Massage therapy has been used for centuries to improve health, reduce stress and relieve muscle tension as well as improve overall feelings of well being. Message therapy can include over 30 different techniques and types of therapy but the one underlying factor is that the massage works to manipulate the muscle, tissue or ligaments to affect change.
Pregnancy is a time of life during which women undergo a variety of side effects, some more pleasant than others. All women can expect to experience some stiffness and muscle tension as the uterus expands to accommodate the growing baby. Massage therapy has been found to relieve many of the common side effects of pregnancy, whether back aches, headaches, edema or other pregnancy related problems.
Among some of the myths and old wives tales is that massage should be avoided during the first trimester of pregnancy because it may cause a spontaneous abortion. A miscarriage, or spontaneous loss of pregnancy, is defined as the loss of the feed is to be for it is viable. An early spontaneous abortion occurs in the first 12 weeks of life. Almost 90% occur within the first eight weeks. Unfortunately, the logic of no prenatal massages in the first trimester is based more on litigious concerns than anything else.
Most people enjoy a human touch and types can convey comfort, love, awareness and many other sensations. In fact, individuals who are on the latter stage of cancer experience pain relief and decrease stress and fear through the human touch.
Prenatal massage is gaining increasing popularity as women who are pregnant recognize the benefits of massage. Back pain is the more common concern during pregnancy and can continue even after the birth of the child. Fortunately massage can help relieve back pain as well as relieve edema or swelling by helping to stimulate circulation throughout the body. Massage on the legs can help reduce leg cramps and is beneficial for relaxation which decreases anxiety during pregnancy. Massage can help promote more restful sleep and prevent pregnancy related insomnia. Through relaxation you will also be able to relax the baby, particularly if you have your abdomen gently stroked.
Massage therapy has also been found to reduce the stress on weight-bearing joints during pregnancy. Hormones which are secreted help to relax the joints in the pelvic area in preparation for labor and delivery. Unfortunately, this relaxation also places greater stress on the pelvis and hips and massage therapy can help to relax muscles and improved tone. It can also improve the pliability of the skin and underlying tissue as the child and mom continue to grow.
However, it is vital that you seek the care of a qualified professional massage therapist during pregnancy. If wrong areas of the body are massage or certain acupressure points are triggered you during contractions can occur in some women. Massage therapists are trained in prenatal massage and know exactly what to avoid and what areas to focus on. Toward the end of a pregnancy a woman may consider a prenatal massage that will help during labor and could even strengthen contractions.
Some massage therapists use aromatherapy during the session and while many oils are safe others are contraindicated. Be sure you consult with a qualified massage therapist so you are not inhaling oils that can be contraindicated during pregnancy. Many oils can help relieve anxiety and tension while others are useful for relieving bloating and headaches. Most essential oils that may be helpful during pregnancy will include tangerine, lemon, Tea tree and Mandarin. Those oils which should be avoided are stage, fennel, Jasmine, Juniper and arnica.
However, these lists are by no means comprehensive. This means that there are other oils which should be avoided during pregnancy. Again, consult with a qualified massage therapists and if you have any concerns or doubts stick to his session without the use of massage oils.
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