Becoming a new mom is a very exciting time filled with new experiences and lots of new information! You want to do everything in your power to support a happy & healthy pregnancy, taking care of your self to the best of your ability. Massage Therapy can be a wonderful adjunct to your lifestyle to keep you feeling your best.
There are a few myths that surround pregnancy massage, and I want to dispel some of those myths and fill you in on some of the amazing, and positive benefits a woman’s body (and baby) can gain from regular massage therapy throughout her pregnancy.
Prenatal Massage Myths
Myth # 1 – Massage in the 1st trimester can cause miscarriage.
While the 1st trimester of pregnancy can be a nerve racking time for a new mother, it is important to remember that a therapist trained in pregnancy massage knows how to be sensitive, and work with a gentle touch. This makes massage therapy a safe and effective way to support your health during the first trimester. Appropriate massage and body work do not contribute to any of the causes of miscarriage.
Myth # 2 – Hands and feet should not be massaged during pregnancy.
Although there are very specific points on the hands and feet that acupuncturist use to induce labor, these specific points are not taught to massage therapists and require deep, specific pressure to these very precise points to elicit contractions. What your massage therapist can provide is gentle, broad work of the hands, feet, and limbs with a focus on lymphatic drainage to decrease swelling and discomfort. Your therapist can also provide assisted range of motion of the ankles and toes to increase blood flow to the heart, which again decreases swelling and discomfort.
Myth # 3 – Pregnant women MUST lie on their left side while being massaged and while asleep.
While it is encouraged, as lying on the left side improves blood flow to the placenta, decreases pressure on the liver, and improves kidney function which helps to decrease swelling, right side lying has benefits as well! It has been recommended in cases of mothers with heart burn and/or indigestion as it allows for gravity to empty the stomach at a faster rate. What is most important during a massage or while a pregnant mother is resting is her comfort. During a massage with the mom to be, left and right side lying are utilized, as well as a semi-reclined position. Each position is modified for comfort, and pillows are used in each position to support mom and baby.
Prenatal massage shares many of the same goals as regular massage therapy, such as an increase in blood flow and oxygen in the blood, improved mobility and decreased muscle soreness. While many of the techniques used in a regular treatment can be applied to a pregnancy massage, a trained therapist will adjust their techniques according to each client. Here is a list of just a few positive benefits one can expect when including massage in their pregnancy.
- Increased levels of the “feel good” hormone serotonin and dopamine.
- Decrease in the levels of cortisol – the stress hormone.
- Stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer
- Decrease in swelling to any area of the body
- Improves immune system function
Massage therapy during pregnancy can also help the mom to be with her mind body connection. It can be a special time set aside where she is able to completely relax, forget about all the things waiting for her in the outside world, and just enjoy the comfort of touch and the benefits of relaxation. Embracing a healthy lifestyle – including massage therapy – can help a mother enjoy a successful, comfortable and joyous pregnancy.
To book your prenatal massage call 416-360-1300 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
By: Melissa Ganzer, RMT
“Pregnancy Massage Specialist.” Mary De Pellegrin. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 July 2014. http://www.marydepellegrin.com.au/
Stillerman, Ellaine. “Prenatal Massage: A Textbook of Pregnancy, Labor, and Postpartum Bodywork.” Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 July 2014. http://books.google.ca/books?id=LtewUF4SD-QC&pg=PT1657&lpg=PT1657&dq=pregnancy+massage+myths&source=bl&ots=faTw7EIwl0&sig=uphBoSGcwKV3lru_yc0VSv66y08&hl=en&sa=X&ei=kUHZU83-OY-NyASxjoHIDQ&ved=0CCEQ6AEwATgU#v=onepage&q=pregnancy%20massage%20myths&f=false
Stillerman, Ellaine. “Prenatal Massage During the First Trimester.” Massage Today. N.p., n.d. Web. http://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=13354