PostPartum Ayurvedic Oil Massage for the Mother - Why & How?

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Postpartum care is a very important step towards long-term health and well-being of a woman after giving birth. A woman's body goes through several physical, social, and psychological changes during pregnancy and at the time of delivery. Other than that, she has the added responsibility of feeding and taking care of the baby. Adjusting to a new phase of life as the baby takes priority, sleepless nights, fatigue, lack of support in nuclear families and the rush to get back to "normal" life often lead to neglect of the mother's health. 

The First 40 Days

The ancient science of Ayurveda stipulates a resting or confinement period of a minimum 40 days after childbirth for the mother's body to recover and heal as well as for nurturing a bond between the mother and child without any other distractions like household chores. This postnatal care system has traditionally been followed in India for generations. However, with the fast-paced modern lifestyle and lack of support in nuclear families, post-partum care is often ignored leading to long-term health issues for the woman, like back-pain and weakening of  core muscles. More instances of post-partum depression are being observed these days which have a negative effect not only on the mother-baby bonding but on the whole family in the long run. 

During this time, the uterus shrinks and other internal organs take their normal position after 9 months. The mother's body undergoes a lot of stress during delivery and becomes quite weak. Therefore, it becomes important to replenish it with healthy nutrients and nurture it back to health.

Common physical and mental issues faced by a woman post delivery:

  • Back pain
  • Body pain
  • Excessive and continued bleeding
  • Stretch marks
  • Problems with production of milk and breast-feeding (including blocked ducts)
  • Infections in the bladder, uterus, kidney or skin
  • Pain in the perineal area
  • Constipation 
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Sleeplessness
  • Hair fall
  • Mood swings, Irritability and Depression

 

According to Ayurveda, the Vata and Pitta Dosha are severely affected during pregnancy and at the time of delivery. Lowered agni impacts the digestive system adversely reducing appetite and the ability to digest food properly. Balancing the Vata and Pitta Dosha is the primary aim of any Ayurvedic practice post delivery.  

A healthy, nutritious and light diet is traditionally provided to the mother which helps in replenishing the body with vital nutrients for it to heal faster and for adequate production of milk for the baby. A nourishing diet that includes Milk, ghee, nuts, seeds, grains and fruits helps in faster recovery and strengthening of the body. Another Ayurveda-prescribed traditional practice which is followed in most Indian households is that of a post-partum full-body Ayurvedic oil massage or Abhyanga. In most Indian households, it is very common to see an elderly woman or a professional masseuse coming in to give the new mother a thorough body massage for 40 days after delivery and for good reason.  

Benefits of a Postpartum Massage or Abhyanga

A body massage plays a very important role in relaxing and rejuvenating a new mother after the distress of childbirth. 

  • Relaxing and de-stressing: A warm oil body massage is excellent for  relaxing the body and loosening up and toning the knotted tissues and muscles  Followed by a warm shower,  it helps in inducing a good and deep sleep that is so necessary for the mother, who is adjusting to her newborn's needs.
  • Controls blood pressure- Improved blood circulation due to an Ayurvedic oil massage also helps in regulating the blood flow.
  • Relieves pain : It is quite common for a new mother to have a sore body with aching muscles after the delivery. A massage improves circulation of blood and gives relief from muscle pains and joint pain.
  • Eases breast pain and milk flow: Massaging the breasts with light hands eases pain due to fullness and sore and cracked nipples. It also helps in ensuring a proper flow of milk without any blocked milk ducts that can lead to mastitis. Be sure to clean off the oil completely, though, before breast feeding your baby.
  • Toning and cleaning of the uterus: An abdominal massage helps the uterus in its natural cleansing process of removing the lochia and also in returning to its original shape and size. It also tones the abdomen and other parts of the body easing them back into shape post weight-gain during pregnancy.
  • Strengthening: A body massage strengthens your core and other muscles and brings back energy and vitality to the body. 
  • Hormone regulation: It has been proven that a body massage stimulates the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers and feel-good hormones. This aids in prevention of post-partum depression or baby blues and gives the mother some time for self-care, beyond the newly added responsibilities of a newborn.
  • Controls hairfall: Pregnancy, delivery and motherhood are a roller-coaster ride of fluctuating hormones. Combined with stress and anxiety, this often leads to severe hairfall seen in about 80-90% of new mothers. A head massage with warm oil infused with beneficial herbs helps in nourishing the scalp and controlling hairfall. 
  • Keeps skin soft and healthy: Oleation or massage therapy softens the skin, reduces stretch marks  and keeps itchiness at bay. 

How to Proceed with the Massage

Always consult your doctor before starting the massage routine. While women who have had a normal delivery can start with the massage after 6-7 days of delivery, those who have undergone a caesarean delivery are advised to avoid massage till the stitches have healed. Women who have had blood clots during pregnancy or earlier would also be asked to avoid massage by the doctor.

  • Find a good and experienced Masseuse. Whether you engage a traditional 'mavshi'/"dai' or you sign-up with  a professional Ayurvedic Massage/spa center, it is imperative you engage an experienced professional for the massage.  This is not a regular massage and an inexperienced masseuse can do more harm than good with the wrong kind of massage.
  • In case you are unable to find a good masseuse or are unable to hire one for any reason, you can ask your partner or give your entire body a self-massage too even if its for 10-15 minutes daily. Just be careful and less-vigorous while massaging the abdomen since you are not a professional.
  • Fix a time of the day when your baby is napping and you can have at least 30 peaceful minutes for you to relax and rejuvenate with the massage.
  • Feed the baby before you get the massage. This will give you enough time for your massage and bath. The aroma of the oil can also be irritating for the baby while being fed, so it is always better to wash it off before doing so.
  • The postnatal massage should preferably be done in a warm room with the windows and air-conditioners shut. The sweat released during the massage in this environment will flush out the excess fluid and toxins from the body.
  • Spread a towel or an old sheet on the bed to avoid staining your sheets. 
  • Use warm oil for the massage. Ayurveda recommends herb-infused Coconut and Sesame oils but you can choose any oil that suits you. We recommend the Parama Naturals Zingiber Body Massage Oil which is a 100% pure and natural blend of Sesame Oil infused with the extracts of Ginger and Turmeric, and is relaxing, re-energizing and pain-relieving. Or you could also use Parama Naturals' Moisturizing Turmeric face and Body Oil, which is soothing. This can also be used on the nipples area to keep them soft and supple, as it is safe, natural, additive-free oil which is safe in case it is ingested by your baby. 
  • For cracked nipples, we recommend the Parama Naturals' Multipurpose Butter, made of food-grade natural ingredients.
  • While a firm and vigorous massage can help relax the muscles of your limbs, back and shoulders, it is advisable to go easy and massage your breasts and abdomen with lighter strokes. Stop immediately if you feel any discomfort and consult your doctor.
  • Massage your scalp well in a circular motion to stimulate blood circulation and nourish the hair follicles. You may leave in the oil and wash your hair after a couple of days if you please. Protect, manage and nourish your hair and scalp with regular use of Parama Naturals' herb-enriched Nourishing Hair Oil, which will control hairfall and promote growth.
  • A foot massage will relax your tired feet as well as take care of cracked heels.
  • Relax for at least 30 minutes before taking a warm water bath.
  • Post shower, you may use an abdominal belt or a cloth to bind your abdomen and get it back into shape.
  • You can continue with the post-delivery massage till 1 to 2 months after delivery.

Postnatal massage should ideally be done even by women who have had an unsuccessful pregnancy or delivery to nurse the body back to health and to be able to deal with the situation physically and emotionally.

You may not realize this but this Ayurvedic Oil massage will help strengthen your entire body from within and have a deeper impact on not only your physical but your mental and emotional health as well. 

 

Other Blogs you might be interested in:

Parama Naturals for Pregnant women, Mums and Babies

Importance of an Ayurvedic Oil Massage During Pregnancy

Ayurvedic Oil Massage for Babies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 comment

  • Posted on by Mass
    This is a great post!

    I also recommend Ayurvedic massage oil for relaxation

    online ayurvedic products

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