The Benefits of Prenatal Massage
- Friday, 04 June 2010
Pregnancy is a time of incredible bodily changes. Because of this, most women will experience their share of aches and pains at some point throughout. To remedy these ailments, women may want to consider getting a prenatal massage. This is one luxury pregnancy women do not have to give up... and can take up if massages were not previously a part of their regime.
Prenatal massage is specifically designed for women during the gestational period. The techniques employed are in no way dangerous to a mother and her developing fetus, and accommodate the growing body of a woman.
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
The most obvious benefit of prenatal massage is the relief of muscle pain or tension. Another lesser known benefit you can enjoy is the reduction of stress and anxiety, lowering the amount of potentially harmful stress hormones circulating in the body. Massages can help improve circulation, which would allow a more even distribution of nutrients and oxygen throughout the body.
Other benefits include reduced swelling or edema, minimized nerve pain (sciatic nerve), more balanced moods and less depression, better quality sleep, and fewer headaches.
How to Find an Appropriate Therapist
The massage therapist should be trained in Prenatal Massage. Ensure they are by asking them directly. Do not assume they are qualified just because they are registered. You may also want to ask how much experience they have with pregnancy massage.
Another great tip is to ask your friends or colleagues for a referral. Rather than wasting time trying to find an appropriate therapist on your own, find out which therapists are approved in your social network.
Accommodating Prenatal Bellies
Some of you may be wondering just how a massage therapist works with the rounding bodies of pregnant women. Depending on the practitioner and their facility, there are a few options available.
The first option is to use pillows around the woman’s body and between her legs for comfort. The client is usually placed on her side. Another method used in some clinics is to utilize special massage tables with the center portion cut out to accommodate the protruding bellies of third trimester clients. With these tables, a client is able to lie face down while the massage therapist works on her back, allowing for a more complete massage.
What About the First Trimester?
There are two different philosophies when it comes to pregnancy massage during the first trimester. Most massage therapists believe in the benefits of prenatal massage in the first trimester. There are still some who believe they should be avoided during the first trimester because it may increase the likelihood of miscarriage. This may just be a precaution on the part of some therapists to avoid potential liability.
Those who do promote massage therapy during the first 12 weeks claim morning sickness symptoms can be relieved by focusing on specific acupressure points.
Each woman should weigh the benefits and risks for herself.
For many women, prenatal massage is not merely a luxury during the physically demanding months of pregnancy. Rather, it is part of the necessary maintenance that allows a mom-to-be feel her best. Women should keep in mind the simple fact that the more comfortable they feel, the better off their baby will be from the reduction in physical and psychological stresses.
Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Hart, S., Theakston, H., Schanberg, S., Kuhn, C., & Burman, I. Pregnant Women Benefit from Massage Therapy. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, March 1999. 20(1): 31-8.
Field, T., et al. Massage Therapy Effects on Depressed Pregnant Women. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, June 2004. 25(2): 115-122.
Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Krasnegor, J., Theakston, T. (2001). Low back pain is reduced and range of motion increased after massage therapy. International Journal of Neuroscience, 106, 131-145.