By Sharmila Chand
09th June 2012 11:23 PM
It is a well-known fact that women crave some pampering during pregnancy. To indulge in a spa therapy is always desirable. But the question is whether it is safe to do so.
Experts have a varied opinion, but they all agree that there are certain relaxing therapies for pregnant women. Such therapies are special treats ranging from light massages to manicures and facials.
The best time to go for a spa therapy is during the second trimester. They say the stage of morning sickness gets over and the energy levels are higher. It is also the time when the chances of miscarriage or early labour are less of a worry.
However, every step should be taken after proper consultation with the physician.
Precautions To Be Taken
According to Jacqualine Tara Herron, director, The Imperial Spa and Salon, The Imperial Hotel, New Delhi: “When using products that contain pure essential oils, therapists must be very careful to avoid what is termed in aromatherapy emmenagogues, which have an action that stimulates blood flow. Also called abortifacients due to the fact they can cause spontaneous abortion, they must be avoided for all body and face treatments and massage. Oils considered ‘safe’ to use are Neroli, Bergamot, Sandalwood, Tea Tree, Vetivert and Frankincense.”
Massage therapy is only recommended after the first trimester as the womb needs to stabilise, particularly in first-time pregnancies where the woman’s ability to carry safely is not yet known. “Areas to also avoid are pressure points in the crown of the head that push energy downwards, and also around the ankles due to the relationship these points have to the reproductive system being over stimulated. Overall, heating the body with steam, sauna or body wrapping is also not recommended as well as any extreme pressure point therapy anywhere on the body at all, as a woman is sensitive at this time,” says Herron.
After the first trimester, gentle massage can be given and there are very specific positions, techniques and support cushions that can be used to enable maximum comfort. If there is oedema (swelling of the ankles due to fluid retention), gentle circulatory massage can be given after the first trimester.
Finally, it is essential to give proper training in prenatal massage to therapists to avoid any problems, adds Herron.
Shekhar Malkotia, director, The Claridges Spa at Surajkund, Delhi NCR, lists his precautions below:
■ Choose only those products which are suitable during pregnancy.
■ Delay body treatments until
■ Check medical conditions before treatment.
■ After child birth, resume treatments only after post-natal medical check-up.
■ Therapist should not perform stretches.
■ Centre of gravity changes may make the guest unstable. Hence, the therapist should support and assist the guest while turning and getting on and off the treatment table.
Spa Therapies Recommended
New Mother Treatment
The Claridges Spa, Surajkund,
Duration: 120 minutes
Says Malkotia: “Feel nurtured in a time of constant change. Richly moisturising oils and creams are layered onto freshly exfoliated skin before being gently wrapped and left to deeply penetrate with the body’s own heat. This body ritual is tailored to suit either during or post pregnancy.”
Pregnancy Massage Therapy
Galaxy Hotel, Gurgaon
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: `1,800 + taxes
Says Sanjeev Kumar, manager, Spa Soul, Galaxy Hotel, Gurgaon: “It is a therapy, specifically tailored for the expectant mother’s needs. Also called prenatal massage, it is extremely comforting for women in their second and third trimester of pregnancy. It helps with gestation process, enhanced through increasing blood circulation, lymph circulation, reducing edema and increasing cellular respiration. It improves outcome of labour and eases labour pain.”
Stress Buster Therapy
Spa at The Park, New Delhi
Duration: 1 hour
Seema Nanda, spa manager, The Park, New Delhi, says: “Prenatal massage is beneficial. It can relieve stress, helping to ensure that the baby remains calm as well. Prenatal massage also improves circulation, minimises edema (swelling), and helps the mother sleep better. However, massages during pregnancy are completely different from the traditional massages. Lying down on belly is out of question. So there are special postures that can give the mother and child maximum comfort. A semi-sitting position, supported with pillows at back is recommended. The spa therapy — specially concentrating on the back, breasts, legs, shoulders and feet — is highly recommended during pregnancy. It improves fluid circulation and keeps your skin healthy. Massaging breasts also helps improve the flow of milk after childbirth. Back massages for pregnant women are extremely comforting. It relieves from backache and fatigue.”
The best treatment during pregnancy after the first trimester is prenatal massage. Says Herron: “This massage is designed specifically to calm the body and enhance relaxation while creating an oceanic state of mind. Massage can help reduce the tension on the lower back muscles that are often overstretched due to the weight in the front of the body. Also massaging the whole leg improves circulation and gives a light and easy effect. Due to the huge shift in hormonal balance, massage can also help increase the production of calming neuro-chemicals through the endocrine system and then on to the brain, which creates a feel-good factor and overall sense of wellbeing.”
However, at the Imperial Spa, they do not offer massage during pregnancy as their guests are residents only. “However, we give facials after the first trimester which are a relaxing element. In addition, we offer one-to-one meditation and deep relaxation (yoga nidra) to enhance contentment for mother and baby.”
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