Benefits of postnatal massage

Benefits of postnatal massage

What is a postnatal massage? 

A postnatal massage is basically a full body massage after delivery. Typically, a traditional or professionally trained masseuse massages your entire body starting from the feet, and ending with a relaxing massage for the head. Even traditional Ayurvedic wisdom recommends a 40-day confinement period for the mother after delivery where wholesome care is provided to the mother and child. Traditional baths with indigenous herbs and natural remedies preceded by elaborate massages are an important part of this routine.The postnatal massage is a full body massage that is given to a mum after birth. Those following confinement have a massage every day for up to 40 days after the birth. These massages are usually given by maalishwalis or japa maids that specialise in postnatal and newborn massages. They either come once a day to your home at a fixed time to give the massages or move in with you for the first 40 days after birth.

 Live-in japa maids also help out with other baby care chores. The postnatal massage is a wonderful traditional practice to help soothe new mums. It can be very relaxing in the midst of the chaos of bringing a newborn home. But you will need to arrange for some help because taking a whole hour for yourself with a newborn in the house might be difficult. If your baby's grandmother or other trusted caregiver can watch your baby while you get a massage, you might find it one of the nicest practices of the postnatal confinement period. 

What are the benefits of a postnatal massage?

A postnatal massage can: Help to ease sore spots and relax muscle tension. The whole process of childbirth has been a strain on your body, particularly your abdomen, lower back and hips. Your upper back might also be sore if you're not breastfeeding in a comfortable position. Increase the flow of blood and oxygen to your muscles, getting rid of the toxins. It also said to improve your recovery, well-being and immunity. Reduce swelling by stimulating the lymphatic drainage that helps to remove excess fluids and waste products. Tissue stimulation can also help your body to shift water to the right places. Make you feel relaxed. Massage encourages the body to release endorphins - the natural painkillers and feel good hormones secreted by the brain. It can also help you sleep better. Help your body to release oxytocin. Oxytocin triggers the letdown reflex which releases milk from your breast. This means that you might leak breastmilk during your massage so keep your breastfeeding bra on with some breast pads in. Open blocked ducts, loosen clumps or hardened areas, and reduce the risk of mastitis. However, the massage should be soft and gentle. Stronger massage with vigorous strokes can make mastitis worse, as it pushes the leaked milk further into your breast tissue. Speed up recovery from birth. Although if you had a caesarean, you'll need to stay clear of your wound until it has healed. 

Learn about the precautions you need to take while getting massages after a caesarean. Help you cope with the baby blues and postnatal depression. Massage can improve mood and lower stress levels. If nothing else, a postnatal massage will give you some time alone. The break will give you the strength to meet the many needs of your baby and home. Or it might help you unwind for a nap if your baby is sleeping too or being looked after by someone else during that time. See our step-by-step postnatal massage guide to get the best results! 

What positions are best for a postnatal massage?

No one position works best. During the course of your massage you'll need to change positions a few times , as your maalishwali or masseuse moves from one part of your body to the other. You may also need to adjust your position for your comfort. For example, some mums enjoy lying on their tummy with their face down. But others may find it uncomfortable especially if they have engorged or leaking breasts. A side-lying or seated position usually works best for those who've had a caesarean. While some mums also like to use extra pillows to support their back, breasts and abdomen. What's important is that you let your maalishwali know if any position is uncomfortable for you. Also, let her know if the pressure is too much or if the strokes cause any discomfort. 

How do I make time for a postnatal massage? 

Your baby's arrival is sure to keep you busy. Your life is now all about nappy changes, endless feedings, bathtime and baby massages. Being in the midst of all this hustle and bustle can be stressful. It's important to get some "me time", difficult though it may seem. Here are some things you could try. Ask for help. Ask your husband, mother, mother-in-law, or any other trusted family member to look after your little one while you get a massage. Or try to have it when he is asleep. You may be surprised to find so many offers of help. Knowing that someone responsible is looking after your little one will help you relax. The last thing you want to do while getting a massage is worry! Pick the right time. Try to have your massage just after you have fed and changed your little one. If all his needs are met, you are more likely to find an hour or two in which your baby does not ask for you. It will then also be easier to leave him with another family member or trusted caregiver for a while. Schedule ahead. Most maalishwalis or japa maids specialising in post-delivery massages usually come home to you. This way you will be able to stay with your baby and still enjoy the benefits of a massage in the comfort of your home. 

How do I find a maalishwali or japa maid for my postnatal massage?

Start by asking people you know and trust, such as family members, neighbours and friends. A maalishwali or japa maid relies heavily on positive feedback, and a good one will always be recommended. You can also check online and contact agencies that specialise in postnatal services. Some maternity hospitals also provide details of postnatal care nurses and japa maids, you could speak to your hospital's information desk. Other mums on our community forums may be able to help with contacts and feedback. Always do a reference check and ask for valid identification before signing up a maalishwali at home. Keep in mind that some inexperienced maalishwaalis may quote a lower price or sometimes the household help may offer to help with massages for a small additional fee. While it may seem like a steal, it’s best to always go with a reputed and experienced maalishwali or japa maid. A trained and experienced maalishwali knows where a new mum's sore and swollen spots are likely to be and may be able to provide some relief. She'll also know which techniques and areas to avoid. Getting massages from someone who is untrained can be risky and even cause complications and injuries. If you want a certified massage therapist, check if they've been trained at a licensed facility. Massage therapy in India is licensed by the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy (AYUSH) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. These days many spas and wellness centres also offer postnatal massage packages with trained therapists. It may take time to get the right one, so start your search early. To get a positive massage experience you need to hire the right masseuse who suits your requirements. 

When should I not get a postnatal massage? 

A full body postnatal massage is not recommended if: you have any medical complications, especially during and after the birth you have skin problems such as rashes, blisters, boils and eczema you've had a caesarean birth wait until your scar has healed you have high blood pressure you have a hernia Always get your doctor's approval before you start getting massages. Even when you have the green light, it's important to get a massage that is right for your condition.


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