Therapeutic massage has been used for centuries to improve overall health, reduce stress, and relieve muscle tension. Massage and pregnancy has often received ambivalent responses from the health community regarding the safety and purpose of massage during pregnancy. Modern investigation and research is proving that prenatal massage therapy can be a very instrumental ingredient in women’s prenatal care and should be given careful consideration.
Although most massage training institutions teach massage therapy for women who are pregnant, it is best to find a massage therapist who is certified in prenatal massage. The APA does work with some massage therapists who are trained to work with pregnant women, but it is still important to ask about qualifications.
Modern investigation and research is proving that prenatal massage therapy can be a very instrumental ingredient in women's prenatal care and should be given careful consideration. The licensed massage therapists at Rio Vista Wellness Center have trained to provide the very best in prenatal and post partum massage therapy utilizing time honored and cutting edge techniques and the finest equipment for your safety and comfort.
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.
The therapists at Rio Vista Wellness Center address different needs through varying techniques. Swedish massage which aims to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation through mild pressure applied to the muscle groups of the body. Swedish massage is one of the recommended prenatal massage methods during pregnancy as it addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts during pregnancy. Mild stretching and light Swedish massage strokes are used to soothe your sore body. You will appreciate the reduced aching in stress bearing joints such as the ankles, knees, hips and the lower back. Our goal is to leave you feeling relaxed, restored, and rejuvenated!
Sometimes a deeper touch is required with deep tissue, neuromuscular work, or myofacial release. Additionally, Active Isolated Stretching or A.I.S. has proven to be extremely effective as well.
Your therapist will discuss the treatment options and help formulate a treatment plan while adjusting to your changing body and needs.
Studies done in the past 10 years have shown that hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered, leading to mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health, when massage therapy was introduced to women's prenatal care. Hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol ("stress hormones") were reduced and dopamine and serotonin levels (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression) were increased in women who received bi-weekly massages for only five weeks. These changes in hormone levels also led to fewer complications during birth and fewer instances of newborn complications, such as low birth weight. The evidence points strongly to maternal and newborn health benefits when relaxing, therapeutic massage is incorporated into regular prenatal care. Active Isolated Stretching or A.I.S. has proven to be very effective at preparing the muscles and tissues for the stresses of childbirth, especially when started early on, pre pregnancy.
Edema, or swelling of the joints during pregnancy, is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus. Massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce collection of fluids in swollen joints, which also improves the removal of tissue waste, carried by the body's lymph system.
Sciatic nerve pain is experienced by many women in late pregnancy as the uterus rests on muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. The pressure of the uterus spreads tension to the muscles of the upper and lower leg, causing them to swell and put pressure on nearby nerves. Massage therapy addresses the inflamed nerves by helping to release the tension on nearby muscles. Many women have experienced significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through regular massage.
Other potential benefits of prenatal massage:
As with any therapeutic approach to pregnancy wellness, women should discuss massage with their prenatal care provider. The best way to address the risks of prenatal massage is to be informed and to work together with knowledgeable professionals.
Rio Vista Wellness Center incorporates the use of pregnancy massage "body cushions" and hydraulic adjustable massage tables, as well as an assortment of other cushions and bolsters to ensure comfort and safety. Often, the best position for a pregnant woman during massage is side-lying., but there are options. Your therapist will discuss all of the options to ensure your comfort at any stage in your pregnancy. We often hear that being on our tables in the only way a woman can get comfortable!
The latest information suggests that women can begin massage therapy at any point in their pregnancy - during the first, second, or third trimester. However, at Rio Vista Wellness Center, we feel that the first trimester has often been considered somewhat risky and therefore not generally recommended. With safety being our top priority, we do not offer massage during the first trimester unless specifically requested by a physician. We suggest beginning massage therapy and AIS stretching PRIOR to pregnancy, if at all possible. The benefits are amazing.
Women with the following conditions should speak with a health care provider prior to receiving a massage:
Incorporating Massage Therapy Into Your Prenatal Care
The benefits of massage and AIS stretching can improve overall prenatal health for many pregnant women. Along with the guidance and advice of a prenatal care provider, massage therapy can be incorporated into routine prenatal care as an emotional and physical health supplement proven to improve pregnancy outcome, and maternal health. Consult your midwife or obstetrician before beginning any new therapeutic practice.
Please talk with your massage therapist to see if Prenatal Massage would be beneficial for you.
Monday - Saturday
10:00 am to 8:00 pm