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The power of touch is beyond words. A hug from a dear friend can lift sagging spirits within seconds! Massages, hence, are without a doubt something that can bring great comfort, relaxation and peace of mind to a pregnant mother, or a mother that has just given birth to her baby. However, massages are often not as emphatically encouraged as other things like taking supplements and exercising are. In order to bridge this rift, it is important to understand the positive effects that massages bring.
Why You Need Massages
The art and technique of massaging is as old as mankind itself. In fact, even other animals engaging in activities that mimic the techniques of a common body massage. Anyone who has ever seen funny dog or cat videos on the Internet will know this. Right from the Greek, Chinese, Japanese, to the Egyptians, Mesopotamian and Indian people have known for the longest time, that the human body benefits from pressure being applied to different parts, using sometimes their bare hands, and sometimes other objects.
Today, at least 20 different massage techniques are popular and offered by most massage parlours. Here are some of the common benefits of massages:
- Massages help you de-stress and relax. They can be especially potent when combined with aromatherapy, with the use of proper massage oils.
- Massages can lower blood pressure. This is mainly because massages relieve stress, which is the most common cause of blood pressure problems.
- Massages help taut muscles relax. This is one of their best benefits for someone who does a lot of physical work around the house or has an intensive workout regime.
- Massages promote good blood flow and circulation. This is something that you will notice in time, once you start getting regular massages.
- Massages boost the immune system too. The lymphatic system of the body is responsible for circulating the lymphatic fluid (which contains antibodies) from head to toe, as a means of detecting infections in time. However, the lymphatic fluid does not course through the body without some external force acting on it. Exercise and massages are two effective ways to make this happen.
- Massages help you sleep better. When your mentally and physically relaxed, you will automatically sleep better.
Things You Need for Prenatal and Postnatal Massages
Before we take a look at the importance and benefits of getting massages during pregnancy as well as after childbirth, let’s first understand what you need for a good massage:
1. Good Massage Oil
This one is crucial to nail because the wrong kind of oil may not only leave you nauseous or with a headache, it can also damage your skin or leave a nasty scar. This is why a lot of women opt for organic or natural vegetable oils – they are chemical-free and often prove to be nourishing, moisturising and gentle on the skin. One such oil worth considering is Figaro Olive Oil. Olive oil has a lot of benefits, from improving hair and nail growth and texture, to moisturising the skin, and evening the skin tone of your face. So go ahead and try Figaro’s Olive Oil for your massages.
2. A Qualified and Certified Masseur/Masseuse
Massaging a pregnant lady, or a woman who has just given birth, is different from massaging a person who isn’t in those phases. Only a trained specialist who knows the nuances, as well as differences between the two, should be allowed to massage a mom.
3. Proper Massage Equipment
As your tummy grows bigger, you may not be able to do certain things like lying down on your back, turning your limbs a certain way, etc. Your masseur or masseuse should not only be aware of this, but also have enough provisions to make you comfortable – this means lots of pillows, cushions, adequate neck and back support, and alternative sitting options (in case lying down is seeming difficult, uncomfortable, or impossible).
4. A Clean Toilet and Bathroom
If you are going to a massage parlour or spa, be sure to check their toilet and bathroom before booking an appointment. You do not want your massage appointment to become an excuse to contract a urinary infection or any other germs. Not only are you at an elevated risk of infection, but some infections can also put your baby at risk! Play safe.
Importance and Benefits of Prenatal Massages
A lot of women – even those who are convinced of the benefits of massages – feel conflicted when it comes to getting massaged during pregnancy. They are afraid to do anything to the body that may put their precious little baby in danger, and understandably so. However, women can benefit from massages during pregnancy.
- They can also help you get some much deserved and required peace and quiet. If you are a first-time mother, this will be a welcome experience with all the worry and anxiety gripping you.
- Prenatal massages have also been found to regulate hormone levels in pregnant women. This is primarily owing to the relaxation and destressing power of massages.
- As your belly grows in size, the movement may be greatly restricted. At such times, a massage can keep the blood circulation on track. This, in turn, has other secondary benefits like improved immunity, better sleep, etc.
- Prenatal massages can help you tackle a lot of common pregnancy ailments like stiff neck and shoulders, swollen ankles, headaches, back pain, etc.
- Prenatal massages may also help relieve heartburn in some women. However, this varies from person to person.
- Many women report feeling less bloated, constipated and nauseous, as a result of prenatal massage therapy.
- Finally, massages can be a great way for a couple to bond and keep their intimacy intact. This is important in light of the fact that pregnancy is a period of abstinence for many couples. Massages can be a powerful way for mothers to feel more connected to their partner, and overcome the feeling of being touch-deprived.
Importance and Benefits of Post-natal Massages
Postnatal or postpartum massages are more common than pre-natal massages. However, some moms may get too caught up in caring for their baby to realise they need to take care of themselves too! Postnatal massages are not a luxury, they are a necessity. Here are the benefits of postnatal massages:
- The most obvious benefits of postpartum massages include muscle relaxation, pain relief, and decreased swelling. Other physical benefits also include improved blood circulation, fewer stretch marks, and improving muscle tone in order to tuck your tummy back in.
- Postpartum massaging has also been known to stimulate breastmilk supply. They help relieve clogged milk-ducts and make breastfeeding a lot less painful.
- Postpartum massages speed up recovery in case of a C-section. This is an important point in favour of postnatal massages because recuperating after a C-section is especially challenging and difficult. The faster you heal, the better you can look after your kid.
- Immunity takes a hit during pregnancy. Most mothers will report having fallen ill at least a couple of times during their pregnancy. Postpartum massages can help you gain your immunity back by facilitating the circulation of the lymphatic fluid (which is responsible for carrying antibodies around the body).
- Postpartum blues hit many women. Massages can help you deal with them by relaxing your body and mind and making you feel pampered.
As a parting thought, consider this: hugging for 20 seconds releases oxytocin in the body, which instantly improves your mood, calms the mind, and builds mutual trust. If 20 seconds of physical contact can do all that, can you imagine the healing power of a good body massage?