What are the benefits of massage in pregnancy?
A colleague recently approached me to ask if her sister would be able to book a massage, even though she is six months pregnant.
“Of course! There is really no better time.” I replied.
Pregnancy massage is a wonderful way for mothers-to-be to relax, rejuvenate, and release some of the stress that their bodies are under for those nine months. While the massage obviously feels fantastic, there are many other benefits.
The benefits of pregnancy massage (also known as prenatal massage) are in many ways similar to that of standard Swedish massage. These benefits include but are not limited to:
• Encouraging muscle relaxation and tension relief
• Reducing heart rate and blood pressure
• Increasing blood circulation and lymphatic flow, therefore encouraging the body to release stagnant wastes held in the tissue
• Promoting deeper breathing, and an overall sense of well being
• Fostering faster repair and healing of stretched or strained muscular tissue
• Strengthening the immune system by encouraging the body to maintain or return to homeostasis (optimal balance in which the body best fights injury or illness)
• Satisfying the need for a nurturing touch
Other benefits from women who have experienced massage during pregnancy include:
• Fewer obstetric and postpartum complications
• Reduced premature birth rates
• Shorter or less painful deliveries and fewer days spent in the hospital
• Reduced swelling in the hands and feet
• Less lower back and sciatic pain
• Decreased instances of postpartum depression and anxiety (due to fewer stress hormones in the blood)
While any healthy, pregnant woman is able to receive massage, there are some precautions the massage practitioner must observe to ensure that their client is safe during and after the massage. Since the woman’s body is in a state of such physical and hormonal change, massage is limited to the second and third trimesters.
As with any massage, the massage practitioner should be alerted to any prescient health issues. This is especially important during pregnancy. Circumstances in which pregnancy massage should not be performed include high blood pressure, diabetes, fever, unusual abdominal pain or vomiting, or any malignant condition. Varicose veins and swelling are other conditions the therapist should be made aware of prior to the massage, though the service can still be safely performed in spite of these.
The practitioners duty of care to their clients and their baby is to ensure they are not put at risk. While any healthy, pregnant woman is able to receive massage as stated above it is important that the baby is safe throughout and so precautions must be observed to ensure that their client and their baby is safe during and after the massage.
Some standard precautions the practitioner will take include abstaining from deep pressure and avoiding heat so as not to take blood away from the fetus. Certain pressure points on the body and feet will also be avoided since they are connected with promotion of early contractions and labor. While taking precautions before, during, and after pregnancy massage is important, most clients will have no problems; they can relax and enjoy the massage free from worries.
Pregnancy massage is designed to accommodate the expectant mother at any stage during the second and third trimester. Prior to the massage, the practitioner will prepare the treatment room specifically for the mom-to-be. Cushions are utilized to allow the mother to lay on her back (in a modified supported position) and on her side (2nd trimester only), no matter how far along she is. For the expectant mother, this in itself is a luxury. A birth ball may be used to massage the clients back and pelvic area. The practitoner will instruct the client on how to sit on the ball and lie on the cushions so as to ensure complete support and comfort. Once the massage is in progress, the practitioner will pay special attention to any areas of tension or discomfort developed during or even before the pregnancy. This is the perfect time to take a deep breath, enjoy the feeling of nurturing touch, and let the stress melt away.
Often, soft music, dim lighting, and warm linens help the mother to unwind and relax in her environment.
Claire has been offering pregnancy massage since 2003 when she qualified as a massage practitioner from the London College of Massage and then specialised in pregnancy and postnatal massage. Over the years she has incorporated many different techniques to support each client and help them find relief … using a variety of techniques including massage, acupressure points, rebozo and positioning as well as visualisations and breath work to support each client.
What are the benefits of massage in the postnatal period?
Postnatal massage is very important too. The body has just been through a life changing experience. Every muscle in the body will have been affected. Massage helps to encourage muscles relax and return to their pre birth position. Strain is also put on the neck when breastfeeding and massage really helps!
Please contact Claire to check availability and to book an appointment.
£57.50 for a treatment that is approximately 1.5 – 2 hours depending on case history