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What is perinatal touch work?

Perinatal refers to the time from conception, through pregnancy, birth, and the first few months of postpartum and parenthood. 

Touch work combines massage, acupuncture, acupressure, and reflexology.

 

Massage

Lou is trained in Swedish and Traditional Chinese massage for pregnancy and postpartum. This involves deep tissue massage with the intention of mobilising the muscles and joints of the spine, sacrum, and pelvis, and releasing areas of tension and lactic acid to prepare for and recover from birth.

 

Relaxation massage techniques can also be used to gentle stimulate blood flow and mobilisation to the whole body. 

Acupuncture & Acupressure

 

Acupuncture & acupressure works by stimulating energy along various meridian lines (nerve pathways). While the origins of acupuncture methods are from ancient Chinese practice, it's efficacy has been tested through western medical reasoning. It is understood to work through a combination of mechanisms including: 

 

  • Local activation of microinflammatory markers at the point of needle insertion/pressure, to relax tissues and accelerate the healing process for pregnancy and birth related injuries & aches.

  • Nerve system activation in which nerve fibres are stimulated and interfere with the transmission of pain sensations.

  • Organ activation, in which the stimulation of nerve pathways that run from various organs (for example the uterus) stimulates responses in the organ from which the nerve originates.

  • Central nervous system effects. MRI studies have shown that acupuncture provides a release of natural pain relieving hormones such as endorphins, serotonin, and nor-adrenaline. 

 

Reflexology 

Reflexology works on the understanding that many nerve pathways extend from your central organs, and end in your hands and feet. By stimulating these nerve endings in the hands and feet, we can positively impact the functioning of central organs. This is why Lou may use needle or pressure points in your hands and feet, despite these areas of your body seeming to have very little to do with your pregnancy or birth. 

Early Pregnancy 

Pregnancy can come with many aches and pains in your changing body, as well as more stressful side effects of pregnancy such as morning sickness, or intense fatigue. 

Massage can be helpful to soothe and mobilise changing joint structures in the body, while acupuncture can be incredibly effective for more specific concerns such as hyperemesis (severe morning sickness) constipation, or fatigue. You can book a combined massage & acupuncture session, or email Lou with specific concerns to discuss a booking visit and treatment plan for your pregnancy.

 

Pre-birth 

Leading up to birth massage, acupuncture and reflexology can be a very effective tool to prepare your body for labour and birth, as well as relieve discomfort in late pregnancy. Acupuncture points can be used to stimulate positive responses in your hormone levels, uterine tone, and help support the softening of your cervix and position of your baby in the weeks and days leading up to birth.

 

The intention is never to force your body into labour before it is ready, but rather to prepare your body so that when you do go into labour your body and baby will work together as efficiently as possible.

Labour and birth are huge physical feats. Think of it like running a marathon. You would normally train for weeks, if not months to prepare for a marathon - preparing for birth through positive touch work, stretching, acupuncture and reflexology is like going for training runs. You are lovingly preparing your body the best you can to bring your baby into the world.

 

For the best results it is recommended that you have at least 3-4 sessions leading up to birth, beginning between 34-36 weeks of pregnancy, however one off sessions are always welcomed if you're unsure about whether this kind of treatment will work for you.

Posterior & Breech Babies

 

If your little one is in a tricky position leading up to birth, for example posterior (also known as "back to back") or breech (bottom first), there are ways to support your baby to move into a more desirable position prior to birth.

 

One of these therapies is a branch of acupuncture called moxibustion. This process involves the burning of Moxa sticks (dried mugwort) near reflex points in your feet, which work as a counter-irritant, and stimulate your baby to move into a a head-down position in preparation for birth. 

If your wee one is "back to back," we can use direct acupuncture points, as well as manual hip and sacral releases to support their rotation to a more ideal position. 

For posterior & breech positioning, the initial appointment is done in person, with tools and exercises to practice at home prescribed over the course of several days, before a follow up appointment to review progress. 

Induction of labour

 

If you need to have your labour induced for any reason, and you have a date for induction booked, you can have an induction of labour treatment - which involves acupuncture and mobilisation of the pelvis. Because induction of labour treatment is an intervention that is often effective, it is important that you only have this treatment if you have an induction date booked at the hospital, and have consulted with your LMC about whether this appropriate for you.

 

Lou will always consult with your lead maternity carer if they have any queries or concerns.

Birth

Because of how effective acupuncture is at stimulating pain relieving mechanisms in the body, it can be a great tool to cope with discomfort during birth - particularly in early labour. 

Lou can provide an on-call service in early labour to help you cope with discomfort, further support your baby's descent and positioning, and relaxation. This service can only be provided in your home, so is not appropriate for active labour in a hospital setting. 

Postpartum 

Labour, birth, caesarean birth, and initiating infant feeding, can be a huge strain on your body. Often people in the early weeks and months of parenthood find they have ongoing hip and back pain, as well as tension in their shoulders and upper back from the transition to feeding a baby at all hours of the day and night. 

Massage can be a helpful tool to ease some of this discomfort, while acupuncture can support the healing of muscles that have been strained during late pregnancy, birth, and early parenthood. Acupuncture can also be effective for increasing milk supply for feeding parents. 

Baby massage 

Being born is hard work, and the massive change in environmental stimuli can be really overwhelming for new babies. Lou can guide you through a 30 minute session of infant massage, teaching you tools to soothe your babe and reduce the sensory overload that very small babies can experience in the fourth trimester. 

How to book?

Email me at lou@empwr.nz

Please provide details of your EDD, LMC, and your main concerns. Lou will arrange a booking visit to go over your pregnancy and medical history and provide your initial treatment session. 

Services

Please note, there is an additional $10 charge for breech presentation, due to equipment used and provided

Packages

Initial Consultation

$130 - 75 minutes

To discuss your pregnancy and medical history, make a treatment plan, and for your initial treatment

Early Pregnancy Massage

$110

from conception to 34 weeks, for general pregnancy discomfort.

Induction of Labour Acupuncture

$110 - 45 minutes

Must have an induction of labour date booked and confirmed with your LMC, before being able to book this appointment

Postnatal Relaxation Massage

$120 - 60 minutes

Early Pregnancy Acupuncture

$80

for morning sickness, constipation, or fatigue

Birth Preparation Acupuncture

$80 - 45 minutes

from 36 weeks, 3-4 sessions recommended

Parent and Baby Massage

$120 - 30 minutes each, 60 minutes total

Parent and Baby Package

$350

Includes:

  • 2x pre-birth touch based sessions, 

    • 60 minute massage​

    • 40 minute acupuncture

  • 1x postnatal relaxation massage

  • 1x infant massage session

Late Pregnancy Acupuncture and Massage Package

$120 - 65 minutes, 1 off session

from 34 weeks to birth

Pre-Birth Package

$350

Includes four pre-birth touch based sessions:

  • 2x 60 minute massagess

  • 2x 40 minute acupuncture sessions

Includes acupuncture, reflexolgy and massage

 

The massage from Lou was amazing and left me feeling so relaxed and made pregnancy tension disappear. The amazing and helpful chats we had during the massage also helped me feel at ease with everything. I had a induction date booked which I wanted to avoid and I believe these massages and acupuncture helped my baby come 1 week before his due date and meant I avoided having to be induced. Will be recommending Lou to anyone who is pregnant.

Kay