The positive effects of remedial massage are well known, but did you know there are even more reasons to have a massage during your pregnancy?
Massage therapy aims to address different musculoskeletal issues through a range of specialised techniques. It aims to reduce muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation through mild pressure applied to the body.
Here are some reasons pregnancy massage is important:
1) Improves circulation and reduces edema (fluid retention)
The techniques that the therapist uses during a pregnancy massage are specifically designed to improve circulation and blood flow to both the mother and baby.
During a pregnancy massage the therapist will use long gliding motions starting at the feet and moving up the legs toward the lymph nodes. The direction of the strokes is important and assists the body to remove the excess fluids.
Many women experience swelling and pooling of fluid around the hands, feet and joints during pregnancy, particularly in the later stages.
Excess fluid around the joints can cause aching, pain, restricted range of motion and even compression of nerves resulting in nerve pain.
2) Reduces muscle tension, headaches and pain
Similarly to a regular massage the therapist applies specific techniques to stretch and elongate muscles that have become short and tight.
Tightness of muscles is often a contributing factor to low back pain, neck, shoulder pain, headaches and sciatic pain that is often experienced during pregnancy.
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3) Hormone regulation
Many women experience extreme mood swings during pregnancy as a result of heightened hormones circulating through their bodies.
Recent studies have shown that the hormone levels associated with tension and stress are significantly reduced when massage therapy was introduced to a women’s prenatal care.
In women who received massage therapy twice per week (for only five weeks), hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (the stress hormones) were reduced along with an increase in dopamine and serotonin (low levels of these hormones are often associated with depression).
The changes in hormone levels also led to fewer complications during labour and fewer cases of newborn complications, such as low birth weight.
During pregnancy the body goes through immense changes this can be detrimental to the mothers posture.
The extra weight that the body has to carry makes every day activities much more challenging and can lead to a lordosis in the lower back and a kyphosis in the upper back.
Massage can assist the changing muscles and adapt to the strains of pregnancy. There are also specialised taping techniques that your remedial therapist can apply to help correct posture and take some of the load off stressed muscles. Taping can also be an affective tool to help add some support when the skin is becoming taught and stretched.
In addition to these benefits massage therapy during pregnancy can also assist to reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve joint pains, boost skins elasticity reducing the chance of stretch marks and can improve labour outcomes and newborn health.
Have you had a massage while pregnant, did you feel any benefits?