Massage, Bodywork, and Integrative Fitness in Eugene, Oregon
About Pregnancy Massage
Studies indicate that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health. (From the American Pregnancy Association)
5 East 24th Avenue
Eugene, Oregon 97405
How does it work?
For many pregnant women, the first question regarding pregnancy massage is, "How does the positioning work?" At Sora Therapies, I offer my clients the choice between several different positioning options. I utilize a bodyCushion™, which allows for a woman to lie face-down in a supported, comfortable, and safe position throughout pregnancy. It also allows a woman to lie on her side in fully supported comfort, without putting pressure on the shoulders. I also have a massage table with a back-lift which allows for stability in the semi-reclining position, which is helpful later in pregnancy when lying flat on the back can become uncomfortable. By offering all of these options, a pregnant client can choose for herself what feels best for her unique body.Is lying face-down safe?There has been controversy among massage therapists over whether or not lying prone (face-down) during pregnancy is safe. Because of misinformation, I myself used to be of the mindset that women should not be prone during pregnancy. However, after much research and several years of performing only side-lying and semi-reclining pregnancy massage, my views have evolved. I have never found any evidence of negative effects from receiving prone massage during pregnancy, as long as the client is properly supported. I believe in empowering women to make their own decisions throughout pregnancy, and if a woman feels most comfortable lying prone, then I will do my best to accommodate her.
That said, I do not believe that all prone positioning systems are created equal. Before investing in my bodyCushion™, I did a lot of research. Other pregnancy cushions and massage tables with abdominal "cut-outs" are non-adjustable, which is a problem. Plus, even with a sling under the abdomen, it is difficult if not impossible to get the right amount of support underneath the belly without causing increased intrauterine pressure and/or lumbar curve, especially when massage techniques are applied to the low back. I tested such a table with an averagely proportioned pregnant client, and she found it to be very uncomfortable.
The bodyCushion™, on the other hand, is fully adjustable for all body types and sizes, and unlike a table, is made of a soft cushioning material. It supports the client on her bony landmarks, and provides cushioning for the belly so it is not "hanging". Basically, it lifts and supports the pregnant client, positioning her in more of a hands-and-knees position rather than flat on a table with her belly hanging through a hole. Furthermore, if a woman does find herself uncomfortable in the prone position for any reason, we can easily switch to the side-lying position, which is much more comfortable with the bodyCushion™
than with regular pillows.
Why Massage During Pregnancy?Massage during pregnancy not only makes a woman feel taken care of, but offers undeniable physical benefits as well. Massage can relieve fatigue, relieve body aches and pains, enhance sleep, calm an active baby, and more. Here's a breakdown of some of the most common benefits of pregnancy massage during each trimester:First Trimester• Relieve headaches• Help alleviate morning sickness• Reduce fatigue• Emotional supportSecond Trimester• Alleviate backaches• Relieve leg cramps• Reduce future stretch marksThird Trimester• Reduce swelling/edema• Relieve pain from varicosities• Enhance sleep• Prepare pelvic muscles for birth process• Help induce labor (if past due date) with specific acupressure and reflexology techniquesDuring the entire term of the pregnancy, massage can stimulate blood flow, which may assist in the prevention of anemia. An increase in muscle tone and flexibility will occur, alleviating leg cramps and muscle spasms.Massage during pregnancy is also a great way to relieve everyday tension and the general aches and pains your body is suffering. It stimulates your lymphatic system, increasing immunity and the removal of excess toxins, while also stabilizing hormonal levels and balancing the glandular system. Are There Times When Massage During Pregnancy Should Be Avoided?Women with normal, low-risk pregnancies can benefit greatly from massage by a trained pregnancy massage therapist. However, women in high-risk pregnancies should consult with their doctor or midwife before beginning a massage therapy program. Depending on why the pregnancy is considered high-risk, certain techniques may need to be avoided. If at any time during the massage you experience discomfort, tell the therapist immediately.What About Massage After Delivery?Postpartum massage during the weeks and months after delivery helps to restore muscle tone in the abdomen and re-position the pelvis. Massage can also be very helpful in dealing with new aches and pains that may arise after delivery for both mothers and fathers. Often new mothers and fathers experience similar tension in the neck, upper back, arms, and shoulders as a result of holding and carrying their growing child. Nursing mothers may find this to be especially true! And remember, touch is a very important part of bonding with your baby. Ask about receiving instruction in massaging your baby. Besides being a wonderful way to bond with your baby, Infant Massage can improve sleep, reduce symptoms of colic, reduce infant stress, alleviate gas, and improve digestion.Note too that massage can be of benefit during labor as well. Receiving relaxing massage during labor can help to ease anxieties and help things go more smoothly. Certain acupressure and reflexology points can be used to relieve pain, or even help to induce labor if that is desired. Feel free to call or email Kelsey to learn more about prenatal massage, labor massage, postpartum massage, and infant massage.