Pregnancy is a time of change, growth and transformation. A woman undergoes many changes during pregnancy and massage can help support these changes, assisting the body to adapt and cope throughout pregnancy.
Massage may help relieve some of the common discomforts during and after pregnancy such as:
Muscle tightness and tension from altered posture and gait
May help assist with relieving discomfort due to oedema or swelling
Assist with pain management due to pain and tightness in the lower back, pelvis, hips, ribs, calves, upper back and neck
May assist with insomnia due to pain, tension or stress
May assist with pain from leg cramps
Massage isn’t just for physical aches and pains due to pregnancy. Massage may also help manage psychological changes that can occur during pregnancy such as anxiety and stress through the relaxation response and reducing muscle tension from stress or anxiety. Massage can also be used as a self-care tool to when you need a break or some time out for yourself.
Massage Partner Training for Anxiety
Women can experience significant physical and psychological changes during pregnancy and this may result in the development of anxiety or an increase in pre-existing anxiety (1).
Sarah provides partner massage training to teach your partner some relaxation massage techniques that can be used to help manage your anxiety during pregnancy as well as some self-help tips that you can use during your pregnancy.
Massage partner training for anxiety runs for 2 hours and the sessions can be undertaken either in a small class format* or individual training sessions can be undertaken at TLC with Sarah.
* Minimum numbers required for session to proceed.
A team approach to managing anxiety
Postnatally the body undergoes many changes after giving birth and the months that follow. Massage can help support these changes and support the new mother in this busy and tiring period.
Massage is a great way to reduce stress, take some time out for yourself and promote general well-being in the postnatal period.
Massage may help relieve some of the common discomforts of the postnatal period such as:
Muscle tension from stress and or anxiety
Muscle tightness and tension from altered posture due to breast feeding and carrying your newborn baby
Assist with pain management due to pain and tightness in the lower back, pelvis, hips, ribs, upper back and neck
May assist with scar healing
Providing some much needed time out or self care
See Reference 1 bottom of page.
Massage to support the challenges of being a mum
Massage Partner Training for Labour
Do you have a plan for your labour?
Massage provided by a partner or support person can help support a woman through labour.
Looking for a non-pharmalogical tool to use to help manage pain during labour?
Recent systematic review findings have demonstrated that massage provides a reduction in pain intensity during labour (2,3).
Sarah provides partner massage training to teach your partner or your support person some massage techniques that can be used to help manage pain, decrease muscle spasms and promote relaxation during labour.
In addition to decreasing pain intensity, including massage as a tool for use during labour is a great way for partners or the support person to help the labouring woman feel safe, supported and to promote communication and closeness during labour.
Massage partner training for labour is a 90 minute training session providing the partner or support person with some massage tools that can be used during labour. Training sessions can be undertaken at TLC with Sarah (book using the button below) or you can contact Sarah (via email or phone) to arrange a training session at your home.
See References 2, 3 bottom of page.
Connecting couples during labour
Massage & Acupuncture
Undergoing IVF can be a stress-causing procedure that can give rise to anxiety. Experiencing unsuccessful cycles, waiting for treatment results and the uncertainty of the success can lead to couples experiencing disappointment, annoyance, and significant psychological distress such as anxiety or chronic stress (4, 5).
IVF, Stress and Anxiety
Research has found that psychological stress can affect both men and women (4,5). In women, psychological stress can increase the level of cortisol (a stress hormone), which may inhibit oestradiol production/biosynthesis by “affecting the granulosa cell functions within the follicle”(6), which may lead to a deterioration of the quality of the oocyte and, in IVF, a reduction in the number of retrieved oocytes (7).
For men, psychological stress may lead to lower serum total testosterone levels with secondary rises in serum luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone levels altering seminal quality in men (8).
Stress and anxiety are extremely common symptoms in couples experiencing infertility and couples using assisted reproductive techniques (ART) to try to have a baby. There are a number of published peer-reviewed papers that report on the use of acupuncture to assist with infertility-related anxiety. A 2017 systematic review found that acupuncture is an ‘effective technique in controlling the anxiety of infertile women' (9).
Both acupuncture or massage may assist in helping manage symptoms of psychological stress associated with undergoing an IVF cycle.
Day of transfer treatment
Many health practitioners may recommend acupuncture as an adjunct treatment that may assist with IVF treatment. There is continuing research about how acupuncture can assist with the effectiveness of IVF treatment (10) and you should consult your treating practitioner/s about how acupuncture may be able to help you.
There is only very limited evidence for the use of massage (via an oscillating (vibrating) device rather than delivered by a massage therapist) on the day of transfer (11).
Massage or acupuncture may be helpful on the day of transfer to decrease symptoms of anxiety and relieving muscle tension associated with stress and anxiety related to the transfer.
See References 4 - 11 bottom of page.
Support through the challenges of IVF
Taking time out for self-care and relaxation
Bereavement Support Massage
Massage to help assist and support those who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death. Helping to support and nurture the body and address muscles tension and pain associated with anxiety, grief and stress.
The grief and shock experienced after a miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death can be shattering. It can be a time where you may feel alone and like no one understands. It can be difficult to know how to manage and deal with all the emotions and feelings that accompany this time.
Sarah is a skilled, compassionate therapist who understands the sadness and despair following loss. Sarah offers a safe and supportive environment for those who have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death to receive massage treatment.
Massage may help support and nurture the body and mind during this stressful time by:
Reducing muscle tension and pain associated with anxiety, stress, grief and depression
Aid in relaxation by facilitating the Relaxation Response (12)
May provide a break from the grief response allowing the body some much-needed time out (13-17).
Providing some time out, self-care and kindness.
If you would like more information or to discuss if bereavement massage is the right treatment for you, then please contact me via the enquiry button below.
See References 11-17 bottom of page.
Massage, care and kindness in a safe space
Remedial massage is the systematic assessment and treatment of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissues of the body to assist in rehabilitation, pain and injury management.
Remedial massage can treat muscle-related pain and decreased movement (stiffness) associated with muscle tension, muscle tightness, spasms and focal thickening. Common causes of pain and stiffness are repetitive movements (work, parenting or sports related), trauma, doing an activity you haven’t done for a long time, overuse and muscle weakness.
Remedial massage can have a direct impact on the muscular system by lengthening tight muscles, relaxing overused muscles, and reducing spasms.
Remedial massage has also been shown to influence neurotransmitters and cortisol, which are produced when pain and stress are experienced (13-17).
Massage may be beneficial for:
• Neck pain and tension
• Back pain
• Lower back pain
• Muscle-related headaches i.e. stress related headaches.
• Overuse injuries
• Managing sports related training and loading
• Stress-related tension
• Leg pain
• Shin pain
See References 13-17 bottom of page.
Helping you understand and manage your pain
Acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into specific points on the skin to restore balance and encourage the body to heal itself.
Acupuncture and supporting individuals with an eating disorder
Sarah completed her PhD and undertook postgraduate research on the use of acupuncture as an adjunct therapy for the treatment of eating disorders (18, 19). Sarah has experience working with individuals with an eating disorder and using acupuncture to support the whole person and help manage the stress and anxiety that can occur when undertaking eating disorder treatment.
Please feel free to contact Sarah with any questions you have about whether acupuncture might be useful for you.
Acupuncture and stress/anxiety
Stress and anxiety symptoms can affect all aspects of your health including your physical body, your behaviours and your thoughts and emotions. Acupuncture may help reduce and/or manage the symptoms of chronic or acute/situational stress and anxiety (20).
Acupuncture and pain management
Acupuncture can be used to help manage musculoskeletal pain (21) including pain in a number of scenarios such as pregnancy-related pain (22), chronic pain (23) and malignancy-related and surgery-induced pain (24).
Acupuncture and depression during pregnancy
According to two systematic reviews on interventions for Major Depressive Disorder during pregnancy (26-27) acupuncture was found to reduce depressive symptoms based on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (27). The effect size of acupuncture reducing depressive symptoms was a medium sized reduction; however, other forms of treatment (psychotherapy and interpersonal psychotherapy) were found to have larger effect sizes. Thus, while acupuncture may help reduce depressive symptoms during pregnancy other forms of treatment to reduce depressive symptoms during pregnancy should be considered.
Acupuncture and labour
“Pre-birth acupuncture refers to a series of treatments in the final weeks of pregnancy to prepare women for childbirth”(28). Pregnant women may chose to undertake acupuncture around 36-37 weeks of labour to help prepare for labour.
Health practitioners may recommend acupuncture as an adjunct treatment that may assist with stimulating the onset of labour. There is continuing research about how acupuncture can assist with the effectiveness of stimulating the onset of labour (29) and you should consult your treating practitioner/s about how acupuncture may be able to help you.
Please feel free to contact Sarah with any questions you have about whether acupuncture might be useful for you.
Working together to optimise your health
1. Grigoriadis, S., Graves, L., Peer, M., Mamisashvili, L., Tomlinson, G., Vigod, S. N., . . . Richter, M. (2018). Maternal anxiety during pregnancy and the association with adverse perinatal outcomes: Systematic review and meta-analysis. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 79(5). doi:10.4088/jcp.17r12011. (Accession No. 30192449)
2. Smith CA, Levett KM, Collins CT, Dahlen HG, Ee CC, Suganuma M. Massage, reflexology and other manual methods for pain management in labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2018, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD009290. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009290.pub3.
3. Ranjbaran, M., Khorsandi, M., Matourypour, P., & Shamsi, M. (2017). Effect of Massage Therapy on Labor Pain Reduction in Primiparous Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Clinical Trials in Iran. Iranian journal of nursing and midwifery research, 22(4), 257–261. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijnmr.IJNMR_109_16
4. Hassanzadeh Bashtian, M., Latifnejad Roudsari, R., & Sadeghi, R. (2017). Effects of Acupuncture on Anxiety in Infertile Women: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Journal of Midwifery and Reproductive Health, 5(1), 842-848. doi: 10.22038/jmrh.2016.7949.
5. Dong Y, Cai Y, Zhang Y, et al. The effect of fertility stress on endometrial and subendometrial blood flow among infertile women. Reproduc Biol Endocrinol. 2017;15:15.
6. Isoyama D, Cordts EB, de Carvalho WD, Matsumura ST, Barbosa CP. Effect of acupuncture on symptoms of anxiety in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: a prospective randomised controlled study. Acupuncture in Medicine. 2012; 30(2):85-88.
7. Prasad S, Tiwari M, Pandy A, et al. Impact of stress on oocyte quality and reproductive outcome. J Biomed Sci. 2016;23:36.
8. Bhongade MB, Prasad S, Jiloha RC, et al. Effect of psychological stress on fertility hormones and seminal quality in male partners of infertile couples. Andrologia. 2015;47(3):336–42.
9. Hassanzadeh Bashtian, M., Latifnejad Roudsari, R., & Sadeghi, R. (2017). Effects of Acupuncture on Anxiety in Infertile Women: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Journal of Midwifery and Reproductive Health, 5(1), 842-848. doi: 10.22038/jmrh.2016.7949.
10. Smith, CA., Armour, M., Sheqamene, Z., Tan, HY., Norman, RJ., Johnson, NP. Acupuncture performed around the time of embryo transfer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Reprod Biomed Online. 2019: Marc:38(3):364-379.
11. Okhowat J, Murtinger M, Schuff M, et al. Massage therapy improves in vitro fertilization outcome in patients undergoing blastocyst transfer in a cryo-cycle. Altern Ther Health Med. 2015;21(2):16–22
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18. Fogarty, S., Harris, D., Zaslawski, C., McAinch, A. J., & Stojanovska, L. (2010). Acupuncture as an Adjunct Therapy in the Treatment of Eating Disorders: A Pilot Study. Complement Ther Med, 18(6), 227-276.
19. Fogarty, S., Smih, C., Touyz, S., Madden, S., Buckett, G., & Hay, P. (2013). Patients with anorexia nervosa receiving acupuncture or acupressure; their view of the therapeutic encounter. Complement Ther Med. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2013.08.015.
20. Amorin D, Amado J, Brito I, Fiuza SM, Amorin N, Costeira C et al. Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for anxiety disorders: A systematic review of the clinical research. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2018;31:31-7
21. Yuan, Q.-l. et al. Acupuncture for musculoskeletal pain: A meta-analysis and meta-regression of sham-controlled randomized clinical trials. Sci. Rep. 6, 30675; doi: 10.1038/srep30675 (2016).
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23. Vickers AJ, Vertosick EA, Lewith G, et al. Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis. J Pain. 2018;19(5):455‐474. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2017.11.005
24. Chiu HY, Hsieh YJ, Tsai PS. Systematic review and meta-analysis of acupuncture to reduce cancer-related pain. Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2017;26(2):10.1111/ecc.12457. doi:10.1111/ecc.12457
25. Matthews A, Haas DM, O'Mathúna DP, Dowswell T. Interventions for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 9. Art. No.: CD007575. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007575.pub4.
26. Sniezek, D. P., & Siddiqui, I. J. (2013). Acupuncture for Treating Anxiety and Depression in Women: A Clinical Systematic Review. Medical Acupuncture, 25(3), 164–172. http://doi.org/10.1089/acu.2012.0900.
27. Van Ravesteyn, L. M., Lambregtse – van den Berg, M. P., Hoogendijk, W. J. G., & Kamperman, A. M. (2017). Interventions to treat mental disorders during pregnancy: A systematic review and multiple treatment meta-analysis. PLoS ONE, 12(3), e0173397. http://doi.org.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/10.1371/journal.pone.0173397.
28. Betts D. (2004). The use of acupuncture as a routine pre-birth treatment. Journal of Chinese Medicine, 76, 5–9.
29. Smith CA, Armour M, Dahlen HG. Acupuncture or acupressure for induction of labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD002962. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002962.pub4