Prenatal Massage: is it Safe for Prenatal Care?
Massage chair therapy is known to be successful in treating physical and emotional problems anywhere from indigestion to anxiety. The benefits of regular massage for one’s overall health and wellness are well documented. But is massage safe for everyone? Studies indicate that massage therapy, performed during pregnancy, can actually reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression and relieve muscle aches and joint pains. In addition, massage can improve labor outcomes and newborn health. Sounds amazing right? That’s because it is. Massage therapy has the unique ability to address various physical needs by integrating diverse therapeutic techniques. Relaxation massage, restorative techniques and intense Shiatsu techniques all work to release tensions built up throughout the day and rejuvenate one’s overall sense of health and well-being.
Despite massage during pregnancy receiving ambivalent responses from the health community regarding safety and use, contemporary researchers that prenatal massage therapy may actually be instrumental in creating complete prenatal care and deserves serious consideration. So just what exactly can massage chair therapy accomplish for pregnant women?
Studies suggest that pregnant women experience similar, if not elevated levels of muscle pain as the rest of us. Pregnant women experience the same levels of emotional and physical relaxation from massage, and arguably, they need it more! A massage during pregnancy may even be a useful tool for the reduction of joint and muscle swelling, both symptoms of late pregnancy and very annoying to ignore. In addition, massage during pregnancy can help women’s bodies regulate hormone production, improve nerve pain and even decrease signs of depression, anxiety and aid the birth and labor process.
When is massage therapy safe for women who are pregnant? Experts agree that women can begin massage therapy at any point in their pregnancy - during the first, second or even third trimester. However, precautions must be taken during the first trimester as there is an increased risk of miscarriage associated with the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Prenatal massage could be an essential element to prenatal care. In addition to guidance given by a prenatal care provider, massage therapy can be incorporated into a routine prenatal care practice for women’s emotional and physical health. Before using massage chair therapy for prenatal health please consult with your midwife or obstetrician before beginning any new therapeutic practice.