Last week I had the absolute pleasure of visiting Amy at To The Moon And Back Massage Therapy for Mommas for my first ever prenatal massage. I've had "regular" massages before, but never one during pregnancy, and it is always something I've wanted to try. But, even so, I was a little nervous. How would I be positioned on the table? Would it even feel comfortable? Would I feel exposed? Before I give my own review, I'll let Amy herself tell you a little more about prenatal massage and what you can expect...
Amy Lee Czadzeck, NYS Licensed Massage Therapist: As soon as an embryo forms, the maternal body jumps into action, creating an amniotic, umbilical, and placental support system. Dramatic hormonal changes begin to occur, and the maternal body begins the journey of changing. While the pregnant woman is developing this internal support system as the course of nature, it is also invaluable for her to receive an outward support system to support her during these changes. Besides her healthcare provider and her loved ones, a woman may be looking to integrate more holistic care into her pregnancy. It is common for a pregnant woman to experience increased fatigue, back, pelvic, and hip pain, wrist and arm pain, anxiety, restlessness, and other unpleasant or uncomfortable feelings. Therapeutic massage has been shown to relieve fatigue and stress and to reduce soft tissue strain. It also helps to guide deeper breathing, reduce edema, and address structural changes occurring in the body. Additionally, prenatal massage will often increase relaxation and calm or ease the mind and maximize body awareness, all of which are essential towards the journey of labor and birth.
As a certified prenatal massage therapist, my practice focuses on low-risk, healthy pregnancies. I look at each client, and each session, as individualized and unique. I understand and believe that no two pregnancies are the same for each woman, or the same for subsequent pregnancies for the same woman, and so each massage session should be tailored to fit the particular needs of each expectant Momma accordingly.
Even though each pregnancy, woman, and body are unique, the health and comfort of Momma and Baby are top priority, in every case. This is why I accommodate the expectant Momma with safe positioning, pillows, and bolsters and with proper draping with comfortable bedding. While working within my scope of practice, I encourage self-care and provide a non-judgmental space. I understand that although many women are experiencing emotions of joy during this time, many are also experiencing anticipation, worry, and fear, on top of coping with the physical needs and responses of their ever-changing and growing body.
During a prenatal massage session, a Momma can expect to fill out a confidential intake form, to have conversation with me about her goals for the session, and to spend ample time getting comfortable on the table. I ask each client to give themselves about 90 minutes from the time they enter the office to the time they leave. To begin a session, the expectant Momma is in a semi-reclined position, and I always ask for permission to place my hands softly on her and her belly. This is a wonderful way to check in with her body and to connect Momma and Babe and to ensure a level of communicative comfort throughout the session. Then I begin with relaxing, therapeutic strokes to cater towards any sore spots on the expectant Momma's head, neck, shoulders, and arms. The majority of the remaining time in the session is spent getting the expectant Momma's body comfortable with bolsters in a side-lying position where I use relaxing and focused techniques to massage the back, hips, and legs. We close the session the same way we begin, with a check-in with Momma and Babe.
Alongside the many physical changes she is experiencing, a pregnant Momma may also be experiencing an empowering shift in her life. Getting a prenatal massage session is a complementary way to support that journey and help her feel and embrace this strength that may create a sense of restoring one’s mood. She learns to ask for what she needs. She is supported, encouraged, listened to, responded to, and simply, cared for. The connotations of motherhood and expectant motherhood often have us, as women and mothers, putting the focus on only the baby and children, but it is essential that the Momma takes the time to mindfully care for herself first and always as she is the major source of strength and nourishment for her family.
As a Momma myself, I have found self-care to be an aspect that can easily be overlooked but wonderfully fulfilling and worthwhile and nourishing when attended to. I am passionate about therapeutic massage and to attending to and caring for this ever-so-important part of our society and families, our Mommas.
Jenny: I can't recommend Amy and her amazing service enough, I left the massage feeling centered and relaxed, and it was a feeling that stayed with me for days afterward. I highly recommend if you are expecting to give Amy a visit, or if you know a mama to be, a gift certificate for a massage would be such a thoughtful (and well appreciated) gift. Visit To the Moon and Back on facebook here for more info.
To the Moon and Back is a mindful massage therapy practice in Saratoga Springs, for Mommas and Expecting Mommas. It is an absolute honor to offer therapeutic massage prenatal sessions throughout any stage of pregnancy and regular relaxation massages for Mommas, as well. Existing prenatal clients will gain the benefit of being offered a special post baby visit where I visit her for a 30 minute clothed seated head, neck, shoulder, arms. Whether she is nursing or bottle feeding, sleeping or not, these sore spots can be touched in and relieve a great amount of upper body stress. Ongoing care for Mommas is recommended and leads to balanced and healthy lifestyles.
Amy is accepting new clients and is looking forward to growing alongside their bellies and families. She also offers packages and gift certificates with free shipping. To the Moon and Back is located at 53 Spring Street, Suite 202 in Saratoga Springs. Visit her online here.