Massage - essential stress relief for new parents
Becoming a new parent is filled with a gambit of different emotions. Apart from overwhelming love for your new baby, there are a few other side effects both pre and post-birth such as stress, anxiety, and sleep deprivation.
Massage therapy has been scientifically proven to help relieve a range of conditions and most people know that it eases pain, tension, and stress, helping to encourage relaxation and better sleep. All new mums know that a good night’s sleep gives you more energy and helps reduce stress but why do we still believe massage is a once in blue moon treat and not an essential, regular activity with many health benefits that are good for our welfare?
Did you know for example that massage reduces cortisol which is associated with high stress levels, improves circulation, and helps to reduce high blood pressure?
Massage is particularly beneficial for your health in the fourth trimester. It can help to reduce swelling by redistributing water around the body and helping to drain excess fluid via the lymphatic system.
Other benefits are:
Improved milk production. If you’re trying to increase your supply of breast milk, massage can be a great way to increase circulation and the necessary hormones to make this happen.
Hormone regulation. The postpartum body is one of constantly fluctuating hormones. In addition to touch, many massages involve essential oils that may help to encourage hormonal balance.
No matter how fit you were before becoming a parent being a new mum can really take its toll on your arms, shoulders, and neck. Feeding, constant lifting and carrying, hauling around a changing bag, lifting the car seat and pram in and out of the car - massage can target these areas to reduce pain and improve range of motion.
Massage can be a real support to women pre-birth too, particularly if you’re suffering from back and sciatic nerve pain.
The sciatic nerve is a major nerve that passes through the buttock, through the thigh, and into the foot and heel. Because it is such a large nerve, the pain can be debilitating. Gentle massage can help to relieve compression and inflammation of the sciatic nerve and affected areas.
It’s common for pregnant women to suffer from foot and leg cramps, particularly in the middle of the night. Massage can help reduce or eliminate these involuntary muscle contractions by gently stretching and exercising the muscles of the legs and feet.
It's time we began to understand the health benefits of massage and start to include it within our regular wellness routine. Taking time out once a month will not only give you positive physical benefits but will help to support your mental health too.