The skin is our largest sensory organ and massage is an ancient form of healing.
Massage is one of the oldest forms of healing. The skin is our largest sensory organ and the use of touch is an instinctive way to bond and share. Many cultures view it as an essential way to protect against illness, improve wellbeing and induce relaxation. Although there are at least eighty different types of massage, modern practices are derived from the “classical” or Swedish form founded by Per Henrik Ling.
Natural Healing Processes
Massage may also incorporate acupressure, aromatherapy, and reflexology and when combined with osteopathy, it can help relieve chronic back problems. Both medical professionals and alternative therapists acknowledge the profound benefits of massage. Positive psychological, physiological, emotional and spiritual effects can be achieved. Massage assists the body’s natural healing process by boosting circulation, improving the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, and draining the lymphatic system of toxins and lactic acid. If left untreated these will collect in the muscle fibres causing knots.
Massage can help in preparation for conception by reducing anxiety and frigidity. Recognised for its value in reducing stress, it is also used to treat infertility and balance hormones.
Massage alleviates back pain, sciatica, aching joints and muscles, high blood pressure and cramps. It reduces anxiety, insomnia, depression and stress. As your pregnancy progresses, the area most likely to need attention is the lower back and buttocks as the muscles contract and become tense from coping with the changing centre of gravity and extra weight. Circulation to the legs may be impaired due to compression in the lower back inhibiting blood and nerve supply. Sciatica is a result of the lumbar 4 vertebrae trapping the blood and nerve supply. In the latter stages of pregnancy, you may find it comfortable to lie on your side with cushion support where necessary. Alternatively, you can sit in a chair and lean forward onto a table, keeping your back as straight as possible.
Massage is an effective pain relief tool during labour. Ask your birthing partner to massage your lower back.
Use self help acupressure points Spleen 6 Bladder 32 Kidney 3 Bladder 67 Bladder 32 Gall Bladder 21 Stomach 36 (link to acupressure). Avoid all these points in the first eight months of pregnancy.
- Do not massage over areas of varicose veins, thrombosis, skin rashes or broken bones.
- Avoid placing pressure on the spine.
- It is advisable to avoid massaging the abdomen in the first trimester.