Welcome to Marula Tree Massage
I am a mobile, qualified Massage Therapist in
Swedish massage; Cancer massage; ScarWork Therapy™; Deep Tissue massage; and Pregnancy and Labour massage.
I am based in Farnham, Surrey.
Modern life is so fast-paced that many people feel they cannot keep up and experts estimate that the vast majority of disease now, is stress related. When the body is in a state of constant stress it will eventually break down – that ‘fight and flight’ response can be triggered just by going to work every day! During a massage session, the Parasympathetic Nervous System is activated so the body slides into a relaxed state so giving it a chance to de-stress on the physical level. A Regular massage will give you the time, every week or month, to help your body deal with the stress by calming it down and reducing the stress-hormones that are damaging you. Your body Needs this! Massage should not be seen as a luxury – it is one of the ways you can help your body heal itself. You try to eat as healthily as possibly, you try to exercise the way that everyone tells you is good for you so reducing the amount of time that you are stressed is also a top priority.
Cortisol, the main stress hormone, has been Public Enemy Number 1 for years – scientists have shown that it interferes with learning, memory, it lowers your immune system’s functioning, lowers bone density, increases your risk of heart attack, leads to depression and anxiety, increased weight gain, high blood pressure – shall I continue?
Here is an excerpt of a paper entitled, “Hospitalized Patients: a descriptive and qualitative evaluation” by Marlaine C. Smith, RN, PhD; Mary Ann Stalliings, RN, MS, CS; Suzanne Mariner, LMY, BA. and Maggie Burrall, CMT, MA:- “The back massage was a traditional therapeutic practice in the hospital routine of the past and was valued for its ability to promote relaxation, sleep and comfort. With the advent of managed care and its shortened hospital stays, high-tech units, and bare-bones staffing, often these and other comfort modalities have been discarded. The rich heritage of healing through touch is threatened with extinction.’The therapeutic use of the hands… is an act that we have all but forgotten in this scientific age in our adulation of things mechanical, synthetic and, frequently, anti-human,’ notes Dolores Krieger.”
In order to understand the importance of a regular massage, it is vital to understand how the body responds to massage.
SHORT VERSION: It slows your heart rate, reduces high blood pressure, helps with circulation, oxygenates all your cells, eases muscular tightness, aids digestion and excretion (you might wee more), helps with the excretion of cortisol, slows and deepens breath, relaxes you mentally and physically, de-stresses you and reduces anxiety and is brilliant for overall health and feeling good.
LONG VERSION: The massage begins with long, slow strokes up and down your back, stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system – your heart rate slows, your breathing slows and deepens, your anxiety and stress levels start to drop and the release of endorphins start to elevate your mood and help to reduce any pain you may have. The deepening of respiration has been shown to induce calmness and deeper breaths mean that at the very basic level, the cells of your body benefit due to the increased blood circulation taking more oxygen and nutrients to them. The elasticity of your skin will improve because better blood circulation to the skin encourages cell regeneration. The effects and benefits of massage on your skeleton and muscles are increased joint mobility and the release of restrictions in the fascia means that physical stress on the bones and joints is reduced and overall mobility will be increased; any tightness you have starts to melt away. Improved circulation assists the venous flow of blood back to the heart and the dilation of your blood vessels aids in reducing high blood pressure (hypertension) so a regular massage will contribute to keeping your blood pressure down; it also gets the stress hormones into your excretory system so that they are flushed out – less damage to your health. The Rest and Digest process kicks in so your tummy will most probably start to gurgle – quite normal – it means there is increased peristalsis of the colon which can help to relieve constipation, IBS and other tummy problems. And when the massage ends you will find that it’s very hard to think because your mind will have quietened – the noise in your brain will have been subdued.
A Period of No Stress. Peace. Calm.
My goal for your massage session is first, and foremost, to get you to relax – to slow your life down, for you to breathe and calm your body for the time you have on my couch. The aches and pains will be eased out at the same time because should I find some tricky bits I shall do some deep tissue work; but I want you to take some time for yourself, to reduce and relieve the stress levels in your body for a while, which is So Important. So many people believe that spending time doing nothing is wasteful and selfish; that they need to be doing something Worthwhile otherwise they will be regarded as ‘Lazy’! But you need this – a break from the endless ‘must-be-done-now’, non-stop rush of life. I have noticed in the last 18 months that many of my clients cannot let go – they cannot relax their arms, they have to think really hard about how to do it, or they can’t stop frowning because they find it almost impossible to let go of life, relax with time for themselves.
You and I will spend some extra time at the beginning of your first massage session to discuss what it is you are looking for in the massage and the areas from which you want to have the tension and tightness eased. We’ll go through a consultation form, which I will have sent you prior to my arrival, to make sure there is nothing in your health that is contra-indicated but I really want to spend time with you to ensure that you get the best of me and your time on my couch leaves you feeling serene, and ready again to face whatever life throws at you.
The massage that is done for someone whose body is working to heal from cancer, and the damage that is done by chemotherapy and radiation, is different in some ways from Swedish massage – the strokes may be the same but the way they are applied is different and, depending on the treatment being given, means that some strokes and the depth of the massage will be different. A trained cancer massage therapist will know these things.
Massage cannot spread the cancer to other sites and it cannot make the cancer grow faster. Massage cannot cure cancer or make it go into remission – a massage may only help with the side effects of the cancer, or the treatments you are undergoing. Research has shown that it helps to increase blood flow, so taking healing oxygen and nutrients to cells that are working hard to keep going and to get better; it can help to ease pain and it gives you some quiet time away from the constant focus on the cancer; it can improve the flow of lymph through the lymphatic system which is part of the immune system which helps to filter out harmful substances, germs and disease and research is constantly showing that massage has supportive benefits to the patient, and many people have recorded that the massage has helped to ease their anxiety, depression and fatigue.
We all know that chemotherapy and radiation are aimed at killing cancer cells and that they also kill healthy cells. This means that deep-tissue massage is not to be done to prevent extra trauma to those ‘healthy’ cells that are struggling to survive. So the massage is gentle, the same as if you were stroking a peach, or a plum, without breaking the skin or bruising the fruit. You may think that this would not be a relaxing massage as the muscles aren’t being worked deeply, but you will find that it is; and sometimes the only thing that someone who is so poorly, while undergoing treatment, can withstand. Sometimes, even that is too much and so I would use Integrated Touch Therapy instead.
As a cancer massage therapist there are many things to be aware of when doing the massage and knowing all of these things will help with the planning of the massage, on the understanding that, depending on how you feel at that moment, the plan may have to change or I may just have to go home – sometimes the person just isn’t feeling up to having a massage. Another thing, you need to have discussed with your clinician, who is responsible for your care, before having a massage in order to help manage the symptoms of the cancer and the side effects of the treatment you are undergoing.
When you call me to arrange a massage we’ll set a time to get together so that I can learn as much about what you are dealing with and then I’ll go home and plan the massage so that you get the best from your session; this first consultation is free. Please contact me if you just want to find out more – I’m always happy to talk it through with you and answer any questions, to the best of my ability. I am not a doctor, or a cancer specialist – just a massage therapist who wants to help you deal with the effects of your cancer and the side effects of your treatment, and give you some TLC – soothing nourishment for your mind and soul.
Massage is recommended, as a support therapy, by Macmillan Cancer Support.
Massage therapy will not treat and/or remedy (cure) the cancer itself and should not be used as a substitute for the treatment recommended for you by your treating medical practitioner(s).
Massage therapy is designed to be used in conjunction with conventional treatments and is used to seek to relieve the symptoms of cancer, or the side effects of conventional treatments but is not a treatment, in any way, for cancer.
You don’t have to live with an unsightly scar or one that causes you discomfort and difficulty. Scars can be tight, red or puckered, raised or wide. They can feel like they’re attached to you somewhere deep inside and if only you could get it loose, you would feel so much better and be able to move more easily.
ALL scars can be worked on – mastectomies, breast reconstruction after mastectomy, knee or hip replacements, surgery, burns, keyhole surgery and drain sites etc. Many people with scars, have some level of dysfunction but believe that “it’s just my scar and that’s how it is; nothing can be done about it”, and they live with a lot of inconvenience, some of the inconvenience just becomes a part of life but it still bothers them. Scars can adhere to the surrounding tissues while they are healing and it is possible to feel where these adhesions are; it’s possible to see the effects as well by looking for puckering or dips and dents in the scar. There is much anecdotal evidence, from people who have had ScarWork™ Therapy who say that they have better range of motion, their scar isn’t so red and lumpy, noticeable, sunk in, tight, lopsided etc. Scars can be worked on from 10 weeks after surgery to 20 or 30 years afterwards – people report improvement even after that length of time.
I have taken this following information from the book “Traumatic Scar Tissue Management” by Nancy Keeney Smith and Catherine Ryan:-
“Although the ‘replacement tissue’ that forms the scar differs from the original tissue, normal or healthy scarring is intended to restore or preserve tissue integrity and function. On the other hand, if any aspect of the process is faulty or mismanaged, pain and dysfunction can occur at debilitating levels….Many factors influence and can interfere with one of more stages of this process.”
I trained with Emma Holly of Restore Therapy, who uses techniques developed by Sharon Wheeler over 30 years of working with scars, and you can see some of Emma’s clients’ testimonials, on the work she has done on their scars, here:
If you have problems with your scar(s) or have to live with some of those inconveniences, please contact me so that I can do an assessment and we can take if from there.
My client, H. W-C. had a mastectomy, and reconstruction using the DIEP method (using tissue from the abdomen to build a new breast). She asked me to work on the abdominal scar which runs from hip-bone to hip-bone. Results achieved after one session: “I think my scar is looking and feeling better – the ends are more white than pink now, and the middle bit feels less clunky. (2 weeks later)….By the way I forgot to tell you that the minor incontinence issue totally disappeared after the scar tissue work you did, what a result!!!”
These comments are from the people who came in to our training so that we could practise on real scars:
“Definitely feeling some benefits from the treatment thank-you. I’m amazed at the difference after one session! Thanks. Zoe” DIEP scar (Breast reconstruction after mastectomy)
“HI Emma I’m blown away with the results from this weekend’s session.” Dawn – Breast Cancer scars
“Hi Emma, ….. The breast area since having Scarworks is alot (sic) softer, pliable, flexiable (sic) with the implant area a little more moveable (sic). The breast area has changed shape and is warmer giving overall comfort. The armpit area has moveability (sic) without pain and range. I also feel more relaxed and positive, and my sleep is better. Overall my session has given me increased well being…..Many thanks” Denise – Capsulated breast reconstruction
“Hi Emma, I was really pleased with the results of the treatment. My wound looked and felt so much better. I really didn’t think that 1 session would make a big difference but it has. The wound does feel a little freer too…. Lisa”
“Hi Emma, Well, it’s now a week on since the treatment I kindly received. The first few days after the treatment I was sore and the leg was stiff, however, during the later part of the week the leg was feeling much better. Not so much muscle pain and the scar starting to blend in much more with my natural skin colouring. I am getting a better night’s sleep now with less wakeful nights. A big thank you to all that have helped me to improve my recovery and an overall better result for my scar healing process. Regards, Clive”
Please note: I cannot work on any woman who is pregnant and I am not trained to work on keloid scars.
Oxytocin and prolactin are released during the massage as a result of the stimulation to the skin and these indirectly relax your baby – Oxytocin is known as the ‘Love Hormone’ or the ‘Cuddle Chemical’. It is important in human behaviours including recognition, trust and in the bonding between a mother and her baby.
Your posture will change continually through your pregnancy because the weight distribution around the tummy area will cause your centre of gravity to move forward; the natural curves of your spine will become exaggerated which will put strain on your hip joints and lower back muscles. In addition, Relaxin will soften the fascia in the body to allow the ligaments of the pelvis to loosen; the pelvis is normally a rigid structure but this loosening causes the joints to become weaker and then they can start to ache. You will feel it in the sacroiliac joint, hips and the pubic area but the pain can radiate down into your legs. A good massage can help to ease all of these pregnancy aches and pains.
As you relax into the massage your breathing will deepen and so you will have more oxygen in your blood and your blood flow will increase – so good for the baby as more oxygen and nutrients will be delivered through the placenta; the improvement in blood circulation will ease the load on your heart and will help to keep your blood pressure in check.
Constipation! It can be a problem for so many pregnant women. This is because Progesterone softens the smooth muscles in your body and your colon is smooth muscle, different to the muscles in your limbs – massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which encourages your digestion and hopefully will ‘move things along’.
So many changes but the result will be worth it! Enjoy this wonderful time and I look forward to hearing from the two of you to help ease some of the ‘hard work’ that is involved in pregnancy.
So you can have your massage at home and don’t have to worry about getting to me and driving through the traffic afterwards – all you have to do is open the front door to let me in!
PLEASE NOTE – IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE OF THE POSTAL CODES QUOTED ABOVE THERE WILL BE AN EXTRA CHARGE OF £10.00 TO COVER THE EXTRA TIME AND TRAVELLING COSTS.
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Please contact me to arrange a booking at a convenient time for you.
Please note I don’t do any kind of “Other” massage.