WHAT IS IT AND WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Pregnancy is often depicted as a joyful nine months, but the physical reality of gestating another human being often includes a myriad of complaints that can usually benefit from a soft tissue therapist’s expertise.
Knowing how massage therapy best helps women who are pregnant, as well as knowing the cautions and contraindications is important to help guide every massage session. Even with the need for increased awareness and a more in-depth understanding of pregnancy, there is an expansive body of research that supports massage therapy’s many advantages during the prenatal, labor, and postpartum periods.
Pregnancy Massage Benefits include:
- Alleviating back + leg pain
- Reducing labor pain during childbirth
- Lessening postoperative pain
- Reducing anxiety + stress
- Improving mood + lifting depression
- Easing insomnia
A pregnancy massage is a specially adapted gentle and soothing massage tailored specifically for the mother-to-be. It can therefore vary enormously in terms of what it consists of. However, for many women, pregnancy massage benefits include easing aches and pains, as well as facilitating relaxation and preparation for labor.
What does a pregnancy massage consist of?
At Unstoppable Rhythms TM your treatment will be tailored to your specific needs and will depend on your well-being history, any concerns you have and what stage of pregnancy you are at. A treatment would typically last for 60 or 90 minutes and will work to release any tension or pain and facilitate deep relaxation, helping you to enjoy your pregnancy and alleviate any unwanted symptoms.
As with other body massages, you’ll lie on a massage table and you will be given additional cushions to make lying more comfortable. Usually you’ll lie on your side, particularly later in pregnancy, when this is more comfortable for you.
There are many different massage techniques which can be drawn on for pregnancy massage. Typically, deeper tissue techniques will be avoided, and more gentle techniques will be used although this will depend on your preferences.
During pregnancy, the woman’s body goes through many changes and a pregnancy massage will be mindful of these. As an example, blood volume during pregnancy increases by as much as 50%. This causes pressure on the lower legs. Using light, relaxing and long strokes can help with circulation and drainage to reduce any fluid build up.
It is purely personal preference whether you like to have contact over your pregnant belly. Some love this and find it settling for the baby and some prefer not. Either way, you are in control.
Is pregnancy massage safe?
The NHS states that pregnancy massage is one of the safe complementary therapies you can use during pregnancy.
The issue is that there is enormous variation in the training and skill of the therapist. Choose a therapist that you resonate with and trust for a professional and safe pregnancy massage. Chat your options through over the phone!
Generally it is advised to avoid pregnancy massage in your first trimester, especially if you have a history of miscarriages. Indeed, many reputable therapists will not undertake massage on pregnant women in their first trimester. There isn’t any evidence to prove that massage can trigger miscarriage, but it’s a sensible precaution to take.
It’s also sensible to avoid pregnancy massage if you’re suffering particularly badly with vomiting or nausea, although some therapies may actually be able to help alleviate these symptoms. You should also avoid pregnancy massage if you are considered at high-risk of placental abruption or premature labor.
If you’re in doubt about whether pregnancy massage is safe for you, speak to your midwife, GP or obstetrician.
WHAT ARE THE PREGNANCY MASSAGE BENEFITS?
Pregnancy massage benefits are anecdotal (it won’t surprise you to hear that testing and research on pregnant women is generally avoided on ethical grounds), however, this doesn’t make it less compelling.
Mind and body relaxation
If you’re a fan of massage before pregnancy then you are sure to enjoy massage during pregnancy for the same deep relaxation that you will receive.
Pregnancy aches and pains
With increased weight, and your changing posture, pregnancy can trigger new aches and pains which range from nasty niggles to real discomfort. In pregnancy, you’re limited in terms of what pain medication you can take, and also how you can alleviate the pain. Pregnancy massage is one way to gently move the sore areas and release tight tissues helping to soothe the pain away.
Reduction in anxiety
Whilst pregnancy is a wonderful time for many women, it can provoke anxiety in others. It’s a new chapter and your body is undergoing a huge change. Massage can be a way to connect with your body, learn to feel safe with the changes, and thus reduce the anxiety. Additionally, having the benefit of a skilled pregnancy massage therapist can help you understand that the changes to your body are normal and to be expected.
Sleep may be allusive in pregnancy. Right when you need a good night’s sleep for preparation for labor and a newborn, you may be tossing and turning all night. Massage can bring numerous sleep benefits.
Bonding with baby
Many pregnant women find that their pregnancy can feel like a roller-coaster. Juggling work, and perhaps other family commitments, can end up feeling like the pregnancy is simply happening and it’s difficult to connect it to the real baby you’re soon to meet. Pregnancy massage is a time to slow down and focus on yourself and that growing bundle of joy inside, helping you to bond before the birth.
Sciatic and pelvic pain
The hormones of pregnancy, combined with the increasing weight of the baby in the pelvic space, can in some women, cause sciatic pain, or pelvic pain. This can be particularly distressing and difficult to manage. Massage therapy can work carefully to ease the pains around your pelvic joints and into your buttocks and legs.
If you suffer with other conditions during pregnancy, you may be very limited in terms of what you can do to alleviate symptoms e.g. hay fever, headaches or sinus pain. Massage can bring relief when nothing else can.
Reduce ankle and feet swelling
It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to suffer with sore and swollen feet. The extra pressure from your uterus, plus increased blood, causes the swelling. Gentle upward massage strokes can alleviate this swelling.
If you would like to know more or discuss your treatment further then get in touch via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 07763 292 050