A lot of people ask what is pregnancy massage and how is it different from a regular massage. The most difficult thing about this question is where we should start!
Pregnancy has many physiological and psychological changes which a women will journey through. The physical changes can cause stress and or discomfort to the mother, and massage is a wonderful way to help alleviate many of these discomforts, as well as promotes a sense of well-being.
What is pregnancy massage?
Pregnancy massage is beneficial throughout the entire nine months of the pregnancy; however, if you are having a high risk pregnancy it is best to discuss your condition with your midwife or physician before seeking a therapist. After doing so you may be able to receive massage work with a written release.
At Top Notch Massage and Health we use the side lying positioning which nicely supports your whole body. Side lying is one of the highly recommended positions to use after 22 weeks. It alleviates the compression placed on the major vessels which lying on your back will cause, resulting in decreased circulation; vital to you and your baby. We use highly recommended support bolsters to ensure maximum comfort, and you will be draped in soft fleece to keep you nice and warm in the winter, and nice cool sheets in the summer months.
All our therapists are certified in pregnancy massage which is important in not only supporting, nurturing and providing you with time out, but we also know and understand what is and what is not safe for you and your baby. Our knowledge spans across all trimesters and bodily changes you will undergo. There are many hormones which influence your ligaments during your pregnancy which bring laxity, especially around your back, hips and legs. This is where massage is key to alleviate the tension now placed on your surrounding muscles. We avoid certain areas during your pregnancy such as the area between your heal and ankle which relates to the uterus, it has been documented that deep pressure to this trigger point may cause early labour.
What to expect
Our pregnancy massage is 60 – 70 minutes. For your first visit we will ask you about how you are and how your pregnancy is developing. We will ask that you seek permission from your LMC if you do have a high risk pregnancy. We will do a quick postural analysis of how you are standing to gain a better understanding of how you go about your daily activities and advise any homework if needed! During the massage you will be supported with bolsters as you lie on your side. In the winter we drape you from top to toe with nice warm fleece blankets, or in the summer in soft cool sheets. We will only expose the area being worked. The room is heated or cooled to suit dependent on the season, and we like to play quiet and relaxing music in the background. We do encourage to avoid eating a large meal before the massage or drinking large amounts of liquids.
Benefits that a mother may experience:
· Reduces swelling in hands, feet and ankles
· Lessens sciatic pain
· Eases muscular discomforts in areas like the low back & neck, calf cramps, it also helps with
tension and tightening that can be experienced throughout the body
· Tones lose muscles relaxes tense muscles and can help increase flexibility.
· Helps with relaxation which in turn can decrease insomnia
· Increases blood and lymph flow which can help increase the elimination of toxins through the
circulatory and lymphatic systems, this can also help with fatigue.
· Increases oxygen in the blood, sometimes on up to 10-15% after a massage.
· Strengthens the immune system
· Stimulates the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain killers, into the brain and nervous
· Helps relieve anxiety or depression
· Helps increase blood circulation, which in turn delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the mother
· Can be used during the birth as well as after making both experiences easier and more comfortable
· Eases stress mothers often feel after the birth
There are many more benefits! We hope this list of how beneficial massage can be during pregnancy is useful.
Our therapists are Anj Young, Annette Johnson and Jacqui Smith who are all licensed massage therapists.