BY JACQUI DINNEEN, REMEDIAL MASSAGE THERAPIST
We pause to celebrate mums this May, but let’s not forget the mums-to-be who are embracing the wonders of the human body and the many changes that come with it.
There are many physical and hormonal changes the body goes through during this time, which can cause tension, stress, aches and pain. Massage therapy can be used to assist the relaxation of the body’s muscles and connective tissues. This is particularly essential as a woman enters each new stage of pregnancy.
A question I often get asked as a massage therapist is “can I have a massage during pregnancy?”. The simple answer is yes, but I always suggest that before you book your pregnancy massage, contact your health care provider to get the all clear. In the first trimester of pregnancy there is an associated higher risk of complications, and many practitioners will ask you to book your massage after the 12-week mark.
Pregnancy massage uses a variety of medium pressured, long gliding techniques which are derived from Swedish therapeutic massage. This style of treatment aims to decrease stress hormones such as cortisol and relieve built up muscle tension. This type of massage is considered safe for all stages of pregnancy.
As with any massage treatment, your practitioner will ask you a few questions at the start of your consultation to help us assist in your treatment plan. We will also ask you a series of questions regarding previous pregnancies, previous injuries and lifestyle factors so we can have a clear picture of how to best assist you during your pregnancy. Your practitioner will ask about a few pregnancy specific conditions such as preeclampsia, previous pre-term labour, severe edema (swelling), high blood pressure or sudden/ severe headaches.
When it comes to the treatment, the position in which you may be asked to lay may be different to any previous massage treatments you have experienced. A body pillow specifically designed to allow pregnant women to lay on their front is placed over the table. This gives support to the growing belly, while allowing the practitioner to treat the full back. From experience, clients love this position and it gives your body a really nice break from the constant load of the growing belly. Alternatively, a side lying position may be more comfortable for you and can be arranged by supportive bolsters being placed to the back, front and hips to maximise comfort.
The benefits of massage during pregnancy increase with regular treatments, and many of my clients return for regular sessions throughout their pregnancy term. By using slow, long gliding techniques your body will begin to relax and release ‘happy hormones’, to help your muscles and your mind relax. The release of these hormones is essential during pregnancy and can assist in a healthy birth with less complications. Massage during pregnancy will also increase muscle and joint function, promote healthy blood and lymphatic circulation, decrease severity of muscle tension and headaches, assist in oxygenation to muscles and improve your sleep cycles – and let’s be honest, you need all you can get before the baby arrives.
So if you have been considering massage during pregnancy, speak to your health care provider to get the all clear first, and call one of our team today. Please make sure you notify your massage therapists of any past and current health conditions, and then you can simply relax, lie back and enjoy the many benefits of pregnancy massage.
Beyond Ocean Grove is at 74 The Avenue, Ocean Grove. Phone 5255 3411.