Massage therapy is a hands on manipulation of soft tissues known around the globe for its natural health benefits. Studies suggest that massage therapy during pregnancy is an effective solution for physiological and psychological concerns that may arise with pregnancy as the body endures dramatic changes.
1. Relieve muscle and joint pain.
Because medications are often limited during pregnancy, massage offers a natural, drug free alternative for muscle and joint pain relief.
2. Reduce swelling.
Massage is often beneficial for decreased swelling because it stimulates blood flow and lymphatic function, therefor reducing swelling and edema.
3. Improve sciatic nerve pain.
Many women experience sciatic nerve pain, especially during the later stages of pregnancy. This occurs due to the uterus resting on muscles of the lower back and pelvic floor. Massage targets muscle tension associated with this change, therefor relieving pressure on the nerve.
4. Reduced stress and anxiety.
Prenatal massage can relieve stress, anxiety, and depression by stabilizing hormone levels caused by hormonal changes. Serotonin and dopamine (happy hormone) levels are increased, while norepinephrine and cortisol (stress hormone) levels are decreased. This response can also improve sleep.
Massage of the head, neck, and shoulders can relieve headaches caused by muscle tension, trigger points, and stress.
6. Relief of carpal tunnel syndrome.
It is common for women to experience carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. Carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy is often caused due to a build up of fluid in the tissues of the wrist. Massage therapy can relieve symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
7. Promotes labour and health of baby.
Lowered stress hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol achieved from massage, as well as the release of muscle tension, and the sedating effect on the nervous system may promote an easy delivery.
About Prenatal Massage
Prenatal massage is safest when preformed by a registered massage therapist. It is recommended for pregnant women to receive massage once every two weeks until the end of the third trimester. When seeking prenatal massage before the end of the first trimester, it is recommended to book with a registered massage therapist that specializes in prenatal massage to ensure a safe outcome.
It is important to get clearance from a doctor before receiving prenatal massage if you’re at high risk for miscarriage, have a high risk pregnancy such as placental abruption, preterm labour, preeclampsia, high blood pressure, pregnancy induced hypertension, and severe headaches. It is crucial to provide your therapist with all medications, supplements, etc, and known medical conditions before being treated. A massage therapist has the right to ask for written consent from a doctor before preforming prenatal massage should it seem necessary/contraindicated. You should always communicate with your massage therapist should you experience any pain or discomfort during treatment.
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