Pregnancy is a time of major structural, physiological, psychological, spiritual, and social changes. Some of these changes produce discomforts and concerns, which can be addressed with appropriate massage therapy and body use guidance. Pregnancy massage therapy is beneficial throughout the nine months of a low-risk pregnancy. If you are not having a low risk pregnancy, discuss your condition with your physician or midwife. After further discussion, you may be able to receive therapy with additional written release.
Massage therapy in pregnancy can include specific light and deep pressure massage, myofascial techniques, circulatory work, acupressure, reflexology, and other techniques.
- Massage therapy during pregnancy is not intended to replace appropriate prenatal care. When used as a form of adjunctive health care, some of its possible benefits are:
- Reduces stress and promotes relaxation.
- Reduces and alleviates neck, back, and joint pain caused by posture, muscle weakness, tension, extra weight, or imbalance.
- Relieves muscle spasms, and cramps.
- Alleviates stress on weight-bearing joints and musculo-fascial structures (sacro-iliac joint, mid-back and lumbar spine, hips).
- Combats tension, fatigue, and headaches, soothe nerves to help with sleep problems, and possibly reduce blood pressure through relaxation and stress reduction.
- Increases blood and lymph circulation and supports the physiological process of gestation, by supporting the work of the heart, increasing cellular respiration, reducing edema, and contributing to sympathetic nervous system sedation. Reduces the possibility of problems with swelling, varicose veins, and leg cramps.
- Helps maintain skin elasticity to ease stretch marks and uncomfortable tightness.
- Encourages deeper, easier breathing.
- Enhances self-esteem and self image, helping the pregnant woman feel more at home in her changing body.
- Develops the sensory awareness and relaxation necessary to be an active and responsive participant in the birth experience. (in order to birth, the musculature of the legs, back, abdomen, and pelvic floor must release to allow the uterus to labor with no resistance).
- Provides a pregnant woman with the experience and model of loving, nurturing touch that encourages her to touch her baby lovingly.