Benefits of Pregnancy, Post-natal and Infant Massage
with a Registered Massage Therapist
Massage for the expectant mother can be a way of taking much-needed time for self-care; the benefits will be felt both physically and mentally, before and after birth.
Physical discomforts such as swelling in the feet and legs, back and hip pain, and tension headaches can all be addressed with massage. During pregnancy, circulation can be affected by the increase in blood volume that occurs as well as the compression of arteries in the pelvis due to the increasing size and weight of the uterus. Long, rhythmic massage strokes encourage proper circulation which may help to relieve swelling in the lower body and decrease chances of developing varicose veins. With a changing
center of gravity and increased weight in the front of the body, many women experience low back and hip pain as well as pain in the upper back and shoulders. By targeting muscle and connective tissue, massage therapy can help to combat the aches and pains associated with imbalances that can happen as your body adjusts to changes in posture and gait. Tension headaches, quite common during pregnancy, are often caused by postural changes and muscle imbalances, which massage therapy can address effectively.
As well as the physical relief that massage can provide, there are also many important emotional and mental benefits of massage therapy pre- and perinatally. Studies done by Tiffany Field and associates at the Touch Research Institute found that women who received regular massage during pregnancy had lower levels of stress hormones, not only during the study but for several months postpartum. These results also affected their infants, as babies born to the massaged mothers also showed lower stress hormones than controls. Relaxation during pregnancy has been shown to correlate with shorter labours, fewer prenatal and labour complications, reduced fear and anxiety and an increased immune response.
Several of our therapists are also infant massage instructors. They can teach you simple, safe massage techniques to use with your baby. The regular practice of infant massage has been proven to have many benefits for both the baby and the parent giving the massage. For babies it has been linked to decreased irritability, relief from constipation, gas pain and colic, increased growth, a strengthened immune system, increased circulation, and enhancement of neurological development. For parents it has been shown to decrease feelings of post-partum depression, increase bonding and increase comfort and confidence in their new role.
Making infant massage a part of your daily routine provides comfortable predictability for your baby, but it can also provide a time of quiet and relaxation for parents, too.
The Alive and Well Massage Therapy Clinic has been operating in Kamloops since 1999. Started as the solo practice of Luz Meyer, RMT, it has grown to include eight therapists. All massage therapists at Alive and Well are Registered with the College of Massage Therapists of BC and, as such, are recognized as health professionals under the Canada Health Act. This means that many extended medical plans will cover the cost of some or all of the massage therapy session for you or your baby. If you live in a low income household, BC MSP can cover $23 for up to 10 treatments per year; we would be happy to help determine whether you qualify for this benefit. Additionally, our office is equipped with a bodyCushion™ support pillow designed specifically to accommodate pregnant women, adequately supporting the stomach so that
back massage can be performed comfortably and safely. To ensure that the bodyCushion™ is available, please mention it when booking your first appointment.
If you have any questions or concerns about the safety of massage therapy and pregnancy, please feel free to discuss it with your therapist at any time, and of course, with your maternity care provider.
To book and discuss your prenatal, post-natal or infant massage appointment with one of our Registered Massage Therapists, please call us at 250-374-6325.
May 5, 2011