Benefits of skin-to-skin contact - by admin@mcb on October 29 2015

Benefits of skin-to-skin contact

Scientists are confirming that infant/mother skin-to-skin contact in the first hour after birth has both short-term and long-term consequences. These include everything as far reaching as brain development, mothering, and social behavior patterns. Healthy newborns who are placed skin-to-skin with their mothers immediately after birth show both physical and emotional benefits  compared to newborns who were separated for routine care immediately after birth.

The physical benefits include more stability in their respiration, glucose levels, and body temperature. They also have fewer stress hormones and more regulated blood pressure. Additionally, they experience increased brain development over time. On the emotional side, these babies cry significantly less than the babies who are separated from their mothers at birth.

When left skin-to-skin with their mothers, healthy, full term babies demonstrate an instinctive skill to breastfeed without assistance. Researchers have identified that the baby goes through nine observable behaviors within the first hour that lead to the first breastfeeding.

Multiple studies dating back as early as the 1970–1980s compared two groups: Mothers who had at least 15 minutes of skin-to-skin contact with their newborns, and mothers who were only allowed to briefly view their infants. Infants in the second group were taken to a separate nursery and returned to the mother every 4 hours for feeding. At the end of the hospital stay, the mothers with  even brief  contact with their infants were more confident and comfortable handling and caring for their babies than mothers who had been separated from their babies.

In follow-up studies three months after birth, mothers with early skin-to-skin contact kissed their babies more and spent more time looking into their infant’s faces. At one year they demonstrated more touching, holding, and positive speaking behaviors. They also kept more follow-up appointments with their primary care providers, and they breastfed their babies longer.

Prenatal massage therapists and birth doulas should educate their pregnant clients about the importance of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.


To learn more about pregnancy massage, doula labor support, and infant massage, the Institute of Somatic Therapy offers a variety of continuing education courses. Visit

Fertility Massage - by admin@mcb on October 15 2015

Fertility Massage

Recent studies have shown promise with the practice of fertility massage. Statistics indicate that 6 – 11% of women in the United States experience infertility. The leading cause of infertility is blocked Fallopian tubes, which is estimated to cause approximately one-third of the cases of infertility.  Medical research has shown a correlation between manual abdominal therapy and the ability to become pregnant in women with these conditions.

One of the first studies, published in Medscape General Medicine Ob/Gyn & Women’s Health, 6/18/2004 found that 71% of the women in the study (of 28 women total) became pregnant within one year. Three of the women became pregnant a second time, suggesting that the treatment’s impact was long term.

A 2008 study, published in Alternative Therapies, Jan/Feb 2008, Vol. 14, No. 1 studied the impact of manual pelvic physical therapy for blocked Fallopian tubes. Seventeen of the 28 patients (61%) showed that the tubal blockages had been released, and 9 of those women become pregnant.

Recently, in May of 2015, Alternative Therapies published another study correlating manual physical therapy with improved fertility. This study followed nearly 1400 infertility patients. It was found that nearly 61% of the patients with blocked Fallopian tubes experienced clearing of their blockages, with 56% of those patients going on to become pregnant. Additionally, nearly 43% of patients with endometriosis became pregnant, as did nearly 54% of women with PCOS and 39% of women with FSH.

The Institute of Somatic Therapy offers training in fertility massage. Massage Therapist and Master Herbalist Hethir Rodriguez teaches how you can use massage to help improve a woman’s chances of increasing her fertility through a variety of massage techniques, including deep tissue massage, myofascial release, reflexology, aromatherapy, and more. These techniques are designed to help increase circulation, break up adhesions, and promote health for the reproductive system and the entire body.

You can earn the title of Certified Fertility Massage Therapist through the Institute of Somatic Therapy. Click here to learn how to add fertility massage to your practice.