Seattle Prenatal Massage

is an opportunity for women to connect with their bodies in a way that they never have before.    

Elizabeth Panelo
Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist


"I have a philosophy for what I do when I am working with an expecting mother: whatever she needs. If a mother says that she needs a full body massage, I do that. If a mother says she wants a full hour on only her feet and hands, I do that.  The session is yours and you know your body better than anyone else. "

Pregnancy Massage

Pregnancy Massage is an opportunity for women to connect with their bodies in a way that they never have before. 50% of maternity massage clients have never experienced medical massage therapy, but have, perhaps, never experienced sustained chronic myofascial pain before either.  The changes that occur throughout the prenatal process are fast happening, monumental, and sometimes achy. 

Prenatal massage gives the expecting mother an opportunity for the best possible birthing outcomes, physical comfort through the pregnancy and positive body image postpartum. 

In her book, "Pre- and Perinatal Massage Therapy," Carol Osborne-Sheets explains the recent history of pregnancy massage:

"In 1979, many in my circle of women friends were pregnant, including me, and I began seeing my first pregnant clients who were elated, yet uncomfortable.  Although I'd been practicing bodywork for five years, I was unfamiliar with childbearing so I began some initial research.  I quickly confirmed that, with little documented rationale, Swedish massage was contraindicated during pregnancy. - More experienced body workers or perinatal specialists, aside from midwives who instinctively touched their laboring women, were unable to provide meaningful guidance.  However, my friends', my clients', and my own tired, tight lower back and swollen ankles were delivering a different most compelling message: pregnant bodies need the structural, physiological and emotional care of knowledgeable touch."  Deep River Body Works offers Seattle Prenatal Massage from certified pregnancy massage therapist Elizabeth Panelo.  Conctact us today to relieve some of that pregancy body tension!

Experience and Philosophies

With nearly a decade of Seattle pregnancy massage experience, myself, I have seen that every pregnancy is different, so each massage treatment that I give is different. Some mothers experience low back pain, others swelling in the extremities, sometimes both and the mother's needs change from session to session. Using a variety of techniques I am able to specialize each visit to your particular needs of the moment. I was trained by one of the mothers of prenatal massage, Kate Jordan in her workshop titled, "Bodywork for the Childbearing Year" in 2008.

Through my training I have learned the optimal positioning for a mother's comfort during her pregnancy massage.  I use pillows and bolsters to create a nest for the mother, lying on her side or  positioned in a semi-reclining position. It is just as though you are in your own bed, sleeping on your side, and it just happens that there is someone to tuck you in and make your aches and pains disappear. Some women say that it is far more comfortable than the traditional face down (prone) approach.  

I do not use the specialized body cushion system or the "table with a hole" approach for a couple of different reasons. First, it places an unnecessary compression on the uterus. Second, prone positioning puts the uterine ligaments in a strained state which also places the low back under strain counteracting the purpose of our visit. Lastly, we exist in a culture that tends to distance women from their bodies. The time between pregnancy and labor is one of ultimate opportunity for integration. Prone positioning is psychologically another way to distance a mother from the experience of her changing physiology.  If you are interested in a Seattle Prenatal Massage but have more questions, please contact me.

What To Expect 

Each pregnancy massage is as individual as your child will be. I have fond that the best results for prevention of discomfort have been with mothers who are able to come in for massage therapy every two weeks throughout their second and third trimester, with weekly visits leading up to the labor date. That being said, whatever you can do to care for yourself physically and emotionally during this time will help create a solid foundation of self care as you move into motherhood. At the close of each session I will offer home care advice which may include, stretches, hydrotherapy, postural techniques or referrals to other professionals for complimentary modalities. This will empower you to address your own aches and pains in a proactive manner and train your body to dispel discomfort through consistent reinforcement.

I would like for you to hear this message, if you hear nothing else: You come first. You cannot give what you do not have. Whatever you can do to take care of yourself during this time will benefit your prenatal experience and family tenfold.

Tricks and Techniques that may be used during your session include:

  • Thai Massage for the neck and shoulders to increase range of motion and alleviate upper back discomfort.
  • Myofascial Release particularly for the ribs and growing abdomen but also for the wrists and forearms to decrease the natural swelling process.
  • Positional Release and Strain Counterstrain for the constant low back pain associated with the psoas muscle and the deep rotators. 
  • Neurofascial Release for the sciatic nerve which is often the culprit in hip aches and spasms of the low back during pregnancy.
  • Alexander Technique, a postural tool, for building the strength to carry the growing child and prevention of postpartum weakness.
  • Lomi Lomi, a Hawaiian deep tissue technique that aids in circulation and decreases muscle tension.
  • Sidelying and Semi-Reclining positions are used in each session past the first trimester.  Some mothers enjoy the comforts of the sidelying position so much that they request it even after labor.


Prenatal Massage In Seattle

We provide Prenatal Massage for the greater Puget Sound area and are located in the historic Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.  We believe in and support a strong community and feel that wellness practices like pregnancy massage are best provided by local community members and made easily accessible to everyone.  If you live in the neighborhoods of Fremont, Wallingford, Edmonds, Phinney Ridge or Queen Anne we are your neighbors!  Whether you are close by or farther away, we invite you to become a part of our wellness community and to experience the benefits of the best Prenatal Massage Seattle has to offer.

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