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There’s nothing more disappointing than looking forward to a good pummelling and getting little more than a light stroke. I’ve had a few pregnancy massages in the past and to be honest, they’ve all been a bit of a let-down. My last one, on holiday in Port Douglas at 25 weeks pregnant, was particularly forgettable. I was propped up on my side surrounded by a mountain of pillows in a Bali-style spa centre–all very comfortable amid a gorgeous tropical setting but, and this is a big BUT, the therapist’s touch was so light and gentle it felt like I’d been stroked for an hour rather than massaged. I’m not sure if she was scared of going too firm on a pregnant mama but even when I asked for firmer pressure it really didn’t improve.

A Maternity Leave Treat

I had no expectations of my prenatal massage booked withJackie’s Sports Massage. I was simply looking forward to an hour’s me-time on my first day of my maternity leave. As most mums-to-be find, the lead up to those final few weeks of pregnancy can be hectic, finishing off work, getting ready for the new arrival (and if you’re expecting around the festive season, keeping on top of all the Christmas preparations). Plus, all that extra weight being lugged around takes its toll on the body.

A Huge Following Built Over Years

Jackie’s Sports Massage has been based at 185 Elizabeth Street inSydney’s CBD since 1998. It’s a charming, historic building with an ornate sandstone façade and original interior features, conveniently located opposite Hyde Park (just before the Sheraton on the Park). Jackie started the business on her own, working alongside a physiotherapist. Through mainly word-of-mouth recommendations, the business now serves around 6000 clients (including some well-known celebrities) and employs a team of qualified massage therapists, experienced in deep tissue and remedial treatments. Every team member is trained by Jackie herself to ensure an outstanding, consistent service.

Easy To Get To

I opted for a quick 20-minute bus ride from Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs to almost outside the building(alternatively you can take the train toTown Hall Station, Martin Place Station or Museum and walk 5 minutes or if you’re driving, park in the reasonably-priced car park under Cook & Philip Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre and walk across HydePark ($20 for 2hrs). Achy Back, Groin Pain & Other AilmentsJackie’s Sports Massage is on the 6th floor with a comfortable reception area where you can sit and relax before your treatment, read a selection of magazines and help yourself to the water fountain. As it was my first visit, I completed a brief personal/medical history and gave details of the aches and pains I was experiencing.

A Hole For My Baby Bump!

Jackie greeted me with a huge smile and big friendly hello then it was straight into the treatment room to discuss the massage and get started. To my surprise, I would be lying on my front on the specially designed massage table complete with adjustable hole for baby bumps. I did wonder how comfortable this was going to be but once I’d hauled myself into position it was bliss – the first time in months I was able to lie on my front! Jackie herself has been through three pregnancies and knows exactly how comfortable and beneficial it is to be able to lie faced down.

Firm Not Feathery!

She assured me this was a deep tissue massage designed to rid my weary body of knots and tightness. The treatment started on my back, focusing on my lower back where I had most issues. Jackie’s touch was agile and firm as she worked deep into the muscles. There was a mix of crunching sounds and deep breathes from me as the tightness was worked out. My arms, hands, legs, feet, neck and shoulders were also treated to an intense work out.

A Feeling Of Lightness

 

After each area was massaged, a feeling of lightness washed over it. By the end of the treatment I was in a state of sheer relaxation. A bit like how I feel when I’ve done a yoga session ending with meditation. Jackie warned me to get up slowly and take my time getting dressed as massage lowers the blood pressure.

 

Don’t Forget A Post Natal Massage

 
She suggested I try to fit in one more massage before the birth since she’d found so much tightness and also recommended post-natal massage. I’ve almost forgotten how breastfeeding and carrying your baby around can play havoc with your back, shoulders, neck and arms. Jackie’s Sport Massage therapists can target all those areas that are common issues for new mums.
 
The After Effects
Immediately after the massage I definitely felt looser around the back, neck and shoulders. As the day wore on I felt a bit achy and had a mild headache. All perfectly normal, especially as don’t have regular massages, asJackie’s after-care email reminded me. These are signs that the muscles are adjusting and relaxing into their new state and the toxins are being released from the muscles into the bloodstream. I made sure I drank lots of water throughout the day and had a warm bath in the evening before an amazing night’s sleep.
 
Highly Recommended
 
Even though there are plenty of massage therapists much nearer to home, I’ll be booking my next massage with Jackie and her team. I’d rate it in my top two massages I’ve ever had so it goes without saying I’d highly recommend it to mums-to-be, new mums and in fact anyone needing a remedial massage rather than just a relaxing treatment.