Most of us are familiar with the upsides of massages. After a hard day’s work or a particularly stressful week, a good and long massage session can certainly ease out a lot of the stress. It helps us relax, and special attention is applied to areas of the body that suffer from tension or aches, thus relieving the body of unusual discomfort and pain. However, one of the most surprising applications of these massages is at the time of pregnancy for women, commonly referred to as ‘prenatal massage’. These massages ease the stress from pregnancy to a great extent, and help women re-energize themselves for coming days.
So what exactly is prenatal massage and what is it for?
As experts say, the time of pregnancy is a hard one for women. They go through a lot of changes at this time- be it physical, mental, spiritual or emotional. The body suffers the most, with continuous hormone shifts, structural shifts and metabolic imbalances. A pregnant woman also goes through emotional hardships like mood swings, indecisiveness and negative attitude toward self-image. The combined stress tells heavily upon women, resulting in a tired body and ever more tired soul, which may even lead to a disastrous delivery. This is where prenatal massages come into play, to relieve the stress from the pregnant body in simple, casual prenatal massage sessions that do well for both the body and the soul.
So what are the benefits of a prenatal massage?
As medical studies have shown, a prenatal massage is a great tool for increasing the flow of blood and lymphocyte circulation, that helps reduce the degree of swelling of body as a whole. It can also reduce muscle pain, spasms and cramps, as well as trigger point aches. On a psychological level, these massages can help reduce stress and negative emotional factors like anxiety and depression, proving an expecting mother with a refreshed soul and body.
Another very important outcome of a prenatal massage is that it greatly helps the mother at the time of labor and delivery. According to physical therapists Kennell and Klaus, factors like increased labor pain, extended time period for labor, premature delivery and use of medicinal agents can be reduced to a great extent by weekly sessions of prenatal massages.
So how exactly is it done?
To be honest, prenatal massages differ only a little from traditional massages in the sense that the basics of regular massages are applied in this practice as well. Gentle pressure is put on the back and the limbs with the help of bare hand or knuckles while relieving the aching points of the body of nagging pain. However, what differentiates prenatal massages from regular ones is mainly the arrangement for the expecting mother in terms of equipments. In the first trimester, women can lie on their backs or on their stomachs without feeling much discomfort. However, in the 2nd and 3rd trimester, special massage tables are arranged for the mother which are tailored to her needs. The tables often come with added support for the hips to alleviate the pain of lying for long, or sometimes with a semi-reclining structure that helps the mother with better lying options.
The main focus of a prenatal massage is put on the woman’s lower back, upper back, legs, hips, back, neck and feet. However, more limbs can be added or excluded from this list based on the client’s requirements. The nature of the massage is fairly simple, as complex ones like deep tissue massage are generally never applied to a pregnant woman. However, Swedish massage have been reported to be of great comfort to a number of pregnant women by experts, and is gaining popularity among massage therapists worldwide, especially the west.
However, as with anything relating to a mother-to-be, prenatal massages should be applied with appropriate care. Areas on the body with blood clot or bone fracture should be avoided at any cost. Also, areas with any degree of skin injury should be avoided as a prenatal massage can greatly increase the possibility of further damage to the spot.
All in all, it can be said if proceeded with an extra amount of added precaution, prenatal massages can be of great use to an expecting mother, freeing her from the added physical and mental stress while re-energizing her for the coming days.
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