Your body encounters enormous challenges during pregnancy. Aside from the obvious physical changes to your outward appearance, your muscles grow stronger, tendons and ligaments soften and begin to stretch to accommodate a growing baby, and hormones flood your system. A number of negative side effects result from these rapid changes and they aren’t easily treated with medicine that’s considered safe for your baby.
Fortunately, the prenatal massage techniques we have at our disposal are extremely effective at countering the side effects while remaining safe for both you and your baby. Let’s take a look at how this happens.
What Is Prenatal Massage?
As the name suggests, this is a massage designed specifically for pregnant women. It’s a custom massage meant to aid your body in dealing with the problems unique to pregnancy.
Like other Swedish massages it increases blood flow to the whole body, but it’s designed by a certified massage therapist who knows exactly what spots to target in your body to counter your specific symptoms.
A pregnancy massage usually lasts an hour. With over 200 different massage techniques available for a therapist to choose from, each massage will be tailored to your current needs as you progress through your pregnancy.
What Are The Benefits?
The benefits of massage, in general, are well known: relaxation, released tension in muscles, decreased heart rate, and decreased potential for injury.
In pregnancy, massage can help you deal with back pain and increase your fitness level. Massage can also help with emotional side effects like anxiety and depression as well as decrease swelling and reduce headaches.
How does it work?
Cortisol, the stress hormone, is responsible for many of the negative side effects you experience during pregnancy. It’s been discovered that levels of this chemical decrease in pregnant women who receive massage therapy.
Studies on prenatal massage have also shown that fetal activity slows, the rate of prematurity is reduced, and labor was three hours shorter for those women with less need for medication.
The current theory is that prenatal massage affects your vagus nerve system, which runs through your body and connects to your heart, lungs and digestive tract. It’s the same nerve that activates when you get injured and feel nauseous as an effect.
The pressure receptors activated during massage are also connected to this nerve. This signals the rest of your system to calm down and relax. Your body then slows the production of stress chemicals and resets the regulation of your heart rate and respiration.
Cortisol can also be responsible for increased pain during pregnancy. This is why it’s highly important to find therapies that decrease stress in the body during and after pregnancy. Other alternative therapies recommended during pregnancy include acupuncture, relaxation, yoga, and chiropractics.
Contact your massage therapist today
Keeping your body and your baby healthy is your number one priority during pregnancy. Massage therapy is one of the best ways to achieve this optimal prenatal health by alleviating stress, lowering cortisol levels, and reducing the myriad of associated physical and mental side effects.
Your local certified massage therapist will work with you to develop a custom-tailored strategy for tackling your unique pregnancy symptoms and ensure that the rest of your pregnancy progresses smoothly and safely.