Swedish Massage, the first systematic method of therapeutic massage based on physiology, is the modality that comes to mind when most people think about massage therapy and its many health benefits. Contemporary massage techniques can be traced back to the 1700′s and the development of this modality. As the best-known type of bodywork performed today, one of the primary goals of the Swedish Massage technique is to relax the entire body. This is accomplished by applying oil or lotion to the skin and using long gliding strokes to decrease tension in the soft tissues of the body. This technique is also beneficial for increasing the level of oxygen in the blood, enhancing circulation and improving the flexibility of muscles, ligaments and joints.
What is Prenatal Massage?
In addition, to promoting the overall health and wellness of expectant mothers' changing bodies, the benefits of Prenatal Massage include:
Alleviating aches & pains caused by increased weight and postural change • Decreasing stress and anxiety • Improving sleep quality • Reducing swelling of the face, hands, feet and breasts • Alleviating Carpal Tunnel symptoms caused by swelling • Relieving heartburn
During pregnancy the stress on a woman's back, abdominal muscles, and shoulders increases; her pelvic joints are destabilized as her ligaments loosen; significant postural changes occur due to the forward movement of her pelvis; and her body's centre of gravity shifts dramatically. Combine that with the extra weight she's carrying it's easy to see why many mothers-to-be complain about their aching backs.
Though seasoned Prenatal Massage therapists are familiar with the most common aches and pains their clients experience, pregnant women receiving treatment should always communicate their specific needs to their therapist: particularly if anything during the massage causes discomfort. How is the Expectant Mother Positioned on the Massage Table? Despite the fact that some therapists choose to use a special table or hollowed out pillows to accommodate a mother-to-be's belly, there is a risk that lying face down for an extended period of time will put unnecessary stress on her low back. As a result, Prenatal Massage treatments done with the client lying on her side (with pillows, wedges or a full-length body pillow used for added support), the natural sleeping position for the vast majority of pregnant women, are best.
What Precautions Should Be Taken Before Having a Prenatal Massage? Every pregnant woman should consult her doctor before getting a massage. However, it is important to note an expectant mother may be asked to provide written consent from their doctor before receiving a massage treatment if she is: experiencing nausea, vomiting, or morning sickness; at high risk of miscarriage or early labour; OR at a high-risk pregnancy (due to placenta or cervical dysfunction, abdominal pain, pre-eclampsia, etc.).
What is Deep Tissue Massage?
Deep Tissue Massage is similar to Swedish Massage, but the firmer, more direct and deeper pressure of this technique is specifically designed to alleviate chronic muscle tension and/or pain. During deep tissue massage treatments, the focus is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons, and fascia. However, it is important to note that this form of massage also promotes a relaxation response. Studies have shown that for most people, a single 45 to 60 minute deep tissue massage treatment often results in lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduced stress hormone levels, and improved emotional well-being, due to the release of oxytocin and serotonin.