Prenatal massage is a technique involving deep bodywork designed to improve circulation, take some of the strain off muscles and joints, and generally re-energize. Prenatal massage comes with many benefits to the mother-to-be including hormone regulation, reduction of swelling, and improvement of nerve pain. There are also specific positions a prenatal massage therapist should use to ensure a comfortable prenatal massage.
Prenatal Massage Benefits
Massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, improve labor outcomes and newborn health. Prenatal massage is especially beneficial in the second and third trimesters, when the extra weight in the belly of the mother-to-be puts a strain on the back.
According to The American Pregnancy Association, studies done in the past 10 years have shown that hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered when massage therapy is introduced to women’s prenatal care. This leads to mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health. Many of the benefits of Prenatal Massage include:
Benefit #1 - Hormone Regulation - Hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered when massage therapy is introduced to women’s prenatal care.
Benefit #2 - Reduction of Swelling - Massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce collection of fluids in swollen joints and improves the removal of tissue waste carried by the body’s lymph system.
Benefit #3 - Improvement of Nerve Pain - Massage therapy addresses inflammation of nerves by helping to release tension on nearby muscles. Many women have experienced a significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through prenatal massage therapy.
Some of the other benefits of prenatal massage, according to Massage Magazine, include the reduction of back pain, joint pain, swelling, muscle tension, headaches and improved circulation. Prenatal massage also soothes and relaxes the nervous system by releasing endorphins into the mother-to-be’s body. Prenatal massage also reduces the load on the heart and helps keep blood pressure in check. Prenatal massage can help the mother-to-be with sleep, reducing stress and improving relaxation. It also offers a natural, safe, drug-free alternative for pain relief, since taking medications are often limited during a pregnancy for the sake of the unborn child.
Best Positions for Prenatal Massage
1. The expectant woman should lie on her side, propped up with pillows;
2. The Prenatal Massage Therapist should utilize a specially designed maternity cushioning systems, which allows the expectant mother to lie on her stomach, supported by the cushions; or
3. The Prenatal Massage Therapist should position the mother-to-be in a semi-reclining position propped up by pillows.
Don't stop getting massages once the baby comes along. Post-partum massage (also called post-natal massage) can help restore the body to its pre-pregnancy condition. It helps to realign body weight, and tones the over-stretched skin over the belly. It also relieves muscle tension and stress from mothering duties.
Daymar College Medical Massage Therapy Program covers various modalities of massage including pre-natal, sports, therapeutic, Swedish, hot stone and hydrotherapy. Contact us and find out how to advance your career as a massage therapist.
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