A pregnant woman has many natural choices for relief from her physical challenges. However, many mothers-to-be take extra precautions toward their health when they are pregnant. Combined with a lack of knowledge or clarification about alternative therapies such as massage, too many pregnant women are missing the amazing health benefits provided by prenatal massage.
Just like choosing any health practitioner, your choice in massage therapists should make you feel confident. Pregnant women should choose a massage therapist who has had special training in prenatal massage. If you live in a more populated area, you may be able to find a therapist who is also trained as a doula.
What about the rumors? So many styles of massage are practiced in the world that some misconceptions have circulated about massage for pregnant women.
First, pregnant women were forewarned about getting their feet massaged. The increasing popularity of Reflexology began the circulation of misconceptions, literally. Reflexology is one style of massage that focuses on the feet. Points on the feet correspond to organs and tissues elsewhere in the body. By this logic, stimulation to reproductive points in the feet could result in improved reproductive health. Therefore, a reflexologist could create healthier conditions for mother and baby by rubbing special points around the feet and ankles of pregnant women.
Sadly, caution turned to paranoia. Ignorance skewed our understanding of this healthy concept, and soon women worldwide were afraid to have their feet rubbed. Some purport that getting one’s feet rubbed can induce premature labor.
But the rumors didn’t stop there. Pregnant women stopped getting reflexology, then stopped getting their tired, swollen feet rubbed completely, then… *gasp*…
Some mistruths actually warn pregnant women from getting massage entirely.
Yikes! This is disastrous! This myth should signal a national health crisis!
Pregnant women have stopped getting their feet rubbed? (That should have been Alarm #1) and Now, Pregnant women are reluctant to get massages entirely… Whoa!
To dispel the myths “once and for all”, let’s look at the facts. Pregnant women have been getting their feet rubbed since the beginning of time! Reflexology is a very intentional use of deep pressure for reasons of improving physical conditions. No evidence has ever connected reflexology to unhealthy conditions in pregnant women.
Nikiah Seeds, a Canadian doula and Reflexology practitioner, reports that reflexology during pregnancy can have the following health benefits: * Ease heartburn, constipation, morning sickness, hypertension, and swelling. It has postnatal benefits, for both mothers and infants, too.
Most massage therapists will practice a modified Swedish massage for pregnant women. The client is made to feel comfortable. Most of the massage is gentle and relaxing.
Pregnant women can expect to feel some of these health benefits from prenatal massage:
o Relaxed muscles
o Improved sleep
o Reduced stress
o Enhanced immunity and circulation
o Less fatigue, more energy
o Better flow of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus
During her entire pregnancy, Crystal Roldan received regular massages. When asked about the greatest benefit of getting massages when she was pregnant, Crystal replied that prenatal massage “eases pain. When you’re pregnant, your lower back is in pain, and your ankles swell, plus I was on my feet a lot for my job. With the massages, the pain was gone. It made my life so much better. ” Crystal is now a massage therapist, specializing in prenatal massage, at Higher Spa & Studio in Basalt, Colorado.