There are numerous health benefits to massage therapy. It’s a way to relieve pain, ease tension, improve sleep and other physical functions, etc. Because of its many positive effects, it’s normal to want to try experiencing massage therapy for yourself.
Pregnant women, or women who have recently given birth, can also gain a lot from massage therapy. However, some pregnant women are concerned about the risks associated with receiving massages. Are these worries warranted?
Pregnancy, a period of change
Pregnancy is a time of upheaval, both physically and psychologically: weight gain and bodily changes, stress and uncertainties, hormonal changes, sleep problems, etc. All of these issues can affect a woman’s joints, muscles, as well as her mood. Massage therapy is a practice that is gaining in popularity with adepts of holistic approaches and yet many specialists still hesitate to recommend it for pregnant women.
Massage therapy and pregnancy: what are the risks?
Massage therapy during pregnancy, specifically when focused on certain areas of the body such as feet and ankles, has been accused of being a potential cause for miscarriages. However, very few studies have shown a real link between massages and miscarriages.
It’s important to understand that in North America, 10 to 20% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage, whether the woman has received massage therapy or not. This risk is increased during the first trimester and when the woman is older.
Taking the necessary precautions
Because all pregnant women face risks, it’s important to consult your doctor before getting massage therapy. They’ll be able to inform you about contraindications by assessing your personal situation such as a history of miscarriages, a difficult pregnancy, hypertension, diabetes, or pre-eclampsia.
It’s also important to carefully choose your massage therapist. In fact, some professionals have received special training for massaging pregnant women. This will make the experience much more personalized and the results will be more pleasant.
The benefits of massage therapy during pregnancy: relaxation
Many pregnant women experience increased fatigue, especially during the first and third trimester. This is due to a disruption of the sleep cycle caused by hormones, nausea, a frequent need to urinate, etc. A massage can help with the stress caused by a pregnancy and improve relaxation and sleep.
The benefits of massage therapy during pregnancy: easing pain
Weight gain, provoked by a growing fetus and hormonal changes, can affect a pregnant woman’s balance. Her body also becomes subjected to various pressures. This can cause pain and tension in the muscles and joints. Massage therapy can greatly reduce muscle tension and ease the patient’s pain while improving blood flow to the muscles, resulting in increased cellular exchange.
In addition, the presence of a fetus that takes up more and more space in the abdomen can compress the mother’s diaphragm and cause trouble breathing. By stimulating blood and lymphatic circulation throughout the body, and by helping the patient relax and become more aware of her body, massage therapy can greatly counter the unpleasant effects of pregnancy.
A gentle touch
To avoid exposing the patient to any risk, massage therapists who work with pregnant women use gentle, slow, and non-invasive techniques. The patient will most likely be lying on her side, especially during late pregnancy.
By using gentle techniques such as lymphatic drainage, applying heat, or tissue decongestion, the professional will help the woman improve her breathing, ease muscle and joint tension, and reduce her overall stress.
What about new moms?
Just like pregnant women, new mothers can also greatly benefit from massage therapy. Recent childbirth, adjusting to the life of a parent, and breastfeeding can be a source of great stress. Massage therapy can help by:
- Reducing the stress of being a new parent
- Reducing muscle tension provoked by pregnancy and pain
- Improving the breastfeeding process and reducing tension
- Improving blood flow and oxygen in the body, reducing swelling in the legs
- Improving the quality of sleep and overall well-being
- Reducing the risk of post-partum depression
In brief, massage therapy can have a positive impact, physically and psychologically, on pregnant women and new mothers. By calling upon a massage therapist who has experience with pregnant women, you can benefit from an approach adapted to your personal situation.
Clinique GO™’s mobile team includes massage therapists who have experience helping pregnant women and women who have recently given birth. Our professionals travel to the homes of their patients to provide them with the treatment they need. Avoid travelling unnecessarily or the hassle of finding a babysitter. Get your treatment at home!
To benefit from safe massage therapy in the comfort of your own home, call upon Clinique GO™’s mobile services.