Every once in a while, when we want to relax after a long week of work, we get a massage. Try to remember the last time you had a massage. How did you feel? Did you feel a bit lightheaded? Did you also feel calm and relaxed?
We all would like to get a massage every once in a while, because a massage releases endorphins into our bloodstream. These endorphins are natural hormones that are more potent than morphine when it comes to reducing sensations and our perception of pain.
That means that inside our body is a natural painkiller that is triggered by touch. Our body releases endorphins in response to strong sensations as a means to regulate them. Our endorphins travel through our nerves all the way from the brain.
Endorphins and Pain
The release of endorphins by the nerves inhibits some or all of the pain messages going up to the brain. For many women, endorphins will also positively alter the memory of their birth experience and in some cases induce an amnesic, dreamy effect.
Without the risky side-effects of epidurals and medical intervention during birthing, endorphins is one of the key factors in having a fearless and painless birth that’s calm, easy, and quick.
Do this short exercise: Lightly and gently touch your neck with your finger tips and stroke your ears. Do you feel that tingling sensation? You can have your partner do it to you, and you will still get the same sensation running through your body. That’s the release of your endorphins. Light touches or sensational touches can send a rush of endorphins through your body.
Try to recall moments of love making with your partner. Didn’t light touches send a thrill to your body, making you feel a bit lightheaded or even groggy? That is the power of touches affecting our nerves, and sending endorphins to our entire body.
A massage, meanwhile, reduces the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of emotions, and, most importantly for birthing, increases endorphins.
Women in birth are, at times, too sensitive for deep massages, so a light touch massage is the best way to induce these pain-numbing hormones.
Light Touch Massage Technique:
- Kneel over a birthing ball or sitting sideways on a chair with your back facing your partner.
- (V shapes) Then ever so lightly with the very tips of your fingers gently form a series of V shapes from the base of her spine up her neck, ears and down her arms. Repeat three times.
- (S Shapes) Then form a series of S shapes from the base of her spine up again to her neck, ears and down her arms. Repeat three times.
While the Light Touch Massage is the best way to release endorphins to help make birthing easier and calmer, not every mum-to-be will like this technique. Some will prefer a different kind of massage, so you should practice this was a partner, and try to gauge your reaction to the massage.
The Light Touch Massage is just one of the many tools in the Hypnobirthing Hub Courses you can use to make your birth easier, calmer, and painless. For more practice on the Light Touch Massage, you can watch the video demonstration.
You can also join our classes at Manly or get our Hypnobirthing Home Study Course, with a free MP3 download for pregnancy relaxation. There are other massages and techniques you can read about on our blog and apply to get an amazing birth that’s empowering, calm, and even painless!