Hi there! I invite you right now, where you are, to freeze. Just for a second, take in an intentional deep breath and close your eyes as you slowly release it. (Seriously, do it.) How are you feeling? This present moment is pretty perfect isn’t it? Great! Now we are ready to continue. Why did I ask you to do that? Because your self-care is important. Because no one else can be intentional about making sure you are alive and well. Only you can do that for yourself. It’s our own job to care for our amazing beautiful vessels.
Massage therapy. What comes to mind when you hear those two words together? Feel free to take a moment and think about it. Perhaps a visual of someone laying flat out on a table with a pretty flower in their hair comes to mind. Maybe you think of candles, music, and the wonderful luxurious aromas and oils that spike your senses. As wonderful as it may seem to experience a day in sweet haven, the reality is most people will wait for someone else to consider it as a gift to give them on their birthday.
Long gone are the days when massage therapy was viewed only as a luxury for the fancy and fat wallets. Thankfully the healthcare industry has grown and with it the research supporting how beneficial it is to address the pain and tension that comes with living in today’s generation.
Massage therapy has been around for ages and was used to support women during pregnancy AND labor all over the rest of the world. However, there was a time when massage therapy for pregnant women was unheard of here in the U.S. No one would dare touch a pregnant woman in fear of the unfortunate event that a miscarriage should happen. That is until Elaine Stillerman, Licensed Massage Therapist in NY, began rescuing her pregnant friends from back and hip pain with massage therapy in 1980. Soon after she became popularly known as the prenatal massage therapist. Women all over flocked to receive some freedom from their ever changing, achy and tired bodies.
Prenatal massage therapy is available not because it’s “nice to pamper our mommies”. It is available because moms today have the right to receive knowledgeable, experienced, quality care in the realm of their bodies. The myths about prenatal massage have been dispelled. The anxious world of the unknown is over. Massage is not only helpful, but vital and necessary for a healthy pregnancy.
Some of the benefits include but are not limited to:
Emotional Support through Nurturing Touch
Greater Circulation - Improving Baby’s Oxygen Supply
Promotes Relaxation and Deep Breathing
Reduces Swelling in Hands and Feet and Prevention of Varicose Veins
Relieves Stress on Weight Bearing Joints
Prepares Muscles used during Childbirth
Alleviates Neck and Back Pain caused by Muscle Imbalance or Weakness
Assists in Maintaining Proper Posture
Improves Skin Elasticity
Helps Stabilize Stress Hormones Levels
Offers Faster Recovery of Energy and Muscle Tone after Childbirth
Reduces Postpartum Stress
On a Personal Note: I received continuous massage therapy throughout both of my pregnancies. Why? Because my neck and shoulders were rock solid. My upper back would lock up from the weight of my growing chest. My hips were tired from the side lying positions of sleep and resorted to sleep sitting up which made little difference. And you know what? I felt instantly better after each session. The secret? I had a great massage therapist that knew how to work with me and confidently execute her craft.
If you have decided that you are willing to integrate prenatal massage therapy as part of your healthcare, then congratulations! So here is what you do. Call up your local massage therapy practice and ask to be booked with a Certified Prenatal Massage therapist. If there isn’t one there, keep searching until you find one. I will tell you why. Prenatal massage theory is given in general to massage therapy students as part of their education. But it is so minimal in hours that most, if not all, therapists that graduate feel little to ZERO confidence working on a pregnant client. That will lead to a very unfulfilling experience for the client and a waste of time and money. A Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist has furthered their education to make sure they learned everything they need to know to work with pregnant clients.
Prenatal Massage Therapy will help you hurt less, feel better, and sleep more =)
Well it was fun sharing with you all. Make sure to keep breathing slow breaths!
Until next time…
Cynthia Thomas, LMT
Cynthia Thomas is a Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist through the MotherMassage Program designed and taught by Pioneer Elaine Stillerman herself. She owns and runs Locust Grove Wellness a private massage practice in Locust Grove, Virginia. She loves baking with her two daughters, hitting the gym and reading how-to books on handling chaos.
For more information visit: LocustGroveWellness.com