Body Sense

SUMMER | 2019

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10 Body Sense A woman's body goes through an insane list of changes during pregnancy, not the least of which is shifting pubic bones, hip and back issues, sharp stabs of round ligament pain, and even pregnancy-caused carpal tunnel syndrome. Pregnancy puts a lot on the table for moms-to- be, but massage can play an important role in keeping them as comfortable as possible. Pregnancy massage, also called prenatal massage, has been used for centuries to improve the overall health and well-being of expectant women. Since ancient times, prenatal massage has been practiced by midwives who were extremely skilled at abdominal massage, massage of the back and legs, and massage to correct the birthing position of the unborn child. 1 Today, research indicates that prenatal massage techniques have many benefits—all of which were known to traditional midwives long ago. 2 THE BENEFITS OF PREGNANCY MASSAGE According to a study done by the University of Miami School of Medicine, 3 pregnancy massage has been proven to decrease levels of stress hormones; lower anxiety; relieve muscle tension; reduce swelling; alleviate back, neck, and leg pain; increase serotonin and dopamine levels; and improve sleep. Prenatal massage also keeps your lymphatic system working at peak efficiency, can help alleviate headaches and sinus congestion (common pregnancy problems), and may also help alleviate depression without medication. 4 Best of all, prenatal massage reconnects your body and mind, which is especially important during pregnancy. There are so many drastic (and dramatic) physical and emotional changes occurring that it's hard to remember to practice self-care. Getting regular pregnancy massages is a huge step in that direction. IS PREGNANCY MASSAGE SAFE? While healthy women with normal, low-risk pregnancies can benefit greatly from massage by a trained pregnancy massage therapist, experts recommend that women with high-risk pregnancies or underlying health conditions talk with their doctor or midwife before starting a massage therapy program. One major factor of concern for doctors is the variation of training and lack of certification standards for therapists who practice prenatal massage. Lindsay Pregnancy Massage How Women Can Ease the Aches and Pains of Their 9-Month Journey By Lisa Bakewell

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