What is a Pregnancy Massage?
Pregnancy, Maternal or Prenatal Massages are generally considered safe after the first trimester, but you should always get the green light from you practitioner. Additionally, you must let your massage therapist know you’re pregnant. You may however want to avoid massage during the first three months of pregnancy as it may trigger dizziness and add to morning sickness.
A Pregnancy Massage is just a very soft remedial massage and depending on how far advanced, the use of additional support and mainly lying on your sides is used.
Massage of a mother to be differs from a regular massage in a couple of ways. Of course, the biggest is that the person receiving the massage is pregnant. With this in mind, the knowledge of pregnancy and the anatomy of a pregnant woman are very important. It is essentially important that the positioning during a massage is critical. The safety and well-being of both the mother and the baby is paramount.
The massage table will be adjusted up so you will lie in a semi-reclining position. This is not only really comfortable but is also very safe for baby. Also, you will be requested to turn from side to side to do your back and hips. The use of body pillows, wedge pillows, and extra padding will also make you comfortable during the massage. The use also of tables with the hole cut out for a belly is not used at Massage Wellbeing. This type of massage bed causes undue stress to your lower back, it may seem like a great idea, but it isn't.
How is a Pregnancy Massage performed?
Your massage therapist will discuss your pregnancy in detail to understand how far advanced and any injuries and possible complications. The use of additional support and our larger width bed is essential in further advanced pregnancies.
The massage will only be a soft and gentle strokes and only unscented massage oil will be used.
If you are in the second half of your pregnancy (after the fourth month), you will be instructed not to lie on your back during your massage. The weight of your baby and uterus could compress blood vessels and reduce circulation to your placenta. This could cause more problems than any massage can help with.
There isn't much solid scientific proof that specific types of massage can have an effect on your pregnancy during a massage. However, most massage therapists will avoid certain pressure points on the body and feet. This includes the one between the anklebone and heel. There is some concern that it may trigger contractions, however the evidence on whether massage actually can kickstart labour is totally inconclusive.
At Massage Wellbeing, we have designed a sequence of therapy practices designed for this type of massage. This includes the following:
- A gentle back rub while lying on your side concentrating on the muscles on either side of the spine and transitioning to kneading the muscles with their thumbs or base of the hand, while moving up and down the back.
- With the base of the hand or the pads of the fingertips, we apply gentle pressure on one side of the neck and gently glide between the top of the shoulder and base of the skull. We repeat this on the opposite side.
- The gentle foot rub is applied by using an unscented lotion or oil and using smoother strokes all over the feet. We start by rubbing the top of the foot with gentle pressure, working from the toes towards the ankle and making small circles around the ankle. Then, we use both thumbs to make small circles on the sole of the foot right beneath the toes. On the heel, we move one thumb down as the other thumb is moved up, and we continue to alternate. We also gently tug on each toe and use the index finger or thumb to rub between them.
- Moving from the base of the skull to the hairline, we use both hands and spread fingers to apply gentle pressure to the scalp. The use of circling hands together or apart and some pressure applied to the sides of the head. Finally, we add gentle stroking of the face, which can be amazingly relaxing.
- If requested we can gently rub Vitamin E oil to the belly but no pressure or massage will be used. This can also be performed by yourself if uncomfortable for the therapist to do.
What are the benefits of a Pregnancy Massage?
A Pregnancy Massage is purely based on the relaxation principle.
The benefits of this type of massage includes, but is not limited to the following:
- Amazing tranquil relaxation and reduce stress.
- Some relief from muscle cramps, spasms, and myofascial pain. This can be especially pronounced in the lower back, neck, hips, and legs.
- An increase in blood and lymph circulation, which in turn can reduce swelling.
- Releases stress on weight-bearing joints.
- Has been suggested to improve the outcome of labour and help ease the pain of labour.
- Enhances the pliability of skin and underlying tissues.
A good therapist can help support the new mother to be with physical and emotional strains.