Massage is well-known for its health benefits; such as relaxation and pain relief. However, specific support for a new Mom includes: hormone regulation, better sleep, improved breastfeeding, recovery from giving birth, reduced swelling, increased healing.
Relaxation, Stress Reduction
Massage can help relax muscles, improve circulation, and decrease stress hormones. After nine months of creating, carrying and delivering one of the greatest miracles of life, a new Moms’ body would certainly benefit from a little pampering and perhaps a little deeper work to get some of the knots out. Improved Circulation moves metabolic waste products out and brings fresh blood, oxygen and nutrients to tissue for improved healing.
Postpartum Depression and Anxiety
Depression, anxiety and “the mommy blues” respond well to skilled massage therapy. It is not uncommon for new moms to experience postpartum depression, anxiety or the blues due to hormonal changes, new responsibilities and adjustments to a new normal. Postpartum depression is a longer lasting condition that affects 10-15% of new mothers. You may need to enlist the assistance of a healthcare practitioner as well for postpartum depression. Research has shown massage to be very beneficial in treating all these conditions.
After child birth there can be residual pain, discomfort and body aches, which are all normal. Add in breastfeeding and childcare and shoulder, back, neck, arm and hand pain can increase substantially. Massage can relieve these issues without medication so as not to interfere with breastfeeding
Massage can greatly improve postpartum hormone regulation. Estrogen and progesterone levels drop after delivery, prolactin and oxytocin rise to facilitate breastfeeding, cortisol levels rise due to stress, all can be helped with massage. Massage can also affect the hormones that contribute to depression and the “mommy blues”.
During pregnancy oftentimes there is a great deal of fluid retention and weight gain. The body fluids need to find a balance after delivery. Massage can improve circulation and lymphatic flow which will help the body to decrease swelling and rebalance hormones which also affect fluid retention. Good hydration is necessary for the healing process and breastfeeding however massage can assist the body with rebalancing.
After delivery and with new responsibilities of child care, new moms are exhausted. Quality sleep is important. Massage can increase the brainwaves that promote quality sleep. This is why it is not uncommon to fall asleep during massage. Quality sleep is important for recovery, hormone balancing, returning to pre-pregnancy weight and having a better mental state for handling new responsibilities.
Studies show that massage increases prolactin levels, prolactin is a hormone that stimulates lactation. Additionally, relaxes the body, relieves shoulder, arm and neck pain. New research has shown that breast massage can decrease breast pain and tenderness associated with breastfeeding; as well; reduces sodium content of breast milk which can improve newborn suckling. You will need to talk to your licensed massage therapist about receiving this work.