Massage Therapy and Postpartum Depression
By Shalon Da~Nai, LMT
May was a beautiful month as the world came alive and new beings were birthed into existence. The grasses grew, trees budded and blossomed, and flowers sprouted and bloomed. Pairs of birds filled their nests with chirping young and many human babies were also born. It couldn’t be a more fitting time to focus our energies towards the health of new mothers. May is the official “Postpartum Depression Awareness Month”. Earlier this month we hosted a charity event at Healing Hands Chiropractic Family Wellness Center to raise money for the cause. We had a successful “Day of Relaxation” as participants enjoyed sample treatments from the team at Healing Hands. There was massage therapy, acupuncture, reiki, yoga and local healthy foods.
In honor of May and mothers who experience depression, I want to discuss the benefit that massage therapy can have. Unlike drug treatments that medical doctors might prescribe, massage has no negative side affects to a mother or nursing baby. It is gentle, safe and effective. Women who receive massage therapy during pregnancy have less pain and lowered stress levels. This translates to the fetus’ and the infant’s stress hormones are also reduced. We can continue these affects after birth with postpartum massage and infant massage.
Massage for moms helps to reduce pain and trigger points developed during pregnancy, allowing her body to quickly transition back to its pre-pregnancy state. It aids in the balance of hormones, which play an important role in depression. Massage can help regulate sleep and induce relaxation. Without proper rest it is very hard for the body and mind to heal. Fatigue is a contributing factor to depression. And most beneficial is the ability of massage therapy to reduce the stress hormone cortisol which puts stress on all body systems. Taking time to receive massage gives Mom time for herself, where she can be nurtured with healing touch and be able to offer more nurturing care to her new child. Infant massage can help to lessen the effects of postpartum depression. Through massage a mother learns to calm the discomforts of the infant from digestive issues and colic. Massage has the same affects on baby as they do on the mother, balanced hormones, reduced stress levels and enhanced sleep.
A relaxed baby means a baby that cries less and therefore a relaxed mom. Performing infant massage enhances the bond between mother and child. Communication becomes clearer because mom can learn to identify the body language and other cues their baby uses to express themselves. With this understanding she will have more confidence in her new role as a mother. Shalon Da~Nai, LMT is Certified in Prenatal and Postpartum Massage Therapy. She offers one on one Infant Massage classes to parents and caregivers.
All appointments and classes can be scheduled online at ShalonLMT.com or http://www.healinghandsnh.com/massage-therapy/massage-therapy-online-booking/
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/471895_4 for research on Massage/infant Massage for postpartum
To reach the Postpartum emotional support group call 603-663-8927
"As a nurse in a busy ICU I put a lot of stress and strain on my body. I have found my weekly chiropractic adjustment is essential to my own health and well-being. By visiting Dr. Jess and taking her advice and suggestions I have begun to listen to my own body better and take better care of myself, which helps me take better care of my own patients."