Are Massage Chairs Safe During Pregnancy? A Doctor Explains - Zarifa USA

December 09, 2020 4 min read

During my clinical practice as an obstetrician, I have been repeatedly asked, “are massage chairs safe during pregnancy?” Here’s an explanation about the use of massage chairs while pregnant. 

Pregnancy demands mothers to be in their best health, which is why they must find time to relax. And what can be better than a massage for enjoying optimal health during pregnancy? It can feel heavenly for pregnant women. 

Using massage chair therapy while pregnant can provide relief from thesymptoms of pregnancy. Indeed, nothing can replace the human touch, but these vibrating chairs are also a great invention. Massage chairs are no less than a blessing for pregnant mothers as they help relieve back pain of pregnancy and increase the blood flow.

But, the use of massage chairs during pregnancy is often debated. Many contradictory opinions exist regarding the use of a massage chair. A doctor’s advice may be the wisest opinion in this regard. I have covered all your concerns about the use of massage chairs during pregnancy.

How Massage Chairs Work?

Massage chairs work by generating motor-induced mechanical movements and vibrations to press and massage the body. The primary purpose of the massage chairs is to emulate the hand movements and techniques of a masseur. Most massage chairs are built on the famous Swedish or Shiatsu massage techniques.

The pressure nodes and rollers in the chair produce massage movements for targeted body areas. Some massage chairs also have heating pads to enhance the soothing effect. The user can enjoy a massage-like soothing relief by sitting in a chair.

How Safe Are The Massage Chairs During Pregnancy?

There is much confusion about using a massage chair while pregnant. Some massage chair manufacturers take additional precautions when using them for a pregnant woman. They do so because of 2 primary safety concerns with massage chairs:

Pressure Nods

In acupressure, many pressure points can induce labor in pregnant women. The premise for the safety concern is that pressure nods in massage chairs can also press those points stimulating labor in pregnant women. 

While it may be useful for pregnant ladies who are going over their delivery dates, women at an early stage of pregnancy need to avoid pressing these points. That’s why most women tend to avoid, or at least minimize, the use of a massage chair while pregnant.

But,it seems to be a myth as there’s no scientific evidence available to link the use of massage chairs with preterm labor or miscarriages. 

Considering the insufficient scientific data to prove that massage chairs are not good for pregnant mothers or their babies, their use can instead be safe and beneficial for pregnant women. 

Massage Chairs During Pregnancy

Another major concern of pregnant mothers is that the massage chair’s vibrations may harm or interfere with their baby’s normal development. But that’s not the case. 

Firstly, massage chairs only make vibrations equivalent to those produced by your routine body movements. Secondly, your baby floats in the amniotic fluid within the amniotic sac (explicitly protects and cushions your baby from sudden impacts while inside the womb).

Heating Pads

Prolonged exposure to scorching temperatures is not suitable for pregnant women as it can cause hyperthermia (a state of increased body temperature). It can severely affect the growth of your baby in the womb.

However, no significant research supports the claim. By providing mild warmth to your body, the heating pads in massage chairs can add to their soothing and relaxing effects. You must note that there is no clear correlation between the heating pads of massage chairs and a fetus's growth.

Concluding the debate, massage chairs are safe for both the baby and the mother.

 

Massage Chair Benefits During Pregnancy

With all the challenges of being pregnant, why bother going to massage parlors every time just for a one-hour session.  A massage chair at home can help you enjoy your time to relax and minimize your stress at the tap of a button.

But, reading about the pregnancy-related concerns of using a massage chair, you may feel hesitant to sit in a massage chair. But wait, in addition to being safe during pregnancy, massage chairs also have some health benefits for pregnant women. The use of massage chairs while pregnant can help in the following ways:

Are Massage Chairs Safe During Pregnancy

Relives Stress And Depression

Stress during and depression after pregnancy is a common observation. Most first-mothers experience “blue babies” after delivery.  One out of these ten mothers sinks in more prolonged depression after delivering their baby. 

Massage therapy chairs can help relieve stress in pregnant women. According to a2004 study, a once-a-week 20-minute massage session for 16 weeks during pregnancy (starting from the second trimester) increases serotonin and dopamine levels while decreasing cortisol levels in the body.  These changes contribute to improved maternal health during pregnancy and delivering a healthy baby.

Back Pain And Leg Pain

The growing weight of your developing baby may take a toll on your back and legs. Back and leg pain is a common symptom in pregnant women, especially those in their third trimesters. Women can barely carry their weight during this period.  Gentle leg massage with a massage chair can relieve the pain in your back and legs. 

Improved Blood Flow

The baby in your womb needs sufficient amounts of oxygen and other nutrients for its growth and development. Blood transfers all these substances to your baby. As massage therapy chairs can improve blood circulation, sitting in a massage chair can promote your baby's healthy development. 

Precautions For Using Massage Chairs During Pregnancy

While massage chairs are safe during pregnancy, you may want to consider the following safety measures to use massage chairs while pregnant because your body gets extra sensitive during this period. 

  • Don't use a massage chair during the first trimester as your baby’s development and the risk of miscarriages are high during this period. 
  • Use massage chair for 15-20  minutes per session.
  • Don’t squeeze your body to sit into a small massage chair.
  • Avoid using a massage chair if you’ve had complications with your previous pregnancies or if you are at a high risk of developing pregnancy complications.
  • Consult your doctor before using a massage chair.

Take-Home Message

Massage chairs are safe to use while pregnant. They are also safe for developing babies. Instead, massage chair therapy can help relieve stress and depression of pregnancy, back and leg pain during pregnancy. It can also assure the healthy development of your baby by improving the blood flow in your body.


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