my third trimester, with my last pregnancy, I found an amazing massage therapist and reflexologist who used a pregnancy body cushion. I was hooked instantly,” says Jennifer. “During both my pregnancies, I tried the table with the hollowed-out centre for baby. I would feel the baby get uncomfortable, which made me very uneasy. Then I experienced the body cushion, designed to accommodate a side-laying or face down massage. This was the answer! I went every week just to relax with this cushion.”
Jennifer now uses that same style cushion with her patients at Moncton’s 360 Health Centre. A registered massage therapist & reflexologist (RMT), Jennifer works to help families at all stages of life – even overdue moms.
After an expectant mother’s obstetrician or midwife has given the okay, Jennifer works together with a fellow RMT to perform an hour-long induction style massage treatment. “The aim is to relax the body and allow nature to take over,” Jennifer explains. “We focus on specific points to aid in stimulating hormones that trigger labour, concentrating on the lower back, neck, legs, and feet – points that are normally avoided during pregnancy massage until baby is at term.”
Jennifer also tailors her services to new moms, trying to help with physical and emotional adjustments following labour and dealing with a newborn. “Lifting and holding your baby, using front-position carriers, and poor body mechanics can all put undue stress on shoulders, back, and neck muscles. A massage can help release tension and improve circulation. Reflexology can help balance hormones and promote a speedy recovery.”
Both massage and reflexology are mood elevators, says Jennifer, sharing that helping promote mental health in her patients has a personal connection for her.
“Years ago, my mother was in a horrific car accident that left her with a brain injury and one side of her body crippled in pain,” says Jennifer. “I witnesses an intelligent, happy, independent woman suddenly lose her successful career and become dependent on others. The bright light she always had about life faded. She faced depression, which grew into a slew of other mental health conditions. I discovered massage soothed her pain and worries. To this day I practice massage therapy and reflexology to help her cope with her ailments.”
Jennifer also uses her treatments at home with her husband and two children. “I strongly feel that what I do is a viable way to help my loved ones, and my clients, manage their everyday stressors,” says Jennifer. “My husband suffered a break down years ago and triggered severe depression and anxiety. Massage therapy made a huge contribution to his recovery and is incredibly therapeutic and relaxing for his racing mind.”
“There is a lot of massage therapy and reflexology that happens in my house daily. We’ve made reflexology part of our bedtime routines with both kids. I also employ cupping and gua sha techniques at home; I cup my daughter’s abdomen for digestion, and gua sha my husband’s chest and shoulders for soreness. I think the most important work skill I use at home is listening. All day, I am listening, not just with my ears, but with my hands, with my insight on what a body is telling me. When I get home, I do the same with my family. If my husband has had an anxious day or my daughter is complaining of a sore leg, or if my son is over-stimulated, tuning into to their stories is my ultimate guide to understanding the root of their issue. That is where my hands can help soothe.”
Jennifer passes on these skills to her patients. “I love educating new parents on massage therapy and reflexology. I enjoy teaching one-on-one how to perform simple reflexology routines on a little one’s feet and how to do a soothing massage for bedtime. Both techniques can help calm babies and toddlers, promote better sleep, boost immunity, support and encourage digestion, and the best benefit – bonding time with mom or dad.”
If you’d like to see for yourself how relaxing a visit with Jennifer can be, or want to learn more about bringing these skills into your home, book an appointment at 360 Health Centre today! Don’t forget to mention this article to receive a $10 savings off your first 1 Hour Massage Therapy and $49 First Session of Reflexology with Jennifer. You can learn more about Jennifer on her webpage and be sure to follow her Facebook page for contests and promotions.
*Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Jennifer Johnston RMT & Reflexologist.