Are Thai Massage techniques suitable for pregnancy massage?
The combination of Thai Massage and pregnancy is not so widely known, but those women who have received it know how great it feels and what a relief it can bring them.
As a man I have never experienced a pregnancy massage, but as a long time therapist I have given quite a few of them and have observed the effects of them.
Often people wonder if Thai Massage can be done on pregnant women? The answer is: “Yes of course! Why not?”
Some people have the erroneous concept that Thai Massage is a mandatory sequence of massive stretches.
This is simply not true. Thai Massage includes lots of techniques for working on the legs, the feet, the arms, the hands, the neck and the head. All of these can be done as part of pregnancy massage quite easily without even touching her mid section.
You just have to use more props and pillows for comfort. Especially the side position lends itself quite well to pregnancy massage.
Thai pregnancy massage case histories
I remember the case of a nine months pregnant woman who really wanted a Thai Massage. I did some work on her in the side position with a pillow under her extended belly, mostly working on her legs.
Then I propped her upper body up with lots of pillows to a 45 degree angle and worked on her neck, shoulders, head and face. She totally loved it.
On another occasion I was invited to the birthday party of a friend of mine who was eight months pregnant. I offered her a massage as a birthday present.
She chose a foot massage since her feet were really aching. After 30 minutes of foot massage she rejoined the party and felt much better.
There is no reason to be afraid of massaging pregnant women. In my experience they are very much in tune with their bodies and are quite intuitive about what works for them.
As long as you communicate with them and ask them what feels right and what not, they will tell you. Let them guide you through the pregnancy massage. They will be happy to tell you exactly what feels right for them.
Which Thai Massage techniques work for pregnancy massage?
If a woman is just a few months pregnant, you can generally do many Thai Massage techniques on her. However you should avoid any techniques which compress, stretch or twist the midsection.
If she is highly pregnant, common sense dictates that you cannot do heavy duty stretches and pressure techniques on her lower back. Also upper body twists should not be done.
Non-stretch Thai Massage techniques
Thai Massage has the reputation to be all about stretching. The fact is that it is quite possible to do an entire two hour Thai Massage session without doing any stretching at all.
I know that for a fact since I have done it countless times in my 16 years of practicing Thai Massage.
There is a tendency that western Thai Massage therapists work with lots of stretching, whereas therapists in Thailand actually do much more muscle manipulation with less stretching. I have received countless sessions that involved very little stretching.
It does not matter how pregnant a woman is, you can always give her a great Thai Foot Massage, hand and arm massage, or neck, head and face massage.
Depending on the progress of her pregnancy you can often work quite effectively on her back, hip and shoulders in the side position.
The first trimester is where the risk of miscarriage is the highest. You should ask your pregnant client if she has had a miscarriage before.
Although it is highly unlikely that your massage will ever be the cause of a miscarriage, you might want to protect yourself from possible accusations by having your client sign a disclaimer which absolves you from responsibility in case your client miscarries and blames you.
For potential contraindications please read this article.
Thai Massage, oil massage, and yoga for pregnancy
If you want to work directly on the torso and mid section of a highly pregnant woman, this is probably better done with oil massage.
In all other cases Thai pregnancy massage can be used effectively provided the therapist has the appropriate skills and experience.
Combining Thai Massage with oil massage can also be an excellent way of working on pregnant women.
Thai Massage and yoga are closely related. There are many yoga classes specifically designed for pregnant women. Yoga stretches and exercises can make pregnancy and delivery a much smoother and more pain free experience.
It follows logically that Thai Massage can be equally beneficial for pregnancy massage.
Let’s not forget about post pregnancy massage
Clearly pregnancy puts a lot of stress on the body, and post pregnancy massage is a wonderful way to get the body back in its best shape quickly.
Thai Massage is ideal for this since it does exactly what a highly pregnant woman has had a hard time doing during her pregnancy: Lots of movement and stretches and joint manipulations.
The author, Shama Kern, has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage for 16 years. He is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy and the creator of 20 online Thai Massage video training courses.