There’s no denying that receiving a massage feels great. Working kinks out of achy muscles is probably one of the best feelings in the world. Massage therapy is typically regarded as a luxury spa service, often accompanied by a body wrap and categorized as a spa or beauty service. Of course, the nature of a massage session – a dimly lit room with lovely music in the background – certainly plays in to this theory. And, of course, in a society where we associate taking care of bodies with torturous diets, rigorous workouts, and anxiety inducing doctor visits, it’s hard to imagine that something that feels as good as receiving massage does could actually be beneficial.
But it totally is! The benefits of receiving regular massage reach well beyond feeling good and working out kinks. Last year, through a series of blogs I call the “Body Systems Series,” I explored the benefits massage has for each system of your body. The more research that is done on the benefits of massage therapy, the more health care professionals begin to realize that massage therapy is an amazing form of complementary medicine (never to be confused with alternative medicine). So this year, through a series of blogs, I would like you to join me in the exploration of how massage therapists can work with other medical professionals. This month: obstetricians!
WHAT DO OBSTETRICIANS DO?
According to WebMD, “an obstetrician is a doctor who specializes in pregnancy, childbirth, and the female reproductive system.” Obstetricians provide pre- and post-natal care, and they also deliver babies. Some responsibilities of obstetricians include:
- Monitoring a fetus’s health and growth through the use of ultrasounds
- Monitoring the health of the mother and identifying health problems that could potentially endanger the fetus
- Provide nutrition and health advice
- Assist with side effects of pregnancy, including morning sickness, swelling, and cramps
- Monitor the health of the mother after childbirth
HOW DOES MASSAGE THERAPY COMPLEMENT
Massage therapy has been shown to have incredible benefits for pregnant women. According to studies done by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami, pre-natal massage has the following benefits for a pregnant woman include the following:
- Reduced leg and back pain
- Reduced feelings of depression and anxiety
- Improved mood overall
- Improved sleep
- Increased circulation
- Reduced swelling
- Reduced muscle tension
- Improved oxygenation
- Regulation of hormones
- Eased symptoms after birth
Massage therapy also has many benefits for the baby, both in the womb and after birth.
Please remember that this blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness, or prescribe treatment. Massage therapy should not be considered an alternative form of health care. It is only complementary. Please always follow the advice of your primary care physician.
“What is an Obstetrician?” [Internet]. WebMd, New York, NY, 10014. [Accessed 2017 Jun 04]. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/baby/what-is-an-obstetrician-twins#1
Cited Touch Research Institute Studies
Field, T. (2010). Pregnancy and labor massage therapy. Expert Review of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 5, 177-181.
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., Diego, M., Hernandez-Reif, M., Deeds, O. & Figueiredo, B. (2009). Pregnancy massage reduces prematurity, low birthweight and postpartum depression. Infant Behavior & Development, 32, 454-460.
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.
Latifses, V., Bendell Estroff, D., Field, T., & Bush, J. (2005). Father massaging and relaxing their pregnant wives lowered anxiety and facilitated marital adjustment. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 9, 277-82.
shironosov. “Visiting Obstetrician.” istockphoto.com. 2016 Oct 06. Available from: http://www.istockphoto.com/ca/photo/visiting-obstetrician-gm603294150-103642785
kjohansen. “Pregnant Woman Receives Massage and Reiki Energy Work.” istockphoto.com. 2013 Oct 03. Available from: http://www.istockphoto.com/ca/photo/pregnant-woman-receives-prenatal-massage-and-reiki-energy-work-gm183271761-14723929