SPECIALIZED PRENATAL MASSAGE TREATMENTS
Caring for clients from pre-conception through postpartum is a passion of mine. I’ve taken specialized training to not only perform a safe massage during pregnancy, but to give treatments that address many of the common physical complaints of pregnancy (low back ache, frequent urination, heartburn and acid reflux, sciatica, constipation, round ligament and groin pain, etc.) and to help align the body for a more efficient labor and birth. I draw upon my full toolbox of skills for these sessions, which include listening to your needs, assessing your body (especially hips) before you lie down on the table, supporting with pillows and cushions as appropriate (those in the 2nd trimester are able to rest belly down on pregnancy cushions if they prefer this over side-lying), and using techniques that draw heavily from Central American midwifery.
I’m 36 weeks pregnant and had been struggling with sciatic pain and acid reflux my whole journey. Not only did Karen help relieve my pain, but she gave me helpful techniques and stretches to do at home. I really enjoyed my experience and hope to encourage other pregnant women to give it a try!
~ Rachelle T.
ASSESSING YOUR INDIVIDUAL NEEDS
After listening to your needs, I do a visual and kinesthetic assessment, especially to check the various measurements of hip alignment. It is very common during pregnancy for one or both hips to tilt forward (anterior rotation) and this is something that can be alieviated through massage and corrective stretching, and sometimes using muscle energy techniques with client engagement. If there’s time, I may also spend a few minutes at the feet and ankles for improving balance.
PROPPED UP ON PILLOWS, WE BEGIN WITH THE DIAPHRAGM
We open the channels of flow for easier breathing and the circulation of blood, hormones, lymph and qi. When the diaphragm is restricted, it creates tension around the esophagus (which can lead to digestive issues) and the vagus nerve (creating an anxious feeling of fight-or flight-in the body). I first connect lovingly with your belly and your baby before beginning what may be a deliciously relaxing experience for you both. I stretch ligaments of the uterus allowing baby to move into more optimal positions and massage the muscle of the uterus in preparation for more efficient contractions. I then guide my client through a few simple techniques you can do at home (and follow-up with an email with written instructions including illustrations). This becomes a 5 minute daily massage designed to stimulate oxytocin (the love hormone) production and increase relaxation, confidence and connection.
LOW BACK & SHOULDERS GET PLENTY OF ATTENTION, TOO
It’s rare to find a pregnant person who doesn’t have a low back ache by their final month or so of pregnancy. Through regular prenatal treatments and practicing the self care stretches I recommend, a more comfortable pregnancy is possible. In addition, work around the sacrum opens up mobility of joints preparing for the passage of baby’s birth.