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June 29, 2021 2 min read

As part of its goals in promoting positive health outcomes and as a primary agency responsible for public health awareness, the Clinical Commissioning Groups or CCGs recognize the role of massage and endorse its inclusion in the management of various health conditions to raise awareness of the benefits of this manual therapy technique. Massage has demonstrated beneficial effects during pregnancy and labor stages, reporting the following:

  • Decreased depression and anxiety
  • Decreased leg and back pain
  • Decreased joint pain and muscle cramps
  • Reduced headaches and sleep disturbances
  • Reduced cortisol levels
  • Reduced excessive fetal movement
  • Lowered rate of prematurity and prenatal complications

Massage Techniques Appropriate in Pregnant Women:  Many techniques have been developed appropriately for every condition. Some of the commonly utilized techniques for maternal care include the Swedish or classical massage, which uses five basic techniques of vibration, tapping, kneading, stroking, and friction; the light touch massage, which utilizes a very light touch to stimulates the nerves and the feel-good hormones endorphins; and the aromatherapy massage, which makes use of aromatic oils during the massage.

On Labor Massage: A study was conducted to assess the effectiveness of a leg and back massage given by spouses during labor indicated a significant reduction in labor discomfort, shorter labor duration, and decreased need for medication. Furthermore, this study also found out that massage therapy is considered the most common nonpharmacologic alternative therapy recommended during pregnancy.

Massage Safety During Pregnancy: As with other forms of manual manipulation, massage during pregnancy is safe as long as it’s provided by a qualified practitioner. Some forms of massage, such as the Swedish and aromatherapy massage, may not be appropriate at the early pregnancy. Also, in the later pregnancy stages, gentle and light touch massage may aid in minor pregnancy aches, especially backache.

Recommendations:    Due to many positive outcomes reported by numerous pieces of literatures, massage therapy during pregnancy and delivery has gained support from various health sectors, including the CCGs. One studystrongly encourages and recommends all pregnant women practice massage therapy during pregnancy and delivery to improve pregnancy outcomes. The study also supports the claim of the previous investigation described above that massage can be the most effective non-pharmacological pain management during pregnancy. The CCGs acknowledge these findings and provide venues where these massage benefits can be realized and become accessible to all pregnant women in the outpatient clinic.

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