Pregnancy

Benefits of Massage During Pregnancy & Postpartum

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pregnancy massageWith more and more massage centers offering multiple visit discounts on massage, there are many economical ways to find great deals on massage packages. Pregnancy changes the female’s body in almost every single aspect, from emotional roller coasters due to hormonal shifts, to the physical growth and expansion of the body cavities. Let’s not forget to mention the added pressures on the joints and muscles as well as the psychological pressures of becoming a mother, and all of those factors adding to the existing family entity and THEN staying healthy and well, all around. Mama needs a break.

Even if it is for 30 minutes, a pregnancy massage to get away and relax the back, hips, and mind ismassage exactly what every expecting mother deserves (once a month recommended) a few times throughout the marathon of pregnancy. Below are benefits of massage for mamas in both pregnancy and postpartum stages. I recommend to bring your own therapeutic grade essential oils (ones for relaxation is best, i.e. lavender) for the masseuse to use so your body can soak in all the organic goodness and maximize benefits).

pregnant black and whiteDuring Pregnancy:

  • Studies indicate that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health.
  • A Swedish massage aims to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation through mild pressure applied to the muscle groups of the body. (Swedish massage is the recommended prenatal massage method because it addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts during pregnancy)
  • Can reduce swelling in hands, feet and ankles.
  • Eases discomforts in areas like the low back & neck, calf cramps, and also helps with tension and tightening throughout the body.
  • Tones lose muscles relaxes tense muscles and can help increase flexibility.
  • Helps with relaxation which can decrease insomnia.
  • Increases blood and lymph flow which can help increase the elimination of toxins through the circulatory and lymphatic systems, this can also help with fatigue.
  • Increases oxygen in the blood.
  • Strengthens the immune system.
  • Stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers, into the brain and nervous system.
  • Helps increase blood circulation, which in turn delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the mother and baby.

Postpartum:

  • Postpartum massage has been shown to be effective for a quicker recovery and better health.
  • Massage greatly improves postpartum hormone balance. Estrogen and progesterone hormone levels are very high during pregnancy and decrease after delivery. Prolactin and oxytocin hormone levels rise to facilitate breastfeeding.
  • Studies indicate that massage reduces the stress hormone cortisol. (Certain essential oils may also bring hormone and mood balance)
  • Massage also reduces naturally occurring bio-chemicals associated with depression (dopamine and serotonin) and cardiovascular problems (norepinephrine).
  • Massage therapy relaxes the body, increases circulation and increases milk production.
  • There are many smaller, non-corporate massage centers that offer post-pregnancy massages, where the stomach muscles are worked on to help “fuse” back together after natural separation. Almost all big massage spas and centers prohibit the touch of the belly by their massage therapists. Inquire before making your appointments.

Sources: AmercianPregnancy.org, Pregnancy.org, vipmobledayspa.com, alohamassagekauai.com

 

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