What is Pregnancy Massage?
Pregnancy massage can be safely performed after the 12th week of pregnancy.
It is in many ways similar to a Swedish massage, the main difference being that massage techniques used in pregnancy massage are adapted to maintain the wellbeing of the soon to be mother and her baby.
These techniques vary from firm ones that relieve discomfort or softer ones which help relax the expectant mother.
Massage therapy during pregnancy is an ideal complementary choice for prenatal care.
It is a healthy way to reduce stress and promote overall wellness.
Prenatal massage relieves many of the inevitable discomforts experienced during pregnancy, such as stiff neck, backaches, leg cramps, headaches and oedema (or swelling).
In addition, pregnancy massage reduces stress on weight-bearing joints but also encourages blood and lymph circulation.
It also relaxes nervous tension - which in turn aids to better sleep - and relieves depression or anxiety caused by hormonal fluctuations.
What to Expect
The minimum duration for this type of treatment is one hour as this allows us to work holistically with your body.
The most comfortable position for expectant mothers is sideline positioning with supportive, soft cushions used to alleviate the extra strain on the lower back and pelvic areas when the pressure of massage techniques are applied.
Extra strain in these areas can cause unnecessary back or abdominal pain, so naturally, we want to avoid any potential discomfort.
If you prefer you can also lie on your back with a small, cushioned wedge placed under one hip to provide a slight elevation.
You'll be given the option of how much clothing you'd like to wear during your massage.
How much skin you expose is entirely up to you.
Some women are comfortable wearing very little clothing; others want to feel more covered.
It is worth keeping in mind though that in order to get the most out of your treatment, the therapist needs to be able to access as much of your skin surface area as possible.
Depending on where you are in your pregnancy, your therapist will utilize appropriate massage techniques as reflexology, Swedish massage or certain techniques that address your specific requests and needs.
Massage for pregnant women offers numerous benefits, and it's always a good idea to discuss with your therapist about any everyday symptoms that you'd like to see relieved.
Those might include:
Headaches. These can be relieved by Indian Head massage techniques that target the head, face, neck and shoulders. In addition, maintaining optimal levels of stress relief through massage reduces the chances of tension headaches and migraines by relaxing trigger points and eliminating muscle spasms.
Muscle tension in your lower back created by carrying the extra weight of a baby can be relieved by encouraging blood flow to the afflicted area. This provides more nutrient-rich oxygen and also increases the flow of lymphatic fluid, which sweeps away toxins and metabolic waste.
Fatigue, backaches, leg cramps and oedema/swelling can all be relieved through various types of massage for pregnant women.
The ordinary aches and pains of pregnancy are countered by the release of serotonin, your body's natural pain suppressing chemical and mood-lifter, which is stimulated by massage.
While a prenatal massage can't promise that your baby will sleep through the night, it can provide you with a better night's sleep both during pregnancy and afterwards.
Regular massage therapy not only helps diminish anxiety and discomfort but also promotes relaxation. This ultimately can lead to improved sleep patterns.
In addition, the serotonin, endorphins and dopamine released by your body in response to massage provide a natural alternative to many over-the-counter drugs.