Body massage is an ancient practice for relieving pain and stress in the body. Touch therapy is supposed to reduce physical and mental stress trapped within the body. Massage stimulates and activates the body’s muscles and blood vessels. Massage activates various pressure points and helps reducing multiple ailments.
Massage During Pregnancy
Prenatal massage, also known as pregnancy massage, is a tried and trusted way of relaxing the body’s muscles and relieving the strains and tension a pregnant woman experiences at that time.
During pregnancy, the body undergoes anatomical changes, as we all know. As a result, the technique used to provide a prenatal massage differs significantly from standard massage techniques.
The Advantages Of Prenatal Massage
There haven’t been many studies on this subject. However, based on personal experience and current studies, prenatal massage has a few advantages.Prenatal massage helps,
- Remove leg and back pain.
- Get anxiety alleviation.
- Reduce the stress hormone norepinephrine levels
- Get rid of insomnia.
Massage can help raise the levels of ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin and decrease cortisol in pregnant women who are depressed. This helps to improve the person’s overall mood. Furthermore, research has shown massage therapies to be one of the approaches that help increase the body’s immunity.
Research Supporting Prenatal Massages
Almost twenty years back few researches happened in this field which support prenatal massage. According to a study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, expecting moms who underwent massage twice weekly for five weeks reported decreased back discomfort, better sleep, and reduced stress.
A study published in 2009 in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies found that pregnant women with depression who received bodywork and movement therapy were significantly less depressed by psychotherapy and massage over a six-week period.They experienced more significant drops in depression than those receiving psychotherapy alone. One small study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences found that massage was an effective integrative treatment for severe pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting.
According to a 2010 literature analysis published in Expert Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology, massage treatment helped pregnant women with depression, anxiety, and leg and back discomfort. It also indicated that those who were in labor needed less pain medication and had labors that lasted an average of three hours less than usual.
Research says that mothers receiving massage treatment before giving birth have lower cortisol levels, improved neonatal outcomes, and lower rates of low birth weight and preterm birth.
When Should You Get A Prenatal Massage?
A pregnant woman can have massages at any moment during her pregnancy, according to reports from the American Pregnancy Association. However, because there is a danger of miscarriage, it is normally best to wait until the second trimester of your pregnancy to choose a prenatal massage. The therapist needs to be aware of the sensitive pressure points that contract when massaged.
When opting for a massage, it is recommended that you conduct extensive research. According to detailed analysis, it can reduce labor pain. Because there are a few pressure points for a pregnant lady should not be stimulated as this can result in undesirable effects such as a miscarriage.
A pregnant woman’s body requires some posture adjustments. You should not sleep on your back or stomach if you are not pregnant. The ideal position for lying is on your side. The position must be safe and pleasant for the baby inside the uterus.
It is best to avoid massaging the growing belly and surrounding areas since pressure given to those areas may harm the uterus and the baby inside the uterus. In that area, a light massage with a quality cream is sufficient.
Your legs are another body component to be cautious of. Only moderate strokes are permitted on the legs; applying more pressure on the legs will result in blood clots.
Some people believe that massaging pressure points will cause them to contract. Though there is no proof, it is best to avoid pressure areas between fingers, wrists, ankles, and so on.
Aside from this, some conditions should be avoided when receiving prenatal massage. Because studies demonstrate very little evidence of the effects of massage therapy, it is usually best to proceed after consulting with your healthcare practitioner.
Pregnant women with the following medical problems should generally avoid prenatal massage therapy. The circumstances are as follows:
- Gestational diabetics
- History of blood clotting
- Issues with placenta
- High blood pressure
- Preterm labor
Massage treatment should be performed with the assistance of a professional trainer who is knowledgeable about pregnancy and related health concerns.
Some Common Self-massaging Tips
At-home prenatal massages can also be performed gently. You can use a few self-massage methods on your own without anyone else’s assistance. These are some self massaging tips.
- Tennis ball technique: With this technique, you gently press a tennis ball on the painful points to apply pressure.
- Belly massage :The massage does not put any pressure on your stomach and is quite mild. Using this method, you can massage the abdomen with oil or cream.
- Massage of the feet: The most susceptible area to swellings during pregnancy is the feet. Your feet can be gently rubbed or massaged to promote optimal relaxation.
- Effleurage – Long, delicate strokes across the skin are used in this massage technique
- Types Of Prenatal Massages
There are several types of massages available from trained massage therapists. The most popular massage techniques are the Swedish massage technique and the Deep tissue massage technique.
All these techniques are beneficial, but you must talk with the trainer and understand the details before deciding.
Swedish massage is a typical massage technique used in pregnancy. This massage gives good relaxation to the body and mind. The trainer uses long strokes and light to deep pressure in this massage. In Deep tissue massage, the pressure is more, but there are several similarities between Swedish massage and Deep tissue massage. One should understand the differences and similarities before opting for specific massage techniques.
- The light and long strokes and kneading strokes applied in Swedish massage help stimulate the muscles. Thus blood circulation improves.
- The therapist applies light to -firm pressure during Swedish massage. As this is a reliable style, it gives good relaxation for many people. But for some people, this pressure will not be enough.
- Swedish massage is beneficial for lymph drainage.
- In a Swedish massage, the person gets utmost relaxation by relieving stress and tension.
There are five basic strokes in a Swedish massage.
- que. Additionally, these strokes allow the massage therapist to detect any trouble spots and sense the overall muscle tone.
- Friction – In this, the strokes are short and quickly made with hands and fingers.This stroke helps to enhance blood circulation and muscular relaxation by rubbing against the body to generate heat.
- Petrissage – To aid in releasing the tension, the petrissage elevates the muscle using a squeezing method.
- Vibration -An example of a vibration stroke is quick, superficial movements of the fingertips or palms. An effective body massage can be very relaxing if the therapist performs it correctly.
- Tapotement – A sequence of body punches known as tapotement can help a tight muscle relax. There is a well-known type of tapotement known as the “karate chop” technique.
Deep Tissue Massage
Swedish massage strokes are used similarly in deep tissue massage. However, the therapist may apply additional pressure. In contrast, deep tissue massage employs far greater force to release tension accumulated deep within the muscles and fascia. It can be too intense for individuals who only want a relaxing massage. Deep tissue massage is frequently used to reduce chronic muscle tension or accelerate the recovery from a strained muscle. Therefore, deep tissue massage is generally not employed to promote relaxation or lower stress.
Deep Tissue Massage Peculiarities
- Slow and firm strokes.
- Get relaxation for the deeper layer of muscles and tissues.
- Muscle realignment is possible through this massage therapy.
- Deep tissue massages should be done with utmost care without forcing to relieve the strain on the muscles.
In the case of a pregnant woman, there must be some modifications from the traditional methods. Instead of solid strokes, the therapist will reduce the pressure. An excellent pregnant massage is tailored to your individual requirements. Your massage therapist will provide the physical assistance you require for the utmost comfort with specific attention. So, you might not lie in a typical massage position. In the third trimester and at the end of the second trimester, side positions are typically more comfortable.
Benefits Of Deep Tissue Massage
There are multiple benefits for a pregnant woman from Deep tissue massage. That includes
- Pain relief
- Physical and mental well being
- Hormonal balance
- Increased oxygen to the blood vessels and muscles
- Uninterrupted sleep
- Stimulates to release Endorphins and thus relieve stress.
Swedish massage and Deep tissue massage are helpful for prenatal therapy as these techniques yield more benefits when appropriately performed. But the only concern is that one should decide on the method after analyzing the needs of the patient and should choose the suitable technique considering the health conditions of the pregnant woman.