Massage Therapists often overlook Prenatal work as a valuable service in their practice due to liability concerns or unfamiliarity with bolstering. If you've researched Prenatal Massage, you've probably asked the question “is it safe for the mom and baby?”
As a professional, this is a question you should be asking, but don't let those concerns turn you away from this highly valued service. Chances are you entered into massage therapy with the intent to help others and make a living simultaneously. There are few people that beneft from, or appreciate massage more than a pregnant client. As a practitioner of Prenatal Massage for many years and a receiver of Prenatal Massage, I can attest to the general safety and quality of the service. Prenatal work is light and delicate, making it soothing for the mother-to-be and easy on the therapist. However, Prenatal Massage is not always recommended, if the client is having a high-risk pregnancy or any other complications, they may need to consult a doctor before booking the appointment. This is why Prenatal education, and continuing education, is so vital. The information is evolving every day, it is up to you to keep up on what is safe and unsafe.
During a Prenatal Massage Therapy session you can expect some changes to the protocol and pre-massage prep. This massage uses multiple cushions and bolsters to ensure that the client is comfortable in any position. All massage strokes should encourage circulation towards the heart and there should never be direct pressure applied to the lower legs or ankles. A good prenatal therapist should ask specific questions about the pregnancy and make sure all of the clients issues are addressed before the session.
For those looking to add this service to their practice, Prenatal Massage can:
Increase levels of the “feel good” hormones Serotonin and Dopamine
Decrease back, hip, and leg pain
Decrease levels of the stress hormone Norepinephrine
Decrease levels of Cortisol (an indicator of stress)
Dramatically improve your mood
Improve energy levels
As the baby grows many hormonal and physiologic changes occur. Progesterone levels increase during pregnancy which cause a loosening of ligaments and joints throughout the body. As baby grows, a woman's entire posture changes to accommodate(Ouch!). All of these factors can cause discomfort and stress. Disruption of regular sleep and elevated hormones cause emotions to stir easily, compounding these challenges. Prenatal Massage can help relieve the emotional strain as well as the physical pain by combining calm relaxation with gentle therapeutic bodywork. In other words, a happy mom makes a happy baby!
At Healing Touch Studies, we provide every therapist with the tools to deliver a memorable Prenatal session.
~ Dana Durand LMT