It is a nurturing period dotted by hot daily drinks.
In some cultures, a hot oil massage is cherished in the first 40 days after delivery. It encourages healing by providing nourishment, warm daily drinks and hot oil massages.
This process is known as Mother Roasting.
Rest is a part of every journey.
A great massage after pregnancy is meant to achieve birth mental and physical balance after delivery. Pregnancy is a journey where the body is tested and tried on its elasticity and endurance. In the end, besides the bundle of joy, the baby, it also comes with aches and pains accumulated in the nine months, it is actually ten calendar months. (story for another day)
Postnatal Massage is a relaxing technique that is meant to kick start a period of recovery. It should also be given in the beginning of a period of rest for both mother and baby.
Nimwaka Yaa, fondly referred to as Saumu says a relaxing massage at home after birth creates a calm space that the tension within the new mother evaporates.
She uses the power of the human touch to deliver that moisturising gentle coconut oil massage.
Nimwaka Yaa, Saumu, a postnatal masseuse
With closed eyes the mother lies on a bed, she applies a generous amount on her hand and begins working on the knots on the legs, all the way to the head, taking time to ensure it releases a relaxing effect.
Saumu says in her Mijikenda culture, the massage begins the same day the mother comes home from hospital.
“By the time she arrives at home, she finds her auntie ready with a generous serving of mafuta ya nazi (coconut oil) ready to loosen all the tension and ease the fatigue that comes with childbirth, “ Saumu says.
Saumu applies long strokes and kneading during the massage to tone the muscles and reduces the pregnancy strain. The stimulating strokes improve blood circulation and muscle contraction which helps to remove toxins from the body. The massaging technique , she says, is passed down in generations and needs precision, passion and dedication.
A massage is a relaxing
“By the time I arrive, two buckets of boiling water should be ready and the new mother takes a bath before we settle for a relaxed two-hour head to toe massage,” Saumu says.
The baby should have been fed and handed over to another family member so we can have quality time with the mother, Saumu adds.
What does science have to say about the post-natal massage?
Researchers have used the gate theory to explain the effects of massage on a tired body after pregnancy. The gate theory suggests that pressure messages travel more rapidly than pain messages, therefore reaching the brain faster and closing the gate to the pain message.
Hot massage oils promote healing and recovery
A research by the University of Miami School of Medicine found out that women who underwent the massage reported reduced anxiety, improved mood, better sleep and less back pain.
The benefits of getting a massage include;
• Relief pain
• Reduce swelling
• Promote production of breastmilk by opening the blocked ducts
• Improves sleep
A post pregnancy massage encourages a happy baby and mother.
However, the postnatal massage should be restricted to begin for women with the following health indications, until expert advice is provided by the doctor.
• Cesarean section mothers should wait until the incision is healed
• Skin conditions such as blisters, boils, eczema and rashes
• Hernia and high blood pressure
For mothers, the massage is free therapy. Reboot. Reset. Next week, we learn more about massage during these COVID-19 times.