Pregnancy can be a beautiful and magical time, but it also comes with its aches and pains. Changing body posture, additional strains on back, hips and legs, an increase in body fluid volume, and many other swift changes can set you up for some miserable days. Pregnancy massage, in the hands of a well-trained and caring therapist, can be just the cure your body needs. Besides, you deserve it. While women’s bodies are uniquely designed to accommodate a growing baby, the physiological changes that naturally occur as the baby grows can be quite startling. Many women are surprised to find out that lower back discomfort can begin almost as soon as they get pregnant, as well as when the baby’s weight starts pulling on things. A woman’s total body fluid volume – her blood, lymph, and other fluids – can increase by 1 ½ times, putting pressure on legs and slowing her down. Growing breasts can mean sore shoulders. Add hormonal swings into the mix that make aches and pains that much more irritating, and you have a woman in serious need of a massage!
Pregnancy massage does much more than feel fantastic. Massage therapy, with the many soft tissue techniques available to therapists today, can relax stiff muscles, realign and ease the body’s lines of strain, rejuvenate stagnant blood flow, and calm nerves that are frazzled from sleepless nights. Massage therapy can help with back pains, leg cramps, morning sickness, headaches, sore breasts and belly, and many other pregnancy complaints. A competent, well-trained massage therapist can also watch out for pregnancy trouble signs, and alert you to visit your doctor if anything seems amiss.
Good massage therapists are getting increasingly easy to find, thanks to improvements in training standards throughout North America. Finding a massage therapist with at least two years of schooling, 2000 hours or more, assures you that they are well trained (in British Columbia, look for the letters RMT after their name); finding one that has been working for more than five years tells you they are good enough to maintain a clientele. Having a massage therapist recommended by friends is worth its weight in gold.
Call the massage therapist and ask if they have a focus in prenatal massage. While all good massage training includes pregnancy work, some therapists take extra courses to specialize in it. Also ask if they have a table or pillow system that accommodates pregnancy – come seven or eight months, you’ll pay for the session just so you can lie face down!