Two weeks ago, I was lucky (and delighted) enough to be invited down to Metamorphosis Salon and Day Spa, where I got my hair chopped off back in February, for a complimentary pregnancy massage. I’ve only ever had one massage in my life…which I didn’t love…so I was ready for a soothing, comforting experience.
Let me start by saying I have been VERY fortunate and have had a really easy pregnancy. No morning sickness. My feet haven’t swelled to the size of sausages. I have minimal to no heartburn. And, most importantly my baby is totally healthy. That being said, I still have backaches and constantly want a foot massage (which my boyfriend truly does not enjoy, sadly.)
So, a few Wednesdays ago, I made my way to Lawrenceville for an hour-long massage with the Spa’s co-owner, Judy Scarfone.
I filled out a two-page questionnaire about my health as a precautionary measure. After that, I selected my scent for the massage: grapefruit. Yum! I love a fresh, citrus scent and I had a night class that evening, so I figured I could benefit from the energizing oil.
When everything was prepared, I made my way into a dimly lit room with some sort of peaceful indigenous music playing in the background. Judy explained to me that, in her experience, women who indulged in pregnancy massages did not prefer to lay on their stomaches, so I rotated from each of my sides and my back. Judy was kind enough to help me place pillows on my legs and back, which made me more comfortable and relaxed throughout the massage.
Once she began, Judy worked out the most awful knots in my shoulders – which, I had no idea I had until I felt them melt them away in her hands. Even with a lighter, medium pressure, she was able to push out all of the tension. She massaged my arms, legs, feet and back until our session ended.
I could have fallen asleep I was so relaxed, but the citrus notes in the air helped me feel refreshed, not just tired.
I left the Spa just about an hour after I arrived. I was feeling better than I knew I needed to feel as I described to my mother, who told me she wasn’t super jealous after hearing about my massage – she never had a pregnancy massage with me or my younger brother, sorry ma!
Feeling this great, I knew I would definitely be going back to for a massage as my pregnancy continues, but I was curious – what are the benefits of pregnancy massage other than the supreme relaxation? Judy answers all my questions below:
PRR: What are the ultimate benefits of a pregnancy massage?
JS: Pregnancy massage has many positive effects, including lowered anxiety, decreased back and leg pain, improved sleep, decreased levels of cortisol, an indicator of stress, and an increase in the hormones serotonin and dopamine. These are the “feel-good” hormones. Research has also shown that massage boosts the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses and tumors.
PRR: How long have you been doing massage therapy professionally?
JS: Mia [her daughter] and I have both been licensed massage therapists for three years. We have both taken pregnancy massage courses.
PRR: How frequently would you recommend getting a massage?
JS: As often as you can make the time and can afford it. We recommend once a month or once every six weeks.
PRR: Are there any features of a pregnancy massage unique to Metamorphosis?
JS: Not really! As you experienced, we try to make our clients as welcome and comfortable as possible. We have many positive reviews and think that our clients enjoy our facility (especially the new place!) and our style of massage.
PRR: What is the difference between giving a pregnancy massage versus any other? (For example, I remember you saying a medium pressure is recommended)
JS: Pregnancy disrupts normal blood circulation. In a pregnant woman, blood volume increases dramatically – sometimes as much as 50%. Blood flow to the legs often becomes sluggish. Also the levels of anticoagulants in the blood naturally rise during pregnancy in order to prevent hemorrhaging during delivery. Because of the risk of dislodging a blood clot during massage, only gentle pressure is indicated during a pregnancy massage. During pregnancy you also want to be careful with Acupressure and Reflexology. There are points on the hands and feet associated with the ovaries and uterus. These areas are avoided during a pregnancy massage so as not to stimulate those organs. These points are around the ankles and Achilles tendon and also the pressure point between the thumb and finger. For these reasons we do not do any massages in the first trimester of anyone’s pregnancy. We also ask for a doctor’s slip for massage during the remainder of the pregnancy, if possible. And, we ask each client to sign a waiver that indicates they do not have any complications or reasons why they shouldn’t receive the massage.
*Are you pregnant and live in the Pittsburgh area? Mention that you read this post for $20 off your pregnancy massage at Metamorphosis Salon and Day Spa! Not pregnant? There are other massages available and this coupon still applies to you!