When you are pregnant, a good massage will be therapeutic to say the least. A spouse or partner can get involved by performing the calming massages; it will calm your body mind and soul. Unlike what many think, a massage should not just be for labor; it is beneficial throughout pregnancy.
Below are the top merits of a massage during pregnancy;
A massage will remove anxiety and tension for a better mind.
A massage is soothing, releasing great comfort.
Since a massage activates your digestive system, it is a great way to maintain healthy metabolism.
A massage will work on the stiff knots in muscles clearing minor aches and pains.
It will boost and enhance your sleep.
Image source: Raynor Massage
Common massage techniques
As the baby grows, it is necessary to use different positions to get an effective massage. Pillows are great for support. Around the fifth month, using pillows while lying on the side and under your upper leg is a great source of support. There are many techniques that require different movements and strokes.
A massage technique that requires the use of your fingertips to make circles around a surface like the back is great; it is referred to as effleurage.
Slicing short and quick movements are referred to as the percussion technique. It is vital to keep in mind that this technique is not suitable for pregnancy. However, if you must have it, it should be used on legs only.
Grabbing and squeezing can boost blood circulation and relaxation of muscles. This technique is known as petrissage.
Thumbs and the heels of your hands can be used o make a circular motion in a rubbing manner. This technique is popular and it called friction.
With the techniques above, it is critical to take precaution because pregnancy needs care at all times. The following are ways to do this;
For the first 3 months of pregnancy, avoid having a body massage.
There are certain key areas that vigorous strokes should never be used. They include the abdomen, inner thigh and the groin area.
It is good to avoid any pressure on the ankle because the womb and ovaries relate to it.
The use of essential oils in the first leg of pregnancy is discouraged. It is pivotal to seek the expertise of a qualified aromatherapist in this regard.
Varicose or spider veins should never be massaged.
Lying on the back during the late months of pregnancy should be avoided.
A guide to aromatherapy
Because of a high chemical content, essential oils should be avoided in early pregnancy as hinted above. However, if these oils are mixed with neutral bases like water and carrier oil, they can be used. Doing a patch test on skin to find out if there will be a reaction will inform you about the safety of the oil.
The essential oils to use during pregnancy
When the first trimester is over, people can use citrus oils to boost mood and revitalize the body.
During the 24th week of pregnancy, chamomile oil can be used to treat insomnia and to relax the body.
At around week 28, lavender can be used for aromatherapy.
Use of neroli in the final weeks is encouraged to relieve tension.
Almond and jojoba oils can be used as safe oil carriers. They can be mixed with about 5 drops of the essential oils. The safe carrier oils should be at least 25ml.
Essential oils to avoid during pregnancy
It is essential to avoid certain oils and examples include fennel, lavender, clary sage, cajuput and cinnamon leaf. Before 28 weeks, make sure to avoid myrrh, sweet marjoram and rosemary. Those who suffer with hypertension should avoid thyme and rosemary. Nut oils and wheat germ should be avoided for those who have allergies like asthma and eczema.
Good massage techniques during pregnancy
There are certain areas of focus that will do a mother well when it comes to massages. Ideal pregnancy massage courses can help people perfect their art in this regard. A focus on the ankle and legs is great because it will relieve edema. The following are great steps to follow to give the mother a worthy massage.
Sit on a massage chair or a place where the back and the legs are well supported. A partner can then apply some pressure using the thumbs on the upper shin. Doing this 3 to 5 times is ideal.
Using the thumb pad put some pressure around the ankle area ensuring proper support. It is good to be gentle and firm while doing this.
Focus on the toes and use your fingertips to make circular motions that are relaxing. Pull gently and repeat the motions on each toe in both legs.
The back and the neck are very sensitive and are prone to aches and pains. The following is how to go about massaging them during pregnancy.
Working on the back should be done from the bottom to the top. With firm glides and a comfortable grip, friction movement can also be applied. The bottom up movement can employ the effleurage technique.
Working up to the shoulders is very relaxing. Using thumb pads and fingers start at the shoulders and end on the neck. Outward movements then back in. This should culminate to the top of the arms then back to shoulders and neck. Petrissage is the most suitable technique here.
Area of focus
It is important to avoid the pregnancy bump during a massage. However, a touching stroke that is feather light will not do any harm. During the first trimester, a head and face massage will be ideal to eliminate headaches and tension. During the second phase or pregnancy, the back, shoulders and buttocks should be worked on. This will relieve indigestion and insomnia. In the last trimester, focus should be on the legs, neck, back and shoulders. Edema will be reduced this way for overall relaxation.