With all the body aches and pain that are typically felt during pregnancy, it’s no wonder why a lot of pregnant women seek relief through massage. Traditional massage has been complimented with modern technology, giving rise to massage chairs that can give you a couple of minutes to sit back, relax, and escape from that backache that you’ve been dreading of. But now the question is, can you use a massage chair while pregnant? We’ve got your concerns covered here!
How do massage chairs work?
Massage chairs produce motor-induced vibrations and mechanical movements to provide a soothing relief on the person sitting on the chair. These chairs tend to imitate the hand movements and techniques used by masseurs.
Most massage chairs replicate the famous Shiatsu or Swedish massage techniques. The nodes and rollers installed in the chair provide massaging movements targeting the specific parts of the body. Some varieties also feature heating nodes or pads for an additional soothing effect.
Are massage chairs safe during pregnancy?
There is no clear recommendation about using massage chair while pregnant, but manufacturers or operators of these massage chairs often take extra precautions when using them for pregnant women.
Basically, there are 2 safety concerns about the use of massage chair pregnant woman should be informed of. These are:
The heating pads
Excessive prolonged heat exposure, like that in a sauna, is not recommend while pregnant because it may lead to hyperthermia. Hyperthermia or the state of increased body temperature while pregnant may increase the baby’s risk of physical birth defects.
Heating pads that are often a part of massage chairs may provide mild warmth to help you relax, but do take note that there is no clear correlation between their use and its potential effects on the baby in the womb.
The pressure points
In acupressure, several pressure points can stimulate labor. Though this can be quite a good thing for moms who are going over their due dates, women who are at an earlier stage of pregnancy may need to avoid stressing these points too much. Massage chairs may provide mild pressure on several areas of your body but there is currently no research linking its use to the risk of miscarriage and preterm labor.
Due to these precautions, some women simply decide to avoid, or at least, minimize using massage chairs over the duration of their pregnancy. But considering that there is not enough scientific evidence that it can harm pregnant mothers and their babies, using a massage chair during pregnancy may also be fairly safe for the pregnant mom, depending on when and how she uses it.
Some pregnant mothers may also worry about the vibrating motion from massage chairs and wonder if it can harm the baby inside their womb. However, most massage chairs only produce vibrations that are equivalent to your body movements while walking, so they have very little impact to your baby. Additionally, your baby is situated inside the amniotic sac filled with fluid that is specifically purposed to cushion and protect your baby from too much jagging and sudden impact while inside the womb.
Benefits of massage during pregnancy
Knowing the pregnancy-related concerns of using massage chairs, you may now be quite hesitant to sit on that vibrating chair while you get your pedicure on your favorite nail salon or upon passing by a massage parlor. But wait, there are a couple of reasons why pregnant women may benefit from massage too.
While pregnant, massage can be beneficial in the following aspects:
Stress and postpartum depression
With all the challenges of being pregnant, the moms-to-be can enjoy some time to chill out and minimize stress by sitting on a massage chair. Massage has long been known for its calming effects. It may also help regulate your stress hormones to turn your mood back in shape and help prevent postpartum depression.
Back and leg pain
Pregnancy comes with a lot of body changes, especially the increasing weight of your growing baby. This additional weight will soon take a toll on your back and legs. Mild massage over these areas can be soothing and even heavenly, especially during the last trimester when you can barely carry your weight.
Labor and childbirth
As mentioned earlier, massaging some pressure points in the body are believed to help women go into labor with ease and facilitate faster childbirth.
Safety precautions when using massage chairs while pregnant
Massage chairs can be safely used while pregnant. However, knowing that your body is extra sensitive during this time, you might as well consider these precautionary measures to minimize your risk of dealing with untoward circumstances.
Avoid massage chairs during the first trimester
The first trimester of pregnancy is when the most critical part of your baby’s development happens. Moreover, the risk of miscarriage is higher during this time. So while you may want to have that soothing massage at this very moment, it is best to simply wait for a few more months before trying to use a massage chair.
Do not force to your body to sit in a small massage chair
Your body will be a lot different now that you’re pregnant. Your belly will grow in size, especially upon approaching the third trimester. So while you are longing to relax on a massage chair that you used to enjoy, you may need to check if the same chair still fits your current size.
Make sure that there is enough room for you to move freely, because if it’s too restricted, the massage chair may end up adding potential injury rather than relaxation. You may also want to find a massage chair that is specifically made for pregnant women.
Limit your use of massage chair to around 15 to 20 minutes at a time
Though it may be tempting to take a quick nap while on a massage chair, it is best to limit your use to no greater than 15 to 20 minutes per session.
Avoid using the massage chair if you are high risk for pregnancy-related complications
Pregnant women who have high blood pressure, leg swelling, severe headaches, and history of preterm labor may need to avoid getting a chair massage. For the meantime, you may settle for some other relaxation techniques to help deal with your body pain.
Visit only a reputable massage parlor
Even if it may cost you a bit more, it is best to avail services from a reputable massage parlor. Reputable businesses have high quality equipment and trained personnel who have the knowledge on how to operate the massage chairs appropriately for pregnant women.
Talk with your doctor
Whether massage chairs can be beneficial or delicate for you will greatly depend on your health condition while pregnant. That is why before using a massage chair or any other equipment, getting an ‘okay’ from your doctor is the wisest thing to do. Your doctor will know best about your condition and is the most appropriate person to ask about the things that may be beneficial or harmful for your pregnancy.
Using massage chairs can be fairly safe for pregnant women as long as you use them with extra precaution. However, if you are at a high-risk of pregnancy-related complications or if you are not feeling well, it is best to seek consultation from your doctor before trying to sit on a massage chair.