“When discussing contraindications for massage, one of the most frequently asked questions our instructors hear is… “Is it safe to give a massage to a pregnant woman during her first trimester “, said Paula Curtiss, Founding Director for Healing Hands School of Holistic Health. “Our answer for the last 24 years has been a resounding YES! Massage therapy for women in their first trimester of pregnancy is not only safe, but according to numerous studies conducted by Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s School of Medicine (TRI), it offers many substantial benefits throughout the pregnancy as well”, she added.
“The key to assuring massage safety during pregnancy is finding a certified pregnancy massage therapist who understands positioning, as well as the areas to accommodate during each trimester” said Harmony Curtiss, Branch Manager for the school’s Laguna Hills location. “For example, during the first trimester a massage can be done with the patient lying on their back and the only area to avoid would be directly over the lower pelvic area above the uterus. In later months, the massage therapist will need to position the client on their side with supportive pillows to maximize comfort. In addition, they must understand how to address contraindicated areas. Only Students who complete a Pre-natal Massage course receive the specialized training to assure a completely safe and deeply therapeutic pre-natal massage”, concluded Harmony.
The bottom line, women with normal, low-risk pregnancy can benefit greatly by adding regular massage therapy sessions to their pre-natal wellness program. Below is a list of some of the more substantial benefits of pregnancy massage as reported by Touch Research Institute.
- reduced anxiety
- improved mood
- better sleep
- less back pain
- less leg pain
- decrease in depression
- decrease in anxiety
- decrease in cortisol levels (stress hormone)
- increased expression
- increased relatedness during group therapy sessions
- decreased leg and back pain
- decrease in excessive fetal activity
- decreased rate of premature delivery
- significantly less pain during delivery
- delivery labors were on average 3 hours shorter with less need for medication.
Citations: (Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Hart, S., Theakston, H., Schanberg, S., Kuhn, C. & Burman, I. (1999). Pregnant women benefit from massage therapy. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 20, 31-38.)(Field, T., Deed, O., Diego, M., Gualer, A., Sullivan, S., Wilson, D. & Nearing, G. (2009).
Benefits of combining massage therapy with group interpersonal psychotherapy in prenatally depressed women. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therpies, 13, 297-303.) Field, T. (2010). Pregnancy and labor massage therapy. Expert Review of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 5, 177-181.
Healing Hands School of Holistic Health (HHSHH) offers a comprehensive Pre-Natal MassageTherapy course that focuses on how to work with the rapidly changing female body during pregnancy. To find out more about this or any of the other 80+ Massage Therapy and Holistic Health classes offered at HHSHH, please visit us on-line at www.HealingHandsSchool.com or call us at 760.746.9364 in Escondido, or 949.305.2722 in Laguna Hills.