Are Massage Chairs Safe During Pregnancy?


Having a baby is probably the most joyous and awaited moments in a woman’s life. But along with the awaited joys come some discomforting changes in her body.

Are massage chairs safe during pregnancy?Image Credits: Vanessa Porter

If you’ve ever had a baby before, or are currently expecting. You might have experienced yourself having frequent attacks of back/shoulder/neck/stomach pain and fatigue.

While severe abdominal pain and bleeding can be the right time to call your doctor – see this article to tell when pain during pregnancy is a problem. Mild cramps and aches are usually common in pregnancy.

Since massage chairs are a relaxation and pain relief product. Many pregnant women are interested and curious to know if  massage chairs will work the same for them as they do for a normal person.

And also, if any function of the massage chair can have negative effects on the baby or the mom herself.

Massage Chairs in Pregnancy – The Bad

1. The Heating Modules:

Most people don’t think massage chairs are safe to use in pregnancy since many support heating modules. The reason behind this theory is that an overall high body temperature can cause a condition called Hyperthermia.

According to Mayoclinic, this condition can be triggered by a hot bath tub that can raise your body temperature up to 38.9 C.  Studies have shown that babies who go through high temperatures in their first trimester are at a high risk of brain and spinal cord abnormalities.

Though, massage chairs only provide heat therapy for the back or the calves – which is inadequate to raise the overall body temperature. They still need to be used with caution.

Tips To Avoid Any Damage from Heat Therapy in Massage Chairs

  1. Avoid using the heat function in the first trimester if possible
  2. Never use heat therapy in summers
  3. Don’t use heat therapy for more than 10-15 minutes.
  4. Get off the chair if you feel sweaty or feel a discomforting rise in body temperature

2. Preterm Labor:

It is believed that certain pressure points in the human body can have effects on the reproductive system. Many think that the pressure points around the feet, legs and ankles can send a women into premature labor.

Many massage therapists accept that they are trained to identify and ignore the pressure points in a pregnant woman’s feet, since they have a direct effect on the uterus itself.
On the other side, there are many professionals in the medical field that disagree. To state any of the versions correct, is not possible. Simply because no proper research has been conducted yet that could provide evident findings on this matter.

Even if the myth is fake in reality, it’s better to be cautious until it is proved wrong.

Massage chairs have foot rollers under feet to give reflexology massage while the ankles and other parts of the leg are massaged by airbags, which might or might not trigger those “trigger points”. The safest approach for using a massage chair in pregnancy without any damage could be to place your legs on another chair or a supporting material instead of putting it in the foot massager.

Massage Chairs in Pregnancy – The Good

1. Back Pain Relief:

Back pain is very common in pregnancy. Almost 80% of the women around the globe experience some sort of back pain during pregnancy.

It could be anything from lower to mild pain sensations around the lower back region to chronic back pain. Massage chairs can provide relief with their heat massage capabilities. But it is again recommend that you use the heat function with caution to avoid Hyperthermia.

Recommended Reading:  How Massage Chairs Heal Massage Chairs Heal Back Pain? 

2. Reduces Anxiety and Boosts Mood:

Studies have shown that massage can also help with more common issues like anxiety and negative mood. This study, recruited 32 healthy women and treated them with a 45 minute massage session to see if it helps in reducing anxiety and negative mood. Significant improvement in both the conditions were observed with just one massage session.

3. Improves Immunity: 

Good immunity is vital for everyone because it ensures a healthy life. But it becomes more important when you have another life developing inside of you. I know getting a massage to improve immunity is the last thing you might have ever head of, but it was just what this study found out.

The study was conducted on colorectal cancer patients. The patients had went through chemotherapy. A treatment that destroys white blood cells making the immune system more vulnerable to infections. The researchers found that massage can help improve the immune system by increasing the number of lymphocytes .

Recommended Reading: 51 Reasons To Get A Massage (Studies)

Summing it up:

There are a lot of rumors about massage chairs being unsafe in pregnancy. The truth is that there is little to no research done on this topic to prove any opinion right.

The best way to stay safe is to consult with your health provider before trying a massage chair.  Simply because many women might have a high risk pregnancy. And even if you do get the permission to use one. Remember to put on the extra belt of protection by using the tips mentioned above.

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