Have you got pain between the shoulder blades?
Do you have an area of soreness that you feel in-between your shoulder blades or even lower?
It could be coming from that area or perhaps it's coming from the front?
Your shoulder joint is so movable and even though the joint has a similar configuration to the hip joint being a ball and socket joint, the shoulder joint moves much more freely and that is what makes the shoulder such a COMPLEX joint.
The shoulder joint has super strong ligaments and so many muscles holding the joint in place and did you know to get that much movement this joint is like a basketball sitting on a teacup.
One muscle in particular could be causing your issues you are feeling in the back and this muscle is called the Pectoralis Minor muscle. The pec minor’s is on your chest under a bigger pectoralis muscle and its job is to pull the shoulder blade down – almost tipping the top of the shoulder blade forward.
So, when this muscle shortens due to altered posture overtime, the muscle can keep the shoulder blade pulled forward, and cause issues between the shoulder blades.
What we like to do is address both the back of the shoulders and upper back as well as the front to alleviate any tightness that the pectoralis muscle might be contributing too.
The advice we give is between sessions to stretch out like this and also to use a tennis ball – which can be done up against the wall or simply used to rub over the top of the muscle with the ball in the opposite hand.
If you are having any issues regarding your shoulder or upper back book in with one of our senior therapists at Massey or Hobsonville and let us take a look at that for you.
If you are unsure of what is going on with your body and are a bit confused on what action to take please do not hesitate to give Anj a call or send an email and together we can discuss some options that might be right for you.
Massage Therapy alleviates pain, fatigue and improves your performance!
You've challenged yourself, pushed a little bit harder - and now your paying for it.
You've gone and got yo'self DOMS!
Let's break it down - Delayed onset muscle soreness - which is delayed onset occurs within the first 24 hours after strenuous or exhaustive exercise and gawd do you feel it when it peaks between that 24 -72 hour period! (Guo, 2017).
DOMS comes with
- muscle swelling and reduction in performance ( (Kargarfard et al., 2016; De Marchi et al., 2017)
- decreased range of motion (Cheung et al., 2003; Lavender and Nosaka, 2006)
Why it happens? It's unclear. The most accepted theory is that there is mechanical damage induced by exercise, which creates inflammation (to heal the damage). Which then results in your achy symptoms.
Therapeutic massage therapy has been around for thousands of years, world wide and is used to alleviate the symptoms of DOMS.
Massage Therapy aids in:
This results in great physical benefits such as:
There is also psychological benefits:
Robust evidence shows Massage Therapy is effective for alleviating DOMS, as well as increasing muscle performance. Especially after 48 hours post exercise. (Gou, 2017)
Cheung K., Hume P., Maxwell L. (2003). Delayed onset muscle soreness: treatment strategies and performance factors. Sports Med. 33, 145–164. 10.2165/00007256-200333020-00005De Marchi T., Schmitt V. M., da Silva Fabro D. C., da Silva L. L., Sene J., Tairova O., et al. . (2017). Phototherapy for improvement of performance and exercise recovery: comparison of 3 commercially available devices. J. Athl. Train. 52, 429–438. 10.4085/1062-6050-52.2.09
Guo, J., Li, L., Gong, Y., Zhu, R., Xu, J., Zou, J., & Chen, X. (2017). Massage Alleviates Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness after Strenuous Exercise: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in Physiology, 8, 747. http://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.00747
Kargarfard M., Lam E. T., Shariat A., Shaw I., Shaw B. S., Tamrin S. B. (2016). Efficacy of massage on muscle soreness, perceived recovery, physiological restoration and physical performance in male bodybuilders. J. Sports Sci. 34, 959–965. 10.1080/02640414.2015.1081264
Lavender A. P., Nosaka K. (2006). Changes in fluctuation of isometric force following eccentric and concentric exercise of the elbow flexors. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 96, 235–240. 10.1007/s00421-005-0069-5
New Blends have hit Top Notch this month! To combine with our organic virgin coconut oil, we have been working with a Clinical Aromascience Practitioner in bringing more quality to our essential oil blends we have been using.
Sports and Remedial Massage
This blend will help with tired aching muscles, it is stimulating and warms the muscles, will
relieve stiffness, tightness, over worked muscles. The blend is also mildly anti-depressant and
uplifting. May assist in the healing of damaged nerves if used regularly on a particular problematic
area of the body (i.e.: joint injury, back injury etc.)
The benefits are anti-inflammatory, helps with poor circulation, gently diuretic, anti-spasmodic, analgesic, immune builder, anti-rheumatic, gently anti-depressant, uplifting.
This blend is very balancing to mood and hormones, it is strongly anti-depressant as well as
uplifting but also very calming. It will assist to relieve stress & anxiety, hyper-ness & panic. The
blend also has muscle relaxing properties.
The benefits are antidepressant, antispasmodic, analgesic (pain relief), gentle stimulant, immune builder, anti-inflammatory, restorative, antiviral, antiseptic, calming, muscle relaxant.
This blend is very uplifting and refreshing, it is great to relieve irritability, it will also assist
in relieving aches & pains, is a great tonic to the skin too. It should promote a great sleep the night
of the day the massage is given.
The benefits antidepressant, antispasmodic, analgesic (pain relief), gentle stimulant, immune builder, anti-
inflammatory, restorative, antiviral, antiseptic.
Massage during and after pregnancy is quite popular with us at Top Notch Massage Therapy, this due to the growing evidence towards the mental and physical rewards it provides.
We do get a lot of questions by a lot of mum's, including their husbands, partners, friends and family uncertain if pregnancy massage is beneficial and how it may help, especially if they are someone who does not receive regular massage therapy.
Some people can be nervous about getting massages, especially when we are pregnant. So I am here to alleviate some of those concerns.
I’m going to talk through a few questions that we often get.
The first one is how safe are pregnancy massages?
We have a lot of women seeking massage and asking this question because they are unsure whether they should have a massage in pregnancy. At Top Notch Massage, all of the team who deliver pregnancy massage have been professionally trained in New Zealand to a high standard, by a pregnancy massage specialist to deliver pregnancy massages. Here at Top Notch, we have therapists who can treat from conception right through to birth.
Our therapists frequently see a lot of women coming in presenting with various discomforts in pregnancy, and it is so important that you are getting someone who is specialised in supporting you through that process, and that you are in safe, nurturing hands to get the most benefit out of your treatment - which is very very important for our mum's.
For example, if you are or have experienced terrible lower back pain, you will know especially as you get closer and closer to your due date, it can become very sore and you probably would not want anyone to come near you.
So why would pregnancy massage help you?
With the discomfort of the lower back scenario, you would have seen your LMC and discussed this with them, and then be coming into us knowing confidently that if there is any changes in your pregnancy that we understand the language that is used in pregnancy and we know how to treat you.
This is due to our therapists scope of professionalism and training which really helps. We are guided by what you need and what you have told us. We are here to really support you, so you no longer have to be in pain in your pregnancy.
Is movement important during pregnancy?
We do advocate remaining active during pregnancy - so if you caught our post about maintaining activity during pregnancy there are many benefits such as
I’ve discussed pain and discomfort, but you don’t have to be experiencing pain or discomfort to get a pregnancy massage either.
If you think about the stresses and anxiety that pregnancy can bring on for some mums, so they can feel that they need just some "time out". Almost like ‘mindfulness massage’ - just that "mum time", time for her to just re-energise, be more in tune and in connection with her baby and your pregnancy.
So if you have friends or family who would benefit from a pregnancy massage please tag them in or share this with them.
If you would like to contact us with more information please send us a message! We are only too happy to help!
Please welcome Jade to our team! Jade will be our certified therapist working at our Massey Clinic from 01 Feb 2018.
Jade holds a certificate in relaxation massage, topping the course to gain excellence from the New Zealand College of Massage. So Jade is a perfect match if you are needing to relax and unwind from the week or are in need of a specific treatment for your sporting needs.
Welcome to the Top Notch Family Jade!
Well it's been nearly one month since we started and we are now ready to open!
Massey Clinic has relocated to 4/402 Don Buck Road, Massey from 30th January 2018.
I'd like to say a massive thanks and appreciation to the following group of people who have helped and supported us along the way:
Jim, Sue and Mum, my brothers - your encouragement, support and understanding has been amazing.
To our little apprentices, thanks for being patient and keeping full at the Massey Bakery daily!
Lorella and Troy - Without your help with the painting and the mural, it would have been a massive feat. Thanks for taking the kids often!
To my team - Annette, Miku, Jacqui, Tamara, Julianne, Caitlyn, Cat, Jade and Jun. Thank you for your support and team work to allow us to concentrate on this project.
We are very grateful to work alongside Joe and his team from A2Z Impact Electrical, Pete and Mikala from ABM Flooring, Ian and his team at Heat and Cool (and we really needed some cool up in there!). Even though we didn't use them a big shout out to Budget Carpets and Vinyl.
Keith and Dan, your hard work (as you can see in the video) has paid off and it looks absolutely amazing.
I hope you enjoy this "quick and dirty" video of where we have got today, and if you want to see it all finished, then you can book in with us! Seriously, we would love you to visit so pop in anytime and have a squizz, we are now OPEN!!
Below is a video that shows the progress we have made. BUT if you want to see what it now looks like? Head over to our facebook page to see the video and pictures we took last night!
Jacqui has been an integral part of Top Notch since 2014, achieving Top Student as part of her certificate course and she has never looked back since!
After three and a half years, I am sure you can agree that Jacqui really does bring that special element to her sessions with her caring nature and the way she delivers her massage therapy is like no other!
Jacqui has been a certified therapist with us for three years and we believe Jacqui's value is at a senior therapist level given her knowledge and experience in massage therapy.
Jacqui will be at the senior therapist rate for all new clients from the 3rd of January 2018.
On the home front and very exciting Jacqui has also successfully completed her Bachelor of Counselling with Wellington Institution of Technology, Jacqui will be set to graduate early 2018. Jacqui on behalf of the team here at Top Notch you are an outstanding team member and we all thank you for your guidance and especially what you bring to your massage sessions! We are all so proud of you.
There is nothing worse than knowing you have a headache coming on – especially ones that are caused by Tension-type headaches (TTH), which feel like a dull or heavy, non-pulsating band of pain; usually on both sides of the head. The name comes from an erroneous belief that overly tight muscles are the main reason for the headache.
Tension-type headaches can literally stop you in your tracks, and are the most common headache; even more common than migraines. This is where massage therapy can assist you, to reduce your tension headaches, and it has zero side effects in comparison to recommended medications.
Massage or Massage Therapy – What’s the difference?
Is there a difference within the massage profession of what type of massage you will get? Most definitely!
A fully trained therapist, approaches your massage with a completely different outlook, compared to say a mall or spa massage.
Massage has been typically defined as a movement which follows a pattern and manipulates your muscles, fascia and ligaments using fingers, hands, forearms, elbows and in some massage sessions knees and or feet. Massage uses oil, heat or cold and sometimes tools. All these factors create therapeutic change.
All our therapists at Top Notch perform ‘massage therapy’. This is where we take the above and combine it with discussing how we can help you to obtain better health. We also explain what is may be going on for you and together we will discuss any self-care such as stretches or activities.
So, you can see as your massage therapist, I’m taking a lot more into consideration than manipulation of soft tissues. Rather than walking in and plonking yourself down on a chair, we are considering your needs for massage therapy from:
Massage therapy, has a deliberate pattern, a purpose and therapeutic intention to manipulating your tissues. Essentially the ingredients that go into what we deliver as part of our massage therapy is both hands on and hands off.
Importance placed on health and wellness
In addition to your massage, our top priority is your health and wellness. After your session, we discuss ways in which to improve your own self-care outside of the massage session; this can range from postural awareness, breathing patterns, messages about mindfulness, and helpful stretches (if required). I think by not discussing this, it would not serve you well. Becoming an active part of your health is essential to getting better.
In contrast to a walk in ‘massage’, these aspects of your treatment are likely to be missed - you end up receiving a massage that doesn’t address the root cause of your symptoms. It will definitely make you feel better, but for how long?
Environment of Massage Therapy
In order for massage therapy treatment to be effective, the environment requires you to feel safe and relaxed in order to be in the right state of mind emotionally or psychologically, otherwise this limits your ability to receive the outcome you desire. The lighting, the sound and the temperature of the room all play a pivotal role with the therapeutic touch that you receive. Placing phones on silent really ensures you can get the full benefit, so you can switch the mind off from the outside world for the duration of your session.
Safety in Massage Therapy
Safety is a central component in massage therapy. Most harm is caused by therapists who are unqualified. This is because they lack the appropriate training and anatomy knowledge, so they are not aware of particular areas to avoid with deep pressure, for example. This can become extremely unsafe to you as the client. Professionally trained massage therapists have this knowledge and experience. You may not realise this, but every tertiary trained massage therapist are trained in personal safety where we are taught boundaries and adopt a high standard of ethics. At Top Notch we pride ourselves on the fact that all our therapists have tertiary qualifications in Massage Therapy - if you haven’t been to us before book an appointment to experience the difference!
The answer is absolutely 100%.
Booking in for a pregnancy massage is a very sensible option for pain relief and relaxation throughout the whole journey of your pregnancy.
Now you may have seen or been told that the first trimester is not a good time to get one however that myth has slowly drifted off into the sunset (thank goodness). But it still lingers among the profession with some massage therapists still urging caution.
Let's look at what you, as a pregnant women, might do in a day - you might go for a walk, run, or do yoga; lift numerous things (heavy toddler alert), bend and twist, do school runs, oh yeah and you'll clamber up the bench to clean the top cupboard in the kitchen with no ladder – the list goes on. Now compare this to a massage, where you lie still.
Which one do you think is going to be the least strenuous? You got it...massage because a typical pregnancy massage will require you lie in a position which is relaxing - psssst it's similar to sleeping. So there should be no cause for concern unless you are under the care of a specialist, or your condition is not suitable for massage regardless if you are pregnant or not, as we will touch on below.
Why should I get a pregnancy massage?
Massage is beneficial for everyone and pregnancy is no exception. For exactly the same reasons you would choose to relieve aches and pains, or any emotional stress. Massage is a natural, safe and drug free alternative for pain relief.
The common discomforts experienced during pregnancy are
Our massage therapy sessions will focus on your needs, because your experience of pregnancy is very different from the next. We start with your pelvis, hips, lower back and we then move up between the shoulder blades and around the upper shoulders and neck. We can also do a full body session where your arms, legs and feet also get attention.
What is the safest position to be massaged in?
All positions used in massage therapy are safe, however, the position we advocate for and use at Top Notch Massage is side lying. For some of you, this position is how you sleep at night and we often hear our mum's breathe a sigh of comfort as they snuggle under the blankets. Side lying is very beneficial for accessing all of the areas you may be experiencing issues with.
We use approved bolsters such as the Mumanu™ pregnancy pillow (see video below) which helps to keep your posture correct and relaxed to avoid placing stress on the lower back and pelvis, ensuring maximum comfort. Designed by a Pregnancy Massage Specialist and the only pillow endorsed by the Osteopathic Society of New Zealand and BirthWorks International, the Mumanu is the best pregnancy pillow / low back pain pillow on the market.
[And yes! We are as gutted as you are that Mumanu pillows are no longer in stock!]
Why are my ankles are swollen?
It is normal to have swelling in the ankles and feet, especially in the third trimester because you are retaining more water. Sometimes it is just pure genetics that you will have it. What you need to be aware of is ‘sudden swelling’ which can be a sign of deep vein thrombosis, preeclampsia or cellulitis. Massage therapy can sometimes assist with fluid retention, however, outside of your massage session it is more beneficial to go for walks and keep active. The muscles in your legs (and around your chest) will act as a natural pump mechanism which assists with drainage of the fluid in your tissues, and also helps to return the blood in your veins back to your heart.
I’ve heard that I should not get massaged around certain points like my 'ankles' or up near my shoulders?
There is much misinformation out about pregnancy and prenatal massage. It’s really distressing to me as a therapist to hear these ‘myths’, because some of it is downright harmful and incorrect. In some countries, pregnancy women traverse sweltering, endless deserts; rugged, arid mountains; and frigid, unforgiving tundras and nothing happens.……but if we rub a specific area this is bad? Hmmmm, so OK let’s talk about these areas.
Here is an example - Your ten weeks pregnant and in a session, your therapist has told you they will avoid massaging your ankles because you are still in your first trimester and this may cause you to have a miscarriage. Ok, so then a couple of weeks later you experience the misfortune of a miscarriage but then you later remember when you had an itch and scratched around your ankle, or your ankles were aching, so you got your partner to rub them, or you you rubbed them. This gets you thinking, by touching those areas based on what that therapist told me, did I cause the miscarriage. Which is utterly rubbish and a horrible thing to even fathom.
If this was true then you should also avoid wearing socks and shoes for the fear of triggering these pressure points. There is no physiological reason to think any such reflex points cause miscarriage - it is just unfortunately around the time when a miscarriage may occur, due to many unidentified reasons such as genetic, uterine or hormonal abnormalities; tissue rejection; reproductive tract infections; but not because of massage therapy.
Yes, there are supposed to be reflex points in the body and they are everywhere - in the ankles, feet, hands, back (both upper and lower), tongue and ears. But if massaging these areas caused miscarriages (or induced labor), then we would not be able to massage pregnant women at all and the human species would not have thrived as it has. And if I could be so bold as to say there would be absolutely no requirements for anyone to use Family Planning clinics or need to be medically induced.
Why do I need to get clearance if my pregnancy is considered high risk?
There are of course a few things we like to keep an eye on. In New Zealand, pregnancies are usually managed between you and your leading maternity carer, or you will be referred to and managed by a specialist. At Top Notch, we like to know about who is managing your pregnancy and whether you are under specialist care, especially if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, any organ dysfunction (kidney or cardiac etc) or pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, syndromes, or neurological signs and symptoms’. This is so we can accurately assess whether massage is right for you, or that we have you booked in with the right therapist who has had the right training and expertise to understand your condition.
Take some time out for you
As a mum or 'mum to be' you tend to give so much and sometimes your needs get put on a back burner, so we feel that it’s such a gift to be able to give you the emotional support and a nurturing touch during this amazing time of your life!
If you know of anyone who is having difficulty managing their pregnancy and you want to send them to someone you can trust, let them know about us or share this link with them.
If your loved one really needs some TLC then book them in, or perhaps get them a voucher. Whatever your choice, we will be excited for their arrival.
Anj Young - BHSc, RMT
Video demonstrating how we use the Mumanu pregnancy pillow in our sessions. Please note, we also use the Memory Foam Contour Pregnancy Pillow Wedge to provide a neutral position for your belly (baby) to rest on.