Pregnancy is where the body undergoes changes rapidly. Some are obvious physical alterations. The abdomen grows and there is swelling of the legs and feet. There are also less overt changes. Hormones fluctuate. Pregnancy or prenatal massage is one way to help mother and child-to-be through this time.
Pregnancy massage requires some adjustments for both the mother and the practitioner. An untrained or partially trained therapist should never attempt to undertake prenatal massage therapy. Some experts recommend the expectant mother only see a prenatal specialist. This is particularly true during the first trimester. This is the time when the fetus is most vulnerable to miscarriage.
Yet, prenatal massage therapy is an effective and beneficial practice for all trimesters – if performed properly. It is both safe and effective. Prenatal Massage Therapy can help the mother through difficult times. It can counteract some of the effects of pregnancy while helping her relax.
The benefits of pregnancy massage are several. The most common result is the reduction of stress. The pregnant mother relaxes under the hands of a skilled masseuse. This helps both psychologically and emotionally. It allows the woman to relax and to enjoy the massage and the experience of pregnancy.
Pregnancy massage also helps reduce the problems of swelling of the arms and legs. The muscles and tendons, joints and flash of tired legs and swollen joints relax. Pain evaporates while the practitioner works on the back, legs, arms neck and hips. Cramps and muscle spasms decrease. The therapist works to alleviate discomfort and even myofascial pain.
The use of pregnancy massage can also help reduce the weight on the joints. Like other forms of massage therapy, it may also affect the flow of blood circulation and lymphatic flow. A regime of massage may also increase the pliability of the skin. This is helpful both during the pregnancy and while the client is in labor.
Used appropriately, pregnancy massage can also be beneficial during labor. It may decrease the actual time of labor. It is comforting to have touch therapy during this time. Therapeutic massage can help decrease the tension and anxiety associated with labor. Afterwards, a continuation of prenatal massage may be preventative. It may decrease the chances of postpartum depression.
Prenatal pregnancy requires special skills and techniques. The practitioner must always be aware of the condition of the client. The masseuse must be fully cognizant of the anatomy and physiological make-up of the client. He or she must know the medical history and possible complications of this particular woman. The practitioner must be fully aware of all contraindications and precautions before beginning a treatment.
Knowledge of the physiognomy of a pregnant woman is essential even for such things as technique and equipment. There are certain parts of the body a masseuse may want to or need to avoid. Is it ethical or acceptable to rub the abdomen? Ask your client. Is this technique or approach counterproductive for her massage? In fact, always ask your client about her preferences, sensitive areas, complaints and other issues. If anything hurts – stop.
Furthermore, pregnancy entails the absence of such massage techniques as those of Deep Tissue Massage Therapy. If you work on the abdomen, use only light, effleurage strokes. Do not Rolf or engage in Hellerwork. Be sure the massage for the appropriate body parts is efficient, but effective.
What the practitioner also has to consider when accepting pregnant clients is the equipment. Pregnant women require special support and positioning during massage therapy. Support of the abdomen is essential. You may want to use extra padding or pillows. These may include wedge pillows and body pillows.
It is best for the client to lie in a semi-supine position. The lighting is turned down low, soothing nerves and creating a relaxing atmosphere. This is the same for most clients. You may want to use soothing music. Some therapists choose to play music selections that incorporate a heartbeat. You may also want to include various scented oils or candles. Because of the susceptibility of many women to specific scents during this time, be sure to ask the client about preferences.
Prenatal massage is a positive experience. It can help pregnant women emotionally and physically. A practitioner always needs to adapt their skills and techniques to the needs and physical changes in the body of this client. The masseuse also needs to communicate clearly with the client, understanding any specific worries and possible problems. Only by understanding the general physical changes as well as the emotional rollercoaster and specific problems many women experience can a masseuse begin to provide the benefits of therapeutic message.
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