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Pregnancy Massage

Therapeutic massage has been used for centuries to improve overall health, reduce stress and relieve muscle tension. While a woman is pregnant her body undergoes numerous changes physically, as well as physiologically and spiritually. The physical changes can cause stress and/or discomfort to the mother. Massage is a wonderful way to help alleviate many of these discomforts, as well as to promote a sense of well-being.

Massage and pregnancy has often received ambivalent responses from the health community regarding the safety and purpose of massage during pregnancy. Modern investigation and research is proving that prenatal massage therapy can be a very instrumental ingredient in women’s prenatal care and should be given careful consideration.

Pregnancy massage is a catch-all term for any hands-on massage during or after pregnancy (prenatal or postnatal massage). This includes anything from a full body Swedish massage to light massage work that might include other modalities such as circulatory work, reflexology or cranial sacral therapy. Most massage therapists are trained, not only to do massage, but various other modalities as well.

Relax during your pregnancy with a pregnancy massage

Relax during your pregnancy with a pregnancy massage

A pregnancy massage typically lasts an hour. Some practitioners use a pregnancy massage table. That’s a table designed to accommodate a woman’s pregnant belly. Others use specially designed pillows called bolsters to position a woman comfortably on her side. This helps especially during the later stages of pregnancy. Lying on your side is often the most comfortable position at this stage.

Here are some of the benefits that a mother may experience during and after a pregnancy massage:

  • Reduction of swelling in hands, feet and ankles
  • Less sciatic pain
  • Ease in muscular discomforts in areas like the low back & neck, calf cramps. It also helps with tension and tightening that can be experienced throughout the body
  • Tone of loose muscles, relaxing of tense muscles and can help increase flexibility.
  • Help with relaxation which in turn can decrease insomnia
  • Increase of blood and lymph flow, which can help increase the elimination of toxins through the circulatory and lymphatic systems. This can also help with fatigue.
  • Increase of oxygen in the blood, sometimes on up to 10-15% after a massage.
  • Strengthening of the immune system
  • Stimulating the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers, into the brain and nervous system.
  • Help in relieve anxiety or depression
  • Help increase blood circulation, which in turn delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the mother and baby.
Comfortable side position during pregnancy massage

Comfortable side position during pregnancy massage

Risks of Prenatal Massage are relatively few and some of these risks that are talked about can be misconceptions. The real risks are:

  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Untrained therapists causing injury
  • Too deep massage of back or abdomen causing spotting or cramping
  • Inducing labor
  • Creating, instead of relieving, muscle soreness

For the most part all of these side effects can be avoided, as long as the therapist knows what he or she is doing. Nausea and dizziness can occur after any massage and are not uncommon during pregnancy. Avoid eating immediately before a massage and get up carefully to avoid dizziness. Muscle soreness is generally the result of not getting enough fluids after a massage. Drink a lot of water in the first two hours after a massage to prevent this.

The biggest misconception is that massage in the first trimester can cause a miscarriage. Miscarriages in the first trimester are unfortunately quite common. There is no evidence that any miscarriage has ever been caused by massage or reflexology.

Pre-term births and low birth weight are among the most recognized effects of maternal stress during pregnancy. It is therefore important to eliminate as much stress as possible to have a healthy and happy pregnancy. Massage is an excellent technique to relax and de-stress.

Stay radiant during winter time

Summer time is great! Your skin feels supple and alive. But as winter approaches, your skin can easily become dry and start feeling itchy.

You must take care of your skin during winter season in order for it to look glamorous and attractive. The cold months may be pleasant for many of us, but at the same time it demands a special type of pampering for this outer layer of our bodies, which tends to become dry and crack during winter time.

Therefore going the extra mile to pamper the skin with moisturisers and emollients is imperative.

Winter time


1. Moisturise your skin generously. Replace your water-based products with creams. And besides facial skin, also apply cream to your hands, elbows and feet. Look out for vitamin E enriched products. This will prevent itchiness and loss of water content from the skin.

2. “The top layer of skin cells are either dead or old and can easily make your skin look dull,” says Doctor Norman. Exfoliating gets rid of the dead skin cells and reveals newer, healthier-looking skin.

3. Avoid prolonged baths, hot showers and the use of harsh soaps. These will take away the natural moisture from your skin.

4. Winter sun can still damage your skin. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to your face and hands (if they are exposed) about 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply frequently if you stay outdoors for an extended time.

5. Don’t lick… your lips. If you do, you’ll only chap your lips even further. Keep a lip balm in your purse and apply it when you’re tempted!


Mask yourself

Mask yourself


Avocado/Honey Mask

To make this ultra hydrating mask, mash a ripe avocado into a creamy pulp and stir in a tablespoon of organic honey. Massage the mask onto your face using your fingertips and allow it to set for 15 minutes. Rinse away with warm water and repeat weekly for best results.

These winter tips are not only excellent for keeping your skin glowing through the cold months, but will also be beneficial for whatever season you are entering.

And remember to always keep hydrated – drink plenty of water!!!


Fundamental Foundation

A worldwide study done by Estee Lauder showed that 8 out of 10 women wear the wrong shade of foundation. Furthermore, the majority of these women use the same shade all year round…

It is important to understand what foundation is supposed to be used for, in order for you to make the right decision. It is not for adding colour, but to enhance your natural beauty by reducing, not concealing, the appearance of fine lines and blemishes, evening out your skin tone. To get that warm, young looking face rather use highlighters and bronzers on a well prepared surface -perfect foundation!



How to choose the best foundation?

1. The colour must match your skin 100%, test it on your face as the skin tone on the rest of your body differ slightly. Remember that a lighter colour will make you look like a ghost and a darker colour will age you. It is therefore important to have different foundations during different seasons as your skin colour changes.

2. Choose the right product for firstly your skin type and secondly your lifestyle.

• Powder foundation: It is fast and easy to apply and is there for a great favourite across the board. Unfortunately it is only the oilier skin types that benefit from this foundation. The powder is oil-absorbent and provides a matte appearance that compliments oily skin, but takes away from the dryer more mature skin types.

Useful tip: as most powder foundations on the market make you look flat and matte, leaving a gray or orange cast to the skin look for products that have a percentage of titanium dioxide and/or zinc in them. Also look to see that any harmful ingredients have been removed.

• Tinted moisturizer: A mixture of moisturizer and light foundation. Equally easy and fast to apply, this foundation is used to even out skin tone on clear, blemish free skin. Suitable for most skin types. It is my favorite!

• BB Creams: It is a multi-tasking product combining your moisturizer, primer, foundation and sunscreen all in one. The reality, it’s a fancy form of tinted moisturizer and would work for the same client base. Really great for a fast pace life style!

• Liquid foundation: Offering the best cover this base is widely misused. As mentioned before foundation should be used to reduce the appearance of fine lines and blemishes, not to conceal it. Best suited for dry and/or mature skin, it offers more hydration and nutrients.

Useful tip: Taking up more time to apply, focus on blending! It is very easy to end up with a “mask” look when using a liquid foundation. My advice is to start applying under the eye and around the nose and work your way outwards without re-applying. This way the foundation starts to thin out around the jaw, leaving you with a natural look.

At the end of the day you must pass the “self-test”. If you look at your skin in direct sunlight it must not shimmer, not be blotchy and most importantly have an even, one-tone appearance.

Good luck and put your best face forward!



Beauty Myths Busted

Today we are busting some of the most widely spread beauty myths.

Beauty Myths

Beauty Myths

Myth 1: Your skin will age just like your mom’s…

Fact: Even though the genetics form both your parents play a role in how you will age, it is your lifestyle choices and health that has the biggest impact. You can be blessed with the best genetics, but if you don’t look after your skin from a young age, it will show.


Myth 2: Getting a base tan will prevent you from getting sunburned…

Fact: Any colour darker than your natural skin tone indicates that your skin has been damaged – burned. Even though a base tan will improve the burning sensation, it does not prevent the damage done to your skin. The bad news for you sun lovers is that no tan is the best tan.


Myth 3: SPF tells you how much protection you are getting from the sun…

Fact: SPF is only part of the equation. Looking at damaging UV light it gets separated into two parts: UVA and UVB. SPF only shows the protection level against UVB as it was believed that only UVB is harmful to the skin. Today we know better and it is thus wise to use a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, or to couple your sunscreen with an antioxidant to maximize protection.


Myth 4: I can fall asleep with my make-up on, no stress…

Fact: All cosmetic products used to provide colour and illusion leave a toxic film on the skin. Wearing make-up for long periods of time will cause irritation, inflammation, dehydration and clog up pores. Sleeping with your make-up on not only results in the irritation, inflammation etc. but also prevents your skin from healing itself as it has no time to rest and breathe.


Myth 5: Eating chocolates and oily food can cause pimples

Fact: Pimples are mainly caused by the change of hormones. The higher your hormone levels, the more likely it is you’ll get pimples. The reason why we associate the bad eating habits with pimples is because the high hormone levels causing the pimples are the same hormone levels that cause cravings.


Myth 6: You shouldn’t mix different skin-care products

Fact: As therapists we prefer that you use the same product range purely because they are designed to complement each other, giving you the best possible results. The fact of the matter is that you can mix any product ranges as long as you choose the right products to accomplish the right results. Have a look at the ingredients and you should be safe.


Scalp Massages

Even though massages are commonly found all over the world, we can say with certainty that the Scalp massage (Indian Head Massage) found its origin in India. There they have practiced and perfected scalp massaging for over 5000 years as part of a holistic medicine source. Today it is well known in all parts of the world.


Scalp Massaging

Scalp Massaging

Here is why we love it so much:

The extreme sense of relaxation is not just in your head, so to speak. When massaging the scalp, it increases the production of chemicals, including endorphins and serotonin, the feel good hormones that in turn puts you in a better mood, reduces stress and induces relaxation.


The massage also stimulates the nerves and the blood vessels beneath the skin, calming the muscle tension. Combine this with temporal massaging and some good pressure on the base of the scalp and there you have the perfect, long lasting remedy for tension headaches.

It is not just good for relieving tension, though. It is also great for the general health of your scalp and hair. The increased blood flow from the massage in turn makes sure that the skin is healthy as it gets enough oxygen flow. Anybody struggling with dandruff will also benefit from this as the massage movements, combined with grape seed/ coconut oil, removes the dandruff leaving the scalp clean and well nourished. Add all of the above together and you will most definitely get fast growing healthy hair.


Make the most of the time you have available and indulge in a scalp massage the next time you pass by the African Health Spa at Elephant Plains.


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