MASSAGE THERAPY AND PREGNANCY
Prenatal massage can bring much needed relief to a woman carrying a baby. Every woman can expect some stiffness and muscular tension throughout the pregnancy as the uterus grows and sometimes this tension can take its toll on the mom-to-be.
Massage therapy during a pregnancy is gaining popularity as moms-to-be are realizing that the benefits of prenatal massage include relief. Back pain is perhaps the most common side effect of pregnancy. The added weight puts a lot of strain on the spine and often what starts in pregnancy has continued after the birth. If a woman has other small children while pregnant, carrying them around while pregnant can exacerbate symptoms.
WHAT CONDITIONS CAN BE TREATED WITH MASSAGE THERAPY?
Many women have discovered that massage can help relieve back pain. In addition to soothing that muscle tension, other prenatal massage benefits include:
- Relief of edema.
- Reduction of swelling in the ankles, feet and hands.
- Reduces swelling by stimulating circulation throughout the body.
- Reduction of leg cramps and swelling in the legs.
- Lessens sciatic pain.
- Helps to relax and reduce anxiety throughout pregnancy.
- Massage helps to prevent insomnia and promotes a better sleep.
- Prenatal massage can help relax the unborn child when the abdomen is gently stroked.
- Lessens muscular discomfort in the lower back and neck.
- Increases blood and lymph flow which aids in the elimination of toxins throughout the lymphatic and circulatory systems.
- Increased blood flow also means oxygen is increased in the blood stream which in turn delivers more nutrients to the baby.
- Massage stimulates release of endorphins into the brain and nervous system. (Endorphins are natural pain killers in the body.)
- Helps to strength the immune system.
SAFE TECHNIQUES FOR PREGNANCY MASSAGE
Prenatal massage experts modify massage techniques to address the changes a woman’s body as she goes through pregnancy. A pregnant woman will have her blood volume increase dramatically, almost by 50 percent and yet blood flow to the legs tends to become sluggish. These changes can put a woman at risk of blood clots in her legs.
Massage therapists know that they need to avoid deep massage on the legs as well as any strong pressure. What they do use are light, slow, gentle strokes on the legs and all massage strokes are in the direction of the heart.
Before any therapeutic massage, it is recommended that a woman speak with her obstetrician first to be sure there will be no contraindications.
Many massage therapists won’t give a prenatal massage during the first trimester as there is a risk of miscarriage. Some experts argue that prenatal massage does not directly cause a miscarriage, but there is no research out there that shows a link between a massage and a miscarriage. Regardless, if a woman is at risk of miscarriage then she is not advised to have a pregnancy massage.
Tips to Remember:
- Always be sure to tell the massage therapist you are pregnant and how far along.
- Avoid aromatherapy oils.
- Be sure that your massage therapist is specially trained in pregnancy massage and is certified.
Massaging the wrong areas or focusing on certain acupressure points have been known to trigger uterine contractions in some women making it vital that a prenatal massage be given by a qualified health professional. Massage therapists trained in prenatal massage know exactly what areas to focus on and provide the maximum benefits during the massage therapy.
Chiro-Med Rehab Centre in Richmond Hill has qualifiedx massage therapists on staff to help you get through your pregnancy as healthy as possible. Our walk-in clinic is conveniently located at 10144 Yonge Street, just north of Major MacKenzie Drive in the heart of Richmond Hill. Visit Chiro-Med online or call 905-918-0419 for more information today.