Using A Massage Chair While Pregnant
When I was a full-time chiropractor, I would get asked all the time by my patients if chiropractic and massage (which we used in our clinic all the time) was safe to use on a pregnant lady. The answer is a resounding “Yes.”
I have treated many, many women over the years who were expecting, whether in their first or last trimester. Of course, when someone is 8-9 months along, the style of treatment may need to be catered to their body morphology. But, I never met a pregnant woman who couldn’t be benefited by manual therapy.
Well, now that I am in the massage chair industry, I also get asked quite often if massage chairs are OK for pregnant women to use. Again, the answer is a resounding “Yes.”
Before I go into the reasons and physiology of this therapy, I should issue this disclaimer: If you are concerned about the health of you or the baby or if you have extenuating circumstances with your health, by all means visit your primary care physician and get some peace of mind before hopping onto massage chairs.
The benefits of massage therapy during pregnancy apply to manual, hands-on massage as well as robotic massage chair therapy. The principles and benefits are the same regardless of mode of application of massage.
Pregnant women tend to endure some, if not all, of the following health issues: swelling, muscle spasm and pain, postural stress, insomnia, breathing difficulty, lack of mobility, poor circulation, back pain, neck pain and headaches. Of course, you may be suffering from many other things, but this is a pretty comprehensive list to start with.
Now, I’ll discuss how massage chairs address each of these complaints:
1.Swelling/Poor Circulation – massage chairs that have calf and foot massagers can provide a successive compression of the legs to enhance circulation of blood and lymph. This may not only reduce swelling (edema), but also help the body remove unwanted toxins that are in your system. Those toxins may also be contributing to your muscle pain.
2.Muscle Spasm, Aches, and Pains – muscles may already be compromised by the toxins that I mentioned in #1 above. The massage chair will help flush those toxins out. However, the strain on your body muscles that comes from the change in shape of a growing baby inside you can cause muscle aches and pains everywhere. Massage is the perfect therapy for relaxing those muscles and ridding you of that annoying muscle pain. It can even reduce muscle spasm, let alone muscle pain. Massage chairs also contribute to the release of endorphins into your blood stream. For your information, endorphins are the body’s natural pain killer.
3.Postural Stress – anyone who has been pregnant or has seen someone who is pregnant will understand this complaint immediately. Without a 40 pound mass protruding from your midsection, most people have a poor posture to begin with. Adding a baby to the picture doesn’t help at all and, in fact, makes the posture worse. Strained posture leads to strained muscles which, as mentioned in #2 above, can lead to muscle aches and pains. Most people feel like they are standing taller and straighter after a massage chair session. That is because the chair actually works on those postural issues.
4.Lack of Mobility – range of motion is compromised by the addition of the 40 pound baby and accompanying tissue and fluids. The joints don’t move as easily as they would without. Massage chairs add a lovely passive motion to your joints which will keep the discs and joints healthy. You could check how far you can turn your body before sitting in the chair and then check again after a session. You will be surprised at how much more you can turn.
5.Back Pain, Neck Pain, Headaches – the benefits that apply to muscles pain, joint mobility, and postural strain will ultimately reduce any body pain that you have, be it low back, mid back, neck, and/or headache pain.
6.Difficulty Breathing – it’s kind of hard to take a deep breath when you are pregnant, isn’t it ladies? Well, much of that disability comes from the slouching posture you develop with the addition of the 40 pound bundle of joy you are carrying in your front side. When you can have the rollers of the massage chair repeatedly roll over your mid back, you will find that your posture will be straighter and your ability to take in deep breathes will increase noticeably. This can also lead to sleeping better.
7.Sleeping Problems (Insomnia) – I can’t even begin to count the number of people, men and women alike, who told me that the biggest surprise they got with their new massage chair was how well they slept at night. Massage just tends to relax everything, like muscles and joints and posture, but also your “nerves.” I can almost assure you that you will enjoy a better night’s sleep after having a massage chair session. Now, I totally understand that sleeping with 8 months of pregnancy behind you is no easy task no matter what therapy you try. But, just maybe you’ll enjoy a little bit better sleep after you sit in your new massage chair.
Well, that just about does it for pregnancy and massage chairs. I hope this puts your mind to rest about it. The risks are extremely small, if at all.
For more articles by Dr. Alan Weidner, for your own website, please visit bit.ly/jiI65g. Dr. Weidner, a summa cum laude graduate from the Southern California University of Health Sciences (chiropractic) writes articles on various health-related topics, from massage chairs to nutrition to home therapy.