Baby Steps Towards Relaxation: What Prenatal Massage Can Do For You

When you think of the word "pregnancy", the ideas of comfort and relaxation aren't generally what come to mind. Contrary to that way of thinking, however, is the simple fact that, massage during pregnancy -- called prenatal massage, officially -- can work wonders for both your aching, swelling body and your state of mind. But what exactly is prenatal massage and how exactly can it benefit you? If you're looking into getting a massage during pregnancy but have a few questions before you actually commit to the idea, then here's what you need to know.

It's used to do more than soothe aches and pains

Sure, the intention of any massage is to soothe your muscles and get rid of tension in your body, but prenatal massage can actually do much more than that. Prenatal massage has been found to lower anxiety, decrease insomnia, and even cut the severity of back pain, all while increasing your levels of dopamine and serotonin (which are normally called "feel-good hormones") and even decrease the level of cortisol in your body, making you less stressed. For all of these reasons, getting a massage or two (or more!) during pregnancy can be a very good idea for your health.

It's specially built for your changing body

Depending on the salon or practice you go to, the exact techniques and equipment may differ -- but there are some commonalities between all of these that are essential for a prenatal massage. Many times, a special table with a cut out or dip for your pregnancy belly will be used, or the masseuse may position you on your side with plenty of bolsters to keep you in position. These changes in the setup of a massage are designed for your pregnant body, and thus attempt to keep you as comfortable as possible during the (usually an hour long) massage.

It's much safer than regular massage during pregnancy

While pregnant, it's assumed that your number one concern is for the health of your baby, and you won't do anything to compromise that. That's where specialized prenatal massage shines; it is specifically designed to relax you without pressing on the baby or doing anything to harm them. Swedish massage -- where some mild pressure is applied to all of the various muscle groups that exist within your body -- is thus the massage style of choice, though shiatsu (pressure on different acupuncture points) is also a popular choice for its non-invasive technique and backing in acupuncture. Whatever you choose, you'll certainly walk out more relaxed -- and more healthy -- than you were when you walked in. Contact a local provider, like Imagine Wholeness, for more information.