The beautiful thing about using specialized body cushions (with enlarged tummy and breast holes) is that massage can be delivered to the pregnant mommy all the way up through the date of baby’s delivery. Most Mamas in their 3rd trimester are happy just to be able to lie face down, so this is a real treat!
Of course, massage relieves many of the normal discomforts experienced during pregnancy, such as backaches, stiff neck, leg cramps, headaches and edema (or swelling).
In addition, massage for pregnant women reduces stress on weight-bearing joints, encourages blood and lymph circulation, helps to relax nervous tension — which aids in better sleep — and can help relieve depression or anxiety caused by hormonal changes.
Massage for pregnant women offers a number of benefits, as well as relief from many common symptoms when administered properly by a trained therapist.
- Headaches can be relieved by focusing on the head, neck and shoulders. Tension headaches may require more specific use of trigger point therapy, traction and more deep tissue concentration to reduce muscle spasms, in addition to relaxing strokes and wonderful range of motion stretching of the neck musculature.
- Muscle tension created by carrying the extra weight of a baby can be relieved by massage, stretching, and encouraging general blood and lymphatic flow – nutrients and oxygen will be delivered to the affected areas while toxins and metabolic wastes will be carted away through the lymph system.
- Fatigue, backaches, leg cramps, and general swelling (edema), can all be relieved through various types of massage for pregnant women.
- The ordinary aches and pains of pregnancy are countered by the release of serotonin, the body’s natural pain-reducing chemical, which is stimulated by massage.
Massage should also result in better sleep, both during pregnancy and beyond. Regular massage therapy helps lower levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, therefore reducing anxiety and discomfort, while the “feel good hormones” – serotonin, endorphins and dopamine, released by the body in response to massage, provide an extra boost for deep relaxation, and a feeling of overall well-being and positive mood. Even heartburn and constipation can be reduced as stress melts away.
All of these things should ultimately help to relieve pain and stress on the body, boost the immune system, providing a state of peace and rest; particularly when paired with prayer. These positive physiological, emotional, and spiritual responses should ultimately lead to improved sleep patterns and better overall health.
Finally, all of the wonderful benefits discussed above for Mom should affect baby positively as well. Pregnancy massage; therefore, is, by it’s very nature, a 2 for 1 special every time! 😊