Last week I had a wonderful little treat! I was offered a complimentary hour long prenatal massage by a very skilled local masseuse. (See more about her below). With my crazy schedule right now and holiday season preparations in full swing, it was a little slice of heaven!
Shannan recently posted about the many benefits of massage so take a moment and read those if you have a chance. I thought I would take a minute to outline a few more benefits to having massages during pregnancy. We tend to think of massage as a treat or special indulgence and for most of us it is; but there are also so many great health benefits to be realized from a regular massage. Here are a few for us pregnant ladies...
- Carrying a baby inside you changes your center of gravity and puts a lot of stress on your back, neck, abdominal muscles, and shoulders. Pregnancy also relaxes your ligaments, so that your pelvic joints are less stable, and changes your posture, pulling your pelvis forward. Add to that the extra weight you're carrying and you've got yourself an aching lower back. Massage can actually relieve the stress on your joints and promote proper posture.
- A study conducted by Dr. Tiffany Field at the University of Miami School of Medicine showed that massage actually reduces stress hormones in the body. Other studies done in the past 10 years have shown that hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered, leading to mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health, when massage therapy was introduced to women’s prenatal care. Hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (“stress hormones”) were reduced and dopamine and serotonin levels (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression) were increased in women who received bi-weekly massages for only five weeks. These changes in hormone levels also led to fewer complications during birth and fewer instances of newborn complications, such as low birth weight. The evidence points strongly to maternal and newborn health benefits when relaxing, therapeutic massage is incorporated into regular prenatal care.
- Massage provides emotional support and a nurturing touch for stressed out mothers-to-be. Studies show that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety and decrease symptoms of depression.
- Massage promotes relaxation and decreased insomnia.
- Massage can help prepare the muscles used during childbirth.
- Massage can reduce swelling in hands and feet. Edema, or swelling of the joints during pregnancy, is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus. Massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce collection of fluids in swollen joints, which also improves the removal of tissue waste, carried by the body’s lymph system.
Important Note: Certified prenatal massage therapists are trained to avoid very specific and intentional pressure to these areas during pregnancy. Any woman who has experienced pre-term contractions or consistent Braxton-Hicks contractions should alert her therapist to that fact so that pressure points can be avoided completely.
If you live in Michigan in the Metro Detroit or Ann Arbor area let me recommend a wonderful massage therapist for prenatal or any other massage. Her name is Seva Aston. Seva has 15 years of experience in massage therapy and has studied and practiced in such areas as Swedish massage, Neuromuscular Modalities (pain relief specialization), Hot Stone Massage, Thai Yoga Massage, Thai Herbal Massage, Thai Foot Reflexology, Deep Tissue Massage, Geriatric Massage, and etc.
All that being said, you know when you are getting a good massage by a skilled professional and Seva gave me the best massage I have probably ever had! She has the touch for sure. You can also tell right away that she is very passionate about her practice of massage. Pregnant or not, give her a call and set up your own wonderful massage (indulgent, yet great for your health remember!) or better yet this Christmas give your friends or family the gift of an hour of relaxation and rejuvenation. You can reach Seva at (734) 660-3372.