Pregnancy and Massage
Massage therapy during a women's pregnancy is not only safe for most women but in many studies has been proven to be beneficial to a women's health. Massage addresses different needs through various techniques. The one most often used during pregnancy being Swedish Massage. This type of massage aims to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation through out your body. Massage is recommended during pregnancy because it addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts during your pregnancy, can aid in the reduction of swelling, and improve nerve pain. Although these are the most common complaints we like to address for pregnant women these are not the only benefits to an expecting mother. Massage can help improve your sleep, reduce headaches, reduce stress and anxiety, and decrease joint pain.
Studies that have been done over the past 10 years have shown that hormone levels associated with stress and relaxations are significantly altered during a massage. This leads to mood regulations and improvement to cardiovascular health when a women introduces massage into her prenatal care. Hormones such as norepinepherine ("stress hormone") were reduced and dopamine and serotonin levels (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression) were increased in women who received bi- weekly massages for only 5 weeks. Not only is this beneficial to mom but your un-born baby receives the same calming and relaxing benefits.
Reduction of Swelling
We have all heard of swollen feet when we are pregnant and not many of us enjoy this side effect of being pregnant. However, often times women experience this unpleasant swelling in more than just our feet and ankles. Swelling of the joints, or edema, is often caused by a reduction of circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus. Receiving a pregnancy massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce the collection of fluids in your joints, which is then carried out by your bodies lymph system.
Sciatic nerve pain is experienced by some women in late pregnancy as the uterus rests on muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. The pressure of the uterus causes tension to the muscles of the upper and lower leg, causing them to swell and put pressure on nearby nerves. Massage therapy addresses the inflamed nerves by helping to release the tension on nearby muscles. Many women have experienced significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through regular massage.
What I can expect for my Pregnancy Massage
Most pregnancy massages are given with the women lying on her side. We use body pillows to support your body and to take tension off of your hips and lower back. Your massage will include an hour for a full body massage. However, your therapist will discuss with you before your massage where you are experiencing tensions and pain and would like us to focus. As your pregnancy progresses some women do have us spend most of the hour on their back and legs. If you have any concerns about your massage or any special requests feel free to send us an Email
Please consult your health care provider before receiving a pregnancy massage if you have:
High risk pregnancy, Pregnancy induced hypertension Pre-eclampsia, Previous pre-term labor# Experiencing severe swelling, high blood pressure, or sudden, severe headaches, Recent birth
We look forward to sharing such a special time in a women's life with her and helping her enjoy these 9 months of her life!
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Field, T. (1999). Pregnant Women Benefit From Massage
Therapy. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Mar;20(1):31-8.
Field, T. (2004). Massage Therapy Effects on Depressed
Pregnant Women. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Jun;25(2):115-22.
Heimlich, Patti, RMT, CD, ICCE, The Benefits of Massage
During Pregnancy, Labor & Postpartum. www.expectantmothersguide.com/library/houston/massage/htm. Article accessed online 10/18/2007.
Howell ,Julie, NMT, PMT, Prenatal Health Through Massage
Therapy: For Women and Their Babies. www.newlifejournal.com/decjan03/howell/01/03/full.shtml. Article accessed online 10/18/2007.