The Pluses of Prenatal Massage
February is the month of love, right? And, as we all know, we experience many kinds of love during our lives – romantic love, friendship, family, even pets. If you’re pregnant, you’re experiencing a very special kind of love. And if someone asked you to describe it, we bet you’d have a hard time finding the right words. Suffice it to say the love you feel for the baby you’re going to have this year is already off the charts.
For many women, prenatal massage has proven to be a welcome addition to their wellness routine. At Spa Space, the place for innovative and therapeutic spa massage in Chicago, we are proud to offer specialized Prenatal Massage.
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), which promotes pregnancy wellness, “Studies indicate that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health.”
The APA recommends Swedish massage over other methods of massage because of its ability to alleviate the discomforts that may be associated with the amazing changes taking place in your body. (At Spa Space, we care about your wellbeing – that’s part of what makes us the best spa in Chicago for expectant mothers. We want you to know that Prenatal Massage won’t be for everyone. Please check with your obstetrician to see what she recommends.)
What makes Swedish massage so special? Unlike deep tissue massage, which targets connective tissue in an effort to facilitate movement, the unique movements associated with Swedish massage can improve circulation of both blood and your lymphatic system while also relaxing your muscles. (And, in case you’re wondering – it wasn’t developed in Sweden! According to Livestrong, the method was developed Johan Georg Mezger, who was Dutch.)
It’s not just that Swedish massage makes you feel good – which it does (especially at Spa Space where our massage therapists have the experience needed to work at any of the spas in Chicago but choose to work with us) – the practice has proven to be therapeutic. The American Pregnancy Association reports that, “Studies done in the past 10 years have shown that hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered when massage therapy is introduced to women’s prenatal care. This leads to mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health.”
The study looked at women who received bi-weekly massages for five weeks. During that time, the level of bad hormones, those associated with stress like cortisol, went down. The level of good hormones, particularly dopamine and serotonin, went up.
Redbook magazine pointed to studies done at the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami that showed prenatal massage, in addition to positively affecting hormone levels, “can reduce intra-uterine artery resistance.” In plain English that means massage makes it easier for your body to deliver essential nutrition and oxygen to your baby. “This can result in fewer premature deliveries and lower incidence of low birth weight,” Redbook reported.
And there’s more good news!
According to the APA, in addition to relieving stress and anxiety, Prenatal Massage can help reduce swelling, back pain, joint pain, muscle tension and headaches. Other benefits of Prenatal Massage cited by the American Pregnancy Association include:
- Relief of the Sciatic nerve pain many women in late pregnancy
- Improved circulation
- Improved oxygenation of soft tissues and muscles
- Better sleep
And get this – Redbook also said, “When pregnant women received a massage during labor, the labor was reduced by an average of three (!) hours.”
So, maybe you’ll want to bring your husband along when you schedule your Prenatal Massage at Spa Space, Chicago’s best spa for growing families. He might be able to pick up some pointers that will make the delivery experience even more special for both of you.