http://gty.im/71141693 I am in awe of the body and what amazing miracles we are. Never more so than when I am honored to massage a pregnant woman. I tease that this is the only way I have figured out how to massage more than one person at a time on my table. Sometimes the baby will shift around and the mom’s belly will change shape or show a foot or elbow through the skin. Other times, everybody will relax and fall asleep.
What makes prenatal massage different from circulatory or deep tissue? The focus of pregnancy massage is “balance.” Other modalities’ focus is “change,” as in I am trying to bring about a change in their body. For example, I will try to release a spasmed muscle. Whereas, the pregnant body is going through daily changes: a growing, moving child; varying center of gravity; day by day body changes. So the massage having an intent to balance and calm an everchanging state of being can bring a deep state of relaxation.
Although there is a “recipe” I learned in school, I can vary the session to focus on what the Mom-to-be needs. About 8 years ago, a client had extremely severe sciatica with her pregnancy and only wanted low back massage with hip stretching; so that is what I did for 30 minutes every 2 weeks for her during the last few months before the baby arrived. One client had such claustrophobia that she was unable to lay down comfortably; instead, she straddled a chair, propped her body with pillows so she could relax. We had her facing a window whenever possible and had a fan blowing on her face as she requested and adapted the prenatal massage to be a hybrid of pregnancy and seated chair massage. This is a reminder that each client is a unique individual and each session must be tailored to that specific person’s needs or goals so that desired results are best achieved.
5 pregnant ladies with low back pain will be 5 different sessions and that makes my job FUN! There is no boredom in the massage room.
Prenatal massage can
-ease back and shoulder pain
-decrease leg fatigue -lessen anxiety
-improve sleep -decrease the levels of stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine
-increase levels of the “happy” and relaxation hormones serotonin and dopamine
-and help moms-to-be to have an overall good mood!
It really is a delight to work with a pregnant woman and hear all about the pregnancy, her excitement and anticipation shines through. Nurturing the nurturer is such fun!