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Franklin Massage Therapy / Prenatal Massage

In-Home Prenatal Massage Sessions for Nashville and Surrounding Areas (Davidson, Williamson, Maury, Sumner, Rutherford Counties)

Prenatal/Pregnancy massage is a wonderful way to help any woman with the discomforts and stress of pregnancy. 

Once your doctor has given you permission to receive a massage, we can schedule your session.  All sessions are 90 minutes in length.  And if you wish, your husband/ birth partner can be present to observe the session.

Massage Reservation Line.....(615) 504-1587   24/7



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Benefits of Prenatal Massage

Massage is a safe, natural and drug-free method of    relieving the aches and pains of pregnancy.

Massage assists the circulatory and lymphatic systems by promoting the movement of blood and lymph, which assists the heart and reduces swelling.

Massage helps to soothe and ease sore muscles throughout the neck, back and hips.

Massage provides a nurturing, soothing touch, which promotes the release of emotional and physical tension.

Massage helps the body prepare the body for delivery by loosening the pelvis and ridding the body of excess tension prior to the onset of labor.

The Art of Prenatal Massage
by Kelly Lott, RMT

As you moms-to-be know, most pregnant women feel discomfort and added stress on their bodies at various points in their pregnancies. That may be why more and more pregnant women are discovering and benefiting from the art of prenatal massage.

What is prenatal massage?
Kelly Lott with a pregnant patientMassage during pregnancy is therapeutic bodywork which focuses on the special needs of the mother-to-be as her body goes through the dramatic changes of the childbirth experience. It is a fast-growing field in the United States that has attracted the interest of labor and delivery nurses, nurse-midwives, childbirth educators and obstetricians. Massage therapy enhances the function of muscles and joints, improves circulation and general body tone, and relieves mental and physical fatigue.

The popularity of prenatal massage is the result of a trend toward a higher level of wellness, especially during pregnancy. Many women are postponing childbirth until they have achieved other goals, such as careers and relationships. Because of this, pregnancy is anticipated and enjoyed to its fullest for the wondrous experience it is. Today's pregnant women – along with other health care consumers – are looking for alternative approaches to support traditional health services.

Benefits of prenatal massage include:

  • emotional support and nurturing touch;
  • relaxation and decreased insomnia;
  • stress relief on weight-bearing joints, such as ankles, lower back and pelvis;
  • neck and back pain relief caused by muscle imbalance and weakness;
  • assistance in maintaining proper posture;
  • preparing the muscles used during childbirth;
  • reduced swelling in hands and feet;
  • lessened sciatic pain;
  • fewer calf cramps;
  • headache and sinus congestion relief.
Pregnancy massage can be done in different ways. Pregnant women may lie on their sides to be massaged, and they can actually lie on their bellies, since a specifically designed pillow has made it possible for expectant moms, no matter how far along they are, to lie flat on their stomachs. It accomplishes this with a deep center cutout in the pillow, so that bellies are accommodated and moms-to-be are relaxed and comfortable.

After the first 22 weeks of pregnancy, lying flat on your back can cause pressure on deep blood vessels, due to the growing baby, thereby reducing circulation to you and your baby. To avoid this problem, pillows can be used to ensure that you are lying down and looking at the wall rather than the ceiling. Body pillows are especially effective for the side-lying position.

Benefits of prenatal massage
In addition to the fact that massage during pregnancy just plain feels good, there are many other benefits for the mom-to-be and her baby, too. A study conducted by Dr. Tiffany Field at the University of Miami School of Medicine showed that massage actually reduces stress hormones in the body. Touch is vital to the mother's physical and emotional well-being as she adapts to her new body image. Regardless of individual circumstances, a pregnant woman's body is challenged, changed and stressed in many ways. Massage gives special attention to the mother-to-be, which in turn nurtures the new life that grows within her.

Is prenatal massage for you?
Massage during pregnancy is usually safe for most mothers. Your massage therapist will want to know if you are having any problems or complications with your pregnancy before you begin. If you are, then your therapist will require approval from your primary health care provider before proceeding with any bodywork. The following are circumstances in which massage should not be performed:

  • heavy discharge (watery or bloody);
  • diabetes;
  • contagious illness;
  • fever;
  • vomiting;
  • unusual pain;
  • pre-eclampsia;
  • high blood pressure;
  • morning sickness;
  • abdominal pain;
  • diarrhea;
  • any malignant condition.

Areas of the body that should not be massaged include:

  • skin rashes, open sores, bruises;
  • inflammation;
  • raised or distended varicose veins;
  • local infection sites.

In addition to these areas, one other precaution needs to be mentioned: Direct and sustained pressure should not be applied to the area between the ankle bone and heel. This area is considered by many massage therapists and reflexologists to relate with the uterus and vagina, and it is thought that heavy pressure to this area could promote early labor. Assuming there are no other precautions or considerations, it should be all right to massage the rest of the feet.

Massage pointers
Because of the tremendous physical and hormonal changes that occur in the expectant mother, I do not recommend any massage during the first trimester. In my opinion, this is the time for the mother to get comfortable with being pregnant. The second and third trimesters are wonderful times to begin prenatal massage.

I do not recommend massaging so deeply that pain is ever felt. The most effective guide for determining proper pressure is open communication between the mom and whoever is massaging her.

An unscented lotion is best to use as a lubricant, since many pregnant women have an aversion to strong odors. The person giving the massage should have short, trim and smooth nails, and should avoid wearing any watches, rings or other jewelry that might cut skin or make noise to distract from the experience. The massage should be done in a quiet area away from phones, traffic, children, pets, etc. Soft and soothing music can add to the relaxation and comfort of the mom-to-be. The room should be well ventilated -- having a fan circulating the air is a good idea.

The person giving the massage should have short, trim and smooth nails, and should avoid wearing any watches, rings or other jewelry that might cut skin or make noise to distract from the experience.

Massage can be performed anywhere from 10 minutes to one hour, depending on how much time you have and how much discomfort you are experiencing. Once a week during the second trimester is great, and twice a week or more, during the third trimester is wonderful. In my practice and in my teaching, I have found that my pregnant clients appreciate their massage therapy appointments because they know relief is at hand. They look forward to their weekly appointments to ease recurring problems, such as sciatica, leg cramps, and back and round ligament pain. I hope pregnancy massage eases any discomfort you may be feeling, too.

Pregnancy Massage
Touch for the Mom-To-Be

By Shirley Vanderbilt

Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. All rights reserved.

Pregnancy is a beautiful and natural condition -- nine transformative months full of excitement, planning and peering at the awesome unfolding of life. But this transformation also brings inevitable side effects, sometimes making a woman feel like her body has been taken over by an alien force. In the early months, there are mood swings from ecstasy to unpredictable crying, in later months, there are aches and pains more common to the domain of the elderly. Physical changes, such as nausea, back pain, heartburn, raging hormones, breast pain, and swollen legs and ankles affect many women during this time. But you don't have to suffer in silence. The gentle, noninvasive approach of pregnancy massage can ease your discomfort, help you prepare for labor and give you the emotional support of a caring practitioner. Massage sessions can also bring back a sense of body-mind integration, putting you into a state of relaxation and calm acceptance of your continually evolving physical form.

According to Lynne Daize, with the National Association of Pregnancy Massage Therapy, training for this specialty includes learning specific techniques for each trimester, as well as those required for labor and postpartum massage. A certified pregnancy massage therapist is well-acquainted with the physical and hormonal effects of pregnancy and has the skills to counterbalance these changes. You'll find the therapist uses a lighter touch and concentrates on those areas most vulnerable to changes in your body. She will also give you deep breathing exercises and tips on how to improve your posture to adjust to the added weight and shifting center of gravity.

Massage has many scientifically proven health benefits such as stimulating the blood and lymph systems, thereby increasing immunity and removal of toxins, stabilizing hormonal levels, and adding tone and flexibility to muscles -- all of which enhance the health of both you and your baby. As pregnancy progresses, your body adjusts to a changing alignment caused by the baby's increasing weight. This puts strain on your back and legs and increases stress on weight-bearing joints. Massage increases flexibility, enhancing the ability to carry this extra weight while also relieving aches and pains, leg cramps and muscle spasms. The effects of relaxation and tension release add to improvement in the physical state of muscles and joints, and assist in balancing emotions.

Recent studies from the Touch Research Institute (TRI) in Miami, Fla., indicates that pregnancy massage provides more than just symptom relief for the mother. A group of 26 pregnant women were given either massage or relaxation therapy during a five-week study. In addition to experiencing a reduction in symptoms of anxiety, stress, sleep problems and back pain, the massage group had fewer complications in their delivery. Their newborns also had fewer postnatal complications. Another TRI study reported massage during labor resulted in shorter labor times for the mothers, shorter hospital stays and less postpartum depression.

Obstetrician Bonita Kolrud of Westside Women's Care in Wheat Ridge, Colo., is an avid proponent of bodywork, although she cautions women to make sure their therapist is experienced with pregnancy massage. Kolrud praises the physical benefits of massage, noting it relieves tension and pain caused by changes in body alignment. "The biggest thing is so many women still look at massage as a luxury. But it has so many physical health benefits and is more of a necessity for some patients. Emotionally, it's really beneficial for women to be touched when they're pregnant. I think a lot of pregnant women don't necessarily get as much physical touching as they would like. It's a very nurturing thing having someone taking care of you, and it's a great bonding experience with the baby when you're both receiving massage."

What to Expect When Expecting
During the first trimester of pregnancy, a primary goal of massage is to provide relaxation and increase flow of the circulation systems. Stimulating the blood system pumps more energy-giving oxygen and nutrients into your cells and increases blood flow to the placenta. Muscle tension can slow down lymph flow, leaving you fatigued and at risk of toxemia. By stimulating this system, massage speeds up elimination of toxins and excess fluid, boosting your immunity and energy level.

And when it comes to morning sickness, Daize indicates that while bodywork won't completely relieve nausea, it can certainly diminish the queasiness.

In the second trimester, increasing weight of the baby can cause muscle soreness. "The mother starts going through more changes," says Daize, "so massage is used to relieve muscle spasms and ease structural changes." The therapist works to loosen joints, keeping them aligned, and soften the connective tissues, relieving backaches and leg cramps.

As pregnancy progresses and the abdomen enlarges, special positioning is required during massage. Up to the 24th week of pregnancy it is acceptable, according to Daize, for moms to be on their back with the right hip tilted up, taking pressure off the nerves and arteries. Pressure on the arteries in the back, she notes, will diminish blood flow and oxygen to the fetus. Another position that decreases stress on the back is side-lying, with the belly supported by a small wedge pillow.

During the final trimester's "home stretch," the baby begins to gain weight more rapidly, pressing against inner organs and shifting them about. Discomfort increases and the impending due date can cause added stress and anxiety. At this stage, Daize says, the therapist focuses on trigger points to relieve pain while continuing to elicit relaxation throughout the body. Generally, during the last two weeks before mom's due date the therapist concentrates her techniques on preparing the mother's body for delivery.

Before initiating massage, consult your obstetrician, especially if you are high-risk. While massage is a safe treatment, there are certain conditions that require your physician's approval and careful monitoring by the therapist. Notify your therapist immediately of any changes in your physical health, and consult your obstetrician about continuing the treatments should complications arise. Some physicians may be unaware of the benefits of pregnancy massage and hesitant to recommend it. In these cases, the therapist can help by providing information that explains her specialized training and experience.

Spouses and partners can be included in the massage experience as well. As your due date nears, you can bring your labor coach into your session to learn basic massage techniques. Kolrud notes that massage during labor is especially beneficial if the woman "prefers to do it as naturally as possible." You might consider hiring a doula or massage therapy birth assistant to comfort and guide you through the entire labor and delivery process. These professionals are trained to provide both physical and emotional support. They act as a liaison with medical staff and as the mother's caregiver, using their expertise to create a stress-free and positive environment. By giving massage, suggesting alternative positions for labor and tending to minor details, they relieve fathers and family members of much of the pressure and responsibility in the labor room.

Special Delivery
Once your baby has arrived, massage can continue to be an important part of good health for you and your new infant. Postpartum massage can relieve the stress and tension of your new responsibilities and provide nurturing and relaxation to help you in adjusting to motherhood. By increasing circulation, massage enhances the post-birth healing process and has a significant effect on realigning the body when the center of gravity shifts back to normal. You can also share this pleasurable experience with your newborn. Infant massage is one of the best ways to bond with your baby and provide a secure, comforting welcome into the world. Ask your therapist about infant massage instruction, or call Johnson & Johnson (877/565-5465) to order their video, Parent Guide to Infant Massage.

Shirley Vanderbilt is a staff writer for
Body Sense magazine.

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