Prenatal Massage: What The Expecting Can Expect

Being pregnant brings with it all kinds of changes and stresses on a woman’s body. At The Good Life Massage, we’re proud to offer prenatal massage. This specialized approach to massage gives pregnant women all the benefits of massage as they get ready for delivery.

We sat down with Michelle Green, LMT to talk about some of the differences between prenatal massage and regular massage. Prenatal clients are among our favorite clients to work with, but there are some things you should know before you come in for a prenatal session.

First, whether you’re a returning client or you’re new to The Good Life Massage, you need to inform your massage therapist if you are pregnant. As healthcare providers, this is something we need to know to keep both you and the baby safe, so please be sure to mention your pregnancy on your intake form. If you are pregnant, the front desk will give you an additional intake form with questions relating to your pregnancy. We understand that you may want to keep the news to yourself, and that’s understandable. But we really do need to know, and are bound by law to keep your medical information private.

How massage can help you cope until delivery day
Whether pregnant or not, regular massage therapy helps with a number of issues, including muscle soreness, posture issues, and chronic pain, as you might expect. But it has also been shown to help with depression, digestive issues, and sleep. All of these are things pregnant women could use extra help with, but there’s even more to it than that.

In Michelle’s experience, pregnant clients have particular needs that massage can most directly address. “Prenatal work can really help with a lot of those pregnancy aches and pains whether it’s low back and hip pain, to pain in the knees and feet. I’ve also come across a lot of women who have had some upper back and shoulder pain as they get a little bit farther along, and some of the massage techniques used can really help to relax those and kind of stretch things back out to keep you comfortable during the length of your pregnancy.”

Getting you comfortable
Baby bumps don’t fit on a massage table in the traditional way, and massage therapists need to adjust their modalities and techniques to accommodate pregnancy. This isn’t just a nice adjustment–it can be critical to the safety of the mother and unborn child.

“The massage therapist is going to take a little bit of extra time and care with the massage,” Michelle says. “They’re going to set the table up a bit differently, depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy, usually keeping you on your side and making you really comfortable with bolsters or pillows that we’ll put underneath the legs.

“We’ll give you a nice little pillow to snuggle with as well. It kinda helps to keep your spine and your shoulders as well as your low back in alignment to keep you comfortable while you’re on the table. And just like any other massage, you can undress down to whatever your comfort level is and really get a chance to relax.”

Your therapist may also use specially designed support cushions to allow you to lay face-down on the table as with a traditional massage. This is one of the reasons it’s important that we know about your pregnancy in advance of the session–so we can be sure we’re prepared with the necessary equipment on the day of your session.

The right massage at the right time
How and where you’re massaged depends on where you’re at with your pregnancy. Very early on, there are few noticeable differences in how we’ll work on you. “A massage therapist will do the majority of the work while you’re on your side. And this is for a little bit later into your pregnancy,” Michelle explains. “A lot of the times when you’re early on, you can still lay comfortably on your back so that some upper shoulder and back work can be done from that position as well.”

If you think you may need assistance getting on and off the table, our therapists would be happy to help. For this reason, you may feel more comfortable working with a female therapist, so please note that when you book your massage. While we are happy to accommodate any request regarding the gender of your therapist, you should know that all our therapists of any gender are well-trained and qualified to give our pregnant clients a safe, comfortable massage experience.

Can massage induce labor?
This myth seems to have legs, and it’s not hard to understand why. Who would want to give birth on a massage table? But massage professionals like Michelle know this just isn’t true. “You don’t really need to worry about early labor being induced during massage. The techniques that are used are very safe and won’t affect that at all.”

Pregnancy is difficult enough. Let us help you get through it. Book your prenatal massage now.

If you want to buy a massage for someone special in your life who might be expecting, you can purchase a gift card here in any amount you wish.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director at The Good Life Massage. You can reach him at marketing@goodliferenton.com

Michelle Green is a licensed massage therapist at The Good Life Massage. You can reach her at support@goodliferenton.com

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Are You Un-Doing Your Massage?

A great massage will have you coming home feeling like a new person. But what about the next morning? For those who aren’t used to regular body work appointments, you might be feeling a little sore after your first visit. Stretching is one of the best ways to help your body recover.

Stretching also has other amazing benefits:

  • improves your joint range of motion.
  • increases blood flow to the muscle.
  • improves flexibility.
  • leaves you feeling fresh and energized.

What kind of stretches should I do?
For athletes, the type of stretching you do and at what time you do it matters a lot. Static stretching, for instance, may be beneficial under most circumstances. But this stretch has been proven to impair performance before a 100 meter sprint. Athletes might focus on more dynamic stretches which involve lots of mobility. For our purposes, our best recommendation is to focus on static stretches.

Static stretches are simple body positions where you reach and hold the position for 10-30 seconds. It’s that easy! Static stretches are best for muscle recovery when done correctly.

Before you begin …
Form is important when exercising your flexibility. Stretching when your muscles are cold can lead to more damage than recovery. Here are things to consider before beginning your regular stretching routine:

Use proper technique
If you feel more pain than a good stretch, it is a good indicator that something is wrong.

Warm-up before stretching
To bring a good blood flow to your muscles, go for a short walk or do some cleaning around the house.

Do not “bounce” when you stretch
It is important to hold your stretch as to prevent stress on the muscle.

Reach until you feel the stretch
Don’t aim for pain. If it hurts, you’ve gone too far. If you’re aiming to improve your flexibility, push it right to the limit of where it hurts, and over time you’ll find that your flexibility improves. Don’t try to force the results.

Maintain a daily stretching routine
The benefits of stretching, like massages, come when you do it regularly.

Stay Hydrated!
Proper water intake prevents muscle cramps.

Great stretches for each part of your body

Foam Roll Calf Stretch
Foam Rollers are great just about anything! If you don’t own your own foam roller, you can purchase them here at the Good Life Massage, are relatively inexpensive, and are widely available.Faszienrolle

  1. Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you
  2. Cross your legs and place them on top of the foam roller.
  3. With your hands to your side, gently lift yourself off of the ground and allow the foam roller to move from your knee to the ankle. Pause in places of tension for 10-30 seconds.
  4. Switch legs crossed.

Wall Calf StretchDehnung der Wadenmuskulatur

  1. While facing the wall, position your feet around four feet from the wall. Place one foot forward.
  2. Lean forward, resting your hands against the wall. Try to keep each part of your body in alignment.
  3. Keep your heel on the ground. Hold the stance for 10-30 seconds. Switch legs.

Shoulder and Tricep Stretch

  1. While standing, position your feet shoulder length a part.
  2. With the forearm of one hand, pull the elbow of your other arm past your shoulder until you feel a pull.
  3. Hold for 10-30 seconds. Switch arms.

Glute Stretch

  1. While sitting on the ground, leave one leg stretched outward, with the other leg bent.
  2. With both hands, grab the leg that is bent and pull backwards while slowly leaning back (be sure to keep your neck and shoulders relaxed).
  3. Once you feel the stretch, hold for 10-30 seconds. Switch legs.

Lower Back Stretch

  1. While sitting on the ground, leave left leg stretched outward, with your right leg bent, crossed over the straight leg.practice yoga
  2. Place your right arm on your left leg and keep your left arm stretched outward. Slowly twist until you feel a slight stretch.
  3. Hold for 10-30 seconds and switch legs.

Cobra Stretch (Lower Back)

  1. Lay down with your chest on the ground.
  2. Place your hands as if you were to do a push up.Yoga bhujangasana cobra pose by woman on green grass in the park
  3. Push off the ground while keeping your hips to the ground. Hold for 10-30 seconds.

Forearm-Finger Tip Stretch

  1. While standing, stretch out your arm with the palm of the hand facing the ceiling.
  2. Gently pull down the fingertips of your hand until you feel a slight stretch.
  3. Hold for 10-20 seconds. Then switch to the other hand.

Neck and Trapezius Stretch

  1. Be especially gentle with this stretch as to avoid pulling any muscles
  2. With one hand, cradle the back of your head and pull slightly towards your shoulder, hold for 10-30 seconds.
  3. Switch arms to stretch the other side of your neck.

Hamstring Stretch (Hurtler Stretch)

red woman stretching her foot on the floor

  1. Sit on the ground with both legs stretched out in front of you.
  2. Bend one leg in towards your outstretched leg.
  3. Slowly lean towards your outstretch leg. Touch your toes if possible. Hold your stretch for 10-30 seconds.

Upper Back Stretch

  1. Kneel down on a soft surface.
  2. Prostrate yourself on the ground extending your hands as far out in front of you as possible.fit woman bending over on mat doing pilates exercise at home in the living room
  3. Hold position for 10-30 seconds.

You won’t need to sacrifice hours in a week to create a daily stretching routine. Just Five minutes a day is an investment that can provide years of mobility as you grow older.

Tanner Zornes is a blog contributor for the Good Life Massage and a student at Brigham Young University. Special thanks to our own Vanessa Mabra, LMP for inspiring this post and assisting in the research.