Six Physio share the many benefits of adding massage into your pregnancy journey
By Georgie Adams, Specialist Women’s & Men’s Health Physio at Six Physio Monument
Pregnancy is a wonderful time but it certainly takes some getting used to. As your body adapts to the little new life inside, you’ll no doubt have a few aches and pains, especially in the later stages. Sore muscles, swollen joints, sciatica and general physical fatigue are common conditions during pregnancy as the body adapts to the dramatic changes, but massage is a natural way of easing them away.
Six Physio offers a gentle pregnancy massage specifically adapted to suit the needs of the mum-to-be. Soothing and relaxing, it will help relieve muscular tension as well as other physical and emotional discomforts. In case you need convincing of a little extra R&R, read on for the full benefits of pregnancy massage.
IT CAN RELIEVE BACKACHE
During pregnancy your body’s ligaments naturally become more supple and stretch to prepare you for labour. The back and posterior chain work especially hard to support the growing baby. This can put a strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which can, in turn, cause back pain. Massage can help loosen tight muscles and alleviate tension along the spine.
During pregnancy, blood circulation is put under extra strain; all blood vessels are dilated and the expectant mother’s blood volume increases by around 1.5 litres. For some women, as the baby grows it can have adverse effects on your circulation, meaning that legs can swell, varicose veins can appear, and women may suffer from headaches as well as haemorrhoids. Pregnancy massage can increase blood circulation, which provides more oxygen and nutrients to both mother and fetus, and stimulates the lymph system, thereby increasing immunity and removing toxins.
RELIEVES MUSCULAR ACHES AND PAINS
With the extra weight of the growing fetus, your muscles have to work harder, increasing the production of toxins that stick individual muscle fibres together, which then aggravates nerve endings and causes soreness. Massage relieves that pain by breaking down the adhesions, releasing trigger points and pushing fresh circulation into the area to increase oxygen and stimulate the removal of toxins. Massage can help to keep muscles supple and flexible meaning that they can continue working optimally and support weight-bearing joints.
REDUCES ANXIETY AND STRESS
Pregnancy hormones are responsible for many physical and emotional changes the mother will experience. One (Relaxin) causes a loosening of the musculoskeletal system, giving the joints the flexibility necessary for delivering the baby. Massage creates circulation around those joints to reduce pain. It also creates a natural analgesic effect through increased production of endorphins and serotonin, which can calm and reduce stress for mother and baby alike.
RELAXES THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
Pregnancy massage works to soothe and relax the nervous system by releasing endorphins into the mother’s body. As a result, the expectant mother feels more relaxed and at ease, and should sleep more easily and more deeply.
IMPROVE STRETCH MARKS
As your bump grows, the skin will stretch causing tightness and stretch marks. Massage with a good nourishing oil can help moisturise and soothe the skin. With that said, you should not use any essential oils unless it has been uniquely blended for pregnancy by an aromatherapist, as some may not be safe or suitable for pregnancy. Your practitioner can best advise on this.
A pregnancy massage at Six Physio consists of a back massage, where you the patient are in a comfortable side-lying position. Our experienced therapists will work particularly on the postural muscles of the back, as well as your shoulders, arms and hips, finishing off with a leg massage. Pregnancy massages are available at most of our clinics:
In the South West we have Yoshiko at Kensington, Laura & Serena at Chelsea, plus Florence & Julie at Parsons Green
Judit treats out of Finchley Rd on a Saturday
In the City we have Lucy & Florence at Fleet St plus Lucy works at Leadenhall
Six Physio offers a number of other services including Women’s Health Physiotherapy, Sports massage, Pilates, a hand and wrist clinic and other physiotherapy services.
For more information, visit sixphysio.com