Prenatal massage is a therapeutic bodywork that focuses on the special needs of the mother-to-be as her body goes through the changes of pregnancy. It can be performed by having the expectant mother to lie on her side, propped up with a pillow.
It enhances the function of muscles and joints, improves circulation and general body tone, and relieves mental and physical fatigue. The gentle, noninvasive nature of prenatal massage can ease discomfort associated with pregnancy, help the mother-to-be prepare for labor and give her nurturing emotional support.
The benefits of pregnancy massage include a wide range of physiological and emotional aspects:
- Alleviates stress on weight-bearing joints and muscle-fascial structures.
- Assists in remedying many of the common discomforts experienced during pregnancy: muscular discomfort, lower-back pain, sciatica, neck and upper-back pain, headache, leg cramp, stiffness, tension and knots, carpal tunnel, fatigue, interscapular pain, sacroiliac and hip joint pain.
- Assists in maintaining good posture and helps adjust to the change in alignment caused by the baby’s growth.
- Increases muscle tone and flexibility, enhancing the ability to carry extra weight while also relieving aches and pains, leg cramps and muscle spasms.
- Enhances the pliability of skin and underlying tissues.
- Increases blood circulation, which provides more oxygen and nutrients to both mother and fetus, stimulating the lymph system and therefore increasing immunity and removal of toxins.
- Stabilizes hormonal levels and helps relieve depression and anxiety caused by hormonal changes.
- Soothes and relaxes the nervous system by releasing endorphins into the mother’s body. As a result, the expectant mother feels more relaxed and at ease. It can also help the mother falling into sleep more easily and deeply.