Is pregnancy massage right for you?
Remedial massage provides relief from the aches, stresses and hormonal imbalances of pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a beautiful, natural process, but for busy women and working mums, it’s also a time when the body experiences a number of added stresses. Having been practiced for centuries – long before medical intervention was commonplace in pregnancy and birthing – remedial massage is an effective technique for relaxing and releasing the body during pregnancy.
With the amount of research we now have on the benefits of massage during pregnancy, remedial massage therapists can deliver specialised treatments at a time when your body is changing rapidly.
As long as you are tired, stressed, in pain, sleeping poorly, suffering headaches or feeling down, you cannot possibly present your best self to your partner, children or the world. Welcome a massage therapist into your village support network and you’ll experience a number of benefits.
The benefits of pregnancy massage include relief from:
Muscle pain and cramping
Lower back pain
Lack of sleep
Every pregnancy is different and even if you only experience one of these symptoms, your quality of life can be affected at a time that’s so special. Below we’ve explored the benefits of pregnancy massage in more detail, so you can decide whether remedial massage is right for you.
Hormone and mood regulation
We all hear about baby brain and the mood swings experienced during pregnancy, but until you actually experience being pregnant, you don’t fully understand the way hormones affect your mood.
Many women seek out pregnancy massage for pain relief and – as a very welcome added bonus – they often experience improved mood and reduced stress as well. This is because the nervous system is stimulated in a relaxing way through regular massage. Studies have shown that as a result of this stimulation, your ‘happy hormones’ increase and stress hormones decrease.
When this happens, the nervous system is calmed, moods are regulated and stress levels reduce (for both you and your baby). Evidence also shows that when stress is reduced, the health of both mother and baby benefits as a result.
Ann Borders (MD, MPH, MSc) is an OB/GYN at Evanston Hospital, NorthShore University HealthSystem in Chicago. Speaking to WebMD, she said: "There are some data to show that higher chronic stressors in women and poor coping skills to deal with those stressors may be associated with lower birth weight and with delivering earlier."
This type of research commonly appears in medical journals, so if you pregnant right now, take a moment to ask yourself what you are doing to keep your stress levels under control.
Whether it’s through regular massage, better sleep, yoga or meditation, reducing your stress during pregnancy should be considered a necessity rather than a luxury.
Decrease in fluid retention and swelling
Pregnancy puts an increased load on your circulation, which results in swelling and fluid retention in your joints.
This happens because blood and fluid return from the feet to heart is slower when the body is working overtime. The most common symptom of this is swollen feet. Fluid also builds up in joints because of an increase in blood flow and pressure experienced by major blood vessels.
Regular massage during pregnancy stimulates both the circulatory and lymphatic systems, increasing blood flow back to the heart and removing any build-up of waste and toxins.
Relief from physical aches and sciatic nerve pain
Regular massage has been shown to relax strained muscles while your body changes. Added weight, stretched muscles and ligaments, increased blood and fluids, and pressure on internal organs all culminate in a feeling of general discomfort.
A tailored pregnancy massage relaxes muscles, relieves knots and adds space where it is needed.
Massage can also be used to encourage movement in your joints, release tension in your hips and glutes (you’ll be surprised how much tension you hold in your booty) and reduce cramping in your legs, feet and back.
By easing the muscles, massage also takes tension off the nerves, thus helping to ease sciatic nerve pain common in pregnancy. Following massage, pregnant women commonly experience improved sleep, relief of heartburn and less shortness of breath due to increased space around the ribcage.
Enhanced mental clarity and acceptance
Pregnancy can be a mix of excitement, nervous tension, fear, discomfort and stress – sometimes all at once. Your body goes through huge physical change, it becomes overloaded with hormones and the biggest change of your life is just around the corner. So it’s no wonder most pregnant women feel overwhelmed at times!
Regular massage helps you to become more aware of your ever-changing body. Through better awareness and acceptance, you can become more comfortable and connected with all the changes that are taking place.
During pregnancy massage, we help you to relax into your pregnancy and aid in preparing your body carry to your baby.
Massage not only relieves physical stresses, but also mental anxiety, so that your baby is already learning from you how to relax and be calm. This in turn encourages your mother-baby bonding before your little one has even left the womb.
How can a pregnancy massage help you?
Whether you are feeling the effects of stress, muscle pain, swelling or all at once, a tailored pregnancy massage can help you to experience relief.
As mums, we know what it’s like to be pregnant, uncomfortable, tired and overwhelmed at times. We also know how incredibly exciting and magical this time is, as you start to nest and prepare to welcome a little person into the world. Juggling pregnancy as well as the demands of daily life adds that extra level of pressure to life, and that’s why time out on the massage table becomes invaluable.
Massage helps every woman in different ways and we offer massages for 60, 90 and 120 minutes, depending upon the level of relief you require. Contact Sharon for more information.