What You Need To Know About Prenatal Massage.
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
You may think of massage therapy as a luxury to indulge in on occasion. However, one of the most beneficial times for a massage may be during pregnancy. Studies have found that moms-to-be can reap both mental and physical rewards from prenatal massage. Prenatal massage shares many of the same objectives as a regular Swedish massage as well as the health benefits. It serves to relax tense muscles, improves mobility, facilitates circulation, reduces back pain, alleviates pressure on the joints, decreases edema, reduces stress and anxiety, improves oxygenation of muscle fibers and soft tissues, helps you get a more restful sleep, reduces headaches, helps reduce sciatica symptoms and other discomforts associated with the pregnancy. The list goes on.
In fact, studies from the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami have suggested that future moms who get regular weekly prenatal massages have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and higher levels of the "feel-good" hormones serotonin and dopamine. These hormonal changes have been linked to fewer childbirth complications according to researchers. Another Touch Research Institute study found that after receiving a 20-minute massage twice a week, pregnant women suffering from depression had major improvements regarding their mood, as well as decreased anxiety.
Is It Safe To Receive Massages During The First Trimester?
The idea that women should not receive massage therapy sessions during their first trimester, as it may trigger a miscarriage, is simply untrue and is a myth. The sad fact is that most miscarriages occur during the first trimester of a woman's pregnancy as this is the most fragile time in the development cycle. A certified massage therapist with the proper training will know that it is important during this period to avoid massage work directly over the lower pelvic area near the uterus. Massaging the abdominal area should also be avoided until the second trimester. To avoid any issues of liability in case of a miscarriage, many massage facilities and spas will not massage pregnant women who are in their first trimester.
Prenatal massage is not only safe but it's beneficial. That being said, there may be some contraindications for massage therapy whether you are pregnant or not. Prior to receiving massages it is a good practice to speak with your doctor as they may advise against massage if your pregnancy is high risk or if you have a condition like preeclampsia or high blood pressure.
Are All Massage Therapists Qualified For Prenatal Massage?
It is very important to seek out a massage therapist that is not only certified and a member of a well respected professional association but is also certified in prenatal massage. This means that they received many hours of extra training specifically for prenatal massage.
In fact, when I took my prenatal massage certification, we not only learned about the entire pregnancy cycle and complete development cycle of the baby; we also learned in detail about the entire reproductive system and all physical changes in the woman's body as well as the baby's during each phase from beginning to end. We studied anatomy and physiology, all the hormones released during pregnancy and how they affect the future mother and her baby, both physically and emotionally. We were taught all the contraindications for massage therapy and possible complications that can occur during a pregnancy. We studied all the postural changes that a women experiences during her pregnancy and how they can negatively affect her. We also received many hours of hands on training including stages where we massaged several moms-to-be. We learned how to adapt our techniques and maneuvers to best accommodate our special clients. We also learned how to perform massage on babies and young children. This allows us to teach parents how to massage their children which is beneficial to them on so many levels. All that to say...It is important to seek out a specialist with the extra training that qualifies them to perform prenatal massage.
What To Expect During A Prenatal Massage.
You'll be greeted and asked to complete a Health Status Form. Your massage therapist will take the time to sit with you and review the medical form with you. They'll ask about your pregnancy and how things are going. They'll want to know how you've been feeling both physically and emotionally and will be ready to assist you with any questions that you may have. Your massage therapist will determine what the main objectives are for the session, explain the next steps to you and address any concerns that you may have. Following this initial conversation, you will have time to get conformable on the massage table. They will of course assist you should you need their help. Some therapists have specially adapted tables that are designed to accommodate a pregnant woman's beautiful body, others will use a regular massage table with prenatal massage bolsters. In both these cases you would be lying down in the prone position. Another recommended position for you would be to rest on your side. This is often preferred by many clients, especially those that are further along in their pregnancy. One thing that is for sure, your massage therapist will ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. The massage will usually last for one hour but you can choose to have it shorter or longer.
The term Prenatal Massage is a general term that refers to a massage that has been adapted to the needs of a future mom. This includes modifications to massage techniques, positioning and equipment used during the massage. There are many different modalities and styles of massage that can be adapted to become a Prenatal Massage. A massage therapist who has received their certification in Prenatal Massage may also be trained in any number of styles of massage and can adapt these modalities to accommodate his or her pregnant client. For example...I can perform a Prenatal Massage that is Swedish, Lomi Lomi, Californian, Relaxation or Therapeutic in nature. They would all be considered prenatal massages. So the options for our future moms are endless!
An In-Home Massage Is Much More Convenient.
An In-home prenatal massage is an amazing option should you have a difficult time moving around due to some of the less beautiful circumstances of be pregnant such as sciatica, back pain and swelling of the ankles or if you just plain don't feel like leaving the comfort of your cozy home. The massage therapist will bring all the necessary equipment to your home and afterwards you can just relax and truly enjoy the feeling that comes after a great massage.
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