Pregnancy massage is therapeutic bodywork that focuses on the special needs of a woman’s body through the dramatic changes that occur during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. I offer three modalities to women during this time – pregnancy, induction, and postpartum massage – all of which encourage relaxation, release, grounding, and preparedness for the big transition into parenthood.
Touch is vital to the mother’s psychological and physiological wellbeing. Massage provides a nurturing touch, which in turn, nurtures the life of the unborn child. In offering time and space to relax and relieving the aches and pains felt by a pregnant body, pregnancy massage promotes baby’s development. Massage also reduces cortisol (a stress hormone) that crosses over into the womb.
Bodywork during pregnancy can:
- Relieve common pregnancy pain, including low back, sciatica, hip tension, carpal tunnel syndrome, and headaches
- Decrease edema (swelling) and enhance circulation
- Stimulate the endocrine system, thereby stabilizing hormones
- Provide stress relief, emotional support, and tranquil relaxation
- Support overall health and the immune system
Induction Massage is for full-term mothers near or past their due date hoping to induce labor naturally. This therapy includes a combination of relaxation massage, release of areas where deeper stress and discomfort are stored, and stimulation of labor-inducing, tender-to-touch acupressure and reflexology points that are normally avoided during pregnancy massage. Energetic essential oils and energy work are often included in the session. Induction massage can be a wonderful time for a mother to process her feelings about her upcoming birth and ask last-minute childbirth questions. Induction massage is only offered once a mother has reached 39 weeks of gestation, or earlier in special circumstances such as prior to a scheduled induction. A 90-minute induction massage is recommended, as it has proven to be much more effective than 60 or 30 minutes. Studies show that stimulating the induction points helps raise oxytocin levels (the hormones needed to give birth) to a peak around 7-8 hours after the massage; generally speaking, if baby is ready, labor would then begin within 24-48 hours. If a mother’s body and baby are not ready, induction massage will help the cervix to ripen, efface and dilate, but labor will not begin until baby’s gestation is truly complete.
Postpartum massage is designed to help speed up recovery from birth and restore the body to its pre-pregnant condition. This therapy increases vascular circulation, helps to balance out hormonal shifts, provides relief for sore muscles, and offers time and space for relaxation and nurturing emotional support during the early postpartum period.