Pregnant ladies, run to the spa. Or do your best waddling impression of running. A new study claims foot massages during pregnancy are good for you.
Come now, hurry, before they change their minds!
We know what you're thinking. The mamby pamby hands gently running across they body that they call "pregnancy massage" (but really ought to be called "total waste of a good gifting opportunity by the hubs") has never included a foot massage before.
The massage therapists "go easy" on your back while you're practically begging them to put a little elbow grease into it, but they completely ignore your feet (are you getting the sense that I'm not a fan?). Conventional wisdom has always been that manipulating the pressure points on your tootsies can induce labor -- a great thing if you're 42 weeks and desperate to get this baby OUT of there. Not so good at 30 weeks.
The result has been edema -- or swelling -- in the feet for which we can do nothing more than soak our feet in the bathtub and count down the days until delivery.
Ironically, the American Pregnancy Association calls for pregnancy massage specifically to address edema in the body. It's natural to have swelling, they say, because of "reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus. Massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce collection of fluids in swollen joints, which also improves the removal of tissue waste, carried by the body’s lymph system."
Now a Turkish study published in the International Journal of Nursing Practice says foot massage has been shown to actually reduce the circumference of pregnant women's legs by reducing edema.
Even better: they're talking five straight 20-minute massages. Ohhhhh, bring it on!
They're still restricting it to "late pregnancy," but if you're in cankle hell, print this article. Head to your local massage therapist and tell her "give me the good stuff."
After five, you may be able to run again.
Image via bark/Flickr