Importance of an Ayurvedic Oil Massage during Pregnancy - Why & How?
Pregnancy is a beautiful and exciting phase in a woman's life. Looking forward to the new life blossoming within brings a natural smile and glow to the mom-to-be.
But it's also a time when a woman may go through a lot of physical and emotional upheaval, and this often leads to stress and anxiety. As you look forward to the exciting roller-coaster ride called motherhood, it is necessary to prepare your body and mind accordingly. It is a well-known fact that a good diet is pivotal to prenatal care of a woman. Mild exercise like yoga takes care of your physical fitness while meditation, breathing exercises, positive self-affirmations and some 'Me-time' can help you stay emotionally balanced. Another traditional practice in Indian culture, recommended by Ayurveda, is an oil massage with a nurturing oil followed by a warm shower/bath.
Benefits of Oil Massage during Pregnancy
Most of us are familiar with the custom of an elderly female member of the family or a dai/maushi coming in to give an oil massage to a woman who has just delivered and to the new-born baby in our families. It is quite a common practice in almost all parts of India. But did you know that oil massage during pregnancy is as important and beneficial? Ayurveda has a comprehensive section of Garbhini Paricharya or a regimen for pre-and ante-natal care which recommends the right kind of food, activities, behaviour and therapies for a woman who undergoes child birth. According to this Garbhini Parcharya, an oil massage during pregnancy is essential for not just physical but for mental and emotional well-being of a woman as well. A pre-natal oil massage has many benefits, some of which are listed below:
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety: A head massage relaxes the body and mind, lowers cortisol levels, releases endorphins and thus reduces stress and anxiety.
- Improves Sleep Quality and regulates mood swings: Massage therapy is known to improve sleep quality by increasing blood flow to the brain, which in turn increases serotonin production. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate moods such as happiness, sadness, anger, and anxiety.
- Strengthens Muscles: Pregnancy causes your muscles to change in many different ways to prepare you for childbirth. As the uterus expands to accommodate the growing baby, your muscles become loose and less toned. This is a normal biological process that helps you deliver a baby safely. However, it can also make you feel tired or sore during this time. Prenatal massage helps strengthen and tone the muscles of a pregnant women which is also conducive to an easier and shorter labor.
Pain Relief: The abdominal muscles are responsible for supporting the uterus and other organs of the body. During pregnancy, these muscles become very tight and painful as they try to support the weight of the baby. An oil massage eases this tension and improves circulation thus giving relief from pain. The sudden increase in the body weight and change in posture adds stress and strain to the lower back and also makes the feet tired. A massage with a foetus-friendly natural pain support oil will help relieve lower back pain and soothe tired feet.
- Prevents and Minimizes Stretch marks caused due to pregnancy: As your skin stretches along with your increasing abdomen, the collagen and elastin fibres present in the skin rupture, leaving behind white marks known as Striae Gravidarum or stretch marks. Massaging the abdomen, hips and thighs, which typically gain rapidly to bear the weight of the foetus, is important from the second trimester onwards. This helps to improve the skin elasticity, prevents the formation of stretch marks and reduces their intensity.
- Helps with weight loss: During pregnancy, you will gain a lot of weight due to the growing baby inside you. This is good because it means more milk production for your baby. However, if you are not careful about what you eat, you can put on too much weight. Massage therapy helps burn calories and keep your metabolism up throughout pregnancy.
- Prevents and relieves cramps: Massage can help relieve muscle spasms, and it also helps relax tense muscles. You need to focus only on the areas where you feel the most pain and massage the belly only lightly.
- Soothes itchy skin: The itching that occurs in pregnant mothers is a common problem. Hormonal changes cause irritation and dryness of the skin, and sometimes there are some other causes as well like a particular medication that your skin is allergic to. The best solution to this problem is an oil massage that will soothe your skin and keep it hydrated.
Improves Circulation and Prevents Swelling: A body massage not only helps promote circulation of blood throughout the body, especially the uterus, but also aids lymphatic drainage thus preventing build-up of toxins. This also prevents and corrects any swelling in the body, particularly the feet.
- Provides nourishment to the growing foetus: Improved blood circulation due to oil massage helps in providing oxygenated blood essential for its growth to the growing foetus.
- Balancing of doshas: According to Ayurveda, the Vata dosha needs to be kept in balance during pregnancy. A nutritious diet and a warm oil massage help balance Vata and maintain a relaxed and healthy pregnancy.
Prevents Hairfall: Stress, anxiety, certain medication and fluctuating hormones during pregnancy can all result in an undernourished scalp, brittle hair and hairfall. A head massage with a good Ayurvedic oil infused with natural and beneficial ingredients like Amla, Brahmi, Bhringaraj, Hibiscus (Japa) etc. provide nutrition to the scalp and make hair stronger
Choosing the Right Products
Choosing the right skin/body or hair care product is as important as the process of self-care itself. And even more so during pregnancy when anything that affects the mother is bound to affect the baby as well.
Remember that the skin absorbs everything that you apply topically and, therefore, it is very important to avoid any harmful chemicals, especially during pregnancy. It is best to stick to natural and organic products that are safe as well as effective.
The Parama Naturals Turmeric-based oils are suitable for all types of skin, are hypoallergenic and are 100% pure and natural with zero additives in the form of fragrance, preservatives or any other chemicals whatsoever. These oils are replete with the goodness of Coconut, Almond and Sesame oils, Zingiber and Turmeric, the golden spice that has a zillion health benefits.
Coconut oil helps keep skin hydrated. It helps reduce the appearance of stretch marks by providing moisture for skin cells.
Almond oil contains oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and myristic acid which help in nourishing the skin and hair roots. It also improves the elasticity of the skin thus preventing stretch marks and pigmentation during pregnancy.
Sesame oil also known as Til ka tel is used in massages in many regions in India. It is considered to be good for controlling stress and blood pressure and it also has cooling properties.
Turmeric and Ginger are anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and rich in antioxidants. They soothe and protect the skin against any infections as well. The pleasant natural aroma of the Parama Natural oils provides an experience similar to aromatherapy. and has a calming effect.
How to practice oil massage during pregnancy
Always consult your doctor before starting with an oil massage routine during pregnancy. Under certain medical conditions like high blood pressure, varicose veins or a recent surgery etc., the doctor may not allow any massage and this advice should be strictly adhered to. Also, the first trimester is usually avoided as the foetus is still very young and delicate at this stage. When you do start your oil massage routine in the fourth month of pregnancy (with permission from your doctor, of course), keep the following things in mind:
- If possible, consult an accomplished Ayurvedic practitioner for the correct way and the precautions to be taken before starting the massage routine.
- Use an Ayurvedic massage oil made of natural and pure ingredients that are safe for you and the baby. We highly recommend Parama Naturals Moisturising Turmeric Face and Body OIl or Zingiber oil for a safe and effective pre-natal body massage. These oils are the safest and best alternative to the chemical-laden stretch-marks creams available in the market.
- Find a comfortable position to lie while getting a massage but avoid lying flat on your back.
- Use light, long, open-palmed strokes all over your arms, legs and back and circular strokes over the joints and your abdomen. Avoid a deep-tissue, hard or vigorous abhyanga or massage.
- Focus on the breasts to prepare them for breast-feeding especially during the third trimester.
- Warm some oil and massage your scalp with your fingertips. You may leave it in as a serum or if you are going to follow up with a shampoo, oil your hair from roots to tips.
- Close your eyes, relax and unwind for 30 minutes while your skin soaks up the oil.
- if you feel discomfort or pain at any time, discontinue with the massage and consult your doctor immediately.
- If you are hard-pressed for time. you may self-massage just 10-15 minutes before a warm shower and still get benefits of a ritualistic abhyanga.
- If you have used oil to massage the soles of your feet, wipe them first with a towel dipped in warm water before proceeding for your bath, This will prevent you from slipping.
Skincare with Parama Naturals during Pregnancy
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause serious skin concerns like acne and melasma or pigmentation for many women, especially during the first trimester. The so-called pregnancy glow is possible only with proper diet, hydration, mild exercise, remaining stress-free and of course, the right skin care.
- Stay away from chemical-based skincare products and stick to natural and organic ones during pregnancy. Many chemicals like Retinoids and Isotretinoin, which are usually used for the treatment of skin issues like acne and pigmentation, are known to cause birth defects and are, therefore, discouraged by doctors. Hence, it is advisable to go for 100% natural, organic and effective skincare products like Parama Naturals.
- However lethargic you may feel, especially as you grow bigger, do not skip your regular Cleansing-Toning-Moisturizing routine to keep your skin clean and healthy. In fact, Parama Naturals skin care products are formulated to be versatile and are perfect for quick skincare routines that can be followed anytime, anywhere. So, there is absolutely no excuse for you to neglect your skincare during pregnancy!
- Use non-chemical natural cleansers or an organic, cold-processed soap like Parama Naturals Neem-Turmeric or Haldi Ubtan soaps to deep-cleanse your skin without drying it out. You could also use Parama Naturals Enriching Exfoliator scrub for mild exfoliation or as a face pack once a week. This will help unclog your skin pores and prevent hormonal acne caused during pregnancy. Check out the Parama Naturals range of Cleansers and Soaps here.
- With powerful, !00% natural ingredients like Turmeric, Lavender and oils of Coconut, Almond and Sesame, Parama Naturals Turmeric / Lavender-Turmeric Face and Body oils are not only safe but also effective treatments for your sensitive skin during pregnancy. Use them daily as part of your CTM routine twice a day to keep your skin beautifully moisturized and glowing.
- For prevention and treatment of acne and pigmentation, we recommend you also use Parama Naturals Turmeric Essential oil, which is rich in antioxidant-rich tumerones, as a toner. Use this as a spot treatment for your acne and for lightening pigmentation. You could also use a few drops of this essential oil while steaming your face once a week to unclog pores, soften your skin and to clear blemishes.
- Pregnancy makes your skin more sensitive and hence, more prone to sum burn as well. It is extremely important to use a natural sunscreen to protect your skin from the harmful radiations of the sun. Protective Turmeric in Parama Naturals' moisturizing oils provide natural, yet effective protection against the sun. The Enriching Exfoliator Scrub, when used as a haldi-ubtan pack, helps in de-tanning the skin naturally and gently.
- If you have been looking for the best oil for prevention and lightening of stretch marks caused due to pregnancy, look no further. Regular body massage with Parama Naturals' Moisturizing Turmeric Face and Body Oil during pregnancy prevents and minimizes stretch marks.
Hair Care with Parama Naturals during Pregnancy
Massage your scalp with Parama Naturals' Nourishing Hair Oil for long, strong and healthy hair. Completely natural, this oil is fragrance-, SLS- Paraben-, Aluminium- and Zinc-free and is suitable for all hair types. Made of virgin, cold-pressed oils of Coconut and Sesame infused with Bhringraj, Brahmi, Hibiscus (Japa), Fenugreek (Methi) and Curry leaves, it can be used to nourish your hair and scalp as an oil or as a leave-in serum for deeper penetration.
Ayurvedic Oil Massage for Babies
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