The Benefits of Pregnancy Massages for You and Baby

Massage is certainly one of the best ways you can indulge yourself, but did you know that massage is especially helpful for pregnant women?


During pregnancy, mothers-to-be experience dramatic changes that can cause discomfort and exhaustion. Think about it. You are carrying a baby inside you for several months. This alone creates tension on your back, neck and shoulders. Add to this the sore ankles. And not to mention the mental fatigue!


Preparing for motherhood is truly life-changing, but it doesn’t have to be hard all the time.


Pregnancy massage is one easy way to relieve you of physical and mental stress. It’s a therapeutic technique designed to ease muscles and joints, improve circulation and help expectant women feel good about their changing bodies.


It’s not so different from other types of therapeutic massage, in that both are for relaxation. But for pregnancy massage, it’s all about customizing massage strokes and techniques to suit pregnant women’s needs.


Pregnancy Massage: Amazing Benefits


Massage therapy has been proven to bring a lot of benefits during pregnancy. Such benefits include:


  • Relieves muscle and joint pains


In a 2010 study, it was found that pregnant women who received massage therapy for about 20 minutes per week for 5 weeks experienced relief from upper and lower back pains, leg cramps and hip joint pains that are commonly experienced during pregnancy.


  • Boosts immunity for mother and baby


Massage improves blood circulation, which enables oxygen and nutrients to be distributed throughout the body, while toxins are flushed away.


For pregnant women, this means both mother and fetus receive nutrients needed for health, while the immune system is strengthened.


  • Helps maintain good posture


During pregnancy, your body changes alignment. Whether it’s a small or a huge baby bump, the extra weight from the baby changes your centre of gravity.


Regular massage increases muscle flexibility, which can enhance your posture and overall ability to carry that additional weight while keeping your legs and back strong.


  • Improves relaxation and sleeping habits


You know one of those ‘happy hormones’, endorphins? During pregnancy massage, the body releases endorphins that help the mother stay relaxed and at ease.


This is also linked to better sleep quality, which is important for both mum and baby.


  • Lowers likelihood of prematurity


Stress is a big no-no for pregnant women, because when the stress hormone cortisol is released, it could give a signal to birth the baby even when it’s not yet full term.


Studies have found that pregnancy massage is effective in lowering anxiety and depression in expectant women, lowering the risk of premature birth.


  • Lessens labour pains


In one study, women who were already in labour were massaged on their back and legs during the first 15 minutes of their labour phases. The result was astounding: those who were massaged experienced less pain during the first two phases of labour.


What’s more, their labours were 3 hours shorter compared to women who were not massaged.


Is Pregnancy Massage Safe?


Specialists and massage therapists alike recommend that pregnancy massage shouldn’t be started until after the first trimester. Why? Because during the first trimester, there’s a much higher risk for miscarriage.


While pregnancy massage has never been proven to cause a miscarriage, the likelihood of miscarrying is always bigger during the first few months of pregnancy.


So, just to be safe and avoid any risks, doctors and therapists counsel against first trimester massage for pregnant women.


Most massage therapists want clearance from your doctor before providing any treatment anyway, so it’s best to consult with your obstetrician or midwife first before getting a pregnancy massage. They may also be able to recommend a practitioner for you.


Pregnancy Massage: How Do I Lie Down?


When it comes to pregnancy massage, body positioning is a bit different. Your baby bump is in the way, so you won’t be comfortable lying facedown. But lying on your back is also not recommended, especially after the first trimester, as it strains your back and legs.


The best position for pregnancy massage is to lie on your side while propped by cushions. You can also be massaged while in a sitting position, supported by an upright massage bed.


Therapists have a range of foam cut-outs and pillows to support your belly and ease any muscular strain.


In case you feel unstable on the massage table, tell your therapist right away so that the two of you can decide on a comfortable position for the massage.


Pregnancy Massage Techniques


Pregnancy massage experts generally use light and slow strokes that encourage blood circulation and body relaxation.


These are based on Swedish massage techniques that involve stroking, gliding, rubbing and tapping, pregnancy massage has particular benefits in reducing muscle stress and improving blood flow.


Hard pressure massage is not ideal for pregnant women. Hence, techniques like deep tissue, shiatsu, deep acupressure and the like are avoided during this time.


Tips for Getting the Right Pregnancy Massage


  • Ask your doctor or midwife if you are OK to get pregnancy massage.
  • Inform your therapist where on your body you feel discomfort or pain, and what activities you think worsen the pain. Be specific. It’s better if you can vividly describe the pain, e.g., does it feel like a dull ache when you walk, or a stabbing pain?
  • Don’t forget to tell your massage therapist how far along you are and when your due date is.
  • Talk to your therapist about your positioning during massage and what type of massage they will provide. Keep in mind that Swedish massage is usually ideal for expectant women.


Ready To Try Pregnancy Massage?


We at Ministry Of Beauty have started offering pregnancy massages 🙂


Take a look at our massages page for more info or call us at 0117 973 33 64 for more info!

4 Massages to Try at Your Summer Vacation

Summer vacations are all about fun and the outdoors. But just because this is the perfect chance to party does not mean that there’s no room for a little peace and calm. A massage is just what you need to ease into that summer vacation with absolute relaxation in mind.


Here are four massages you cannot miss out on during your summer vacation.


Back, Neck, and Shoulders Massage


What You Need to Know


The back, neck, and shoulders massage lets you experience ultimate relaxation for a good 30 minutes. This massage mainly focuses on the tension points on your back and shoulders, and is topped off with a gentle head massage.


This may be shorter than a full-body massage, but it gives you an amazing stress-relieving experience just the same. The pressure applied by the massage therapist will most likely range from a light to medium touch, but if you want something with more pressure, your therapist will be flexible enough to adapt to the amount of pressure that best suits your personal preference.


Your therapist will start off by applying exfoliating scrub on your back and arms to get rid of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. This is also a great way to stimulate lymph circulation, which will, in turn, make the body’s natural detoxifying process easier.


After that, your massage therapist will proceed to massaging your stiff lower back and try to loosen any muscular knots, which are commonly found between the tops of the shoulders and the shoulder blades.


Other benefits


  • Eases muscular tension in the back area
  • Clarifies the back skin
  • Hydrates and nourishes dry skin because of aromatherapy oils
  • Improves blood circulation and tones the muscles
  • A great alternative to full-body massage when you are short on time


Hot Stone Back Massage


What You Need to Know


The Hot Stone back massage is deeply soothing. It blends hot basalt stones and a pleasant mix of aromatherapy oils, which helps relax stiff muscles, soothe tension, and bring about a relaxing state of mind for 30 minutes.


This massage involves smooth black basalt stones, which are drawn from lava. These stones of different sizes are heated between 120 to 150 degrees and are placed on the energy points on your upper body. This practice is known to be effective in easing muscular tension.


From there, the therapist applies warm aromatherapy oils and uses both hands to move the stones smoothly along your skin, with more pressure on your back muscles.


Aside from black basalt stones, cool marble stones are also sometimes used in this type of massage. These stones have anti-inflammatory, energy-balancing, and blood capillary-constricting effects.


The cooling sensation that these cool marble stones give are also proven to be very effective in facial treatments where it is not advisable to use heat. These cool stones are beneficial and effective in reducing puffiness around the eyes.


Other benefits


  • Aids in faster muscle relaxation during cold months
  • Relieves deep muscular pain
  • Releases stagnant negative energy
  • Calms the nervous system
  • Improves poor blood circulation and tones muscles
  • Ideal for people with insomnia and rheumatic and arthritic pain


Indian Head Massage


What You Need to Know


The Indian Head massage is a spa treatment intended to release tension, stress, and headache. Unlike the other types of massage, this one is done while you are seated on a comfortable chair. This procedure usually lasts for 30 minutes.


This massage originated in India thousands of years ago. Traditionally, Indian mothers would massage their daughter’s hair using different essential oils to stimulate the scalp. This practice is said to result in the long and shiny hair that women in India are known for.


This type of head massage works perfectly on different areas that might have been affected by emotional and mental stress, and is known to bring immediate relief.


Aside from that, it is also proven to promote better blood circulation in the head. It also boosts the senses, increases memory, and stimulates clear thinking.


This massage is beneficial to individuals who are suffering from migraines, vertigo, and insomnia. Another huge benefit of this massage is that it is also able to address the several detrimental effects of cellphone radiation.


Other benefits


  • Enhances the circulation of the cerebrospinal fluid
  • Raises the glucose and oxygen supply to the brain
  • Drives away accumulated toxins around the head
  • Suitable for the sinuses
  • Improves concentration and vision
  • Stimulates lustrous hair growth
  • Increases the energy level of the brain
  • Reduces premature balding and greying of the hair


Full Body Aromatherapy Massage


What You Need to Know


The full-body aromatherapy massage is a firm yet relaxing body massage perfect for those who have stiff, painful, and tired muscles. This type of massage normally lasts for an hour and uses your preferred essential oils to promote better relaxation.


This massage treats very area of the body that is prone to tension, like the neck, shoulders, back, legs, hands, and arms. Depending on your health concerns, your massage therapist will choose a blend of essential oils that offer therapeutic effects.


When the right blend is selected, your massage therapist will ask you to lie facing down before the massage begins.


Other benefits


  • Delivers a revitalizing and soothing experience
  • Relieves the different symptoms of tired and stiff joints
  • Aids in better digestion
  • Improves poor blood circulation
  • Improves sleep
  • Releases tension and stress


The Importance of Getting a Massage


Whatever your need is – whether it is to reduce muscular tension, to be relieved of pain, or to have a relaxing moment while you are on vacation, getting a therapeutic massage will certainly improve your sense of physical and emotional health.


Massage therapy is famous for a reason as it has always been known to affect one’s overall health in a positive way.


So to neutralize all the sitting that you do at work, get that well-deserved massage. It’s just the thing that can make your summer vacation even more relaxing.

Uncovering Deep Tissue Massage: How It Works as a Neck and Back Pain Reliever

We use the expression ‘a pain in the neck’ when we’re annoyed with someone. But if you’re like most people in the UK (8 out of 10, in fact), you’ve literally experienced what the idiom means in the physical sense. Indeed, about one-third of adults already suffer chronic pains, the most commonly affected areas being the neck and back.


The bad news? That pain in the neck (and shoulders and back) will only increase as we continue to spend time on our computers and smartphones and engage in sedentary lifestyles that require less and less physical effort. But who doesn’t use gadgets these days?


Unless you’re living under a rock, surely you’ve enjoyed the merits of technology, despite its effect on your physical well being.



Causes of Neck and Back Pain


What causes neck and back pain? You may not notice it, but the neck has a pretty tough job of supporting the head. The bones at the neck, shoulders and top of the spine work together to hold up around 11 pounds – the weight of a bowling ball – all day long.


Sure, the neck and spine are strong. But they’re quite delicate at the same time. Having poor posture, carrying a heavy purse, or even just sleeping in the wrong position can throw off the balance between bones, muscles and connective tissues which could then result in limited range of motion and the dreaded neck and back pain.


Fortunately, our Greek and Egyptian predecessors thought of ways to relieve these nasty aches and pains and developed the art of massage. The rhythmic kneading, rubbing and stroking motions in massage stimulate blood circulation and eliminate toxins, helping to soothe stiff muscles.


Deep Tissue Massage


While massages are typically designed to relax and rejuvenate the body, the deep tissue massage is a technique that can actually repair muscles and tissues. Sounds intense, right? Well, it is.


From the name itself, deep tissue massage is focused on the deeper layers of connective tissue like fascia to soothe and heal muscles, tissues and joints. Since the massage targets the tension in the connective tissues, it will feel a whole lot more intense than, say, a traditional Swedish or Thai massage.


Strokes are quite firm with varying degrees of pressure, depending on the tightness of the muscles. Patients, professional athletes and massage enthusiasts who want to feel kneaded (pun intended!) swear by its benefits, so much so that the massage has become a popular part of recovery regimens.  


What to Expect


If you’re a first-timer, the level of discomfort the massage brings may surprise you, and you may be wary to even try it. Bear in mind, though, that deep tissue massage is meant primarily for healing and rehabilitation, not relaxation. The heightened pressure is intended to penetrate through the layers of muscles and tissues to straighten them out. Discomfort is normal and will definitely be felt if there are tight, knotted muscles.


That is not to say that deep tissue massage is supposed to be painful. Pain is different from discomfort because pain is wholly uncomfortable while discomfort may be described as a ‘good hurt’, a minor twinge that feels good at the same time.  


Just be clear with your massage therapist about your comfort level and pain tolerance – before, during and after the massage. Why? Because if you’re not used to the intense pressure, then the therapist can simply arrange for several sessions to gradually introduce the deeper strokes on the neck and back. Some key benefits of this massage include:


  • Eases stress and tension


Deep tissue massage provides a release of muscular tension through targeting connective tissues directly. Not only that, it releases a hormone called oxytocin – the hormone responsible for creating positive emotions (in case you needed proof that there is joy after pain). Deep tissue massage eases tension both physically and emotionally which could help you recharge and take on everyday activities with more ease.


  • Rubs away neck and back pain


One of the main reasons people crave massages is chronic pain. Clinical evidence shows that deep tissue massage alleviates this type of pain, as pointed pressure on those persistently contracted areas of the neck, shoulders and back can rehabilitate the wear and tear within these muscle groups.


  • Improves body’s range of motion


Deep tissue massage has been known to improve range of motion and the overall function of the joints. For instance, studies on arthritis suggest that this massage greatly complements medically prescribed treatments.


  • Reduces heart rate and lowers blood pressure


A significant benefit of deep tissue massage is that it lowers blood pressure, which could happen when blood circulation is stimulated through the pressured strokes. Research suggests that patients suffering from moderate to severe muscle strain experience lower blood pressure ratings after an hour’s worth of massage. This shows that deep tissue massage could be a part of a holistic approach to treating hypertension.


Ready To Try It?


We offer a full body deep tissue massage which lasts 1 hour and will make you feel like you have been given a new body 🙂


Read more about our deep tissue massage and other massages here.


Some Precautions


Due to its rehabilitative nature, deep tissue massage may not be suitable for everyone. Remember that if you have health issues, steer clear of massages in the meantime or get your doctor’s approval first before getting a massage. Some health precautions would include the following: diagnosis of blood clots, bone conditions like osteoporosis, inflamed skin or wounds, and if you have had recent surgeries or chemotherapy.


Deep tissue massage is a proven technique to stimulate and rehabilitate muscles and tissue layers, and it would be a shame not to take advantage of its known benefits. Be prepared for the intensity, but also look forward to that good hurt. Your neck and back will thank you for it. Now keep calm and book a deep tissue massage!