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Massages during pregnancy

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Massages during pregnancy


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Massage during pregnancy
During pregnancy, many women suffer from back pain and tension, their legs or feet hurt and they cannot walk or stand for long. A massage can help to relieve tension, strengthen well-being and alleviate discomfort. Massages can be used during pregnancy, childbirth and in the puerperium. However, there are a few things to consider when getting a massage while pregnant.

Effect of the massage
By alternating between relaxation and stimulation, regular massages are used to regulate energy flows in the body and to prevent health disorders or alleviate discomfort. During a massage, for example, the blood circulation is stimulated so that the cells are well supplied with nutrients and oxygen and the exchange of nutrients in the placenta is also improved. The stimulation of the lymphatic system leads to a stimulation of the immune system and the increased blood circulation in the skin has a positive effect on skin renewal and the activity of the sweat and sebum glands.

Which massage techniques can be used?
Simple massage techniques can be used with pregnant women by anyone, e.g. also by their partner. The contact with the partner supports the relationship and creates closeness and trust. Special techniques such as acupressure and Shiatsu should, however, be practiced by an experienced masseur. Some massage techniques such as sacrum massage (lumbar spine) or foot massage can also be learned in antenatal courses and can be used at any time.
In pregnant women, the massage grips should always be performed with less pressure, since the connective tissue is looser due to hormonal influence. Sufficient rest is very important after the massage.
During pregnancy you should not lie on your stomach for the massage, so you must either lie on your back (e.g. for a foot massage) or on your side, but also in a four-foot position or with aids (supported on a stool or Petziball) can be massaged.

Can you massage anywhere?
Pregnant women often find back massages beneficial, especially in the lumbar spine area. A gentle abdominal massage often has a calming effect, but should not be used in premature labor. The massage of the feet, legs and face also contributes to well-being. In the last few weeks of pregnancy, a perineal massage can increase the elasticity of the perineum and reduce the risk of perineal rupture. The breast massage prepares for breastfeeding and activates the flow of milk.
Some areas and specific points on the body are better not to be massaged. Certain acupressure points on the feet, hands and back can have hormonal effects and should not be stimulated during pregnancy, which could trigger a premature birth, especially in late pregnancy. It is best to ask your midwife or a naturopathic doctor if you would like to know which parts of the body you should not massage.

Plucking massage - effective against pregnancy wrinkles
Many pregnant women want to avoid stretch marks and wrinkles because they leave ugly scars that won't regress. If you start the pinching massage in early pregnancy, you can prevent stretch marks.
This massage is easy to perform: take the top layer of skin between your thumb and forefinger, pull it gently and then release it again. Repeat this massage for about five minutes after each shower, after which you can apply a simple cream or body oil to your stomach. This massage stimulates the blood circulation and the metabolism in the tissue.
By the way: About 70% of all women get stretch marks during pregnancy.

Which oils should be used?
For a massage, you should use suitable skin oils or creams. You can also enrich the oils with different essences or essential oils. Natural aromatic substances such as chamomile, citrus, orange, lavender, geranium or sandalwood, for example, have a positive effect on pregnancy. Other flavors such as sage, pine, myrrh, juniper, rosemary, thyme or laurel should be avoided during this time. Aromatic oils such as rose, ylang, jasmine or neroli contribute to general relaxation.

Beauty and wellbeing in pregnancy

Massage techniques
Massage is a very old therapy method that can be used in various forms and techniques. The massage is used to influence the texture of the skin and muscles, relieve tension, increase blood flow to the skin and muscles and regulate lymph and venous flow. The massage also affects the body's self-healing powers, lowers the stress hormone level and relieves pain and depression.

Various classic grip techniques
Various classic grip techniques that fulfill different functions can be used during massage:

Stroke: The muscles are massaged in large stroking movements, usually from the center to the periphery or in a circular manner. The aim is to decongest the venous and lymphatic systems.

Kneading: The skin and connective tissue are kneaded with the hands, usually from bottom to top. Works well against fatigue and tension in the muscles.

Rolling: The muscles are kneaded lengthways to stretch the muscles.

Friction: The skin and the tissue are warmed up by shallow or deeper rubbing movements and the blood supply is better. Relieves muscle tension and tissue sticking.

Circular movements: Small, circular movements with the loosely closed hand in a circumscribed area relieve local tension.

Knocking: Short hitting movements with the edge of the hand, fingers or palm increase blood circulation, a special form are clapping, hitting movements with the flat of the hand.

Vibrations: Muscular relaxation is achieved with trembling movements of the palm of the hand.

Shaking: Loose shaking movements of the limbs, trunk or individual muscle groups are used to relax and relieve cramps.

Different forms of massage
Nowadays there is an abundance of different types of massage that you can do yourself or that are offered by massage studios and have different effects on the body.

The classic massage (or also Swedish massage): The classic grip techniques are used here and the massage is used both for muscular tension, pain, paralysis and to influence internal diseases such as high blood pressure. The classic massage can also be carried out with aromatic oils and thus also contribute to relaxation and stress relief.

Shiatsu: This gentle massage of different body regions, taking into account specific acupressure points, tries to restore the body's energetic balance, activates self-healing powers, has a relaxing, pain-relieving effect and stimulates the immune system.

Foot reflex zone massage: Depending on the pressure points on the feet, organs and muscles are influenced via certain reflex pathways. The foot reflex zone massage improves blood circulation in the organs, relieves pain and has a relaxing effect.

Hammam: With this form of massage from the Orient, the skin is rubbed with a cloth glove, washed and then massaged with classic massage movements.

Stone massage: Small to larger lava stones, heated up to 50 degrees, are placed on the body rubbed with oil, usually on the back and palms, and stimulate the blood circulation in the skin and muscles through the warmth in addition to the massage.

Thai massage: With this type of massage, the masseur not only uses his hands, but also forearms, elbows and feet up to his entire body in order to stimulate the flow of energy, to relieve tension and to restore displaced vertebrae.

Sound massage: With this type of massage, several singing bowls are placed on the body and made to vibrate. The fine vibration of the bowls has a relaxing and harmonizing effect on the whole body.

Massage of different parts of the body
During pregnancy, massaging different parts of the body can contribute to relaxation, alleviate minor ailments in the respective regions and help prepare for the birth. A massage of the sacrum region, for example, also has a relaxing and calming effect during childbirth and in the puerperium. In the following you will find instructions for various massage techniques in the different parts of the body that you or your partner can use.

Back massage:
With increasing pregnancy, the prone position is not recommended for a back massage; it is better to massage in a comfortable sitting position or lying on your side. First, the oil warmed up in the hands is spread over a large area with both hands in vigorous stroking movements over the back and neck. Then you can go a few times with your thumbs on both sides parallel to the spine from the lower back with light pressure upwards to the neck. To relax the shoulder and neck muscles, the muscles and the connective tissue are kneaded with the fingers and gently massaged with the back of the hand. The middle and lower back is partially processed with the same technique and kneaded more intensely in tense areas, if necessary, heat can be generated beforehand with superficial friction with the palm of the hand. Finally, it is advisable to pat your back lightly with the edges of your hands and palms.

Abdominal massage:
The abdominal massage provides some relief for a distended and tense stomach. This massage should not be used in premature labor and should not be too vigorous because of possible pressure on the large abdominal vein (vena cava).The oil warmed in the hands is spread over the stomach with gentle stroking movements and wiped from both sides of the waist towards the navel. The abdomen can be gently massaged around the navel with circular movements and the point where the sternum ends can be acupressured at the end.

Leg massage:
To relax heavy legs, cramps and swelling, stroking movements and gentle kneading with both hands from the ankle to the calf, knee to thigh are suitable. You can do this massage yourself in early pregnancy, when the belly is not too big.

Perineal massage:
The perineal massage is used to prepare the perineum for childbirth in the 4 to 5 weeks before the due date and to increase the elasticity of the skin. The best way to do this is to put some oil on the index and middle fingers and insert them into the vagina. First massage with gentle pressure and try to spread the perineal tissue a little. As you practice, you can increase the number of fingers and intensify the pressure.

Breast massage:
The breast massage relieves the feeling of tension in the breasts and can stimulate the flow of milk in preparation for breastfeeding at the end of the pregnancy. To do this, gently massage the breast with your fingers from the outside inwards in circular movements with warmed oil and spread it towards the nipple. It is best to massage the nipples themselves gently with a little oil. Even while breastfeeding, a breast massage can regulate the flow of milk, prevent milk congestion and clear clogged milk ducts.

Facial massage:
The facial massage is used for relaxation, but can also be used for mild headaches and tension in the neck area. It is best to use oils with a pleasant scent that are not overly flavored. A light lotion can also be used for sensitive facial skin. Depending on your needs, you start with gentle, circular movements of your fingertips on the forehead or neck; if you have a headache, you can also stimulate acupressure points on the neck or forehead with light pressure. Depending on the feeling of well-being, the temple region, cheeks, nose and mouth region are massaged one after the other with stroking movements. Both halves of the face should be massaged in parallel.

Massage before and during childbirth:
A gentle caressing massage of the neck and shoulders, head and extremities has a relaxing and calming effect and creates closeness to the partner. A massage of the sacrum region is particularly suitable during labor to relieve pain and calm the nerve tracts. To do this, either the sacrum region from the coccyx to the iliac crests can be massaged with firm circular movements of the palm or just the thumb. The intensity depends on the individual feeling of wellbeing.

by Mucki84 on 04/09/2009

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