Massage during pregnancy has soared in popularity in recent years, but we still get many mothers to be asking the same questions. Is it safe? Will it harm my baby? Will it be beneficial for the both of us? During pregnancy, our bodies go through a number of changes physically, as well as physiologically and spiritually, which causes higher stress levels and discomfort. Massage during pregnancy helps to alleviate many of these discomforts and promotes a sense of well being.
What is pregnancy massage?
Pregnancy massage is an umbrella term used to describe any type of hands-on massage during or after pregnancy. It could range from a full body Swedish massage, to light massage work that could include circulatory work, reflexology or cranial sacral therapy. Swedish massage is particularly beneficial as it reduces muscle tension, improves blood flow and lymphatic drainage. Some practitioners use a pregnancy massage table designed to accommodate your pregnant belly whereas others may use specially designed pillows (bolsters) that will position you comfortably on your side.
Positioning is imperative
Which is why we recommend going to a practitioner who is certified in pregnancy massage as they know what is safe and what isn’t for a mother and her baby. For example, when a woman reaches 22 weeks in her pregnancy it is no longer safe to lie her on her back. The deep blood vessels could be restricted because of the baby’s weight which could result in decreased circulation for both parties.
And as for pressure points…
There are certain areas that we want to avoid during a pregnancy massage. One of these areas is the space between the heal and the ankle bone which is an area that represents the uterus and vagina. Many reflexologists believe that applying pressure to this area could even result in early labour. Practitioners who have been trained in pregnancy massage are aware of sensitive pressure points so you can be rest assured you’re in the best hands for the job.
What are the Benefits?
- Reduced swelling in hands, feet and ankles
- Reduced anxiety
- Improved sleep
- Decreased levels of stress when done effectively. It can also increase the levels of ‘feel good’ hormones (serotonin and dopamine) in women suffering from depression. These hormones are the body’s natural pain killers into the brain and nervous system
- An improvement in general mood! With all the pregnancy hormones causing havoc there is nothing better than feeling completely relaxed and carefree after an hour of ‘me time’
- Pregnancy massage relieves everyday discomforts such as an aching neck, sore back and that feeling of ‘heaviness’ in the pelvic bones and leg cramps
- Muscle relaxation and relief of joint pain
- Increased flexibility
- Pregnancy massage can be particularly beneficial for women who suffer from sciatic back pain
- Strengthens the immune system. Your body’s natural defence system will love you!
- Increases oxygen in the blood, sometimes up to 10-15% after an hour long massage
- Many pregnant women experience a change in their intimate relationship with their partner and suffer from becoming ‘touch deprived’. A massage helps to build a sense of connectedness with another person.
- Helps increase blood circulation, which in turn delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the mother and baby
A typical massage will last approximately 60-90 minutes and the mother will be supported in the body position that is going to be comfortable for her and her bundle of joy. Here at CBD Physio we ensure the room is quiet, peaceful and at a comfortable temperature for the mother-to-be. We would recommend you don’t eat a large meal before the massage takes place. For more information on pregnancy massage or to book an appointment with one of our certified practitioners give us a call on (02) 9223-3122.
By Ashton Lucas
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