Both Yoga and Massage have a profound effect on the autonomic nervous system (ANS) working to balance both the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) and sympathetic nervous system (SNS). Practices such as yoga and massage work to decrease the SNS (giving it a rest) and increasing the performance of the PNS helping us to relax easier.
The ANS connects to all the systems and organs of the body and plays a huge role in keeping a physical state of homeostasis within our internal environment. The ANS also plays a role in the emotional experiences we have. We know from studies that yoga can have a positive effect on our ANS. Some studies show that massage positively effect the nervous system of the pregnant women bringing a state of balance to the entire body.
Let’s think about pregnancy and the systems of the body that are affected during all stages of pregnancy:
- Reproductive System
- Digestive System
- Cardiovascular System
- Respiratory System
- Endocrine System
- Nervous System
In addition we know that pregnancy affects us physically, mentally and emotionally.
Benefits of Pregnancy Yoga
- Promote relaxation
- Decrease stress
- Improve sleep
- Promote emotional wellbeing
- Improve digestive function
- Increase flexibility and strength
- Improve Posture
- Reduce pain and discomfort
- Improve balance and coordination
- Help tone birthing muscles
- Create community
Benefits of Pregnancy Massage
Like yoga, massage has many benefits:
- Relaxation and relief of nervous tension
- Improved Sleep
- Relief of muscular discomfort – hip, lower back pain, leg cramps, muscle tightness
- Increased range of motion
- Improved posture
- Relief of pregnancy related symptoms – swollen ankles and feet, neck and shoulder tightness, headaches, wrist pain
- Decrease in muscle fatigue
- Improved muscle flexibility
- Stabilises hormones and blood pressure
- Improved proprioception (balance and coordination)
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Prepare for labour
- Support digestive health
- Mother-Baby Bond
Yoga and Massage truly promote a healthy pregnancy and prepares you for labour and birth.
During the first trimester various practices (different yoga poses and particular massage techniques including acupressure) can help nausea, digestive issues, and headaches, relieve fatigue and promote circulation.
As the pregnancy advances regularly moving and having regular massage will help ease the strains of a growing baby including breathlessness, indigestion, sleep disturbances and reducing the mental strain an expecting mother may experience.
The more you listen to the body, the great the ability to release pent-up emotions and give you the opportunity to start to tap into that innate ‘mother’ intuition. Anger, frustration, fear and anxiety can all be experienced during pregnancy and yoga provides you with the opportunity to recognise the emotion and release them. Massage supports your yoga practice by relaxing you deeply on a physical and emotional level.
Yoga is an affordable way of keeping up a regular practice. I recommend a weekly yoga practice paired with fortnightly or monthly massage.