Relaxation Techniques For Labor – Touch Relaxation

Another technique that can aid dramatically in developing your skill at relaxation is touch relaxation. In touch relaxation, you respond to your partner’s touch by relaxing tense muscles toward his hand. Practicing this nonverbal form of communication helps you learn to respond during labor to your partner’s touching, stroking, and massaging with complete relaxation.

To practice touch relaxation, contract a set of muscles upon your partner’s verbal cue, then have your partner rest his hand on the contracted muscles. As soon as you feel your partner’s touch, you should begin to release the contracted muscles toward his hand. See Table 5.3 for the recommended verbal cues, actions, and labor partner’s reactions.

Note to the labor partner: Be sure to touch the contracted muscles with a relaxed but firm hand. Slowly mold your hand to the shape of the body part. If touching the body part does not bring about complete relaxation, stroke or massage the body part until it does relax.

Touch relaxation is one of the best techniques to use during labor.

Table 5.3. Touch Relaxation Guide

Verbal Cue Woman’s action Partner’s Reaction
Contract your forehead. Frown and wrinkle forehead.
Relax forehead.
Rest hand on forehead.
Feel forehead relax.
Tense your face. Grit teeth and clench jaw.
Relax jaw.
Place hands on sides of jaw.
Feel jaw drop.
Tense your scalp. Raise eyebrows.
Lower eyebrows.
Place hands on sides of scalp.
Feel eyebrows lower.
Tense your right arm. Clench right fist and stiffen entire right arm.

 

Relax right arm.
Rest hands on fist, stroke palm with thumbs, then slowly move hands up sides of arm to shoulder and press shoulder firmly.

Feel muscles gradually relax from hand up to shoulder.
Tense your left arm. Clench left fist and stiffen entire left arm.

 

Relax left arm.
Rest hands on fist, stroke palm with thumbs, then slowly move hands up sides of arm to shoulder and press shoulder firmly.

Feel muscles gradually relax from hand up to shoulder.
Tense your abdomen. Pull in abdomen.

Relax abdomen.
Rest hand on curve of upper abdomen.

Feel abdomen expand outward.
Tense your shoulders. Press shoulder blades back against supporting surface.
Relax shoulders.
Rest hands on fronts of shoulders.

Feel shoulders move forward.
Tense your thighs together. Press upper thighs together.
Relax thighs.
Touch outsides of thighs.
Feel legs fall outward.
Tense your thighs downward. Press legs and knees against floor.
Relax thighs.
Rest hands on tops of thighs.
Feel legs rise and fall outward.
Tense your right leg. Straighten and stiffen right leg, pointing toes upward.

Relax right leg.
Firmly touch instep of foot, stroke instep with fingers, then slowly move hands up to knee and then up to top of leg.
Feel muscles gradually relax from foot to top of leg, with thing falling outward.
Tense your left leg. Straighten and stiffen left leg, pointing toes upward.

Relax left leg.
Firmly touch instep of foot, stroke instep with fingers, then slowly move hands up to knee and then up to top of leg.
Feel muscles gradually relax from foot to top of leg, with thing falling outward.
Tense your neck. Raise chin in air and contract back of neck.
Relax neck.
Rest hand on nape of neck.
Feel chin fall forward and muscles relax.
Tense your back. Arch small of back.
Relax back.
Rest hands on sides of sacrum.
Feel back drop toward floor.
Tense any other body part that you would like to. Tense desired muscle group.
Relax that muscle group.
Touch tensed body part.
Feel it relax.

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