Is massage safe during pregnancy?

Yes! Absolutely, if you have a session with a qualified massage therapist. Whether it’s for that lower back niggle, tight neck and shoulders, or for relaxation, massage has been shown to lower cortisol levels, reduce the changes of premature birth and low birth weight as well as decreasing pain and shortening labour times [1] [2].

However if your partner is keen to earn brownie points and wants to give you a massage here are some quick tips on what to avoid and some great acupressure points.

  • If you are < 37 weeks. Avoid strong pressure around the feet and ankle, lower sacral region and around your traps. There are some points around this area that are indicated to start uterine contractions. [3]
  • Kidney 9, beautiful baby point. Located on the medial aspect of the calf, this point is great for calming the mind and nourishing blood.
  • Stomach 36, located just below the knee on the lateral side. I call this energy booster point because it’s great for strengthening overall constitution, nourishes your digestive system, increases energy levels and modulates your stress response. [4]
  • Percardium 6, located in the middle of your wrist 3 fingers width from the crease. This is a classic point for morning sickness as it relieves nausea, calms your digestive system down and also has a calmative effect. [5]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regardless of whether it’s your first or your third pregnancy and where you are in your pregnancy journey, massage can benefit you and your bub. Additionally, acupuncture is an equally safe and wonderful adjunct therapy that can prolong the benefits of your massage. We understand that pregnancy can be a tumultuous journey for most and as your body adapts and changes we hope that we can help support you. There are qualified massage therapists and acupuncturists here at Freedom Chinese Medicine that would love to help you through your pregnancy so come in for a session.

Written by:

Dr. Rebekah Loh

Acupuncturist & Chinese Herbalist

Rebekah is a super qualified and enthusiastic practitioner. She has a double degree in Health Science and Chinese Medicine she also has a degree in Biomedical Science. Rebekah completed further study in hospital internships in Nanjing, China and Taichung, Taiwan. She speaks English (fluent), Mandarin Chinese (intermediate) & Cantonese (beginner). Rebekah can help with a whole range of conditions, and she is particularly passionate about women’s health, obstetrics, gynaecology and fertility.In her spare time, Rebekah likes to play Futsal, Badminton and Viola.

References:

[1] Field T (2010) Pregnancy and labor massage, Expert Review of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 5:2, 177-181, DOI: 10.1586/eog.10.12

[2] Field T, et al (2009) “Pregnancy massage reduces prematurity, low birthweight and postpartum depression” Infant Behaviour and Development, Volume 32, Issue 4, 454-460

[3] Carr D.J. (2015) “The safety of obstetric acupuncture: forbidden points revisited” Acupunct Med. 2015 Oct; 33(5): 413–419.

[4] Pavao TS et al (2010) “Acupuncture is effective to attenuate stress and stimulate lymphocyte proliferation in the elderly”. Neurosci Lett. 2010 Oct 22;484(1):47-50. Epub 2010 Aug 13.

[5] Werntoft E, Dykes AK. (2001) “Effect of acupressure on nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. A randomized, placebo-controlled, pilot study.” J Reprod Med. 2001 Sep;46(9):835-9.

Picture references:

(a) http://www.longmontacupuncture.net/preg.html

(b) http://www.acupunctureexplained.com/stomach-36-the-most-popular-acupuncture-point/

(c) http://www.acupunctureexplained.com/pericardium-6-for-anxiety-and-insomnia/

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