massage chairs

Is it safe to use massage chairs during pregnancy?

It’s no secret that sometimes being pregnant can be uncomfortable – and not just on the day your baby is born. All of the months leading up to labor can be accompanied by aching, pain, cramping and tingling.

If you’re thinking about getting some well-deserved rest with a pedicure or massage, you may be wondering if it’s safe to use an electric massage chair (the kind you sit in to get a pedicure) during pregnancy.

As with many things during pregnancy, there is no definite answer, but many experts will tell you that these massage chairs are safe if you use them properly.

Here’s what you need to know about why using massage chairs during pregnancy is sometimes controversial, what to keep in mind if you decide to go for it, and what else you can do to get relief during pregnancy.

Is it safe to use a massage chair during pregnancy?

An electric massage chair is just a chair, and you sit in it all the time during pregnancy, so you may be wondering what the big deal is. Well, there are three main concerns about using an electric massage chair during pregnancy:

  • Vibration can harm your baby.
  • Acupressure points can trigger early labor.
  • If the chair has a heating feature, you could overheat, which could harm your baby.

Is there any basis for these concerns? In short, not really.

“Despite claims that a massage chair can lead to miscarriage or premature birth, there is no evidence that this is true,” says Dr. Romy Ghosh, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Austin Regional Hospital. “Massage chairs used as intended are generally safe for pregnant women.”

Let’s take a closer look at each potential problem:

  • Vibration. The vibration you get from a massage chair is usually not strong enough to cause any harm. And even if you used the highest setting, there is no risk to your stomach because you are in a seated position.
  • Spot massage. Similarly, the pressure exerted in these chairs is not strong enough to induce labor. In fact, acupressure working points require constant pressure, not the kind you can get from a massage chair.
  • High temperature. Although the heat from a massage chair is likely to be quite moderate, it is always a good idea to be mindful of overheating during pregnancy. It’s dangerous to raise your body temperature too much during pregnancy. This is why things like hot tubs, saunas, and hot yoga are not recommended.

In general, proper use of a massage chair poses little risk to a pregnant woman.

massage chairs

Ready for a massage.

Using a massage chair at a low level should be safe during pregnancy. However, always consult your doctor or labor and delivery specialist (such as a midwife) if you are unsure.

Stick to low massage settings and gentle heat, especially in the lumbar area. For example, pregnant women are allowed to use heating pads in isolated areas. If you feel that you are getting too hot or you feel weak, you should stop using the chair and drink water.

When you should not use a massage chair during pregnancy

If you are worried about using an electric massage chair during pregnancy, you can give it up at any time. Some people may find it particularly uncomfortable in the first trimester and during the last 4 weeks of pregnancy.

Alternatively, you may simply avoid the massage chair during pregnancy for other reasons, such as:

  • Morning sickness. if you have severe morning sickness, all that shoving can make you nauseous.
  • Radiculitis. If you have sciatica, you may think a massage is a good idea. But it can actually cause even more pain by irritating already sensitive or congested nerves and muscles.
  • Back pain. The same principle applies to lower back pain. During pregnancy, back pain can be difficult, and you may irritate the area even more.

If you are in a lot of pain, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor or midwife about why you want to use a massage chair.

“It would be better if you talk to your doctor about any pain you are feeling,” Ghosh adds. “For example, lower back pain could be a sign of preterm labor.”

Talk to your doctor about the pain

If you experience severe pain during pregnancy, especially if it affects your daily life, be sure to consult with your doctor or labor and delivery specialist.

How to deal with pain during pregnancy

Look, we get it: everything hurts. Sciatica makes it hard for you to walk, pubic dysplasia makes your perineum flare up, and it feels like your back is locked in a vise.

Of course, you want a massage – any one would!

But while a massage chair may be the solution for you, there are other safe ways for pregnant women to get relief. Again, be sure to discuss any specific pains you have with your health care provider, just in case.

Stay active.

Ghosh says that regular physical activity, such as walking or swimming, can help relieve back pain and strengthen it, preventing other pain.

You can also try prenatal yoga or Pilates (just make sure you get approval from your doctor first).

Rest and Ice.

Ice packs and resting tense muscles can provide short- and long-term relief.

Height

Raising your feet is not just an expression. Raising your legs can reduce swelling and discomfort in your lower extremities.

Stretching

You may not feel comfortable moving much, but light stretching, taking slow walks and even just getting up from behind a desk or couch once an hour to move around can help reduce discomfort during pregnancy.

“Try also adding prenatal stretching, such as a cat pose to stretch your back, or a foam roller to stretch your hips and buttocks, which can contribute to back pain,” Ghosh suggests.

Move to the buttocks.

Lower back pain during pregnancy can actually be the result of overstretching the gluteal muscles. Try gently rolling them or practicing hip stretches.

Physical Therapy

Pregnancy can bring new aches and pains into your life or reveal pre-existing problems.

Many physical therapists are trained to work with pregnant women, and some even specialize in it, so you can safely readjust, rebuild and recover with the help of a professional.

Ghosh says a referral to a physical therapist can help when home measures haven’t improved your symptoms.

In addition, you can also talk to your doctor about the proper use of over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers during pregnancy on those days when home treatments just don’t work. Acetaminophen is generally considered safe to use, while ibuprofen should be avoided.

You can also incorporate acupuncture or chiropractic care into your routine, but talk to your doctor or childbirth specialist first. Some obstetricians and gynecologists recommend these methods, while others would prefer that you avoid them.

What about massage for pregnant women?

If you’re not comfortable using a massage chair or don’t have access to one, you may be wondering if you can get a traditional massage instead.

Again, the answer is basically the same: it’s probably safe, but you should consult your doctor or obstetrician.

“Massage can help reduce stress and tension, improve circulation and improve sleep, which is good for mom and baby,” Ghosh says. “Prenatal massage is usually safe after the first trimester, but be sure to talk to your doctor first and let your massage therapist know you’re pregnant.”

If you get a massage, make sure it’s by a licensed massage therapist familiar with treating pregnant women.

You may also need a medical certificate from a health care provider that says you can get a massage. The therapist will also likely ask you to lie on your side for a massage, not on your stomach, even if you are in your first trimester.

Pregnancy Massage Tip

Before you schedule a prenatal massage, make sure you have a signed and dated letter from a health care provider stating that it is safe for you to get a massage.

You might also consider inviting your partner for a massage. According to Gosh, a massage lying on your side can:

  • relieve back pain
  • reduce stress
  • improve sleep.

And studies back that up. For example, a small 2019 study published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork found that a 10-minute massage on a chair twice a week between partners helps reduce anxiety, moodiness and pain in pregnant women.

This uses a massage chair that you sit in to get a massage (you may have seen them at the mall), so they don’t cause any of the problems that an electric massage chair causes. If you have such a massage chair at home or have access to one, talk to your doctor to see if using one might be a good way to relax and reduce discomfort.

No one knows for sure if electric massage chairs are safe during pregnancy, but there is also no evidence that they are not.

You can keep any heat and massage settings low just to be safe, but in general a massage chair is unlikely to be a problem unless you have a high-risk or complicated pregnancy.

If you need the relief that a massage chair provides but can’t get to it, talk to a health care professional about regular massage with a licensed therapist.

You can also discuss other ways to treat pregnancy pain, such as bathing in a tub, using physical therapy, home remedies, and over-the-counter pain relievers that are safe for pregnant women.

paint furniture

How to paint furniture

From time to time, the interior needs to change. And global changes are not necessary: you can re-paper the wallpaper, change the textile decor, move the couch. It’s simple and not very expensive. Sometimes it does not seem enough and you want to change the comfortable, but boring table or closet. However, there is a better way: they can be restored. Let’s understand how to paint furniture made of different materials.

Where to start

Breathe new life into an old shelf, nightstand or chest of drawers is not difficult, if you choose the right restoration technique. The creative idea depends on the choice of decorative material and technique of its application. First it is necessary to determine what the furniture is made of. Any material can be repainted: metal, wood, plastic, etc. It is clear that the composition must match the base.

You can not be limited to paint furniture only. There are techniques of additional decoration. This is painting, manual or on stencils, decoupage with drawings or photographs, the application of craquelure, patination and aging, and much more. The decor is chosen according to the style of the interior. If you want, you can find very interesting solutions. 

Choose what paint to paint furniture

Immediately stipulate that you may need more than one paint furniture composition for the work. Therefore, we offer a brief overview of paint and varnish materials that can be useful to the master.

Primers 

Applied at the initial stage of processing, in order to improve the properties of the substrate. Improve the adhesion or bonding of the decorative material with the surface. They close the pores of the substrate, which reduces the consumption of paints and varnishes. Masters recommend choosing a primer of the same color as the finish or, if that is not possible, as close in tone as possible. This way it will not shine through from under the main decor, which will reduce its consumption.

Stains, varnishes, waxes

Used to paint furniture. With their help restore the appearance of wood, emphasize its structure. Colored stains tint the base, highlight its texture. Available solutions that mimic the precious species of wood. So from the usual pine you can get wenge or mahogany. True, the result does not always meet expectations. If you have a desire, you can try to make a stain with your own hands. To do this, take a decoction of nutshells, roots or bark. 

Varnishes form a dense protective film that prevents the destruction of the decorative coating. A distinction is made between transparent and colored preparations. The latter perform two functions at once: decoration and protection. Varnish can be of any color, there are commercially available products that imitate precious varieties of wood. In addition, transparent and colored waxes, shellac and olive are used for wood treatment.

Paints

Used when it is necessary to completely close the structure of the basis and change its color. Choose the composition based on the material on which it will be applied. Thus, there are preparations for metal, wood, plastic, etc. In addition, hiding power, ease of application and resistance to abrasion are taken into consideration. The color gamut of preparations is very diverse, as well as the type of surface that is obtained as a result. It can be gloss, satin, matte plane or texture. 

For the room, it is desirable to choose eco-friendly paints, especially if they will paint the furnishings of the nursery. For example, compositions on milk are completely safe and at the same time wear-resistant. They give a special “faded” shade, which is well suited for interiors in the Provence or country style. To create a micro-textured surface, special textural products are used. In them, fillers are dissolved, giving the plane a certain structure.

Stages of painting old furniture with their own hands

In detail, let’s analyze the general technique of painting furnishings from any material at home. It is suitable for old and new products, if, for example, you want to change the design of a standard dresser or cabinet from IKEA.

Preparing to paint furniture

All recommendations on how to paint lacquered or any other furniture begin with a description of preparatory work. They are necessary to ensure that the painted surface is even, uniform and will last a long time. It is important that the paint was chosen correctly, otherwise a good result will not be possible. Be sure to study the instructions for painting, which specifies how to prepare the preparation for work and other important points.

Preparation steps

  1. Completely disassemble the product. Carefully unscrew the fasteners, remove doors, remove shelves. Remove the fittings. Anything that cannot be removed, such as stained glass or glass inserts, should be sealed with masking tape.
  2. Pour warm water into a container and dissolve a small amount of detergent in it. Wash all parts and remove any dirty or greasy stains. If they are made of laminated or veneered boards, wash very carefully to prevent the boards from bloating. Dry the elements thoroughly.
  3. Sand the surface with a fine sandpaper. Sanding is necessary to improve the adhesion of the coating. Especially if the surface is lacquered or polished. Sometimes use a grinder. Work with it very carefully, so as not to damage the substrate.
  4. Remove dust from the parts with a vacuum cleaner or sweep it away with a dry brush. Prim the base with a suitable primer. Follow all the manufacturer’s recommendations. Apply one or two layers of primer so that there are no untreated areas.
  5. Carefully examine each piece. If you find cracks, chips or other defects, patch them with putty. To get a good result, take a soft rubber spatula. After drying, sand and prime the restored surface again.
  6. After the primer has dried completely, sand the nearly ready-to-work surface once more. Carefully clean all dust from the most inaccessible places. Do it only with a dry rag or brush. A damp cloth will “drive” the dust particles into the cracks.

Such preparation is done on each item removed from the product. After that, you can paint the parts.

Painting and Drying

Before you paint polished furniture or any other, it is necessary to prepare the workplace. If the chosen paint has a pungent smell, you must ensure good ventilation and protection for the upper respiratory tract. In any case, windows and doors of the room should be open. In the summertime, it is advisable to drape them with netting to prevent insects from getting inside and settling on the paint that has not dried. This will spoil the work.

Painting instructions

  1. Prepare the composition for work. Aerosol can shake. The liquid mixture should be stirred or diluted according to the instructions. Lay the item on the even surface, cover the surrounding surfaces with plastic so as not to stain it.
  2. If we apply the paint solution, pour it into the tray. Take a roller, dip it in the liquid, roll it on the tray, taking off the excess of the mixture. Paint the part with the roller. Paint all the hard-to-reach areas with a brush. Leave the first layer to dry. For a clear color, which is most often the case with white, apply one or two more layers.
  3. For spray painting, which is better for MDF or chipboard, we use a different technique. We bring the spray to the base at a distance of about 30 cm. Apply the paint tightly, with smooth movements. Try not to have any drips. They will be difficult to remove. If necessary, apply a second coat.

Now all that is left is to dry the painted parts well. The drying time depends on the type of mortar, but it is unlikely to be fast. You need to let the mixture harden completely. Important point: each subsequent layer is applied only after the previous one has dried. If you want to decorate the part, for example to make decoupage or patination, you should do it after the paint layer dries.

On the dried paint, you can apply a transparent varnish that will strengthen the decoration and give it a deeper tone. After the varnish dries, carefully remove the masking tape and proceed to assemble the furniture. It is performed in reverse order. If the old fittings or fasteners are worn out, they must be replaced. 

paint furniture

Features of painting different surfaces

The process of painting in general, we have disassembled, it remains to figure out the details that are peculiar to different materials.

Chipboard

It is difficult to answer unequivocally how to paint particleboard furniture, because the boards are different. The basis in any case is compressed wood waste, but the finish is different. So, the board can be laminated, that is, covered with a decorative film, veneered or glued over it a thin layer of veneer. In addition, boards are lacquered and laminated. In the latter case, strips of paper are glued to the substrate. Before painting, laminated chipboards are completely stripped of their paper finish and any traces of glue are removed. Particleboards and veneered boards are only sanded to improve adhesion. Priming is mandatory. It is important to choose the right paint to paint particleboard furniture. Acrylic or alkyd paint will work best, it is possible to use oil paint. 

Wood

Wood is not difficult to paint, provided that it is carefully prepared. The only nuance: the possible “raising of the pile”. It appears when applying any moist compositions: varnish, stain, enamels, etc. It is easy to prevent such “lifting”. After the first priming, the coating is sanded with the finest emery cloth.

Varnished wood

Preparation for painting consists of removing the varnish. This can be done in different ways. Soften the lacquer layer with a hair dryer or a special washer, carefully remove it, you can remove it with a grinder. Then proceed according to the described technology of painting. The polishing removal procedure is very time-consuming, so many are interested in how to paint lacquered furniture without removing the varnish. It is possible, but only if the lacquer coating is firmly held on the base. It is sanded, primed and painted with a suitable composition.

Even the most inexperienced craftsman can paint old furniture. It is not difficult, but painstaking work, where proper preparation is especially important. Only then will the updated kitchen set, dressing cabinet or dining area will please its owner for many years to come. And when the d├ęcor becomes boring again, the furnishings can be repainted again.