Each pregnancy massage is unique to each individual. The session begins with a short consultation where I will ascertain what kind of treatment is right for you. This will depend on what stage of pregnancy you are in, how you are feeling in your body, any pregnancy symptoms you might be experiencing and how you are feeling in your emotional self. Pregnancy is one of the biggest journeys you will go on in life and it is full of hormonal, emotional and bodily changes. Pregnancy massage can support these changes at any stage in your pregnancy.
The pregnancy massage can take the form of a full body treatment working directly on the skin using oil. I usually work in a side-lying position using lots of pillows to support you and help you to feel comfortable. If you are earlier on in pregnancy and still feel comfortable to have a few minutes lying on your back I can finish with some realigning work and some massage in this position. I will only work on the areas you would like me to and any part not being massaged will be covered with towels for warmth and modesty.
What issues can pregnancy massage help with?
Pregnancy massage can work to release tension in the body, support the natural postural changes of pregnancy, relieve tension headaches, work with lower and upper back pain, relieve sciatica and SPD symptoms. It can help with any oedema by stimulating the circulatory and lymphatic systems and draining excess fluid. Often, exhaustion can be a consuming part of pregnancy and I can use energy boosting techniques combined with deeply relaxing techniques to help with this.
Some (not all) enjoy abdominal massage in pregnancy. This can have lots of benefits, both for the mother and the baby. It relaxes and unwinds any tension in the abdominal muscles, creating more space for the baby and greater comfort for the mother. It supports the movement of these muscle groups during pregnancy which in turn can help to rebalance any postural changes that are causing lower back irritation. The core muscles need gentle toning and strengthening throughout pregnancy (and beyond!) which will help to avoid diastasis recti (the separation of the central rectus abdominus muscles as the baby grows). Pregnancy abdominal massage can be really helpful for stimulating the digestive system which can sometimes be affected by pregnancy as the growing baby restricts the amount of space there is for all the digestive organs.
The baby also benefits from pregnancy massage as all the bodily systems are stimulated therefore bringing increased oxygen and nourishment to the baby through the circulatory system and the placenta. The baby will be able to feel any abdominal massage through the skin and muscles and will often respond with some little kicks. Deep relaxation in the mother through out the pregnancy massage will stimulate a release of pregnancy hormones (oxytocin, known as the ‘love’ hormone and endorphins, the body’s ‘feel good’ hormone) which will in turn transfer to the baby. In late pregnancy, if you are close to going into labour, pregnancy massage can really help to support this natural process and allow you to relax into birthing your baby.
I can use acupressure points and energy balancing pressures to relieve stress and pregnancy symptoms (e.g. nausea) and rebalance the whole self. In late pregnancy and labour, some of these acupressure points to support and potentially even encourage the body to move into labour, help to regulate or stimulate contractions and support changes of the baby’s position and the expulsion of the placenta.
At the end of the pregnancy massage I can offer self care strategies involving strengthening and stretching exercises, postural awareness techniques to support issues like lower back and pelvic pain and breathing and grounding techniques for pregnancy and birth.