Specializing in:
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Benefits of Pregnancy Massage
Author:
Richard A. Lane
Massage Benefits
Breast Cancer Patients

Author:
Cathy Wong About.com
TABLE TALKSusan B Kaufman

Throughout the many years that I've been a massage therapist, several issues have come up continually, resulting in my formulating ideas as to causes of certain almost universal problems and some great ways to approach solving them. So here are some tidbits of information that might be helpful to you.

The first recurring issue pertains to expectant mothers and pregnancy massage. Many women call here to inquire whether I use a pregnancy table with a hole for the belly or a pregnancy pillow support system that has a deep indentation for the belly to rest on. I have neither and believe that the only truly safe way to massage a pregnant woman past her first trimester is with her lying on her side, well supported by lots of soft cushions. This I do for the first half (or more) of the session, ending with the mother-to-be reclining against a wedge at about a 45-degree angle so I can massage her arms, legs, neck and face. In both positions the uterus and uterine ligaments are not subjected to any stress, and the issue of undue pressure on the breathing apparatus is eliminated. Most importantly, the session is pleasant, effective and safe. For more information on pre- and postnatal massage, you might consult two of the authors whose books I use as my references: Carolyn Osborne-Sheets and Bette Waters.

Next, many people who come to me for massage have persisting pain in their upper back, neck and shoulder areas. Furthermore, most of them report that they have stretched and stretched, but the pain returns and gets worse. In my opinion the pain in the upper back, shoulder and neck of the body is often largely due to overstretched muscles, the muscles that actually need the stretching are in the front of the body, like the chest muscles and those in the front of the neck and arms. Sitting for hours staring at a computer screen, nimbly keying and mousing, driving long distances on overcrowded highways to get to our places of work, reading, studying, playing most musical instruments, nursing, doctoring and massaging are some of the activities we participate in, that require our being in a forward position for extended periods of time. This positioning in turn ensures that the muscles in the front of our bodies will be nice and strong and tight, pulling us forward even more! All of these factors add up to pain in our necks, shoulders and upper backs. What many people do not know is that periodically extending our backs, heads back, arms back, and scrunching the shoulder blades together can provide profound relief(between massages, of course). Obviously, the above is not the only scenario involving muscle pain. But it is one of the most common.

Benefits of Pregnancy Massage
Author: Richard A. Lane
Pregnancy provides unique physical and emotional changes in women that results from the increased weight, shifting centre of gravity, changing posture and gait and the huge hormonal adjustments. As a result mums-to-be can face a whole raft of physical conditions such as back pain, sciatic discomfort, headaches, swollen legs and ankles. When coupled with hormonal variations, nausea and emotional stress then attention is required.

Prenatal massage from a qualified and experienced massage therapist aims to alleviate these and other pregnancy-related conditions.

Massage is considered to have many health benefits including stimulating blood flow and the lymphatic system, improving flexibility to muscles and enhancing the mobility of joints. As pregnancy progresses, then the body adjusts to a changing centre of gravity caused by the baby's increasing weight. The change in posture puts increased strain on the legs, hips and back. Massage improves the flexibility and functionality of the muscles, which assists the woman to carry the extra weight along with some of the aches and pains associated with pregnancy.

The claimed benefits of pregnancy include:

  • reduced stress through relaxation and pain relief
  • maintenance/awareness of good posture
  • relief of muscular tension and spasms (in particular in the hips, legs, back and neck)
  • reduction of stress on weight-bearing joints
  • assistance in pain relief for any sciatic pain that frequently arises during pregnancy
  • reduced oedema in hands and feet
  • medication free headache relief
  • improved energy levels and reduced fatigue

Even just taking time out for oneself during pregnancy can be emotionally rewarding, particularly if there is emotional support through the nurturing touch of the therapist.

Studies from the Touch Research Institute have indicated that pregnancy massage provides more than just physical relief for the mum-to-be. A group of pregnant women were provided with either massage or relaxation therapy during a five-week study. The researchers found that massage group had fewer complications during labour and delivery. In addition, they also had a reduction in stress, improved sleep quality and less back pain than the relaxation therapy group.

Massage Cautions
Massage is normally safe during pregnancy for most women. However if the women is experiencing any of the following conditions or symptoms then massage is contraindicated.

  • any discharge of blood or water
  • contagious illness/fever/vomiting
  • pre-eclampsia
  • high blood pressure
  • abdominal pain
  • blood clotting disorders

This list is not considered to be complete. If you have any concerns about having a massage during pregnancy then you should contact your health care professional. Indeed some massage therapists will not perform pregnancy massage without the approval of their doctor and others will not massage during the first trimester.

In choosing your prenatal massage therapist then please make sure that they are suitably trained and experienced. Just because a therapists offers pregnancy massage in their brochure or website does not mean that they have the necessary training and skills. Some therapists use pregnancy massage tables that have a hole for the belly, however these are generally not recommended by experienced prenatal massage therapists as the lack of support causes additional muscle strain on the belly and stress on the lower back.

It is important to provide all relevant information about your condition to the therapist during pre-massage discussion. The massage therapist can then adjust your pregnancy massage to make the rewarding and relieving experience you deserve.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/benefits-of-pregnancy-massage-857107.html

About the Author:
Richard Lane is a qualified remedial and sports massage therapist, providing mobile massage to the Inner West of Sydney. He provides website resources for Sydney Remedial Massage Therapists and also operates an Australian wide remedial massage directory including a listing for Massage Double Bay.

Massage Benefits Breast Cancer Patients
Author: Cathy Wong - About.com

Twice-weekly massages may help women cope with breast cancer, a new study finds. For five weeks, 86 women with breast cancer (average age: 59) either stuck with their normal health-care routine or received two half-hour massages (targeting their backs, necks, and heads) twice a week. Among the women in the massage group, there was a remarkable decrease in fatigue, mood disturbances, and physical discomfort. Study results indicated that mood improvements were significantly greater for patients who were treated continuously by the same massage therapist.

Previous studies suggest that massage may also reduce anxiety, pain, and symptoms of depression and boost immunity in women with breast cancer. If you're currently in treatment for breast cancer and considering massage therapy, make sure to find a practitioner with experience in working with breast cancer patients. Certain types of massage (such as deep tissue massage) may be harmful for people undergoing chemotherapy or radiation.

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