Massage & Bodywork

September/October 2013

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ten for today Massage for Moms-to-Be By Rebecca Jones 1. Positive Results The possible benefits of prenatal massage therapy include improved breathing, increased flow of nutrients to the placenta, postural support, reduced anxiety and depression, and relief of muscle discomfort, nausea, and edema (swollen ankles and feet). It's good for the fetus, too, says Claire Marie Miller, one of the nation's leading instructors in pregnancy and fertility massage. "When mother is relaxed, baby is relaxed," she says. 2. Network with Hospitals Because more and more health-care providers recognize the upside to prenatal massage, it's one of the fastest-growing types of bodywork found in hospitals. "Some hospitals offer massage in antepartum and postpartum units, and the number is growing quickly," says Carole Osborne, author of Pre- and Perinatal Massage Therapy. "It's a specialization that has good financial potential for knowledgeable massage therapists." 3. Know Your Customers women sought massage was for low-back and pelvic pain, followed by stress reduction, then upper-back, neck, and shoulder pain. Relief from edema was cited by only 6 percent of women. "That's interesting information when you're trying to fine-tune your marketing approach," Osborne says. "Yes, pregnant woman have edema, but that's not why most come to a massage therapist." Make sure to have a thorough conversation with your pregnant client beforehand to determine what her needs are. 4. Try Thai Thai yoga massage presents a nice option for pregnant clients. "It's done in loose, comfortable clothing so you don't have to get out of your clothes or fumble with things," says Sukha Wong, director of the Lotus Palm Thai Yoga Massage School in Montreal and Toronto. "It's done on a Thai mat, on the floor, which is very comfortable for pregnant women." With its emphasis on stretching, the technique is especially good for women late in pregnancy. Just make sure new clients understand what a Thai massage session looks like, and how you can assist them, before they arrive. 5. Pregnancy-Friendly Spas Ten years ago, Stacy Denney launched Barefoot & Pregnant, one of the nation's first pregnancy spas to provide a variety of services—including massage, fitness classes, facials, and child care—for momsto-be. In 2012, Denney launched Belly Friendly, an endorsement program for other spas seeking to serve this demographic. "In addition to teaching therapists how to perform prenatal massage, we're training the staff how to interact with the expecting mom," Denney says. "Then we help these spas with their marketing efforts to go out and find more pregnant moms." A 2009 survey that Osborne conducted found that the number-one reason pregnant See what benefits await you. 25

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