Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Prenatal Massage

I got a massage on Sunday afternoon and it was pure heaven. I have been getting regular massage ever since I became a massage therapist myself (almost 10 years ago!) and I look forward to my massage all month. I haven't given a massage in several months-but I will start taking appointments again in January. We budget my massages in, as if they were a car or mortgage payment! Since I have been pregnant, I have been getting a massage every 3 or 4 weeks instead of every 4 or 5 weeks and without them I know I would be in much more physical pain and way more stressed out. I feel good knowing that even though I am stressed and exhausted from work, I can balance those feelings out with massage.

The last few weeks I have been getting very uncomfortable. It hurts to sit in a chair for more than 15 minutes and my feet hurt if I am standing for more than 5 minutes. My shoulders hurt from sleeping on my side. My calves cramp up. At night I can't get comfortable and have a hard time going to sleep. But massage makes everything better!

I could go on and on about the benefits of massage! Thinking about this post, I remembered an article I wrote several years ago about the benefits of massage- it ran in Family Forum Magazine and Natural Awakenings Magazine. Here it is:

The time during your pregnancy should be spent relaxing and emotionally and physically preparing for the birth of your child. Instead, most women are frazzled, stressed and just plain exhausted from working, taking care of other children and getting everything “done” before baby arrives. Along with the joys of pregnancy comes also some discomfort that makes getting everything done a little harder! Pregnancy massage is a fantastic way to reduce any discomfort from your pregnancy and creates a precious moment all to yourself to relax and give your baby all the positive benefits that result from you being relaxed. When you are relaxed, you and your baby are healthy. Getting a massage may seem like an outrageous luxury, but medical research shows that getting a massage is a very important part of your prenatal care. A pregnancy massage makes a great baby shower gift or can win big points for hubby!

Benefits of Pregnancy Massage:
*Massage helps mom's body to eliminate waste products through the lymphatic and circulatory systems, which combats fatigue and helps the mother feel more energetic.
*By aiding circulation, massage eases the load on mom's heart and helps to keep her blood pressure in check.
*Muscular discomforts, such as cramping, tightening, stiffness, tension, and knots, can all be alleviated.
*Massage helps carry away the lactic acid and other cellular waste products that build up and cause muscle fatigue.
*Massage can help relieve depression or anxiety caused by hormonal changes mom is experiencing.
*Massage relieves many of the normal discomforts during pregnancy, such as backaches, a stiff neck, leg cramps, headaches, edema, and sore, swollen ankles and feet.
*Massage increases local and general blood circulation, which brings more oxygen and nutrients to the cells of both the mother and fetus. This means greater vitality and less fatigue for mom and better nourishment for her baby.
*Massage stimulates glandular secretions, which helps stabilize hormone levels.
*It relaxes tense muscles and tones loose muscles, and can also increase muscular flexibility. Flexibility will be most helpful during the last trimester and during the birth itself.
*Massage helps to soothe and relax nervous tension, which helps the mother sleep more easily and more deeply. Incidentally, doctors all agree that a relaxed mother will have a happier, healthier pregnancy and possibly an easier childbirth experience, too.
*Massage can be used during the birth to make it easier and more comfortable for mom, and after the birth as well, to help her regain her strength more quickly and ease postpartum stress.

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