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Massaging Mamas with Marissa Emery

Marissa Emery is a Licensed Massage Therapist with her own private practice called Mama Needs Massage. As the name of her practice suggests, she specializes in treating Mamas at all stages of their journey in motherhood from pregnancy, postpartum and beyond.

You can learn more about Marissa, schedule appointments, and set up gift certificates on her website:

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Marissa’s area of focus

  • Modalities

  • Postpartum depression

  • Teaching kids the value of touch

  • Consent

  • Prenatal massage

  • Postpartum massage

  • Self care

  • A couple self massage tricks

Listen, read, watch! You can listen right here, or with a podcast app of your choice. You can also read the complete transcript below, or scroll to the bottom of this post for the video.

You can browse all previous episodes on Anchor and Youtube!



Dr. Stafford: Hi, Dr. Michelle Stafford here again with our Mixed Dentition Podcast and today, my special guest is Marissa Emery with Mama Needs Massage and I am so glad to have you here on the podcast today.

Marissa Emery: Thank you.

Dr. Stafford: Thanks for coming in.

Marissa Emery: Thanks for having me.

Dr. Stafford: And you are a massage therapist.

Marissa Emery: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Stafford: Awesome I love massage therapists.

Marissa Emery: Most people do.

Dr. Stafford: Yes and let's talk first about the areas, your areas of expertise. What do you specialize in?

Marissa Emery: Absolutely. I specialize in serving new moms.

Dr. Stafford: Love it.

Marissa Emery: So I work to support them in that crazy phase of new motherhood. I do a lot of relaxation and recharging. My work tends to be on the lighter side so it's a lot of, sort of emotional, mental support and of course I work on backs and shoulder aches and neck pains, but a lot of it is focused on sort of supporting it as a whole person.

Dr. Stafford: Oh that's wonderful and I read that you do Cranial Sacral therapy.

Marissa Emery: I do, yeah.

Dr. Stafford: And you mostly just work on adults though.

Marissa Emery: I do work on adults. Cranial Sacral is one of my favorite tools in the toolbox and so I just sort of include that whenever I throw it into sessions here and there. It can be really, really calming and I know that when I get massage, I rarely will fall asleep but if I am getting Cranial Sacral, I am out. It's sort of magical in calming the nervous system and it's a great tool to have.

Dr. Stafford: Yes, definitely. It has that effect on me as well, so I understand.

Marissa Emery: It's powerful stuff.

Dr. Stafford: It is powerful. What other modalities do you use in your practice?

Marissa Emery: So I do myofascial work. I do mostly Swedish and I do some energy work so polarity therapy a little bit and I just really mix it up.

Dr. Stafford: Great so for our audience out there, can you define polarity therapy?

Marissa Emery: Sure. Polarity therapy is a type of energy work. It's a mix between eastern and western styles and the focus is really on sort of balancing the energy that's already within you and it can be so calming and really just helps you feel balanced, yeah.

Dr. Stafford: Oh that sounds great.

Marissa Emery: It's lovely.

Dr. Stafford: And it sounds like, I mean Momma Needs Massage is your company, you specialize mostly with mommas.

Marissa Emery: Absolutely. So I work with Postpartum, Prenatal and the full gamut of motherhood really. Postpartum is really where my heart is at. I had a great pregnancy, and easy births and my first year of motherhood was really, really hard and that's where my passion for new mom's comes from in supporting them. There's a lot of isolation, there's a lot of overwhelm, there's a lot of focusing full-time on baby and forgetting yourself and I was definitely in that boat and struggled for a really long time. And after coming out of it, I realized this is where I need to be to support folks, and so it's something I'm really passionate about.

Dr. Stafford: Oh, that's really great, and you also do workshops.

Marissa Emery: I do.

Dr. Stafford: Tell me about that.

Marissa Emery: So I'm just starting recently to sort of expand my impact and I love working with moms and families and I also teach kids how to massage each other, peer to peer massage in classrooms in schools. And so I'm sort of melding the two and I'm starting to do some parent child massage workshops. So a parent and child will come in as a pair. We've got a few pairs in the room and we talk about asking for permission before you touch someone and waiting for their answer and respecting that answer.

Marissa Emery: We practice using our hands to help someone with kindness and sort of checking in and asking, "How does this feel?" You know, practicing empathy and practicing respect and there are so many amazing themes built into that and so I love it.

Dr. Stafford: That's great.

Marissa Emery: It's been really fun.

Dr. Stafford: Is that similar to what you do in the classroom for kids?

Marissa Emery: It is very similar, yeah.

Dr. Stafford: That's so great.

Marissa Emery: So in the classroom, I've been working at my kid's school for the past few years. We pair kids up and every time the first step is always, "May I give you a massage?" And then they wait for their partner to say yes or no, and they respect that answer. So it's a lot of just practicing that routine of learning about consent and learning about respecting someone's choices about their body and then we teach them a really simple massage routine which is super kid appropriate. You know, they do bear walking on someone's back and they do cat grip on the neck and it's super sweet and I love sort of watching the kids melt onto their tables because they're so relaxed and it's just creating that safe space in a classroom that a lot of kids don't get elsewhere.

Dr. Stafford: Right.

Marissa Emery: So it's been really powerful.

Dr. Stafford: Oh, that is wonderful. A great service that you provide.

Marissa Emery: It's been amazing to be able to do that.

Dr. Stafford: Yeah and just educating kids at such a young age.

Marissa Emery: Absolutely.

Dr. Stafford: To start with consent and respecting one another.

Marissa Emery: Absolutely.

Dr. Stafford: I think that's just such a wonderful thing.

Marissa Emery: Yeah, I think a lot of schools are going towards the don't touch.

Dr. Stafford: Right.

Marissa Emery: And this is the opposite. It's teaching how to touch and how to be respectful and appropriate with it and it's really powerful stuff.

Dr. Stafford: Yeah, that's really great, because I think teaching kids not to touch also sends kind of a ... It can send kind of a wrong message.

Marissa Emery: Absolutely.

Dr. Stafford: My kids love to hold hands.

Marissa Emery: Right.

Dr. Stafford: They love to snuggle.

Marissa Emery: Yeah.

Dr. Stafford: I don't want them to be afraid to snuggle somebody, give somebody else a hug.

Marissa Emery: Right.

Dr. Stafford: But it's great to teach them to ask permission and-

Marissa Emery: Absolutely.

Dr. Stafford: -respect that answer, that's [crosstalk 00:06:10].

Marissa Emery: Right and that it can be positive and healthy and nurturing and I mean, touch is one of our most deeply ingrained senses. It's the first one that develops even before birth and it's something that we literally need for survival and so teaching kids to just not is really missing the point.

Dr. Stafford: Great.

Marissa Emery: And so it's been really good.

Dr. Stafford: Yeah, oh that's really great. I'm like, "Oh, how can I get you in my school with my kids?"

Marissa Emery: Right, yeah.

Dr. Stafford: Oh I just love that. Could you describe to our audience out there what it looks like to have a massage while pregnant? I know personally, I had some massages while I was pregnant and I'm familiar with it, but I think there's a lot of people out there that might not have that experience and would be interested to know how is it different for a pregnant mom.

Marissa Emery: Sure.

Dr. Stafford: What equipment and what not you use?

Marissa Emery: Yeah. So pregnancy massage is all about mom's comfort. So as you are changing how you're lying in bed and sleeping at night, that's really sort of the foundation of where we take it from. So we'll talk about any contraindications, anything that's going on with the pregnancy that are sort of yellow flags or things that I should know about and we have you lying on the table just how you were comfortable lying. So a lot of people in the very beginning are comfortable lying on their stomach and a lot of people aren't and so I really take my cues from each person.

Marissa Emery: Once belly gets big and folks aren't comfortable lying flat on their stomach or their back, then I do a lot of side lying. So the most of my Prenatal massages are done side lying and I don't know about you but I used many pillows when I was on my side and that's basically how we do it on the massage table. And so I'll work on sort of the one side and then have someone slowly, it gets slower and slower, right? Roll over and then work on the other side and it's just all about your comfort.

Dr. Stafford: Yeah, that's great, brings back some positive memories for me, thank you.

Marissa Emery: Yes.

Dr. Stafford: And now how would that look and feel different for say a Postpartum mom who's just recently given birth?

Marissa Emery: Yeah so again, it's really dependent on their comfort level. So again, if they're comfortable lying on their stomach, then they can. If they're not, we'll sometimes do side lying. One other thing that I do mostly for Postpartum moms is go to their home. So not a lot of therapists will do that in town, but that's a really special thing that I get to do and folks who have just given birth and are not able to get away for an hour or more, it can be really tricky. And so I'll bring my table and all of my stuff and all they need is a baby snuggler basically, someone designated to hold onto baby for that hour so mom can actually rest and that's a big piece of what I offer for postpartum folks.

Dr. Stafford: That's a wonderful service-

Marissa Emery: Yeah, it's lovely.

Dr. Stafford: -that you can offer Postpartum moms. And now tell me a little bit about self care. Do you have some tips for our audience about things that we can do for ourselves?

Marissa Emery: Yeah, self care is a real biggie for me. It's something that I've struggled myself with, particularly in real early motherhood. It just fell right off the plate. You know, I was last on my list and it showed and nobody benefited from that. I didn't benefit from that and my family was suffering because of it too and so self care can look like a million different things and I've found sort of coming out of that, that what I need to fill my cup has changed over the time. So sometimes, it's nature or sometimes it's moving my body or sometimes it's touch.

Marissa Emery: It can be a lot of different things, but I think it's really important to sort of take the time to check in with yourself and see what it is you need.

Dr. Stafford: Right.

Marissa Emery: Sometimes it's just being in a quiet room and reading a book, even if it's one chapter. And then it gets busted in, you know. It can look so many different ways but I think really the key thing is that it's filling your cup in a way that you need that day. And so I work really hard for myself to try to do something every day if I can, even if it's just like a few moments of like, okay, this is my quiet moment and then I can get on with my day just trying to remember myself.

Dr. Stafford: That's great, yeah and hard to do as a mom for sure.

Marissa Emery: It can be really hard, absolutely.

Dr. Stafford: Because we're focused on other people all day, and I don't know about you, but by the time I get the kids to bed, then I'm like, "Oh, do I have five minutes I can read a book before I fall asleep?"

Marissa Emery: Right, absolutely, yeah it can be really hard to fit in but I think that being mindful that, of how critical it is in your life can really help to sort of, "Oh, I have five minutes and no one's around, this is what I'm going to do for myself," even if it's just step outside and breathe some fresh air.

Dr. Stafford: Yeah, that's great, great advice, for sure.

Marissa Emery: I've worked hard for it.

Dr. Stafford: That's great. Are there any self massage tips that you can provide our audience?

Marissa Emery: You know one of my most recent favorite things, because I get really tight forearms, I don't know if you do too.

Dr. Stafford: Oh I do. I do as a dentist for sure.

Marissa Emery: So just sort of squeezing the muscles is really wonderful. I've found that it makes the other hand really tired.

Dr. Stafford: Yes.

Marissa Emery: So if you use sort of your thigh and squish it in between with your forearm, you kind of move this hand up and down.

Dr. Stafford: So we're moving our wrist of one arm while we are pushing with the forearm.

Marissa Emery: Yeah and then you can just kind of scoot along as just as fast or as slow as you want, but it really, really makes a difference for me, and I use these a lot, as you do. It's a little bit of an awkward angle, but it's lovely, and it's one of my favorites.

Marissa Emery: Another favorite of massage therapists is always the corner of a wall for sort of that in between shoulder blades spot and that's my best friend usually.

Dr. Stafford: Yeah, the corner to get in there, shoulder blades.

Marissa Emery: Yeah, otherwise it's kind of hard to get in there, but ...

Dr. Stafford: Well that's great. How can families find you out there? What's your website?

Marissa Emery: So my website is

Dr. Stafford: I love this, mama does need massage.

Marissa Emery: Thank you.

Dr. Stafford: Yes.

Marissa Emery: It resonates with a lot of people. I have an online scheduler there, so people can go on anytime of day or night and pop themselves in. I know that I usually remember that I need a massage at midnight, so-

Dr. Stafford: Yes, agreed.

Marissa Emery: ... so that's there. People can also buy gift certificates. It's a great idea for baby showers or for if your wife is having a baby, I've been getting a lot of dads calling and needing gift certificates for their women. And my office is in Bridgeport Village. So I share a lovely clinic space with Vitality Northwest there and it's peaceful and beautiful and of course, I also offer in-home sessions for folks who need it.

Dr. Stafford: Well that's wonderful. Well it's been great to see you Marissa, thank you so much for coming in.

Marissa Emery: Thank you so much for having me.

Dr. Stafford: I enjoyed speaking with you.

Marissa Emery: Absolutely.

Dr. Stafford: And for our audience out there, I hope that all those mommas out there get a massage and just have that time to be peaceful, and that self care.

Marissa Emery: Thank you, me too.

Dr. Stafford: So thank you and thanks to our audience and remember, fill the world with smiles.




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