Clients can become pregnant in any practice despite what kind of clientele you serve. Whether you specialize in TMJ or sports massage or a spa, you should be aware of some basic parameters surrounding pregnancy. At my studio, Sole Shine Barefoot Massage Therapy, we have a lot of clients who become pregnant. It’s crucial that we understand basic rules of pregnancy massage especially surrounding myths of massage and pregnancy. And even though our studio is primarily barefoot massage, this understanding is important to understand so you can best equip your client with what they need to know.
I’ll be teaching a pregnancy massage course in throughout the year. I’d encourage you all to take the course. This class will emphasize evidence based birth practices and how to work with this population and their rapidly changing bodies. This class will also walk you through handling a client from conception, to pregnancy, to labor massage, and through post partum massage and understanding when they can receive massage again.
Here are a few things you must know:
*Research on pregnant women is considered unethical which is why there isn’t a lot confirmed but a whole lot of myths.
*Labor Induction massage is impossible. When we create an environment for the baby to feel comfortable (aka mom is relaxed) the baby is more likely to be ready and in a good position. That’s why massage is helpful. There are acupressure points we can focus on but nothing is proven to bring on labor. ***if the baby is not ready, the baby will not come out.***
*Massage therapy (hands on) during the first trimester is ok. The old myth of waiting until after 12 weeks is due to a lot of people miscarrying naturally before 12 weeks and the litigious nature of our culture. Some people also believe this myth has stemmed from Chinese medicine and that we “flush toxins” (which WE DO NOT. Do not say this. Ever.) and before 12 weeks the body perceives the fetus as something to expel. Either myth is exactly that, a myth.
*At this time, hands on and pregnancy Thai massage are the only acceptable forms of massage on someone you know is pregnant.
*please remember that Ashiatsu is intended for relatively healthy folks. And while I’m not alluding to pregnant women being broken or unhealthy, they are experiencing a vast change in a short period of time. Working with caution and to their comfort is key. They have a wide array of hormones coursing through their body which effect everything from emotions, mood, and their muscle tissue.
*a woman can receive pregnancy massage & Thai massage all throughout their pregnancy. Thai massage is especially great for the end of pregnancy as their body is rapidly changing and they are huge. I personally believe pregnancy THAI massage is a good way to increase proper positioning for baby to slide right out. This has not been proven because hardly anyone does pregnancy Thai massage.
*post pregnancy. 6 WEEKS. Wait 6 weeks for any and all kinds of massage. This is similar to the surgery/procedure protocol and I’ll explain why. Vaginal, medicated, natural, c-section, or VBAC—does not matter how the baby got out. The body experienced something major and needs that 6 weeks to heal and return to normal(ish). It’s not unusual for a mom to bleed for up to 6 weeks post birth. Every mom goes to a 6 week check up to be released for exercise & activities.
“Spot massage” or focusing on hands, feet, and shoulders can be acceptable but being exceptionally mindful to their birth experience.
I definitely recommend taking a pregnancy massage course if you wish to work with this population.
I encourage your questioning and your thoughts. What additional myths have you’ve heard regarding healthy pregnancy and massage therapy? Drop us a line.
The pregnancy massage course will be offered in October and you should register right away. It’s the only time this year, this class will be offered. It will be much more dynamic that a basic strokes class. We’re going to really get into working with pregnant women so that you can heavily market this to your clients. Even if you are a barefoot-specialized place like Sole Shine Barefoot Massage, you will find value in this course. At any point, your client could become pregnant, feel equipped with how to handle their rapidly changing body.