Massage is in use since ages as a stress-relieving and therapeutic treatment for improved health. There are various types of massage, each with its specific effect. Massage does improve blood circulation. It also helps to manipulate tissues for rejuvenation and better tone. Apart from the physical benefits massage also helps you to de-stress and relax. Massage therapists recommend one or other type of massage depending on your health condition. Pregnancy is one condition in which you will love massage and reap its benefits. That is, provided, you go for the right type of pregnancy massage.
Types of massage for pregnancy
In the broadest sense massage simply means manipulating the tissues with the help of your palm, feet and even hot stones. Massage may be dry. The better way is to use herbal oils to improve the massage process. As for pregnancy massage you must be careful about the type of massage you choose and its intensity.
Swedish massage combines kneading, smooth strokes, vibration, tapping, and deep circular movements. Swedish massage is ideal in bringing relief from pain and for relaxation. Therefore, you can opt for gentle Swedish massage for pregnancy. The massage can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes.
Nausea is common during pregnancy. The solution is to give yourself aromatherapy massage. Use essential oils that help when you feel nauseous. Essential oils like lemon, lavender and ginger oil are good. In addition, these fragrant oils improve your mood and relieve depression. You can get aromatherapy massage for pregnancy by a therapist or do it yourself. Use warm oil to which you add a few drops of essential oils for your massage. You will feel less stressed out and your joints and muscles will get relief.
Avoid use of rosemary, thyme, peppermint and oregano. These oils promote uterine contractions.
Deep tissue massage
Deep tissue massage is rather intense. Your massage tissue kneads, probes, pokes and pummels your tissues, muscles and ligaments to reach deep below and bring about relief. Deep tissue massage does improve blood flow and remove toxins even as it helps the lymphatic system. You should be cautious when you choose to go in for deep tissue pregnancy massage. Restrict it to your arms and legs.
Trigger point massage
Trigger point massage focuses on addressing specific areas. If you have specific muscle pain or joint pain then trigger point massage helps to reduce such pain. Therapists apply it in the form of deep pressure or flowing strokes. A half hour of such massage is sufficient to bring about some relief in chronic muscle and joint pain. Still, avoid trigger point massage for pregnancy on your abdominal area.
Reflexology for pregnancy
You can have a reflexologist do it for you or even do it yourself. The procedure is simple. You apply pressure to designated pressure points in your palms, soles of your feet, face, knees and ears. Reflexology for pregnancy works great in restoring energy levels. Try reflexology pregnancy massage when you feel fatigued.
The Japanese have their system of massage known as Shiatsu. The therapist works on various areas of the body by using hands, palms and thumbs to massage points with pulsing or rhythmic pressure. Shiatsu helps relieve headaches, anxiety and depression. You will feel relaxed and calm after a session. Shiatsu pregnancy massage is one thing you should try to relief muscle and joint pain.
Thai massage is rather vigorous. The therapist will use a variety of techniques with their palms and fingers to apply deep pressure and twist your limbs and muscles. Thai massage improves flexibility, energy levels and blood circulation. However, be careful about Thai massage for pregnancy. It may not suit you in advanced stages or if you have other conditions.
Effleurage is mild, gentle stroking motion. It is a pampering massage. Gloves with fur enhance the feeling of being pampered. Give yourself a treat or let someone else do it for you and make you feel good.
Your body weight increases during pregnancy and you also bear the weight of the baby to be born. This imposes quite a load on your poor feet. This is why doctors recommend that you should put your feet up every now and then during the day. In addition you can give your feet a massage. Use aromatic oils and pamper your feet. However, there are several accupressure points on your sole and around the ankles that you should avoid. Do not exert heavy pressure on points around the ankle and the soles. connected to the abdominal area.
You may not be able to identify points that can cause uterine contractions. In this case it is best to give your feet Swedish massage with gentle strokes to encourage blood circulation. Do not exert pressure with fingers on the inside and outside of the ankles in the hollow sections under the ankle bones. These points are connected to the uterus. Three inches above the ankle bone is another point that should be avoided since it connects to the lower abdomen. Avoid these points.
Treat yourself to gentle foot massage and then soak feet in hot water.
Prenatal massage for pregnancy
As can be seen from the above certain types of massages suit you when you are pregnant. Prenatal massage is not a specific type of massage like the above. It contains elements of Swedish massage since the massage is gentle and uses mild pressure. Prenatal massage focuses on bringing relief in areas that receive maximum load during pregnancy. The added weight of the child you carry can strain your back. It places a load on your legs. Prenatal massage brings about relief.
You like on your side, not on your stomach or back for the prenatal massage. Your therapist uses palms and fingers in a combination of gentle strokes and pressure. IT works better when your therapist uses warm oil to lubricate the movement. If you use aromatic essential oils it works even better.
Who does it for you?
The normal thing to do when you want a prenatal massage is to go to a specialist fully knowledgeable about prenatal massage. However, this gentle massage is not tough to do. Your husband can do it for you. Any of your family members can do it for you and do it at a time when it is convenient. A certified expert in prenatal massage is the best if you can find them in the same locality. They use a table designed for pregnant women and have plenty of pillows to act as bolsters and provide support.
You could start the day with a gentle prenatal massage. You may have one during the afternoon so that you can enjoy a nap. A pregnancy massage before you fall asleep also works wonders.
It is not absolutely necessary to lie down for a prenatal massage for pregnancy. You can sit in a chair and enjoy chair massage. The massage for pregnancy in this position is simple the giver focuses on your neck, shoulders and back just to soothe and calm you. Five to ten minutes of chair massage can work wonders to relieve stress and mitigate some shoulder and neck pain.
Why prenatal massage? Benefits
Pregnancy brings along a host of issues. Hormonal changes affect your body and your mood. You can feel depressed at times. Your lymphatic system could be affected. You are likely to experience nausea at some point as pregnancy advances. It can be a time of discomfort. Stress levels increase. Massage is your holistic remedy to address these issues.
Pregnancy massage reduces bad hormones
Stress leads to an increase in norepinephrine and cortisol. Gentle massage with aromatherapy reduces levels of these stress-related hormones. Pregnancy massage increases levels of serotonin and dopamine. These are the “feel good” hormones. With an increase in the level of these hormones you feel better and your pain levels decrease.
Massage reduces swelling
Try any of the massages during pregnancy at least three or four times in a week. Edema or swelling is one common condition in pregnant women. As the uterus expands it exerts pressure on blood vessels. Fluid retention is the result. This condition also affects the lymphatic system. Massage of joints and soft tissues helps to remove accumulation of fluids. Massage of lymph nodes will further improve the condition. Massage the abdomen area by all means but just with light pressure.
Massage reduces nerve pain
As pregnancy advances and the uterus expands the pressure on the upper and lower legs increases. Your legs swell and exert pressure on nerves. Make sure you get medium heavy massage on your legs to reduce inflammation and reduce muscular tension. Blood volume increases when you are pregnant. However, flow of blood to the legs becomes sluggish. The level of anticoagulants rises. There is a chance that blood clots may form in the lower legs, around the calves and thighs. Should you have this condition then the massage therapist will avoid deep pressure and use gentle long strokes and shiatsu technique. Be warned however, that floating blood clots in the blood could pose a heart risk.
Head massage to reduce headache and tension
Enjoy a soothing head massage during pregnancy. Use aromatic oils and massage your forehead and temples. Rub the area at the back of the neck and below the ears. You will relax. Your tension reduces. It is a soothing experience especially when you have a headache.
Massage is delightful at any time. During pregnancy, it can provide much-needed relief. Do try it when you are pregnant. Your childbirth experience also becomes smooth and easy.
Be careful about pregnancy massage
Massage therapists may not be aware of all the precautions necessary for pregnancy massage. If you visit a normal therapist it is likely they will use deep pressure that could prove harmful. It is always a good idea to let only qualified and certified prenatal massage therapist attend to you. If you do not find such a therapist in your area then tell the therapist to use gentle Swedish massage. It is safe.
It is best to go easy on pregnancy massage during the first trimester. The reason is that it may be a causative factor for miscarriage though no proof exists. Still, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Always lie on your sides for massages, especially during the later stages of pregnancy.
Avoid rubbing your abdomen area and the back too hard or exerting too much pressure during pregnancy massage. There is no reason to ignore the abdomen area. A massage will not dislodge the fetus. It is anchored more firmly than you think and will not dislodge with ease. Use just plain oil when you massage your abdominal area. It will also help ease stretch marks now and in the future.
Some doctors recommend that you do not massage when you are experiencing nausea and vomiting. Do it only if your doctor gives you the go-ahead.
If your pregnancy is not normal and you have issues such as placental detachment or a history of giving premature birth then avoid heavy massage. Light strokes will give you relief.
Tip: Try an oil massage in the morning and then expose yourself to sunlight for at least 10 minutes and then take a bath. Doing this will have a positive effect on you during pregnancy.
Massage is always good regardless of whether you are pregnant or not. When you are pregnant do make massage a part of your life. Pregnancy becomes easier to bear. Should you want it done by someone then make sure they know about care to take for prenatal massage.