Archive for the 'prenatal massage' Category

May 30 2009

Pregnancy Massage Therapy – Using Acupressure to Induce Labor

Published by under prenatal massage

15th April 2009Author: Aurelia McAleese
Views: 368
Childbirth… often a source of anxiety and stress for women coming up on their due date. But what if there were a way to relieve labor pain, increase dilation, and create a faster and safer birthing process? Learning how to do maternity acupressure to induce labor has all of the above benefits, as well as also being proven to decrease chances of medical intervention or C-section. Here’s how you and your partner can use pregnancy massage therapy to ensure a much better experience in the delivery room.

Maternity acupressure techniques date back to ancient times, when reflexology for pregnancy consisted of Chinese methods. There were certain massage techniques marked as forbidden during pregnancy, because these pressure points proved to induce labor. Later on, people realized these acupressure pregnancy points could be used during the initial stages of childbirth for exactly that purpose – to help bring about labor naturally, safely, and easily. They also quickly learned that acupressure during labor could ease the painful symptoms associated with childbirth, relax the mother by reducing stress levels, and even help ease the baby downward by helping it descend into the birth canal.

Pregnant massage offers many benefits to women who are suffering from the back aches and pains associated with having to carry a child for nine months. But pregnancy reflexology goes one step further, using specific pressure points within the body to trigger certain releases that are associated with the very beginning stages of childbirth. Using acupressure to induce labor allows you to begin the process of labor from within the comfort of your home, triggering dilation of the cervix and starting the mild contractions that will lead up to having the baby. Because you begin this process early, you get to fully and safely control the initial stages of childbirth. By the time you get to the hospital, your actual time in labor will be enormously reduced – this is because the reflexology and pregnancy has already advanced your body through the beginning of the birthing process.

Continued massage during labor has even more benefits. In learning how to do maternity acupressure, you are taught the pressure points that relieve pain associated with giving birth. You also learn the pregnancy massage therapy techniques needed to reduce and eliminate stress, relaxing mom and promoting dilation of the cervix. There are pregnancy reflexology pressure points that will help blood flow, and increase oxygen levels for both mother and baby during the delivery process. The combination of these acupressure pregnancy techniques result in a shorter, safer birth for your baby, offering greatly decreased chances for a cesarean section, episomity, or other type of unwanted medical procedures outside of an easy, natural birth.

Maternity acupressure techniques can be learned by anyone, regardless of experience. The reflexology points are easily accessible and they only need a gentle pressure with the thumb in order to activate them. Your partner can learn them quickly and easily, and you can begin enjoying the pain-relieving benefits of this type of massage during pregnancy right away. And acupressure during labor isn’t the only way to enjoy the benefits of these reflexology methods. The massage during labor techniques you learn can also be used post-delivery, to help mom relax and enjoy reduced stress during the months and years afterward, while enjoying your baby.

For more information, check out these Pregnancy Massage Therapy techniques. They’ll teach you how to use acupressure to induce labor, reduce stress, and eliminate anxiety leading up to childbirth. And for a complete how-to-guide on maternity acupressure, check out Baby Pregnancy Guide.

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May 13 2009

12 Reasons to Administer Prenatal Massage

The changes expectant mothers endure as their bodies adjust to accommodate and sustain another life are enormous. From aiding circulation to balancing hormones, learn why prenatal massage is of great benefit to clients who are expecting.

Nicole Cutler, L.Ac.

There is no better time to experience and share the benefits of bodywork than when a woman is pregnant. Pregnancy is typically accompanied by discomfort as tendons and skin are stretched, weight is gained, the structural alignment of the body changes, hormones rage, organs are constricted and pressure on various body structures mount.

Here are twelve reasons to consider adding pre-natal massage to your repertoire:

1. Elimination of waste: Massage helps the body eliminate waste products through the lymphatic and circulatory systems. This elimination combats waste-promoting fatigue, which gives the expectant mother a much-needed energy surge.

2. Blood pressure control: By aiding circulation, massage eases the load on the expectant mother’s heart, keeping her blood pressure under control and minimizing varicosities. Normal blood pressure is a critical component of a healthy pregnancy.

3. Reduce muscle discomfort: Muscular discomforts, such as cramping, tightening, stiffness, sciatica tension and knots are typical during pregnancy. Massage’s circulatory effect can minimize the increased pressure on weight-bearing joints.

4. Hormonal balancing: Massage has been proven to reduce stress hormone levels, which can relieve depression or anxiety. Depression and anxiety are typical during pregnancy due to hormonal changes, new expectations and fears about parenting.

5. Headache and sinus relief: Perhaps due to the increased blood flow to mucus membranes that occurs with pregnancy, many expectant mothers experience headaches and sinus congestion. Appropriately stimulated acupressure points on the head and face can provide significant relief for these discomforts.

6. Edema reduction: By stimulating lymphatic drainage, massage can help the body accommodate and process the excessive water in a pregnant woman’s tissues. Lower leg edema and swollen ankles are typical examples of excessive water build-up during pregnancy.

7. Fetus nourishment: Through massage’s function to increase systemic blood circulation, an increase in oxygen and nutrients can reach the fetal cells. This results in better nourishment and a greater index of health for the unborn baby.

8. Increases flexibility: While pregnancy hormones relax tendons and ligaments to accommodate a growing belly, the addition of massage can relax the accompanying muscles. Muscle relaxation has many benefits to an expectant mother, including a decrease in muscular cramps and increased flexibility facilitating the birth process.

9. Body image transformation: The psychological impact of an expecting mother’s changing body can be one of the most challenging parts of her pregnancy. The non-verbal communication of touch therapy can be vital to her emotional well-being as she adapts to her new body image.

10. Sleep support: One of the perks massage offers is sleep enhancement, thanks to its soothing and relaxing effect. This dissolution of nervous tension facilitates deep and restful sleep, a luxury most pregnant women would do anything to achieve.

11. During labor: Appropriately applied massage during a birth can reduce low back pain and labor pain. Many midwives and birth doulas use varying massage techniques during labor and birth.

12. After birth: After the delivery, massage can help a fatigued woman recover quickly, encourage structural realignment, restore abdominal integrity, facilitate healing after a cesarean section, regain her strength, relieve strain from caring for the new baby and ease postpartum stress.

An August 2006 published study demonstrates that the regular administration of massage from 36 weeks of pregnancy until birth greatly reduced the mother’s perception of labor pain, thus reducing the amount of anesthesia requested during labor.

Another study reported in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology evaluated massage’s effect on pregnant women. Researchers found that a 20-minute massage, twice a week resulted in reduced anxiety, improved mood, better sleep, less back pain and fewer complications during labor.

Regardless of individual circumstances, a pregnant woman’s body is challenged, changed and stressed in many ways. Massage gives special attention to the mother-to-be, and also nurtures the new life growing within her. Habitual massage improves posture, muscle tone and flexibility, all of which train the body for labor. By helping the body cope with all of the imminent body changes occurring, regular bodywork, can cause an expectant mother to have a more positive pregnancy and labor experience.

Recommended study: Prenatal Massage


Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Hart, S., Theakston, H., Schanberg, S., KuhPrn, C. & Burman, I., Pregnant women benefit from massage therapy, Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 20, 31-38, 1999.

Nabb MT, Kimber L, Haines A, McCourt C, A Feasibility study to investigate a programme of massage, controlled breathing and visualization, from 36 weeks of pregnancy until birth, Complement Ther Clin Pract, August, 2006., Pregnancy, Touch Research Institute, 2006., The Art of Prenatal Massage, Kelly Lott, RMT, iParenting, LLC, 2004.

Posted by Editors at 11:06 AM
© 2009 Institute for Integrative HealthCare Studies. This work is reproduced with the permission of the Institute.

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