Massage therapy is the manipulation of soft tissues of the body including, muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments and joints. According to some university studies it has been demonstrated that massage therapy is very effective during pregnancy. Women who received massage therapy reported decreased depression, less leg and back pain. In the massage group, cortisol levels decreased, fetal activity decreased and the rate of prematurity was lower.
In a study of labor pain, women who received massage therapy experienced significantly less pain and on average, their labor period was 3 hours shorter with less need for medication. An underlying mechanism we have been exploring is that these effects are mediated by increased vagal activity. This likely occurs by the stimulation of pressure receptors that are innervated by the vagal afferent fibers, which ultimately projects to the limbic system, including hypothalamic structures involved in autonomic nervous system regulation and cortisol secretion.
Depressed pregnant women were massaged over a 16-week period using the same protocol (20-min massages twice weekly). Similar to the first study, significant decreases were observed in depression and anxiety, as well as cortisol levels. In addition, pregnancy outcomes were improved, including a reduction in excessive fetal movement that has been noted in fetuses of depressed women. The most important finding was the lower incidence of prematurity.
The use of pregnancy massage can also help reduce the weight on the joints. Like other forms of massage therapy, it may also affect the flow of blood circulation and lymphatic flow. A regime of massage may also increase the pliability of the skin. This is helpful both during the pregnancy and while the client is in labor. Prenatal massage can be a positive experience. It can help pregnant women emotionally and physically. The massage therapist also needs to communicate clearly with the mother and understand any specific worries or possible problems.
What you get from Massage Therapy ?
- Tranquil relaxation and reduce stress.
- Relief from muscle cramp, spasms, especially in the lower back, neck, hips & legs
- Enhances the pliability of skin and underlying tissues.
- Reduce weight absorbing joints.
- Increase in blood circulation which can reduce swelling.
- Improve the outcome of labor and eases labor pain.
- Provides support for the new mother with physical & emotional strains of mothering.
Mrs. Ruwandi Fernando is reading for MPhil / PhD program in Physics and currently working as a Technology Entrepreneur in MAS Holdings. In her role as a Technology Entrepreneur, she explores new trends in the maternal apparel space, sustainable products, new technology trends that can be applied to the apparel sector. She is a mother of a newborn who is interested in Kandyan dancing, playing sports, mentoring teenagers, teaching during her leisure time.