When you’ve just had a baby, your body is in mega recovery mode. You’ve done a thing not even superheroes can do. You’ve built a child and then pushed it out of your body. If you’re feeling some aches and pains, well, yeah, of course you are. But is it OK to seek body therapy? What about a postpartum massage? Is that safe? Here’s everything you need to know about postpartum massage from what the treatment entails to when it’s safe to book an appointment.
What Is Postpartum Massage?
“New parents want to feel relief in muscle tension,” says Susan Scarpinito, a postpartum massage therapist with Purusha Wellness. “Postpartum massage offers relief on the strains of newborn care on stretched, weak, imbalanced joints and muscles, most found in the neck and pectoral girdle and can facilitate emotional adjustment.”
It’s like a regular massage but tailored for a person recovering from delivery. “Every single postpartum massage I do is in a side-lying position,” says Scarpinito. That means a client is on their side, not on their stomach where they could irritate wounds or dressings, nor are they on their back. “I do one side half hour, the other side the same to balance out both sides of the body.”
Scarpinito says a postpartum massage therapist will be sensitive to all of the changes going on in a postpartum body including lactation or discharge. Because of that ”some people may feel more comfortable keeping their bra on. I say undressed to your comfort level,” says Scarpinito. Want to wear your leggings too? That’s fine as well. This is about your time and a good postpartum massage therapist will respect that.
As for bleeding or discharge, Scarpinito says she’s happy to accommodate with additional sheets, a towel, pillows, etc., with the goal being to make the client as comfortable as possible.
That same focus extends to the pressure applied to the individual as well. “I always use the manual lymphatic drainage style,” says Scarpinito of her massage technique. It’s a form of gentle massage that encourages the movement of lymph fluids around the body. “It’s not a very deep stroke,” she adds. This is to ensure the pressure isn’t too great on a recovering body.