During pregnancy, massage can be a source of relaxation and pain relief. After pregnancy, it comes with all of these benefits and several other mental and physical positives.
Sometimes called postpartum massage, this type of bodywork can help you to adjust to motherhood, as it is so much more than a spa treatment. It is holistic and has proved to be effective for many healing properties.
The general benefits of being massaged are particularly true for new mums, and these include stress reduction, relaxation and pain relief. There are also other specific benefits for new mothers, which include regulating hormone levels, easing swelling, aiding sleep, and helping with breastfeeding. Enhanced therapy can also help the body recover from C-Section and speed any healing required after pregnancy and birth.
Becoming a mother is a stressful time, even with the love and support of a family and network of friends. The amount of hormones flowing through the body can cause feelings of anxiety and stress. This can make it difficult to relax, bond with your baby and sleep.
Massages lower stress hormones, and can increase ‘happy’ hormones in the body, which bring relaxation and stress relief. Muscles relax and circulation improves too.
Postpartum therapists will offer either light strokes or deeper treatment, depending on your preference and the healing that your body requires. Myofascial release and craniosacral therapy enable deeper healing, and your therapist will be able to discuss the various therapies available.
Around two thirds of new mums experience some level of postpartum blues, due to hormonal changes and the general adjustment required when you become a parent. Massaging has been shown to help with anxiety and depression and ease the emotional tension that many new mums experience.
It’s not just mental benefits that postpartum bodywork can bring. You’ll likely be holding your baby for hours each day, and as they grow, you will be carrying more and more weight. Back, arm and shoulder pain is common in new mums, and tissue therapy can help to ease these pains. If you’re breastfeeding, massages offer a holistic and medication-free form of pain relief.
This type of therapy has been shown to reduce the biochemicals that occur in the body naturally, including dopamine and serotonin, which are linked with depression, and norepinephrine, which is linked with cardiovascular problems. Balancing out the hormone imbalance that occurs during and after pregnancy reduces the stress hormone cortisol, easing the mental impact of these hormone changes.
During pregnancy, the volume of fluids in the body rises by around 50%, causing swollen joints and bloating. By increasing circulation, massages encourage the drainage of lymphatic fluids and water dispersion. You should also continue to drink plenty of fluids, as this will not cause more swelling but will aid lactation and body healing.
Finally, postpartum massage has been found to ease fatigue and assist with sleep. Studies have shown that the deep brain waves associated with deep sleep are increased when the body is massaged. It’s one of the reasons why people fall asleep during bodywork!
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