Hello, future moms! You may be afraid of having a body massage, thinking that it can be unpleasant or even dangerous for you and the baby. Perhaps, your pregnancy is one of the most beneficial times for a good massage.
What Is Pregnancy Massage?
Pregnancy massage is a catch-all term for any hands-on massage during or after pregnancy (prenatal or postnatal massage). It typically lasts an hour. There are practitioners, who use a pregnancy massage table – a table, designed to accommodate a woman’s pregnant belly. Contrary to them, some practitioners use specially designed pillows called bolsters to position a woman comfortably on her side. it’s useful specifically during the later stages of pregnancy. Lying on your side is often the most comfortable position.
The massaging is very helpful not only for people who suffer from insomnia or cellulite, but also for pregnant women. The advantages include:
- Lowered anxiety
- Decreased back and leg pain
- Improved sleep
- Decreased levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine
- Increased levels of the “feel-good” hormones serotonin and dopamine
- Decreased levels of cortisol, an indicator of stress
- An overall improvement in mood
- It may relieve pain
- It may boost the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses and tumors
A proper technique
There are more than 80 types of massage therapy programs in Canada.
The most popular are:
- Deep-tissue massage, with firm strokes pressing deep into muscles
- Swedish massage, with long strokes to muscles and attention to joint mobility
- Shiatsu, with pressure and tapping on acupressure points to stimulate the body’s natural energy (called qi)
According to a scientific standpoint, the mechanisms that make massage therapy work are still largely unknown. More research is needed to understand how applying different types of manual pressure to the body can:
- Relieve pain
- Stimulate the release of certain hormones like serotonin
- Improve sleep
- Promote the physiological response of relaxation
Pregnancy massage experts adapt their techniques to address the changes a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy. For example, blood volume increases badly – as much as 50% – during pregnancy. Blood flow to the legs often becomes tardy. And the levels of anticoagulants in the blood naturally rise.
Such circulatory changes create a risk of blood clots in the lower legs, characteristically in the calves or inner thigh. For a safety, instead of using strong pressure could dislodge a blood clot, pregnancy massage experts avoid deep massage and strong pressure on the legs. They use very light, slow strokes on the legs. Types of massage to avoid on the legs include:
- deep-tissue massage
- deep acupressure
- cross-fiber friction
- percussive tapping
All leg massage strokes should move toward the heart. Very light pressure on the abdomen is advised, if the belly is massaged at all. Some massage therapists avoid massaging the abdomen.
In what cases it’s better to avoid a pregnancy massage?
Talk with your doctor before you try a massage, particularly if:
- You’re experiencing nausea, vomiting, or morning sickness
- You’re at high risk of miscarriage
- You have a high-risk pregnancy such as placental abruption (where the placenta slightly detaches from the wall of the uterus) or preterm labor
A massage therapist may require written consent from your doctor and a liability waiver from you before performing pregnancy massage.
In WELLNESS CENTRE 4 YOU we have body treatments for pregnant, including back and foot massage. You can always call us and try. We guarantee a safety and plessure for you. And remember – the most beautiful woman is a pregnant woman!