You might think of chair massage as an on-site corporate benefit for employees, or a technique for clients who are self-conscious about disrobing or unable to climb onto a table. But did you ever consider that your pregnant clients might enjoy the stress and pain relief chair massage could offer them?

During chair massage, your client remains fully dressed and sits on a specially designed, ergonomically correct chair with a padded face cradle and padded chest rest. Safety and comfort are always first priority for expectant moms, so if your client is beyond her first trimester, you may need to offer some additional support for her belly. First, you’d need to adjust the chest pad to accommodate the size of her belly and then insert the appropriate number of pillows to make her feel safe, comfortable and supported.

Additionally, the chest becomes more tender as the pregnancy advances, so you may want to insert a pillow on the chest pad to make the experience more enjoyable. Your client will drape her arms over the armrests, relaxing her shoulders. From this position, you can massage the neck, back, shoulders and arms, working the postural muscles and adding passive motion to your client’s joints. For some clients, sitting in an upright position, rather than lying on a table, facilitates breathing.

While facing the chair is the typical position, your client will also gain some additional benefits from sitting with her back to the chair. Again, you’ll need to insert pillows to support the lower back. And if you reverse the position of the face cradle (place the open space at the top), you’ll provide better support for your client’s neck and head. Now you have access to the hands and feet and are better able to work the hips and quads.

For some women who might be embarrassed at or self-conscious of their changing shape, chair massage offers a perfect alternative, since they remain fully dressed. Additionally, no oils or lotions are used in chair massage, so the risk of causing nausea from different scents is eliminated.

If you do not already own a massage chair, the financial investment is rather insignificant. Some models are under $100, and top-of-the-line chairs can be bought for a few hundred dollars. You can also offer chair massage to your clients who are not expecting. Since the chair is portable, you can offer on-site massage at area businesses and in people’s homes, as well.

As with any pregnancy massage, you should be trained and certified to offer this modality. An understanding of an expectant woman’s changing anatomy and how to address specific sensitivities, aches and pains will help you deliver the optimal massage.

Women with high-risk pregnancies, pregnancy-induced hypertension or who have had previous pre-term labor should seek approval from their doctor before having chair or any other type of massage.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that back pain due to a growing uterus is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy. While traditional massage is ideal to alleviate this pain, chair massage can also do the trick.

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