Massage therapy addresses different needs through varying techniques, the most common is Swedish Massage. This aims to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation through light pressure applied to the body. Studies indicate that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pain, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health.
When massage was introduced to women’s prenatal care, hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress were significantly altered, which led to mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health. Studies conducted in the past 10 years of women who received bi-weekly massages for five weeks, showed “stress hormones” norepinephrine and cortisol were reduced and dopamine and serotonin levels were increased. These changes in hormone levels also led to fewer complications during birth and fewer instances of newborn complications, such as low birth weight. The evidence points strongly to maternal and newborn health benefits when therapeutic massage is incorporated into regular prenatal care.
Swelling of the joints during pregnancy is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus. Massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce collection of fluids in swollen joints.
Sciatic nerve pain is commonly experienced by women in late pregnancy as the uterus rests on muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. The pressure of the uterus spreads tension to the muscles of the upper and lower leg, causing them to swell and put pressure on nearby nerves. Massage addresses the inflamed nerves by helping to release the tension on nearby muscles. Many women have experienced significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through regular massage.
More Benefits of Prenatal Massage
- Better Sleep
- Reduced Back and Joint Pain
- Improved Circulation
- Reduces Muscle Tension and Headaches
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety