When you discover you’re pregnant for the first time, it’s like you’ve taken ‘the red pill’ from the Matrix and all of a sudden the world looks a little different. Now you’re in a Wonderland of sage advice and expertise – of elasticated pants, and vitamin supplements; of pillow support and prams and baby names.
When pregnant women come to see me as a massage therapist, I often find that yes, they may have aches that need soothing or sciatica that’s been set off, but it’s what’s going on in the mind that’s really troubling them. A calm mind is the key to a relaxed pregnancy and happy baby.
Perhaps you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, or stressed, neglected or nervous? Do you notice moments of anger and irritability? All kinds of feelings get jumbled up – pain, elation, joy, fear. So, it’s not surprising that those feelings can get stored in the body and then translate into physical discomfort. In fact, we know that the body plays a big role in generating these emotions in the first place. Hormones (chemical messengers released by your glands) like Progesterone, Oxytocin and Relaxin, flood your system preparing your body for the baby’s arrival and whether you like it or not, they have a huge impact on your emotional reactions which may sometimes feel like a roller coaster ride!
This is where Thai massage becomes a powerful remedy working both the physical body where pain surfaces, and the emotions where the mind sometimes feels at the mercy of our hormones. The emotions are often unblocked and released, hidden tensions brought to the surface and expunged. That’s why sometimes people surprise themselves by crying or laughing during a massage. And feel better for it.
A client once described Thai massage as doing a yoga class, but having someone else release those spots you wouldn’t be able to access yourself. In a treatment, pressure is applied rhythmically in a rocking motion, stretches help to mobilise the joints creating space, muscles are softened, acupressure points applied and the body is encouraged to heal itself. All whilst you concentrate on deeper breathing, relaxing and releasing into the sensations – a great practice for the eventual birthing process.
I might just add that if you are new to Thai Pregnancy Massage – no work is done on the belly, no twists and no compression. Nearly all other areas of the body are easily accessed, the back, legs, shoulders, indeed even just a good foot, hand and face massage can be total bliss.
But, don’t underestimate the power of Thai massage – it’s no ‘frou-frou’ therapy – it’s deep, powerful and when sensitively applied can be one of the most nurturing experiences you will have. As your body is moved around, the energy within it moves around too. An increase in circulation, blood flow and oxygen uptake, allows feel-good endorphins to be released. As the months progress, you’re likely to feel squashed and compressed from all angles, and it is here where Thai Massage excels, by encouraging much needed spaciousness and softness back into your body.
But, let me give you just a couple more reasons why Thai massage is particularly suited to pregnancy.
It also helps that Thai massage is a fully clothed therapy. Pregnancy drastically changes our bodies and women often feel vulnerable about the way they look and how their body changes shape. Keeping your clothes on can help you to relax into the experience, connecting you with your body at a time when it is undergoing massive transformation.
And finally, Thai massage is done on the floor on a futon rather than a massage table or couch. Being close to the floor allows you to feel grounded (connected to the earth), an essential component to feeling peaceful enough to deeply relax. Treatments are mostly given in a comfortable side-lying position with the support of bolsters and cushions for baby and mother to be. At a time when the safety and protection of your baby is paramount in your mind – there will be no falling off couches guaranteed!
When you’re pregnant your life certainly changes, even more than you imagined it would. Take the discomfort and doubts and joys alike and embrace them in all of their techni-color glory with Thai Massage alongside you for the ride. Your baby will thank you for it.
Siva Rajah is an advanced Thai Yoga Massage Practitioner, who has a regular weekend clinic at triyoga Chelsea. She fuses therapeutic deep tissue and northern style Thai massage with her interest in energy, movement and anatomy. Siva has been practicing her passion of connecting people back to their bodies with Thai Massage and yoga for over 15 years.
Siva works at triyoga Chelsea. For her schedule and more information, please click here.