A Day in the Life of a Massage Doula - by admin@mcb on April 25 2017

A Day in the Life of a Massage Doula

Ring…Ring. Yawn. Shake off the sleep. Ring…Ring. “My phone! Mary (pseudonym) must be having her baby. Time to kick into action as a massage doula. What time is it?” 4:15 a.m. Good, I think, I’ve gotten most of a full night’s sleep. I jump out of bed, throw some cold water on my face, brush my teeth, put on the carefully laid out clothes that have been waiting for just this moment, and off to the hospital I go. Such starts my favorite kind of day as a massage doula.

Make no mistake, getting up at 4:15 is not high on my list of things to do, but there is something calming and quieting about the wee morning hours when I know within a few hours, I will be witnessing the miracle of birth.

My interest in prenatal massage began early in my massage career. I earned my initial massage certification in 1991, and in early 1993, I became certified as a prenatal massage therapist. I immediately dove in, started working on pregnant women, and started attending labors, although at that time, I had only learned four strategies in my labor support repertoire, one of which I quickly abandoned because everyone told me to stop because it hurt.

Within in a few years, I started hearing about doulas. I had no idea what they were doing that I was not, but I thought if I only learned one new thing, it would be worth it. I got certified with Doulas of North America, and also took advanced doula training from Penny Simkin. It was after this training that I coined the term “massage doula” to refer to a certified prenatal massage therapist who is also certified as a massage doula support person.

Armed with a wide range of new techniques, I assisted over eighty births before retiring my private practice a few years ago to focus on teaching and to take on the role of Director of Education with the Institute of Somatic Therapy. With all of those births, my moms averaged under five hours of labor, only two needed C-Sections, and the vast majority birthed entirely drug free. My star client had three babies, with the total labor time from all three births only 4.5 hours (2.5 hours the first baby, 1.5 hours the second, and only 30 minutes the third).

As a doula, I could share many stories, some funny, some harrowing. I know that I will treasure my doula years forever. Not having any children of my own, I feel lucky to have been able to have so many through the experiences with my clients. I have said many times how grateful I was to have been able to watch miracles happen for a living.

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Judith Koch is the Director of Education at the Institute of Somatic Therapy, an online continuing education provider. To earn your massage doula certification, click here.

Baby Sign Language Has Many Benefits - by admin@mcb on April 11 2017

Baby Sign Language Has Many Benefits

Baby sign language is an idea whose time has come. Young children are great at mimicking. They naturally pick up cues and understand motions such as waving goodbye or clapping their hands when happy. Over the last several decades parents have discovered that they can put these mimicking skills to good use by teaching their baby sign language. Baby sign uses a basic set of signs, including those for thank you, more, drink, please, eat, and sleep, to help children communicate their basic needs and wants.

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Incorporating adjunct training into infant massage can help boost your value to your clients. As an infant massage instructor, the sessions can easily be about more than just massage. As a therapeutic professional you have the ability to help educate parents on a wide range of topics, including baby sign language.

Benefits of Baby Sign Language

The benefits of baby sign language include:

  • Increased communication: The primary benefit of baby sign language is that it helps children communicate their wants and needs. Before they can talk these young children have the ability to communicate and have their needs met.
  • Reduced frustration: When children have the ability to communicate with others their frustrations are reduced and they are better able to handle situations. For example, understanding the sign for “more” and “drink” can help prevent a meltdown when a child wants more water.
  • Parent/child connection: Baby sign language promotes a healthy parent/child connection. Communicating with one another in a happy and healthy way builds strong emotional bonds.

The Institute of Somatic Therapy offers a wide variety of online courses including those focused on massage for infants. We have a course to become a Certified Infant Massage Therapist/Instructor, and a research course on the proven benefits of infant massage. Our online massage therapy continuing education courses are valid for NCBTMB, Florida, Georgia, New York, and most states. Visit us online today to learn more.