By Spa Mama, Barefoot & Pregnant
When you can't make it to the spa for your much-needed pampering, it's quite possible to replicate the entire experience in the comfort of your own home, especially if you have an able (and willing) volunteer.
Choose someone with both the energy and the patience to practice effleurage - the long gliding strokes used by professional massage therapists that increase the efficiency of the circulatory system and the removal of waste products from your body's tissues. This technique, done well, can really stimulate lymphatic drainage, giving you renewed energy and vitality.
Here's what you have to do (the easy bit). Lie on your left side. You need three pillows - one to support your neck, one for hugging and one for under the bent knee of your top (right) leg.
Here's what your sister/friend/partner has to do (slightly more complicated but ultimately a selfless act of kindness to a very pregnant woman). Using plenty of lotion, hold the inside of the bent knee with one hand while gliding up the thigh with the other. Be sure to work up into the gluteal area, and up and over the top of the thighbone. Remember to use firm pressure, as your intention is to move fluid. Always focus pressure toward the torso (the hand should just lightly drag on the return trip).
Use the same action on the lower leg, massaging from ankle to knee, on the upper arm (elbow to shoulder) and lower arm (wrist to elbow). Repeat before gently waking the mom-to-be up and asking her to switch sides.