Are Percussion Massages Safe During Pregnancy?
Being pregnant is something beautiful even though it is not always easy being a future mum!
From the day we learn that we are pregnant, our daily routine kind of take a hit... We don't eat the same things, our activities change and we often have thousands of questions!
To put it in simple words, when pregnant, we need both psychological and physical support to keep our health at its best! According to the American Pregnancy Association, massage therapy can help reduce depression, anxiety, and other symptoms.
However, percussion massages for pregnant women can be quite technical, and require caution! You can use a massager gun on your own only if you use it on these specific parts of your body that we've discussed in the second part of this article. Keep reading!
Important: We recommend asking a professional before doing any massages by yourself while pregnant, especially during the first trimester of your pregnancy!
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Pregnancy Massages refer to hands-on massaging therapy. You can have these messages to relax before and after your pregnancy.
What Happens During a Pregnancy Massage?
Well, the process is pretty simple. Your massager will ask you to lie on a massage table, specifically designed for an expecting mother's belly.
If you have crossed your first trimester, he may also give you a pillow or two for extra support. These pillows are similar to bolsters, offering a comforting side and position to pregnant women.
Now, let's come to the benefits they have to offer.
What Are The Different Pregnancy Massage Methods?
In the United States, there are 1300 therapy massage programs with approximately 80 massage types. You may wonder, what exactly happens in these pregnancy massages.
There are three common massage techniques for pregnant women in a therapy session known as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and shiatsu massage.
As the name suggests, the deep tissue massage works for strained deep muscles. Your massager will stroke the area concerned slowly and deeply for better blood circulation.
On the other hand, Swedish massage follows the technique of long, gliding strokes to release muscle tension.
Unlike the other 2 massages, shiatsu massage is stroke-free. Your massager will use finger pressing/tapping techniques with firm pressure along with different body points.
Occasionally, he can also apply pressure using his elbow, knee, and foot. This type of massage is good for anxiety and stress.
There are ongoing studies and research to understand the complete mechanism of pregnancy massages. Scientists are still trying to figure out the physiology of how manual massages can ease pain, relax muscles, and improve sleep patterns.
Are Pregnancy Massages Beneficial?
Multiple studies have been conducted in the past to see how pregnancy massages can be beneficial. According to a recent study conducted at the University of Miami School of Medicine, these therapeutic pregnancy massages show positive results in pregnant women.
Let's have a closer look at these benefits.
- A significant decrease in anxiety
- Reduced leg and back pain
- Improved sleep pattern
- Less stress due to low norepinephrine hormone levels
There was another research for pregnancy massages as well, which focused on depression.
The results of the research showed:
- An increase in dopamine and serotonin levels. This promoted the "good feeling" hormones, alleviating mood swings, and anxiety.
- Reduced cortisol levels which resulted in a decreased amount of stress.
- A general improvement in the overall mood.
Although we just gave two examples of the research conducted on pregnancy therapy sessions, there are many other surveys and research with similar results.
The primary focus of these massages is to enhance the immune system and relieve pain. A strong immune system can give you the required strength in your pregnancy to fight with harmful bacteria.
Checklist to Follow Before a Pregnancy Massage Session
There are a few points you need to consider before you opt for your pregnancy massage session.
- First, get a consultation from your obs/gyne specialist consultant. The doctor will run a complete check-up and would recommend a massage therapy session suitable for your body.
Moving on, do not go for a massage session if your doctor restricts you from it. Don't take any risks for your own safety.
- Secondly, use the National Association to find yourself a certified and trained massage therapist. Before you book an appointment, make sure to know the therapist's experience and training expertise in pregnancy massages.
- Last but not least, discontinue your therapeutic massage session if you don't feel up to the mark. Visit the nearest doctor in your area for consultation, to ensure that you and your baby are not at any risk.
Why Can Percussion Massages Be Dangerous When pregnant?
At this point, you may be wondering, but what about a percussion therapy during pregnancy?
A percussion massage therapy doesn't rely on hands-on massaging technique. Instead, it asks for a special device known as a percussion massager. But wait, is the use of a massage gun during pregnancy safe? The quick answer is "only on specific areas of your upper body, like your neck", but in reality, it's a little bit more complicated than this and you should definitely read the next two parts of this article!
You will find a variety of percussion massagers in the market, and yes, you should make sure to buy the best one out there. For example, when it comes to quality and reviews, ExoGun DreamPro is our number one pick. With 4 attachment heads and 6 different speed levels, this massager gun is very easy to use, and it can give you gentle massages if you know how and where to do it!
We will talk about the massager as well as the use of a massage gun during pregnancy in detail later on in this article.
Let's talk about the basics first. A percussion massager helps in stimulating your muscles and increasing the blood flow circulation.
However, percussion therapy is not recommended for every pregnant woman. To know if it is safe for you, you must consult with a healthcare professional first.
It doesn't matter if your partner is giving you a percussion massage or you are doing it on your own, you still need to ask your doctor before considering massage therapy.
Next, what's the right time to take a percussion massage? Once you are over your first trimester, go for a complete body check-up.
If your doctor allows, you can opt for percussion massages during pregnancy via a massage therapist or your own. Also, keep in mind that massage therapy sessions vary from case to case.
Note: Massage therapists recommend against a percussion massage during the first trimester as it can increase the risk of a miscarriage.
These therapy massages can release endorphins and induce a relaxing sensation for both the baby and the mother. In case you have swollen legs and feet, a therapeutic foot massage will do wonders.
What Happens When You Do Percussion Massages And You Are Pregnant?
Many clinics practice pregnancy-specific massage therapy because of its numerous benefits. Mostly, the therapy includes other therapy sessions like:
- Respiratory therapy
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic therapy
- Sports medicine
The idea behind percussion massages during pregnancy is to trigger pressure points, which can help alleviate body pain, treat muscle spasm, and reduce stress.
Once you are regular with your therapy sessions, you will feel a significant improvement in your physical and mental health problems.
What's the best part? Percussion massage therapy also helps in strengthening muscles. As a result, your muscles can contract and relax without any difficulty.
Now the next question is, who can give you a percussion massage? Well, it's up to you to decide. You can take a manual session from a therapist, or you can consult a professional massager to perform the task.
If you own a massager, you can even do it on your own or ask your partner to do it. You can choose whoever you are comfortable with.
Lastly, do not forget to consult a doctor first. Pregnancy percussion massages will only help if your body can deal with it.
And, you can only know that if you go for a proper medical check-up. These measures will just make sure that you do not undergo any misfortunate events.
Where to Use a Percussion Massager When Pregnant?
You need to understand which kind of massage is right for your body. We will repeat once again, don't ever think of giving a massage on your own unless you are confident enough. Your one wrong move can put your baby's life at risk, so it's better to consult a professional.
During pregnancy, the blood flow in your body increases. Due to this reason, it is not healthy to use a percussion massager on your lower body parts. Why? Well, a percussion massager follows the deep tissue massage technique.
Recall what we discussed about this type of massage in the above heading:
Deep tissue massage can increase blood circulation to treat strained muscles.
Can you see the problem here? During pregnancy, there is a natural increase in blood flow. If you use a percussion massager on your legs, the blood will start to clot in your lower body parts. This is why your doctor may not allow you to use a percussion massager.
However, percussion massage doesn't have any negative effects on the upper part of your body, i.e., shoulders, neck, and your back.
Percussion or deep tissue massages are only a problem if you perform them on your lower back, thighs, lower legs, and abdominal area during your pregnancy. The point is to avoid overstimulation in lower body parts as it can cause blood clotting.
Is Exogun Massager Safe during Pregnancy?
You may remember we mentioned Exogun as our top priority in percussion therapy at the beginning of this article.
The good thing is, it's very easy to use and it has different speeds, even one adapted to pregnancy requirements. But the real question is if it's safe to use in pregnancy?
Percussion massagers are only safe when used on upper body parts like shoulders, neck, and back. Make sure to avoid your lower legs, lower back, thighs, and stomach.
Another thing to keep in mind is to use your Exogun in low power mode and follow the instructions properly. Consult your therapist to know the time limit for using your Exogun.
Overusing it can be risky for your baby, so don't experiment with anything on your own. Do your research well and take proper guidelines from a professional.
Here are some other commonly asked questions about pregnancy massages.
What's the Alternative to Percussion Massager?
If you are not careful enough, a percussion massage will do more harm than good. This is because they use a deep percussion technique, which may harm the baby in a longer run.
If you are not an expert at using a percussion massager, you must always contact your doctor or a professional massager for complete instructions.
Are you having second thoughts regarding a percussion therapy session? It's natural to get paranoid at times. If you are not confident to go ahead with it, it's better to resort to a gentle hand massaging therapy session for your comfort.
However, it should not include any fast strokes or deep tissue pressure exertions. Make sure to take it slow with light strokes for relaxing your muscles.
Good for you, a light hands-on massage is no way harmful to you and your baby.
When to Stop a Pregnancy Massage?
What works for other pregnant women may not work for you, and that's okay. If you continue to feel restless after taking a few therapy sessions, consider taking a break from it.
However, you may need to stop your pregnancy therapy session immediately if you start having morning sickness, nausea, and preterm labor symptoms like early contractions, lower abdomen cramps, vaginal bleeding, and high blood pressure.
In case you don't already know, preterm labor causes premature birth, which isn't healthy for your baby. If you have any of the symptoms above, consult a doctor as soon as possible.
Your doctor may also strictly prohibit you from taking pregnancy massages if you have had a miscarriage before.
Can Therapeutic Percussion Massages Cause a Miscarriage?
Truth be told, researchers are still on their mission of finding the connection between massages and miscarriages. The actual cause is yet to be determined.
There is not much evidence to prove that percussion massages can result in a miscarriage. A lot of expecting mothers take the necessary precautions before therapy under the guidance of a professional.
Your gut feeling also counts a lot. If you don't feel good about a particular massage, discuss it with your doctor and massage therapist to avoid any complications.
Do Pregnancy Massage Therapists Undergo Professional Training?
What's one reason to trust your massage therapist?
Well, there is a proper training program to make them professional and efficient in what they do.
In a massage therapy training session, you have to complete an estimate of 500 educational hours. Massage therapists take proper training, and they have to attend different workshops to gain knowledge. Additional courses and seminars can help them in specializing in different categories of massages.
While looking for a good massage therapist, make sure to ask for recommendations from your trusted doctors and family. If you wish to search for a highly skilled massage therapist, you can do so via the National Association.
National Associations are responsible for training and providing certification to massage therapists. You can contact institutions like the American Massage Therapy Association to get a better idea of who to go for.
To answer your main question, if you can use percussion massager during pregnancy:
Yes, you can take a percussion massage therapy but with a list of restrictions that you need to follow religiously.
Other than that, choose a high-quality percussion massager like Exogun or something similar to it for a better experience. Follow your gut feeling and take lots of rest.