Massage therapy during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches (especially back ache), relief joint pains and improve the feeling of wellness in the pregnant client.
Benefits of Massage during Pregnancy:
- Hormonal Regulation:Regular massage has been associated with a reduction in the stress hormones that are normally experienced during pregnancy. The relaxation and de-stress element of massage has notably affected hormones such as Cortisol, Dopamine, and Serotonin. These altered hormones have been linked to a decrease in the incidence of Gestational Depression and have been shown to have a positive effect in relation to Post-Natal Depression.
- Reduced Edema: Swelling of the joints (Edema), is often seen in the last trimester of pregnancy and is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels of the lower body. Massage aides in the flow of these fluids and helps to reduce the accumulation of fluids in the joints. This also aids in the removal of waste products carried by the body’s lymph system.
- Reduced Back Pain:As the pregnancy progresses, the increased weight distribution to the anterior of the body and the change in pelvic position, causes undue stress and strain in the lumbar region of the back. Massage can greatly relieve this stress and strain.
- Reduced Joint Pain:During the last trimester of pregnancy we see an anterior tilt of the pelvis and medial rotation of the femurs (waddling gait). This adapted position causes joint pain through all the joints of the lower limb. Massage can alleviate the anterior tilt and medial rotation and can help reduce the stress that the joints are being placed under.
- Improved Circulation:A common condition seen in late pregnancy is calf cramping, especially late in the evening. This is normally caused by the increased workload on the calf muscles, by the extra blood and plasma that is circulating around the body. The Gastrocnemius and the Soleus are seen to work exceptionally hard because of this increased blood volume and can present with dehydration and fatique issues. Massage can aid in the flow of this extra blood, back towards the heart and reduce the incidence of calf cramping.
- Reduce the incidence of Sciatica:Sciatica is most common in the second and last trimester of pregnancy, when the growing baby puts pressure on the sciatica nerve. An over-activity in the deep gluteal muscles (hip rotators), strangles the sciatica nerve, which refers pain down the posterior thigh. Massage on the affected muscles can release the nerve and cal alleviate the referred pain.
- Reduced Muscle Tension and Headaches:During pregnancy, the postural adaptions can lead to the upper neck muscles holding a lot od tension and can cause stress related symptoms like tension and headaches. These muscles are holding the weight of the head and are involved in fine movements of everyday nodding etc. Massage can reduce the stress and tension seen in the muscles and help with relaxing the pregnant client.