Prenatal Edema - by admin@mcb on August 02 2018

Prenatal Edema

Prenatal Edema

Prenatal edema is a common condition, especially during the third trimester. In moderate levels, prenatal edema it is not a contraindication for prenatal massage. Massage therapists should use a lighter than normal touch with all fluid movement toward the heart. Some essential oils have shown to be beneficial for edema. These include geranium, lemon, rosemary, and patchouli. Several drops of one or a blend of these oils can be used in massage lotion or oil for pregnant clients with edema.

Massage therapists should be cautious with prenatal edema due to the fact that edema can be a sign of more serious conditions. It should be reported to the primary care provider for monitoring.

Severe Edema

Severe prenatal edema can be a sign of pre-eclampsia. This is a condition that may cause the woman’s body to stop sending oxygen and nutrients to the fetus. It is estimated to affect 3 – 5% of all pregnancies in the United States (source: WebMD), and up to 14% of pregnancies with multiples fetuses. Symptoms include an unusual and rapid weight gain from excess water retention (edema), the presence of protein in the urine, and hypertension (high blood pressure).

Click here to watch a short video titled “Seven Symptoms Every Pregnant Woman Should Know”  This is something massage therapists performing prenatal massage should watch for their own knowledge, and might want to use as a resource for pregnant clients.

If left unchecked, pre-eclampsia can lead to eclampsia (also known as toxemia). This more severe form of pre-eclampsia is life threatening to both the mother and baby. Symptoms of eclampsia include severe water retention, abnormal headaches, relentless back pain, sickness to stomach and/or vomiting, visual disturbances. It can lead to convulsions and coma. At higher risk for eclampsia are women with poor diets and high levels of stress in their lives, as well as previous history of high blood pressure, kidney problems, and diabetes.
It should be obvious that massage at this point is contraindicated and medical attention should be summoned at once.

Prenatal Edema and Massage

To learn more about prenatal edema, and other conditions and contraindications for prenatal massage, Institute of Somatic Therapy offers a certification course in prenatal massage. Click here for more details on becoming certified in prenatal massage.   We also offer a course titled Pathology – Edema that covers the anatomy, symptoms, and causes of edema.

Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the NCBTMB as a continuing education approved provider. Our courses are valid for most states, as well as liability insurance continuing education requirements.

Positioning for Prenatal Massage - by admin@mcb on June 01 2018

Positioning for Prenatal Massage

There are two schools of thought on client positioning for prenatal massage therapy.

  1. Some therapists prefer to keep the woman in as close to fully prone and supine as possible to provide prenatal massage in the same positions as a standard massage. This is achieve with the use any number of specialty tables and support systems to achieve this purpose.
  2. Other therapists prefer to use a sidelying and modified supine position for performing massage therapy during pregnancy.

At the Institute of Somatic Therapy, we carefully considered positioning for prenatal massage. Our decision has been to teach in the  sidelying and modified supine (semi-reclining) positions. The routine we teach focuses on the back and legs while the pregnant woman is in a sidelying position, and the abdomen, arms, neck and face when she is in a modified supine position.

Why IST Prefers Sidelying Positioning for Prenatal Massage

Image from Istockphoto
Image from Istockphoto

There are several reasons why the Institute of Somatic Therapy prefers sidelying positioning for prenatal massage rather than the use of a support system that allows for a fully prone position.

Some of our reasons for preferring the side-lying position include the following:

1. Potential Strain to Uterine Ligaments: With some prenatal massage tables, it can be difficult to get a perfect, firm fit over the abdomen, so uterine ligament strain can be caused. While the woman may not notice it during the duration of the massage, she may have some discomfort afterwards.  Other systems do not provide good support for the legs, and others only allow for prone and don’t provide a way to modify the supine position to keep the weight of the uterus off the vena cava for the supine portion of the massage.

2. Ease for Client: As the pregnancy reaches the final trimester, it can be difficult for the client to get into and out of the prone position without assistance, and it can be difficult to assist an undressed client in and out of that position without compromising her privacy.

3. Cost Efficient: Most therapists already own a standard table, and can’t afford the expense of another table when it is not absolutely necessary. The cost of the sidelying and modified supine bolsters are often less than a specialty table.

4. Comfortable: A sidelying, fetal position is a very nurturing, comfortable position, one in which most people sleep, so it is very calming physically and psychologically.

5. Effective: A sidelying position places the client in a position which makes it very easy for the therapist to access her hip, IT band, piriformis, and sciatic nerve areas. These areas of the body are often in need of special focus to relieve the strain of the pregnancy. You cannot get the same access to these trouble spots in a prone position.

That being said, we realize this is a personal choice, and do not require our students to adopt this position if they have strong feelings about the prone positioning. Most of the techniques we teach are easily adapted into a prone position if that is what you and your client prefer.

Becoming Certified as a Prenatal Massage Therapist

To learn more about becoming certified as a prenatal massage therapist with Institute of Somatic Therapy, click here.

Institute of Somatic Therapy  is approved by the NCBTMB (Provider #280672-00) as a continuing education Approved Provider. Institute of Somatic Therapy is also approved by Florida (#MCE-326), and New York (#0019). Our courses are  valid for AMTA, ABMP, and most individual states.


Prenatal Massage Certification Frequently Asked Questions - by admin@mcb on March 20 2018

Prenatal Massage Certification Frequently Asked Questions

Institute of Somatic Therapy has been offering prenatal massage certification since 1999. (You may click all light green hyperlinks in this article to go directly to the pages they reference.)

Below are the most common questions that our potential students ask:

What will I be able to do after completing the prenatal massage certification process?

Upon completing Prenatal Massage Fundamentals (Step One) and Prenatal Massage Techniques (Step Two), you will be able to:
•  Explain how prenatal massage benefits the mother physically and emotionally
•  List and describe pregnancy related complications and their symptoms that would contraindicate massage therapy
•  Describe the physiological changes that take place in each system of a woman’s body during pregnancy, and how each of those changes dictate modifications in a standard massage routine
•  Successfully market and sell your prenatal and delivery services
•  Prepare suitable forms to use for release of liability and record-keeping
•  Perform a full body massage during all three trimesters of pregnancy, with techniques utilizing your forearms and elbows to reduce stress to your hands and thumbs. You will also be able to perform a postpartum massage.

What topics will the courses cover?

Here is just a portion of the Table of Contents from the Prenatal Massage Fundamentals and Prenatal Massage Techniques courses:

Benefits of Prenatal Massage
Research on Prenatal Massage
Understanding the Trimesters of Pregnancy
Physiological Changes in Pregnancy (covers eight anatomical systems, including  reproductive, cardiovascular, digestive, and more)
Emotional and Psychological Changes in Pregnancy
Contraindications for Prenatal Massage
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Varicose Veins
Acupuncture/Acupressure Points
Reflexology in Pregnancy
Aromatherapy in Pregnancy
Exercise in Pregnancy
Trimester Specifics
Perineal Massage
Postpartum Massage Concerns
Postpartum Depression
Marketing Your Services
Closing the Sale
Recommended Reading

What positions to you teach for prenatal massage?

The Institute of Somatic Therapy teaches a side-lying and modified supine positioning, recommended for second and third trimesters. First trimester clients can likely receive massage in the standard prone/supine positioning if they prefer, if they are able to lie flat on their stomach. We do not recommend specialty tables or equipment designed for allowing the woman to lay on her stomach after the first trimester for several reasons: Unless it is perfectly molded to her body, it will cause strain on her uterine ligaments, it is difficult to get in and out of in the final trimester, and makes no provision for a modified supine position (necessary to keep the weight of the uterus off of the vena cava).

How much is the tuition?

Prenatal Massage Fundamentals, Step One, is $129, and Prenatal Massage Techniques, Step Two, is $139. If you enroll in both at once, there is a $25 coupon (listed on the course description page) bringing the total to $243. We have many other enrollment and tuition options and packages, for example if you also want to take Infant Massage or Doula certification, or if you wish to receive hard copies of the course materials by mail. Please refer to the individual course description pages for details. We also have a “Customize Your Own Package” option that you can find HERE.

How do I enroll?

Visit the course description pages for Prenatal Massage Fundamentals (Step One) and Prenatal Massage Techniques (Step Two), (click course name to be taken to the description page) which will also have links for packages if you wish to enroll in both of these courses together or in other related courses. We also have a “Customize Your Own Package” option that you can find HERE.

How long will it take me to complete this course?

To complete the prenatal massage certification process, you must take both Steps One and Two. Each are worth 12 massage therapy continuing education credits. The number of massage continuing education hours awarded was determined by the NCBTMB. Since not everyone reads and studies at the same rate, some massage therapists report that they are faster or slower than the number of CEs awarded. The theory is that it should take the average person one clock hour for every CE earned, so a 12 hour course should take you 12 actual hours to complete. Therefore, if you work on it 6 hours a day, you’ll complete it in two days. If you work on it one hour a month, it will take you a year to complete. You can work on it at your convenience and set your own schedule. Just be sure to complete the course within one year of enrollment, or it will expire. (You can reinstate an expired course if you need more time.)

Do I have to be a licensed massage therapist to become a prenatal massage therapist?

While our courses are designed as continuing education for licensed and/or certified massage therapists, a non-licensed person may take them for their personal use. Of course, they may not legally charge for these services without a massage license if their jurisdiction requires one, as most jurisdictions do. In most jurisdictions, doulas or other prenatal healthcare providers can use the techniques within the scope of their training and authority, such as a doula using some of the prenatal massage techniques during labor and delivery. You cannot, however, hold yourself out to be a certified prenatal massage therapist without having a massage therapy certification or license.

I am currently enrolled in massage therapy school. Is it possible for me to take the prenatal certification massage package  while I am in school still?

Yes, you are welcome to begin taking the courses now. Many people do just that. The advantages to an early start are that the minute you do have your license, you’ll be certified and ready to “hit the ground running” in your chosen specialty. Just be aware that you cannot legally practice if you do not yet have any massage license that the jurisdiction where you live requires.

Will completing prenatal massage certification through you also certify me in my home state to give me a massage license to work with clients?

This common question confuses “certification” with “licensure”. Certification is evidence of education. Licensure is having a legal permit to practice a profession. Please read our blog article for an in-depth explanation on the difference between these two terms.

Are your prenatal massage certification courses valid for my state’s continuing education laws?

Institute of Somatic Therapy (Judith Koch) is approved by the NCBTMB (Provider #280672-00) as a continuing education Approved Provider. Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by Florida (#MCE-326), and New York (#0019). Our courses are also valid for AMTA, ABMP, and most individual states. Some states limit how many hours can be done online or by home study. Please refer to our State Guidelines section for specific information about your state. Laws can and do change, and your state will hold you responsible for knowing the laws that apply to you.

Do you offer installment payments or financing?

We accept credit cards, so you can make payments to your credit card company as it fits your budget. We do not offer private financing.

Do you offer prenatal massage certification in a live classroom setting, or only online?

This course is currently only offered online. With the expense of travel and lodging for our instructor, plus her salary, plus profit and expenses for hosting schools, the tuition would be triple of what it is online. And that isn’t counting the money you would lose (lost work, potential travel expenses, etc) that would cost you on top of tuition. For more on the advantages and disadvantages for live and online courses, check out our blog post on this topic.

Do you still have questions? Feel free to ask!

We have additional information on the courses available on our website, on each course description page. Please feel free to contact the Institute of Somatic Therapy if you have other questions about our prenatal massage certification. Click this link to contact us.

Thank you for your interest in our courses.

The Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the NCBTMB as a continuing education Approved Provider, #280672. Our courses are valid for NCBTMB, AMTA, ABMP, and most states.

Canada: We are valid for Ontario, NHPC in Alberta, and pending approval in British Columbia and Manitoba, with more to be announced shortly.

Is “Fibromyalgia” Actually Morton’s Foot Syndrome? - by admin@mcb on October 09 2017

Is “Fibromyalgia” Actually Morton’s Foot Syndrome?

The Fibromyalgia-Morton’s Foot Connection

Fibromyalgia syndrome is often present in people who have a condition known as Morton’s Foot Syndrome (sometimes called Morton’s Toe). Fibromyalgia is sometimes a bit of a “catch all” diagnosis for multiple areas of pain in the soft tissue. There are 18 pain points used in the diagnosis. What is little known and not well understood is that often the source of pain can actually be an abnormal bone structure of the foot called Morton’s Foot Syndrome.

What is Fibromyalgia?

“Fibro” mean fibrous tissue (connective tissue such as tendons and ligaments), “My” means muscles, “Algia” means pain. Therefore, fibromyalgia means pain in the muscles and connective tissues of the body.

What is Morton’s Foot Syndrome?

Morton’s Foot Structure (also known as Morton’s Foot Syndrome and Morton’s Toe) is a hereditary condition characterized by either 1) excessive mobility of the first metatarsal bone, or 2) a short first metatarsal bone in comparison to the second metatarsal bone.

This foot structure results in less stability and improper weight bearing action of the foot. With each step, the overly mobile or overly short first metatarsal tends to give way, forcing more weight to be put onto the second metatarsal. The foot attempts to compensate by hyperpronating or dropping the arch. The body compensates with an inward rotation of the lower leg, and to compensate for that, an external rotation at the hip joint. Every joint is bearing weight in an awkwardly rotated position, which causes every muscle attached to those joints to be lengthened or shortened in the process, creating a series of trigger points in the muscles.

When a foundation is unbalanced, the entire structure is unbalanced, so the pain goes from head-to-toe. Seemingly unrelated conditions such as jaw pain are often side effects of Morton’s Foot Syndrome.

Morton’s Foot and Myofascial Pain

The leading physician behind most of our current understanding on trigger points and myofascial pain, Dr. Janet Travell, determined that as much as 80% of all myofascial pain (not just in fibromyalgia) is caused by Morton’s Foot Syndrome.

Among my fibromyalgia patients, I am finding that nearly all of them actually have Morton’s Foot Syndrome, and when the foot condition and the muscle imbalances it caused is addressed, the “fibromyalgia” suddenly gets much better.

To Learn More

To learn more about Fibromyalgia and Morton’s Foot, Institute of Somatic Therapy offers two online continuing education courses for massage therapists. Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the NCBTMB as a continuing education Approved Provider #280672-00.

For details on these courses, click the links below:
Fibromyalgia – Stop the Suffering
Morton’s Foot Structure
Complete List of Our Courses

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Institute of Somatic Therapy

“Committed to Excellence in Continuing Education”

The Institute of Somatic Therapy is committed to providing the best online home study continuing education courses available to massage therapists. Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education Approved Provider. Provider # 280672-00. Our massage CEUs/credits are also valid for AMTA and ABMP. We are approved by the Florida Board of Massage (Provider #MCE326), the Georgia Board of Massage, the New York State Board for Massage Therapy (#0019), and CE Broker (Provider #50-1116). Our massage therapy continuing education courses are valid for most state massage therapy CEU requirements.

Fibromyalgia and Massage Therapy - by admin@mcb on August 02 2017

Fibromyalgia and Massage Therapy

Most massage therapists encounter clients with fibromyalgia, a condition whose name means “pain in the muscles and connective tissues of the body.”

Image from Shutterstock
Image from Shutterstock

Testing revealed that fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome patients showed identical brain wave patterns, tender points, pain and fatigue. Many doctors consider the two diseases as being two names for one disease. The major difference seems to be that those diagnosed with fibromyalgia tend to experience greater muscle pain, while those diagnosed with chronic fatigue seem to experience greater fatigue.

Another condition, Polymyalgia (meaning “many muscle pains”) is, for massage purposes, essentially fibromyalgia that extends beyond the 18 points.

Two measurable changes occur in the brain chemistry of fibromyalgia patients. These are: 1) An increase in Substance P, a neurotransmitter that increases the sensitivity of nerves to pain, and 2) A decrease in Serotonin, a neurotransmitter than reduces sensitivity to pain

What causes fibromyalgia? In two words: nobody agrees. While theories abound, there is no concrete medical evidence that clearly proves the cause of fibromyalgia. More likely than not, fibromyalgia is the result of a number of interdependent causes that, when existing together, make some people more susceptible to developing fibromyalgia.

In a study of 6,240 fibromyalgia patients, 59% felt they were able to identify a specific trigger of their condition. Of those, 39% felt their disease was triggered by a physical injury, 27% by a major emotional shock, 15% by a severe infection, 9% from surgery, 5% from exposure to chemicals or drugs.

Benefits of massage in fibromyalgia

Therapeutic benefits of massage have been proven in a wide variety of conditions, and fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are no exception.

A study was published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, volume 2, pages 18 – 22 compared massage therapy to transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). The massage resulted in improved sleep patterns, decreased pain, less fatigue, fewer incidences of anxiety and depression, and decreased cortisol levels.

The Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Volume 3, Number 3, 1997 included a study of massage which indicated that patients receiving one-half hour of massage twice a week for five weeks showed less depression, pain, cortisol levels, anxiety, stress and increases in dopamine levels and enhanced sleep. The patient’s decrease in symptoms began immediately after receiving the first massage, and continued to decrease throughout the duration of the study.

Working with fibromyalgia clients

Institute of Somatic Therapy offers a 16 CE online massage therapy continuing education course for fibromyalgia. Techniques that are taught in this course are useful for most massage therapy clients, even those without fibromyalgia, since the 18 pain points of fibromyalgia are common areas for tension and pain, such as the neck, shoulders, and hips. This course will teach you:

  • Passive Neuromuscular Re-Education Strain/Counterstrain: These are a series of passive techniques shown for all 18 pain points, where the patient simply receives the treatment without muscular participation. These are excellent to use in clients who are experiencing extreme pain
  • Active Isometric Neuromuscular Re-Education Exercises: These are a series of isometric/isotonic neuromuscular re-education techniques demonstrated on all 18 pain points of fibromyalgia. These are active techniques that are very effective for promoting the release of chronically tight muscles. With these techniques, the client is actively involving the muscles while the practitioner applies counter pressure. This technique is effective for clients who are stronger and healthier.
  • Lymph gland work at major lymph drainage points: There are four major lymph drainage points in the body. The technique involves pumping motions designed to promote the flow of the lymphatic fluid through these points.
  • Abdomen: Working the abdomen will not only promote peristalsis, but also gently massage all the major organs in this region.
  • Mobilizations/Stretching: A series of passive stretches to promote muscle mobility.
  • Reflexology targeting PMS, a scientifically proven technique for combating a common ailment associated with fibromyalgia.

To learn more about our fibromyalgia CE course, click here.


Massage and Reflexology for Autism - by admin@mcb on May 30 2017

Massage and Reflexology for Autism

Is there any evidence to suggest that massage therapy and/or reflexology is beneficial for children affected with austism? One case study says “yes”.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a serious neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others. It also includes restricted repetitive behaviors, interests and activities. These issues cause significant impairment in social, occupational and other areas of functioning.”

Children who have been diagnosed with autism commonly display anxiety and repressed motor skills. The impairment of motor skills is often linked to an underdeveloped or dysfunctional proprioceptive system. Proprioception refers to the body’s ability to sense movement within joints and joint position. It is important in all everyday movements but especially so in complicated sporting movements, where precise coordination is essential.

Case Study – Massage and Reflexology for Autism

As of now, there is very little clinical research on the ability of massage therapy to have a positive effect on proprioceptive dysfunction in autism. However, one short case study does give promise.

In the case study, a moderately functional 5-year-old autistic girl was given a series of eight 40-minute massage therapy sessions over a four-week period. At the onset of the case study, she had some proprioceptive dysfunction that impaired her ability to plan and perform gross motor skills. This dysfunction was delaying her physical developmental abilities. The bodywork sessions included Swedish massage, and foot reflexology targeting the reflex points relating to the nervous system.

Functional testing were given before and after the series of massages. These included balancing on one foot, jumping rope, back-and-forth ball bouncing, and ball dribbling. The effect of the bodywork was that she experienced a faster-than-normal rate of learning motor skills. She also displayed greater control over her posture, coordination, and use of force.

Because this study involved only one moderately-functioning subject, larger studies are needed to confirm a positive correlation between massage and reflexology in autistic children. Until then, if you are close to any autistic children or adults, massage and bodywork, including reflexology, may be worth pursuing.

(Based on a case study presented by Rachel Benbow, LMT, BA, MLIS at the 2016 International Massage Therapy Research Conference.)

Continuing Education Courses Available

The Institute of Somatic Therapy offers several massage therapy continuing education courses that might be beneficial for autistic children. We offer certification in infant massage, and continuing education in reflexology. We also offer courses on infant massage research and reflexology research. Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the NCBTMB as a continuing education approved provider. Our courses are valid for CEs in most states.


Maternal Migraines, Colic Linked - by admin@mcb on May 20 2017

Maternal Migraines, Colic Linked

Maternal Migraines, Colic Linked

Women with a history of migraines have a 50% greater chance of having a baby with colic, a new survey found. Fathers with a history of migraines, however, had a statistically insignificant lower chance of having a baby with colic (29%) compared to father without a history of migraines (31%). The study, conducted in February and March 2017, studied 1010 participants. Colic was defined as the baby crying for at least 3 hours per day for at least 3 days during the prior week. Fussy crying times were most common between 4:00 p.m. and midnight, with the heaviest crying between 8:00 p.m. and midnight.

Parents rated babies with colic as having increased sensitivity to loud noises and strong smells —traits often associated with migraine. Infants with a history of colic are also more likely to experience migraines in their adolescent and adult years.

Lead author Amy Gelfand, MD, director of pediatric headache at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), spoke at the American Headache Society (AHS) 2017 Annual Meeting. She stated that these results should be of interest to obstetricians and pediatricians. “For obstetricians, it’s worth counseling pregnant women with a history of migraine that they are more likely to have a baby with colic — and to let them know that colic is a time-limited phenomenon that isn’t their fault. For primary-care pediatricians, if you’re seeing a colicky baby with a family history of migraine, keep it in the back of your mind that these children may be coming back with headache or migraine at the age of 7 or 8 years old.”

Help for Migraines, Colic

Techniques that the parents reported as having a calming effect to the colicky infants included feeding, gentle rocking, making shushing sounds, and adding white noise.

Because increased colic is linked to maternal migraine, anything to mitigate migraines in pregnant women and mothers may be helpful. Massage therapy, both during pregnancy and postpartum, should help. Infant massage techniques can also be helpful to calm a colicky baby.

Massage Continuing Education Courses

The Institute of Somatic Therapy offers courses in prenatal massage certification and infant massage certification. Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the NCBTMB as a continuing education approved provider. #280672-00. Our courses are valid for most states. Click for information on becoming a Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist and/or a Certified Infant Massage Therapist/Instructor. For both certifications, see our package discount here.

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.

Morton’s Toe/Plantar Fasciitis - by admin@mcb on March 28 2017

Morton’s Toe/Plantar Fasciitis

Morton’s Foot Syndrome (commonly called “Morton’s Toe) is a condition where the first metatarsal is shorter than the second metatarsal. In a normal foot, both the first and second metatarsals are of the same length. Plantar Fasciitis is a condition where there is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of connection tissue that joins the heel bone to the toes.

The Mechanics of a Normal Stride

With each step we take, our feet alternately push off the ground. For a fraction of a second, the first metatarsal bears the weight of the entire body. As the foot rolls forward, some of the pressure is shifted to the remaining foot bones.

Altered Mechanics of a Morton’s Toe Stride

For people who have Morton’s toe, the first metatarsal is shorter than the second, rolling the weight to the second metatarsal. This second metatarsal bone wasn’t designed for that amount of pressure. To compensate, the foot overpronates (rolls in the direction of the big toe) to recruit support to hold the excess weight.

As a result, the foot is momentarily unstable. This causes a chain reaction in the body, as other muscles and joints shift from their designed movement pattern to compensate for the instability. In the process, the plantar fascia experiences stress and damage which can lead to the painful condition of plantar fasciitis.

Pain from Morton’s Toe/Plantar Fasciitis

The overpronation can lead to pain in the ankle, knees, and hips. Muscles all along the leg form trigger points and myofascial pain. It has been estimated that as much as 80% of all myofascial pain is a direct result of Morton’s Foot Syndrome. (Source: Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, by Janet G. Travell, M.D. and David G. Simons, M.D.)

Massage for Morton’s Toe/Plantar Fasciitis

Massage therapists should assess their clients’ feet for  the classic signs of Morton’s Toe (a long second toe and/or hypermobility between the first and second metatarsal bones). When found, they need a two-pronged approach to treatment: educating their client how to mitigate the impact of the bone abnormality through the use of orthotics, and treating the trigger points and muscle abnormalities that have developed from the abnormal gait.

Massage CE Courses for Morton’s Toe and Plantar Fasciitis

Institute of Somatic Therapy offers two pathology courses that address foot pain. Both courses are valid for CEs for NCBTMB, Florida, Georgia, and most states.

Click below for details:

Morton’s Foot Syndrome

Plantar Fasciitis

Reflexology During Pregnancy - by admin@mcb on March 07 2017

Reflexology During Pregnancy

Reflexology During Pregnancy

Reflexology zones can have a far-reaching impact on the body. Reflexology during pregnancy is generally believed to be safe and effective. There is no evidence that reflexology can stimulate premature labor, and in fact is shown to be of benefit to pregnant woman.

Reflexology normalizes the functions of body parts and helps the body to regulate itself into health. Reflexology cannot, does not, and will not make the body do anything unnatural. Research has shown that women who receive regular reflexology during pregnancy experience many benefits. They are more likely to deliver closer to their due date, have shorter labors, and require less pain relief compared to women who did not receive regular reflexology during pregnancy.

When to Use Caution with Reflexology During Pregnancy

However, it is best to err on the side of caution. Reflexology during pregnancy should be considered contraindicated if there is a history of premature labor. Other precautions include severe hypertension, placenta previa or any other prenatal complication.

Jeanette Barsalini, a Certified Reflexologist, in a blog post on reflexology during pregnancy states:
There is a misconception that reflexology can increase the risk of a miscarriage during the early stages of pregnancy although the Association of Reflexologists says: “There is no evidence to even suggest that this may be the case. However, as miscarriages are more common in the first term of pregnancy, some reflexologists are not prepared to take the risk that the client may blame them should a miscarriage occur.” A miscarriage is generally a sign that there has been a problem with the baby’s development or the mother’s health and cannot be caused by a reflexology treatment.

Reflexology Continuing Education Courses

To learn more about reflexology and pregnancy massage, the Institute of Somatic Therapy offers several massage therapy continuing education courses.
Reflexology for Feet and Hands
Research – Reflexology
Prenatal Massage Certification

Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the NCBTMB as a continuing education approved provider, #280672-00.