Tennent Technique

Pregnancy Massage

More and more women are finding that a weekly or monthly massage during pregnancy helps to reduce stress and promote relaxation; provides emotional support (especially for those women who are going through the experience alone); relieves muscle spasms, cramps and general aches and pains; increases circulation and thus reduces the possibility of varicose veins and swelling in the feet and legs; helps with digestion and reduces the likelihood of stretch marks. Pregnant clients report that their massage sessions leave them feeling relaxed and comfortable, and with increased self-confidence and an enhanced body image. However, massage during pregnancy should be avoided by women with placental dysfunctions, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, toxaemia or threatened miscarriage. If in any doubt at all, have a chat with your doctor before booking an appointment with a therapist.

At this special time where you are preparing the body and mind to receive the growing baby within, many physical and emotional changes are taking place. The gentle and simple act of touch can bring comfort, support and a wonderful sense of nurturing as well as being able relieve both the physical and emotional symptoms which are specific to pregnancy, such as sacroiliac pain, water retention, constipation, cramp, sciatica, circulation problems, tiredness and numbness (especially at the side of the hip). On a more emotional, spiritual level, this treatment can help to relieve anxiety and worry, and improve connection with the baby, or just provide an opportunity for some valuable pampering.

Most people enjoy human touch. A touch can convey comfort, love, awareness and many other sensations. It can also help alleviate aches and pains.

All of these are of benefit, especially when you are pregnant.

How does it work?

Massage is beneficial for almost everyone. Even women carrying multiples babies can benefit greatly from massage. There may be certain conditions that may or may not be related to the pregnancy that would preclude massage or certain types of massage. This may include women at risk for preterm labor, women with blood clots or clotting disorders, and other ailments. Many therapists recommend that you have a written notice from your doctor or midwife before receiving massage therapy during pregnancy. Massage done during the first trimester is generally up to the therapist, the woman and her practitioner. Massage has never been associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.

Massage can also be useful for labor. Techniques can be done by your partner or a doula. "The time to learn the techniques is while your pregnant before you go into labor. It is a great idea to take your partner or friend with you when you get your massage, any professional therapist will encourage this, they can show your partner many comfort measures he or she can use at home and will also explain why some techniques are unsafe. These hints will really help out when your in labor!"

Postpartum massage is designed to help restore the body to its pre-pregnant condition. It also addresses the stress of carrying and caring for a newborn. It can speed the recovery by bringing relief of sore muscles and help the mother to relax more easily. Abdominal massage helps shrink the uterus and relieve subcutaneous scar tissue. It may be given as early as 24 hours after delivery in a vaginal delivery but only with written permission from your doctor or midwife.

No matter where you are in the childbearing year, massage may have many benefits for you and your baby.

What does it involve?

Massage during pregnancy differs from a regular massage in a couple of ways. The biggest way it differs is that the person receiving the massage is pregnant, and therefore knowledge of pregnancy and the anatomy of a pregnant woman are very important. This means that positioning during a massage is critical to the safety and well-being of both the mother and the baby she is carrying. There are also parts of the body that should not be massaged.

The massage table will be set up so you will lie in a semi-reclining position. This is not only really comfortable, but safe for baby. Also you will turn from side to side to do your back and hips, there are body pillows, wedge pillows and extra padding to make you comfortable, "Never use the tables with the whole cut out for your belly, these cause undo stress to your lower back, it may seem like a great idea, but it isn't."

The room setting for a pregnancy massage is much like a typical massage, the room will have low lightening, you will lie on a warm extra padded table. Soft music will be in the background to help you relax and drift off. Some therapists will provide music with a baby's heartbeat in the background, some use candles to also set the mood and of course they smell good too. Be sure to tell your therapist if any of these disturb your senses. Sometimes there might be music or smells that don't quite agree with you and they are easily changed.

A questions I am often asked about massage is about the level of clothing one will wear. That is really between you and your therapist. Many mums choose to remove all of their clothing, though they are never uncovered, as they are always covered by the sheets and towels. Some choose to wear their underwear or their bra and underwear. Whatever you choose to wear or remove is completely up to you and your comfort level.

What is it good for?

Additionally, a prenatal massage therapist can frequently recognise early signs of dangerous complications, reducing the risk to both mother and child.

What are the benefits?

What are the side effects and when should it be avoided?

"But I'm only in my second trimester, I'm not that big yet," you may say. Why go for a massage if you're feeling good? Well, how about feeling even better. Some doctors do not recommend massage in the first trimester, but encourage it in the second and third. Some contend that all stages of pregnancy are good times for massage.

If you're only going to indulge once, then you may want to wait until your growing uterus and belly (and all that comes with that growth) is causing you some swelling and some aching. However, if you have the time, inclination, and budget to take care of yourself in this way, pregnancy massage has been cited as being beneficial at all stages of pregnancy.

There are relatively few risks with prenatal massage, and some of the risks that are talked about a lot are urban legends. The real risks are:

For the most part all of these side effects can be avoided, as long as the therapist knows what he or she is doing. Nausea and dizziness can occur after any massage, and are not uncommon during pregnancy. Avoid eating immediately before a massage, and get up carefully to avoid problems. Muscle soreness is generally the result of not getting enough fluid after a massage. Drink a lot of water in the first two hours after a massage to prevent this.

Embody Complementry - Trevor Tennent Proffessionally Qualified for Hopi Ear Candling, Hot Stone Therapy, Indian Head Massage, Seated Acupressure Massage and Sports Massage Complementary Therapists Association

'All treatments offered here are intended as complementary to conventional medicine and are by no means an alternative to, or replacement, for any conventional therapy you may require. If you are currently receiving medical treatment for a particular condition, I may require a letter of clearance from your GP or consultant before treating you'.

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