Prenatal & Pregnancy Massage
Because of the many inherent differences anatomically specific to a pregnant woman and being that every pregnant woman’s body is unique, very refined techniques and releases are utilized. Our prenatal massage therapist will provide a tailor-made massage that is truly beneficial for you and your baby, while easing the pain and discomfort of pregnancy, delivering a safe, relaxing, and effective massage. The goal of prenatal massage is to give special attention to the mother-to-be and nurture the new life growing within her.
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
Helps with stress, insomnia, increases energy, lowers anxiety, and depression, stabilizes mood
Cardiovascular & Circulatory
Reduction of swelling and edema, assists in circulation
Strengthens immune function through stress reduction
Pain in muscles, tendons, and tissues, sciatic pain (burning or shooting pain in hip and down leg), carpal tunnel, stress relief on weight bearing joints (ankles, lower back, and pelvis), and alleviation of neck, back, ribs, side, ligament pain, relief of pain associated with headaches and migraines, relief from leg cramps
Labor & Delivery
Preparation of birthing muscles used during delivery, facilitate shorter/easier labors, assists in re-positioning breach and posterior presentation, assists with cervical dilation, and helps with efficiency of uterine contraction patterns
Massage and Pain Relief During Pregnancy
Prenatal massage helps to relieve pain through improving circulation, reducing muscle tension, reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep, and increasing oxygenation of the soft tissue and muscles.
Sciatica & Low Back Pain
The sciatic nerve stems from the low back and extends all the way down to the feet. In late pregnancy, sciatica can be caused by inflammation and water retention in the body and growth of the uterus and baby, increasing pressure in the low back and pelvic floor. Massage can address the inflamed nerve by releasing tension in the surrounding tissues and muscles.
Round Ligament Pain
Round ligament pain is a common occurrence during pregnancy. Round ligament pain is caused by the increased weight of the uterus and its impact on the tendons. Hormonal changes also affect the tendons by softening them throughout pregnancy in preparation of childbirth. Prenatal massage can help manage the pain associated with round ligament pain through releasing the tension in the ligament and soft tissue surrounding the ligament.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel is a common condition in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. It is caused by a build up of fluid in the tissues that causes pressure on the median nerve. This can cause numbness and tingling in your fingers and hand. Some women may experience difficulty gripping objects due to the numbness. Massage is very effective at reducing pressure on the nerve, decreasing swelling, decreasing inflammation, and increasing circulation.
Stress Reduction Through Massage During Pregnancy
Prenatal massage is designed to focus on the evolving physical, hormonal, emotional changes occurring in the mother. The changes that pregnancy can bring are profound, powerful, and exciting, but can create stress, anxiety, and sleep issues. Prenatal massage provides safe, gentle, effective ways to address common pregnancy related conditions. They can help women avoid medications and other forms of treatment that may have potential side effects, risks, or complications for their growing baby.
Prenatal massage has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety through lowering stress hormones like cortisol and increasing mood enhancing hormones like dopamine and serotonin. It helps helps women feel nurtured and cared for of during a transitional time in their lives.
Edema & Swelling
Women produce up to 50% more blood and fluid throughout pregnancy in order to facilitate the needs of the developing baby. This extra fluid aids in preparing the pelvic tissues, tendons, and joints to soften and help facilitate labor. Due to this exponential amount of additional fluid in the body, swelling in the hands, feet, legs ankles can be very normal. Massage can activate the lymphatic system to help the body drain away excessive fluid build up.
Research On Pregnancy And Massage
Prenatal massage studies indicate that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health. Massage therapy addresses different needs through varying techniques, one of which is called Swedish Massage, which aims to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation through mild pressure applied to the muscle groups of the body.
Studies done in the past 10 years have shown that hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered, leading to mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health, when massage therapy was introduced to women’s prenatal care. In women who received bi-weekly massages for only five weeks, hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (“stress hormones”) were reduced and dopamine and serotonin levels were increased (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression). Women find relief from achy, swollen feet and legs, hand numbness, and reduced function.
A 2010 study found that foot massage has a positive effect on decreasing the normal physiological edema of late pregnancy. The study group had a 20 minute daily foot massage for 5 days, while the control group did not receive any intervention beyond standard prenatal care. Women in the experimental group had a significantly smaller lower leg circumference (right and left ankle, instep and metatarsal–phalanges joints) after 5 days of massage, while the control group tended toward increased circumferences.
Touch Research Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics (D-820), PO Box 016820, Miami, FL 33101, USA.
Field, T. (2004). Massage Therapy Effects on Depressed Pregnant Women. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Jun;25(2):115-22.
Field, T. (1999). Pregnant Women Benefit From Massage Therapy. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Mar;20(1):31-8.
Howell ,Julie, NMT, PMT, Prenatal Health Through Massage Therapy: For Women and Their Babies.
Foot massage to decrease physiological lower leg oedema in late pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial in Turkey. International Journal of Nursing Practice (Int J Nurs Pract. 2010 Oct;16(5):454-60).
Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Hart, S., Theakston, H., Schanberg, S., Kuhn, C. & Burman, I. (1999). Pregnant women benefit from massage therapy. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 20, 31-38.
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