It is no mystery that pregnancy can be rough on a woman's body. From sore feet and round ligament pain to sleepless nights and morning sickness, expecting moms in Stony Plain or Spruce Grove could definitely use a little TLC during their pregnancy journey. Prenatal or maternity massage is an excellent option to help pregnant women reduce their stress levels while also relieving many of the typical discomforts and maladies that pregnancy can bring.
Benefits of Prenatal or Maternity Massage
A growing body of research is confirming what many naturopaths have suspected all along: Massage therapy can not only relieve many of the common aches and pains experienced by pregnant women, but it can actually encourage a greater level of health and well-being. For example, a study published by the University of Miami's Touch Research Institute concluded that expecting moms who received weekly massage therapy treatments had lower levels of cortisol (a.k.a. the "stress hormone"), as well as higher levels of dopamine and serotonin, both of which are hormones that boost mood, relieve pain and produce feelings of pleasure or euphoria. Research has also shown that these beneficial hormonal changes have been linked to lower premature birth rates, as well as fewer complications during childbirth. Some of the most prevalent benefits of prenatal bodywork include:
- Relief from joint pain and aching muscles
- Reduced anxiety and stress levels
- Relief from migraines and/or tension headaches
- Increased circulation to tense or sore areas
- Increased movement of lymphatic fluid (eliminates toxins and metabolic waste)
- Reduced fatigue levels
- Relief from muscle cramps and swelling/edema
- Decreased symptoms of depression
How It Works
A prenatal or maternity massage is different from a traditional treatment in a number of ways: First of all, the expecting mother will be required to lie on her side or sit in a semi-reclined position. When you think about the alternatives, this only makes sense--lying on your back would restrict blood flow and place undue pressure on your midsection, and lying on your stomach is impractical for obvious reasons. There are some massage tables that have a hole to accommodate the expecting mom's protruding belly, but even with this provision, many pregnant women find lying face down to be too uncomfortable. A cushion, pillow or other specially designed device is typically placed between the knees and feet in order to relieve lower back pressure and keep the spine in alignment.
Your therapist will typically utilize Swedish massage techniques (e.g., kneading movements applied with light pressure) but other methods such as reflexology might also be used. Since the primary goal is to relieve pain and increase your comfort and relaxation levels, your therapist will take special care to listen to your requests and then adjust their techniques to address your specific needs.
Expecting moms with pregnancies that are considered to be normal or low-risk can definitely benefit from prenatal or maternity massage, as it can help alleviate common discomforts, reduce stress levels and promote a greater overall sense of well-being. It should be noted, however, that women who are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy should consult their health professional before receiving any bodywork treatment. Under the proper medical guidance, massage therapy can serve as a wonderful supplement to your overall prenatal care. Contact me today or book an appointment and I'd love to help make your pregnancy as enjoyable as possible!