Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Massage Therapy-More Than Just Pampering by Tina Risley, CMT

Massage during pregnancy provides many benefits. Medical science has long recognized the value of massage therapy to aid in the treatment of many conditions and diseases. Studies prove massage reduces anxiety & depression. It can improve immune function & promote better sleep. The Touch Research Institute's studies on prenatal massage showed a decrease in anxiety and stress hormones (norepinephrine) which cross through the placenta to the baby. There were fewer pregnancy complications, as well as, a reduction in premature birth rates. The normal increase in blood volume during pregnancy puts stress on the whole circulatory system. Massage supports the circulatory and lymphatic systems by promoting the movement of blood and lymph. This action assists the heart and reduces swelling throughout pregnancy. Massage helps to alleviate stress on the weight bearing joints of the hips, pelvis, knees, and ankles, relieving soreness in the muscles that support the additional weight of the baby. Massage therapy provides a nurturing, soothing touch promoting an overall sense of well-being in the mother. Reassurance, nurturing, and relaxation for the mother have far-reaching impacts on her growing baby. Babies sense and respond to their mother’s stress level as registered by her heartbeat. The birthing process is often made easier and less complicated by regular massage during pregnancy and throughout the labor process.

Choosing a knowledgeable massage therapist with specialized training in prenatal/pregnancy massage is of the greatest importance.Take the time to get to know your massage therapist. Never hesitate to ask any questions you may have about pregnancy massage and discuss any concerns you may have with your therapist or prenatal care provider.

Massage therapists are not medical doctors and massage therapy should not be used as a replacement for routine obstetrical care. Remember you should always ask your doctor before beginning a massage regimen if your pregnancy has been diagnosed as high-risk or if you have pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, gestational diabetes or deep vein thrombosis. For all high risks pregnancies it is necessary for the therapist to work WITH the mother's prenatal provider. Moms with these issues can benefit greatly from massage support. In these special situations its powerful detoxing and blood sugar lowering effects require an experienced practitioner and input from the woman's doctor or midwife. Massage in general is contraindicated for broken bones, tumors, bleeding, burns and other acute conditions.

In conclusion, pregnancy can be one of the most fulfilling experiences of a woman’s life. Pregnancy massage is a wonderful tool to aid in making this special occasion a time of power and happiness by reducing physical and mental tension. Remember throughout your pregnancy that your body is working hard to grow your little one. Take the time to pamper yourself. You deserve it.

In Health,

Tina L. Risley, CMT
Tina can be reached at Barefoot MomEase

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