Massage Therapy as Preventative Medicine

by Guest Blogger, Shalon Da~Nai, LMT

Preventative Medicine is anything you do to help you stay pain and disease free. Exercise, eating healthy, and washing your hands often to limit your exposure to germs are all considered preventative. Most of us know that these are things we should do if we want to stay well . After all, the best way to be healthy is to never get sick right?

Preventing Illness

There are a few ways Massage Therapy can be helpful in preventing illness. Receiving regular massage can strengthen the Immune system by helping to detoxify the body and also by reducing stress. It is known that having too much stress in your life can wear you down and make you vulnerable to the germs and virus’s that you come in contact with. It has been proven that massage has the ability to reduce stress hormones and increase endorphins, or pleasure hormones. When you feel happy and not stressed, your systems have less interference and your body is better able to protect it self. Those long, gliding strokes that make a massage so calming are also very effective at moving blood through the circulatory and muscular systems. That blood drops off oxygen and nutrients and picks up metabolic waste and toxins from cells. Muscles and organs are nourished and strengthened. It circulates the lymphatic system and helps the body to eliminate the bad stuff.

Preventing Injury

Most of my clients come to me regularly to manage aches and pains that occur from the demands of daily life. They may have tight shoulders from sitting at a desk all day, or a sore lower back from carrying too much abdominal weight. But all too often, the first time I see someone is because they have “pulled” something from sleeping wrong or lifting something the wrong way. They book a massage with me to “fix” the problem that has popped up. Most people don’t realize that they can avoid these acutely painful experiences by receiving massage therapy before they are injured. What a whole new concept for a society that says “ If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”!  This is how Massage Therapy fits into the wellness paradigm of prevention, to “fix” things before they “break”. When our muscular system gets out of balance we may have tight muscles in one area that cause overstretching in the weak, under-activated opposing area. That means our muscles are working against each other, instead of in synergy. This is what causes them to fail when we call on them to perform a difficult task, and how we can be injured without even moving, from being in a certain position for too long. It is that final straw in an already precarious situation.

By taking care of yourself in advance, you can minimize the effects of pain and disease . Include Massage Therapy as part of your preventative medicine and lead a more relaxed, healthy and productive life.

About the Author:

Shalon’s practice is located within Healing Hands Chiropractic-Londonderry. Shalon  has been a NH licensed Massage Therapist since January of 2007. She is certified in Mother Massage® and specializes in prenatal, postpartum and fertility massage.   She offers Labor Support techniques and Infant Massage classes, as well, to educate new parents in the art of touch.   Shalon is also a certified Reiki practitioner having studied both Usui and Shamballa traditions.  Her Therapeutic services are offered to  men, women and children of all ages. Integrating tools from different modalities, she  inspires healing of both the body and the mind. During an Integrative Massage session, Shalon creates an environment of relaxation through guided breathing and visualization. Swedish Massage is combined with various techniques from Neuromuscular, Thai massage, Lomi Lomi, Reflexology and the Grigorian Method®. Each massage is customized to the needs of the individual, with pressure varying from light to deep and the focus ranging from pain management to mental relaxation.Shalon may be reached by phone at Phone: (603)303-6968 or online by visiting

About Healing Hands Chiropractic:

Healing Hands is a family wellness center that offers family chiropractic care, acupuncture, cognitive-behavioral therapy, reiki & aromatherapy, massage therapy, La Leche League breastfeeding groups and pregnancy & birth classes. To learn more about Dr. Jessica Caruso and Healing Hands Chiropracticplease visit or call (603)434-3456.

Stress in September

by Shalon Da~Nai, LMT

back to school stressIts that time of year again. The carefree days of summer are gone. It can be a stressful time as schedules fill up and the pace of life seems to turn from a walk to a run. Everyone has experienced some kind of stress in their lives and many deal with it on a daily basis. Stress can be caused by a plethora of things; the daily demands of life, personal relationships and deadlines at work as well as bigger life changes and transitions ie the loss of a job or a loved one. Even positive things can cause stress like planning a wedding, the birth of a child or a child’s first day of school.

We all know what stress is, but how does it affect us and our body?  Noticeable physical responses to stress include an increase in heart rate, sweating, rapid breathing and heightening of the senses. These are all symptoms of the “Fight or Flight” response that nature has equipped us with for our own protection. Unfortunately our physiology can not tell the difference between a life or death situation and a rough day at the office. Anything that causes us stress will cause the same release of the hormones Adrenaline and Cortisol. Over time, heightened stress states can affect our moods, sleeping habits, eating habits and energy levels. Physical aches and pains may develop. Even our memory and ability to conceive can be impinged. If stressful conditions persist it may increase the risk of more severe disease ie: heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression and disorders of the autoimmune system.
So what are some ways we can manage our stress so that it does not weaken our Body and Mind?  There are many coping techniques available. The most basic and easy tool to reduce stress is simply to breathe. Slow, deep breaths can lower a fast heart rate and make you feel more calm. Exercise is not only good for your cardiovascular and muscular systems, it also reduces stress hormones and releases endorphins, which are those “feel good” hormones. Meditation can take the use of breath a step further and invites the mind to quiet. Letting go of stressful thoughts is the key to reducing stress levels, but it may not be as simple as it sounds. It is good to practice these methods. The more you do it, the more adept you will be at coping and will be able to balance yourself quickly.

Therapeutic services like Massage Therapy and Reiki (and of course chiropractic care) focus on lowering stress levels and can bring you to a deep state of calm. Massage packs all the benefits of breath, exercise and meditation into one synergistic experience that takes little effort for the recipient. Not only does it reduce stress hormones, Cortisol and Adrenaline, it also releases endorphins and reduces physical pain or tension.
It’s important to take stress seriously, as it can have some very harmful effects. Mastering your ability to manage your stress will make you healthier, happier and more emotionally balanced. You will be more productive at work or at school and your personal relationships will benefit as well. Everyone experiences stress differently. Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to experience it at all?

Massage Therapy and Postpartum Depression

By Shalon Da~Nai, LMT
May was a beautiful month as the world  came alive and new beings were birthed into existence.  The grasses grew, trees budded and blossomed, and flowers sprouted and bloomed.  Pairs of birds filled their nests with chirping young and many human babies were also born.   It couldn’t be a more fitting time to focus our energies towards the health of new mothers.   May is the official “Postpartum Depression Awareness Month”.  Earlier this month we hosted a charity event at Healing Hands Chiropractic Family Wellness Center to raise money for the cause.  We had a successful “Day of Relaxation” as participants enjoyed sample treatments from the team at Healing Hands.  There was massage therapy, acupuncture, reiki, yoga and local healthy foods.

In honor of May and mothers who experience depression, I want to discuss the benefit that massage therapy can have.  Unlike drug treatments that medical doctors might prescribe, massage has no negative side affects to a mother or nursing baby.  It is gentle, safe and effective.  Women who receive massage therapy during pregnancy have less pain and lowered stress levels.  This translates to the fetus’ and the infant’s stress hormones are also reduced.  We can continue these affects after birth with postpartum massage  and infant massage.

Massage for moms helps to reduce pain and trigger points developed during pregnancy, allowing her body to quickly transition back to its pre-pregnancy state.  It aids in the balance of hormones, which play an important role in depression.  Massage can help regulate sleep and induce relaxation.  Without proper rest it is very hard for the body and mind to heal.  Fatigue is a contributing factor to depression.  And most beneficial is the ability of massage therapy to reduce the stress hormone cortisol which puts stress on all body systems.  Taking time to receive massage gives Mom time for herself, where she can be nurtured with healing touch and be able to offer more nurturing care to her new child.  Infant massage can help to lessen the effects of postpartum depression.  Through massage a mother learns to calm the discomforts of the infant from digestive issues and colic.  Massage has the same affects on baby as they do on the mother, balanced hormones, reduced stress levels and enhanced sleep.

A relaxed baby means a baby that cries less and therefore a relaxed mom.   Performing infant massage enhances the bond between mother and child.  Communication becomes clearer because mom can learn to identify the body language and other cues their baby uses to express themselves.  With this understanding she will have more confidence in her new role as a mother.  Shalon Da~Nai, LMT is Certified in Prenatal and Postpartum Massage Therapy.  She offers one on one Infant Massage classes to parents and caregivers.
All appointments and classes can be scheduled online at or

Links for research on Massage/infant Massage for postpartum

To reach the Postpartum emotional support group  call 603-663-8927

Fertility Massage – Ancient Tools Creating a Healthy Future

By  Guest Blogger, Shalon Da~Nai LMT
Like all massage, fertility massage was practiced by ancient civilizations. Before the advent of surgical intervention and hormonal therapies, healers were helping women conceive naturally. Rooted in the culture, was an understanding of the body and what it needs to function with ease. They used all of what nature provided e.g., physical touch, movement, plant medicine, energy and intention or prayer. For example, the Practice of belly dancing was designed to strengthen the core, open the hips and stimulate blood flow so that women could become pregnant easily and have healthy pregnancies and births.
Massage therapists, like myself, are continuing these powerful methods of hands on healing that our ancestors pioneered. These tools are even more valuable in our fast paced, modern world. Stress can impede the natural function of the body in many ways, especially when it comes to the delicate balance of hormones required to create a baby. Not only is there more mental stress, but also more physical stress, as we are exposed to more toxins in our environment.
The goal of Fertility massage is to help create the ideal conditions in which conception can occur. Bringing the body into balance allows it to work more efficiently. A combination of modalities are used to treat the client wholly, physically as well as emotionally and energetically. During the massage, reflexology points correlating to the endocrine glands are stimulated to help regulate hormones. Acupressure points are activated to open the flow of Chi through the body, allowing the energy to nourish all organ systems. Abdominal massage treats both the digestive and reproductive organs. Circulating blood into the soft tissue helps eliminate toxins and support cellular health with oxygen. Massage of the colon cleanses it of stuck waste, which will ease pressure in the abdomen and aid in the absorption of nutrients. Massage of the ovaries and fallopian tubes works to break down excess tissue from endometriosis, cysts and fibroids, and helps to remove mucus that can block the tubes. This makes for easy passage of the egg during ovulation. Massage also breaks down scar tissue caused by infections or surgical procedures. Misalignment of the uterus can be corrected with this gentle massage technique. Aside from enhancing fertility, this therapy can also improve cramping or clotting during menstruation, ease symptoms of PMS and regulate a woman’s cycle.
Science has advanced our understanding of the body beyond that of our ancestors. Medical doctors can diagnose imbalances that contribute to infertility. They have various procedures to help couples conceive, such as hormones, surgery, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and more. Many couples choose natural methods focusing on diet, exercise, yoga, herbal medicine, chiropractic, acupuncture and massage. Fertility massage enhances the success of both natural and medicinal approaches to regaining fertility. By creating a healthy environment for a baby to grow the chances of a full term pregnancy and healthy baby are increased.
Wanting to have a family is only natural. Unfortunately for some, it can be a long and stressful journey. Stress is one of the main things to avoid when trying to become pregnant. Massage gives us the opportunity to slow down, breathe, and get in touch with our bodies. It lowers the stress hormone cortisol and releases the love hormone oxytocin. Not only is it creating a better state of health for you and your future baby, but it feels good and makes you happy.
When it comes to fertility massage you must be an active participant in this process. This therapy does not end when you get off of the massage table. You will take with you, tools to continue healing yourself. With regular massage, women will find them selves feeling better and in most cases, achieving their dreams of motherhood.

Shalon Da~Nai, LMT offers massage therapy to Men, Women and Children. She is certified in Prenatal/ Postpartum massage. Her services can assist with pain, stress and infertility using various modalities. She also offers classes for families to learn hands on Labor support techniques and Infant Massage.
Shalon can be reached by phone at (603) 303-6968. Appointments can be booked online at
Shalon is available for massage at Healing Hands Chiropractic Family Wellness Center, 156 Harvey Rd. #2 Londonderry, NH 03053

Healing Hands Chiropractic Family Wellness Center is a full-service holistic family wellness center offering chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture, nutrition, reiki, yoga & meditation, childbirth education, La Leche League breastfeeding support, RESOLVE fertility peer support groups. All of our practitioners specialize in fertility, prenatal, postpartum, pediatric and family wellness care.

Chemical Free Massage

By Shalon Da~Nai, LMT

The small choices we make today affect the health of the world we leave to future generations.  Every product we use ends up in the waters and in the earth.  Everything we put on our skin is absorbed into our body, and can affect the health of our entire being.  Therefore, it is important to be conscious of the chemicals to which we may expose ourselves, our children and our planet.

When you receive a massage from Shalon Da~Nai, LMT, at Healing Hands Chiropractic, you can relax knowing that you are not getting any chemicals with your therapy.  Shalon uses Hobacare organic Jojoba oil for all of her sessions. Jojoba is pressed from the seeds of the desert jojoba plant.  Jojoba is nourishing for the skin and hair, non-greasy, non-allergenic and non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores).  It is odorless and will not stain clothing.

In addition:

“Of more than 350,000 identified plant species, jojoba is the only one which produces significant quantities of liquid wax esters akin to the natural restorative esters produced by human sebaceous glands.” ( )

The cotton flannel sheets used during your massage are washed  in unscented, hypoallergenic detergent that is biodegradable and free of petroleum-based surfactants.   To reduce static and add softness, Shalon uses Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Dryer Sheets. These dryer sheets contain a vegetable-derived softening agent and natural essential oils on a biodegradable paper sheet.  Subtle hints of lavender add to the relaxation of your massage session.

Shalon is skilled in a variety of massage techniques for all ages, including Integrative Massage, Mother Massage® for pregnancy and postpartum, Infant Massage, and Hot Stone Massage.

Healing Hands Chiropractic is a full-service, holistic family wellness center located in Londonderry, NH offering chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage therapy, reiki therapy, yoga and meditation classes and pregnancy & birth classes. Our practitioners specialize in prenatal care, pediatrics, women’s health and family wellness.

Massage During & After Pregnancy

by Shalon Da~Nai Spaulding, LMT
Massage Therapy is beneficial to everyone, especially the expectant mother.  Pregnancy is a time of great change for a woman.  From the continuous changes in her body to the overall transition as she journeys toward motherhood, there is much to process.  It is a time of great joy and excitement, but with that can also come physical discomfort and mental or emotional stress.

Prenatal massage
is customized to alleviate the physical discomforts of pregnancy and prepare the body for birth. During pregnancy the center of gravity shifts as the baby grows.  This causes changes in posture, starting at the pelvis and affecting  the neck and shoulders.  Muscular tension and inflammation are common side affects of this shift.  The body produces the hormone relaxin to help joint mobility.  Relaxin causes all ligaments in the body to soften, stretch and weaken.  As a result, women may develop carpal tunnel syndrome, pelvic pain, and/or other joint pains.

Pregnancy affects nearly all systems of the body. Sinus congestion and constipation are often an issue. Breathing and digestion are affected as the baby grows, compressing and displacing organs within the mother’s body.  Skeletal position also changes. As the baby grows, it lifts and widens the rib cage up to 3 inches.  The pelvis also widens to prepare for birth.  All of these changes may affect each mother uniquely, and massage can help ease the ensuing discomforts.

Stress during pregnancy is common, as it is a major life change.  Many practitioners believe that everything the mother feels, the baby also feels.  Stress affects hormone levels within both mother and child, and this can affect fetal development.  The best thing an expectant mom can do for her baby is to stay relaxed and promote feelings of love and well being within herself.
Studies have shown that women who received pregnancy massage not only experienced lower levels of stress hormones and fewer common discomforts, but also had fewer complications during labor and fewer premature births than those who did not receive massage.*
*Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 20, 31-38

Benefits of Prenatal Massage:
~Reduces stress levels
~Eases back and pelvic pain caused by changes in posture
~Reduces swelling of feet and ankles
~Improves skin elasticity, reducing stretch marks
~Improves sleep
~Improves digestion

~Reduces sinus congestion
~Relaxes and soothes baby

The effects of pregnancy do not end after the baby has been delivered.  The body takes time to shift back to its original alignment.  Trigger points that developed may still cause pain, stiffness and weakness in the muscles.  The body continues to create the hormone relaxin for up 4 months postpartum, and this perpetuates the excessive flexibility and weakness in joints. It can be hard for a new mother to focus on anything but her new child, but it is important to realize that time spent caring for herself enables her to care for her baby in the best way possible.

Benefits of Postpartum Massage:
~Brings the body back to pre-pregnancy alignment
~Helps with tension and muscle pain of the neck, shoulders & low back
~Aids in returning the uterus to normal size
~Soothes digestive trouble
~Energizes and helps to eliminate fatigue
~Balances hormones & sleep cycle
~Decreases stress and the effects of depression

Shalon Da~Nai Spaulding is a NH Licensed Massage Therapist.  She is Certified in Pregnancy Massage and Postpartum Massage.  Shalon also offers labor support techniques and Infant Massage classes.

All practitioners at Healing Hands Chiropractic specialize in prenatal and postpartum care, including chiropractic, acupuncture, reiki, and yoga. We also offer workshops in pregnancy, childbirth, and wellness.