Pregnancy can be an alternately wonderful and difficult time, full of little aches and pains you’ve never experienced before. Prenatal massages can ease anxiety, stress back and leg pain, and sleep problems while increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine – the “feel good” hormones. Beijing is full of spas and massage parlors, but not all offer prenatal massages in a western-standard environment. Here are three that do.
But first, a few words of caution. One controversy is whether massages can be performed during the first trimester. Though there are currently no studies that show a link between massages and miscarriage, some doctors and spas counsel against first trimester massages to avoid liability issues.
There’s also some disagreement over whether foot reflexology is safe for pregnant women. Considering there are no professional certifications for pregnancy massage therapists in China (unlike in US and Canada), it’s best to avoid foot reflexology here just to be safe.
In any case, be sure to consult your doctor before booking any massage, let the spa know how many months pregnant you are, and stop the massage if you feel any kind of discomfort.
Bodhi Therapeutic Retreat and Bodhi Sense
Both branches of Bodhi offer prenatal massages featuring unscented almond oil to relieve stress on the calves, shoulders, and lower back as well as reduce varicose veins and promote blood circulation. Prenatal massages last 90 minutes and cost RMB 498.
Hummingbird Spa and Salon
At Hummingbird Spa and Salon, prenatal massages are performed with the customer lying on her side. The therapist massages her head, shoulders, arms, and legs. The spa accepts appointments from customers in their first trimester, but will not do foot reflexology. Prenatal massages are available at both Hummingbird branches in 60-minute (RMB 338), 90-minute (RMB 498), and 120-minute sessions (RMB 667).
Last but not least, Kocoon Spa offers perhaps the only prenatal massage in town administered by a foreign-trained therapist. Prenatal massages cost RMB 510 for 60 minutes or RMB 590 for 90 minutes.
Sijia Chen is a contributing editor at beijingkids and a freelance writer specializing in parenting, education, travel, environment, and culture. Her work has appeared in The Independent, Midnight Poutine, Rover Arts, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @sijiawrites or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: J. K. Califf (Flickr)