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Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more

Prenatal Massage

Pregnancy brings countless changes to your body, and unfortunately, some of these changes are more painful than pleasurable. An aching back, hips, and legs; nausea; insomnia; headaches; swollen feet; and unpredictable hormones are all a part of a normal pregnancy. However, many women have discovered a way to ease some of the discomfort associated with pregnancy and even improve their labor and delivery. The secret is prenatal massage.

The therapeutic benefits of massage have been known since 3000 B.C. or earlier. However, the benefits of massage for pregnant women and even infants are a relatively new discovery and prenatal massage is becoming an increasingly popular practice.

When you are pregnant, your skeletal structure supports an increasing amount of weight, your organs shift to accommodate the baby, and you go through significant emotional and psychological changes. A massage therapist certified in prenatal massage is trained to manipulate those muscles most affected by these changes to help alleviate some of the discomfort, and the relaxation can help ease your emotional rollercoaster.

Studies have shown that prenatal massage can:

  • Relieve depression, anxiety, and nervousness caused by hormonal changes

  • Increase blood and lymph circulation, which helps to reduce swelling and improves the oxygen supply to the baby

  • Relieve muscle discomfort such as cramping, tightening, stiffness, and knots

  • Reduce pain and encourage relaxation, which can facilitate labor

  • Improve muscle and skin tone

  • Provide emotional support through nurturing touch

  • Promote relaxation and relieve insomnia

  • Relieve stress on weight-bearing joints such as lower back, pelvis, and ankles

  • Alleviate neck, shoulder, and back pain caused by muscle imbalance

Studies at the University of Miami, School of Medicine, show that just 20 minutes of massage twice a week for five weeks reduces stress hormones in the body, improves mood and sleep patterns, and reduces anxiety and back pain. Studies also show that women who received regular massages during pregnancy had lower rates of premature birth, fewer obstetrical problems, and their babies had a lower rate of postnatal complications.

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