What Your Body Kneads
Absolutely.Pre-and post-natal massages are beneficial therapeutic bodywork which focus on the special needs of mothers. And before mothers undergo the dramatic changes of childbirth, pre-natal massages are especially helpful. Because of the myriad of changes pregnant women undergo, pre-natal massage therapists are trained to understand all stages of pregnancy and cater specifically to the different needs and altering bodies of different mothers.
The most common complaint amongst pregnant women is lower backache. Usually caused by the weight of the baby changing the centre of gravity and putting stress on back, neck, abdominals and shoulders, backaches are also caused by the pelvic joints becoming less stable, which is compounded by the ligaments relaxing, thereby pulling the pelvis forward and shifting the posture. These instances call for a certified prenatal massage therapist to identify sore spots and provide relief. On top of that, it is believed that massage therapy may relieve depression and anxiety caused by hormonal changes common to pregnant or post-natal mums. This is especially good for women susceptible to depression, pre- or postpartum. Increased relaxation allows mums to sleep better, thereby giving them a happier and healthier pregnancy, and possibly an easier childbirth. In general, pre- or post-partum massage generally soothes and relieves tension and nervousness. Further to that, less anxiety can boost one’s immunity as well.
For mums who just delivered, postnatal benefits are similar. Mums usually experience even more severe tiredness and backaches the first few days post-delivery, and a massage would help. Finally, it is believed that massage therapy can aid in regaining one’s post-pregnant shape, as it restores the abdominal muscle wall and contract the uterus to its normal size. Further to that, it removes water retention and reduces unsightly stretch marks. But although a massage therapist is able to anticipate the multitude of needs each mum may have, a massage may not be not for everyone. For instance, post-natal massages are not recommended for women who have had Caesarean deliveries, severe hypertension or serious protruding varicose veins. Be sure to talk to your massage therapist beforehand to communicate your own special needs.
The magic of massage can be applied to your infant too. In fact, infant massage may assist in the following:
Beyond social development, researchers in neonatal development have discovered that physical touch influences proper brain and physical development.
Pain relief and relaxation
Multiple studies all over the world have found skin to skin contact and baby massage improved mother-infant interaction, sleep and relaxation, reduced crying and reduced stress hormones levels. Babies also needed less time to fall asleep, slept better, and had higher body temperatures when they received skin-to-skin care. One particular study found that infants whose fathers spent time caring for them on their chests became drowsy within 60 minutes after birth, whereas infants cared for in a cot reached the same stage after 110 minutes. The infants in the skin-to-skin group were comforted, that is, they stopped crying, became calmer, and reached a drowsy state earlier than the infants in the cot group
Frequent and regular physical contact between mother and babies has shown to improve breathing in babies.
Studies have shown a link between increased physical contact between mother-baby and better immune development of the baby.
Babies that have been touched more often have been found to gain weight faster. It helps them crawl & walk earlier, as well. So you see, massage is definitely useful – not just for you, but for your baby!