Massage Skill Expansion

If you’ve read my page about my continued learning, you’ll know that I am not what one would call a naturally studious type. But with massage, everything seems different. I’ve been really enjoying reading books about the body, complementary & alternative medicine, healthcare, psychology and I’ve been on several courses this year which have got my heart pounding, and, as an old English teacher of mine used to say, the budgie repeatedly hitting it’s head against the bell in one of those lightbulb moments. So it turns out I love learning.

I have been qualified as an holistic massage therapist for three glorious years now, and truly love my work. But, as with all good things, I’ve wanted to develop my massage skill for a while so have been looking around for the right addition. It’s incredibly exciting for me to discover more about the human body, our capacity to adapt and not just survive but thrive in a whole host of extraordinary circumstance. At least no one could be surprised by the fact that I’m a body geek!

Last year I was privileged enough to work with two ladies during their pregnancy - one was referred to me by her chiropractor, the other stumbled upon my website. Human beings are astounding, we know I think this, but learning more and more about what happens to the female body during pregnancy got me curious, so in February this year I undertook my personal training qualification “Award in Designing Pre and Post-Natal Exercise Programmes”. Job done, I was curious enough to know more so went on the hunt for the best pregnancy massage course I could … and it didn’t take me long to find it.

Well Mother is an organisation who offer maternity courses and training to massage therapists, shiatsu practitioners and other birth practitioners both here in the UK and abroad. When I read the syllabus of this course, as opposed to the other courses I came across, I think this quote summed it up for me:

“Supporting trust in our body’s wisdom and understanding the importance of the maternity period on all of us at all times in our lives”

As a human being, I have been as guilty as the next person of actually being a human doing … focusing on the external world and forward progress. All too often I think I know what my body is trying to tell me, and I try to figure out how I can resolve the issue, rather than stepping back to listen to what my body is actually saying. I loved the idea that this course, and the Well Mother approach, was to encourage practitioners and clients alike to trust in our body’s wisdom.

So at the end of September I undertook the four day course, which has a real focus on massage using shiatsu techniques (so don’t be surprised if at some point we discuss working on a futon on the floor!). It was run by a lady called Suzanne Yates who is a respected maternity bodywork specialist who has trained in shiatsu, antenatal and post partum exercise, and has produced several books, which will make it to my lending library in time, including:

  • Pregnancy and Childbirth; a holistic approach to massage and bodywork
  • Beautiful Birth: Practical Techniques that can help you achieve a Happier and More Natural labour and delivery
  • Shiatsu for Midwives

On the course there were massage therapists, an acupuncturist, doula, a mid-wife … a wonderful eclectic mix of women with a passion about helping pregnant ladies and their babies during the miracle of creation:

“Supporting the transformative power of pregnancy with shiatsu and massage and understanding how this affects us for our whole life”

I now have 6 months in which to complete some case studies and a written assignment, so until these are completed I am not a qualified pregnancy massage therapist, but as a student am fully supported (and insured) to undertake this work. So …

If you know anyone who is pregnant or may be looking to conceive (because the first trimester doesn’t have to be a massage free time - but that’s a whole article in itself), do please let them know and feel free to pass on my details.

Finally, please don’t think that I am changing direction of my work - after all I still love both giving and receiving deep work, and getting my elbows stuck in. It just turns out that I love learning, and feel very honoured to have found this work, and am really excited about introducing it to my practice.