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.

Prenatal Massage and HELLP Syndrome - by admin@mcb on February 13 2018

Prenatal Massage and HELLP Syndrome

Prenatal Massage and HELLP Syndrome

Prenatal massage therapists need to have an understanding of complications of pregnancy that could contraindicate massage in their clients. One of the most severe conditions that may affect pregnant women is called HELLP Syndrome.

HELLP syndrome is a serious, but rare, complication of pregnancy. Chances are if a prenatal massage client has HELLP, she is too sick to come for a massage, so it is very unlikely that a prenatal massage therapist is going to encounter it during a massage session. However, if you suspect that your prenatal client has any serious complication, do not perform massage, and if necessary, call 911 or secure other help for your client.

What is HELLP Syndrome?

HELLP syndrome is extremely rare, occurring in only 2 out of 1,000 pregnancies. Approximately 20% of women who develop preeclampsia or eclampsia go on to develop HELLP Syndrome. HELLP can develop during the pregnancy or after giving birth. It is named for the following blood and liver conditions:

H–Hemolysis, a condition where red blood cells rupture, leading to a reduction in oxygen delivery throughout the body.
EL–Elevated liver enzymes, which are indicative of a problem in the liver.
LP–Low platelet count, which interferes with the ability of blood clotting.

Symptoms include:

  • Visual disturbances (blurriness)
  • Lethargy/Tiredness
  • Rapid onset of edema/water weight gain
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Nosebleed, or other bleeding, that persists without quickly clotting
  • Seizures
  • Abdominal pain, most often on the upper right side

HELLP syndrome can become life threatening for both the mother and the baby, so it usually leads to an emergency induction or C-Section, even if the baby must be born prematurely.

Prenatal Massage Certification

Massage therapists who wish to become certified in prenatal massage can do so through the Institute of Somatic Therapy. We offer a variety of options, including prenatal massage certification, doula certification, infant massage certification, and fertility massage certification. To see these, as well as many other massage therapy online continuing education courses, visit

Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the NCBTMB as a conatinuing education approved provider, #280672-00. Our courses are valid for NCBTMB, AMTA, ABMP, and most states.

Pregnancy Massage Training – Is It Necessary? - by admin@mcb on November 08 2017

Pregnancy Massage Training – Is It Necessary?

Is Pregnancy Massage Training Necessary for Massage Therapists?

Have you wondered if specialized training in pregnancy massage is really necessary? After all, can’t every massage therapist simply modify the position they use for their pregnant client’s comfort, and give a standard massage?

Perhaps that would be true if the only change in a woman’s body was her inability to lay prone or supine for extended periods of time. However, pregnancy impacts every system of the body, not just her mid-section.

Physiological Changes Require Modifications for Pregnancy Massage

Clearly the most obvious changes in a pregnant body occur in the uterus. A normal uterus goes from approximately 80 grams in weight to 1200 grams by the final week of pregnancy, displacing abdominal organs and straining uterine ligaments.

The cardiovascular system increases blood output by 20 – 30 %, heart rate increases about 10 – 15%, and total blood volume increases from    30 – 50%. Pregnancy massage therapists need to modify which types of strokes they use, watch for varicose veins, and use positioning to keep the weight of the baby off the major blood vessels.

The pulmonary/respiration system requires a 30-40% increase in inhalations to meet the body’s increased demand for oxygen. Pregnancy massage therapists need to free the intercostal muscles to enable the ribs to expand fully.

The digestive system must take in extra food and digest it through displaced intestines. The renal system workload increases 35-40%. The integumentary system becomes prone to rashes, stretch marks, and pigmentation changes. The skeletal system becomes strained from the gravitational shift of the body, and joints become less stable due to a hormone the body creates during pregnancy, designed to relax ligaments for the hips to open during the birth process. The endocrine system has several hormones unique to pregnancy.

Recent research even shows that a woman’s brain chemistry changes during pregnancy, and those changes are long-term. (Citation: Nature Neuroscience volume 20 (2017), pages 287–296) Researchers in a long-term study discovered that grey matter volume changes linked to postpartum maternal attachment endured for at least 2 years post-pregnancy.

Most of these changes also require modifications in the type or focus on massage therapy strokes. Simply shifting a pregnant woman to a side-lying position will not begin to address all these needs. Pregnancy massage therapists need to tailor a massage session specifically adapted for the needs of a pregnant body.

Pregnancy Massage Certification Training

To become certified as a prenatal massage therapist, Institute of Somatic Therapy (NCBTMB approved provider 280672-00) offers an online two-part 24 CE course specifically designed to ensure that massage therapists can give the best possible therapy to their pregnant clients. To learn more, click here.

Be sure to note our package options for doula labor support, infant massage, and fertility massage.

C-Section / Autism Linked - by admin@mcb on October 23 2017

C-Section / Autism Linked

C-Section Autism Linked

Recent medical studies in Sweden, including one that studied over 2.5 million births, suggested that children born by Cesarean section were 21 percent more likely than children born vaginally to be diagnosed with autism.

Doctors who promote natural deliveries are expressing concern of long term effects on humans from our current rate of C-Section births. One doctor who has been vocal on this is Dr. Michael Odent, who is well known for decades of encouraging natural labors and uninterrupted contact between the baby and mother until after the first breastfeeding.

Dr. Odent believes that rising autism rates may also be increased from inducing labor with synthetic oxytocin, such as Pitocin. Other interventions such as anesthesia drugs (epidurals), and elevated stress responses could also play a role.
Other medical care providers have suggested that correlation does not equal causation. In other words, just because there is a higher rate of autism among babies born by C-Section, it is not necessarily the C-Section that created that result. Pediatrician Paul Wang notes that it is entirely possible that a fetus with developmental issues may in some way play a role in a higher need for a C-Section. If the baby has low muscle tone, it might impact his or her ability to move into proper position during labor, making surgical intervention more likely to be needed.

No one disputes that C-sections are a blessing for individuals whose lives can be saved by them, but Dr. Odent believes firmly that deviations from nature’s ways has a price, and increased prevalence of autism may be part of that price.

Reducing C-Sections with a Doula

Whatever the cause, or whether or not autism is related to C-Section, if there are proven methods of reducing the need for C-Section, Pitocin, epidurals, or other interventions during labor, those methods should be used as a first resort. And there is such a method – the presence of a labor support provider (doula) with the birthing mother.

Last fall, Cochrane, a global independent network of researchers, performed a meta-analysis of doula studies. They complied 26 studies that provided data from 17 countries, involving more than 15,000 women. Their analysis confirmed what massage doulas already know, that there is a 60 percent reduction in women’s odds of having a C-section, and 80 percent lower odds of having a nonmedically indicated C-section when women have a doula. Here is a summary of their analysis:

Continuous support during labour may improve outcomes for women and infants, including increased spontaneous vaginal birth, shorter duration of labour, and decreased caesarean birth, instrumental vaginal birth, use of any analgesia, use of regional analgesia, low five-minute Apgar score and negative feelings about childbirth experiences. We found no evidence of harms of continuous labour support. Subgroup analyses should be interpreted with caution, and considered as exploratory and hypothesis-generating, but evidence suggests continuous support with certain provider characteristics, in settings where epidural analgesia was not routinely available, in settings where women were not permitted to have companions of their choosing in labour, and in middle-income country settings, may have a favourable impact on outcomes such as caesarean birth. Future research on continuous support during labour could focus on longer-term outcomes (breastfeeding, mother-infant interactions, postpartum depression, self-esteem, difficulty mothering) and include more woman-centred outcomes in low-income settings.

Becoming a Massage Doula

If you are a massage therapist who would like to be part of helping women achieve healthier labors, you should become a massage doula. The Institute of Somatic Therapy has been offering doula certification training since 1999. To learn more, visit Institute of Somatic Therapy Massage Doula Certification Package or visit our sister website:

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Sources for this post:

Photo courtesy of


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.

Antidepressants Lead to Autism - by admin@mcb on August 22 2017

Antidepressants Lead to Autism

Antidepressant Drugs in Pregnancy Lead to Autism

Recent studies show that the use of antidepressant drugs during pregnancy lead to a significant increase in autism in children. The April 2017 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association was titled “Association Between Serotonergic Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children.” The study analyzed 2,837 children of mothers who, during their pregnancy, took two or more consecutive prescriptions of the most common types of antidepressant drugs.

Those children were compared to women who did not take antidepressant drugs during their pregnancies. The article reported that children whose mothers took antidepressants had a 216% increase in autism (“4.51 per 1,000 person-years compared to 2.03 per 1,000 person-years”).

This study confirmed the results of previous studies which also found a similar 200% increase of autism in children whose mothers took antidepressant drugs during pregnancy.

Antidepressant Drugs No More Effective Than Placebos

What makes this all the more troublesome is that several studies have shown that antidepressant drugs are not statically significantly more effective than a placebo for patients experiencing mild to moderate depression. (Example:

By taking the drugs, patients are taking significant risks for a very small chance of benefit. There are far safer alternatives, including massage therapy.

Massage Therapy Alleviates Depression

Research has repeatedly proven that massage therapy for depressed pregnant women has a positive impact, by increasing levels of dopamine and serotonin, and decreasing levels of cortisol and norepinephrine. More importantly, massage therapy during pregnancy carries none of the risks that antidepressant drugs do.

Becoming a Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist

The Institute of Somatic Therapy offers online continuing education courses in prenatal massage, as well as doula training, infant massage, and fertility massage. Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the NCBTMB (National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork) as a continuing education approved provider. Our courses are valid for AMTA, ABMP, and most states. Please refer to the state guidelines section of our website for specific information about your state.

Birth Plans – Covering the Bases - by admin@mcb on August 07 2017

Birth Plans – Covering the Bases

Birth plans are a valuable tool for a massage doula to understand the goals of her client. Some women want to birth completely naturally, while others prefer an epidural so they can give birth with the least amount of pain possible. Women who have had a prior C-Section may just want a vaginal birth, regardless of what intervention they may need to achieve it. There is no right or wrong answer; each woman gets to determine what is right for her and her baby. The doula is in a better position to support her client if she understands the goals and mindset of that client.

Birth plans need to factor in the woman’s individual tolerance to pain, and past emotional experiences (such as sexual abuse) that might resurface during the childbearing process. It is important to help clients realize that what they plan might not be what happens during labor. Birth plans, to be most effective and complete, should consider common contingencies, and include back-up plans accordingly.

Birth Plans Don’t Always Match Reality

Labor is a “roll with the punches” pursuit if I ever saw one. Yes, it is great to have an ideal birth plan in mind, and even more wonderful if you actually get to have that type of labor. But anything can happen, and the more regimented you were mentally to stick to a rigid plan, the harder it can be to process emotionally what happened after the fact. I found in my practice that it was unrealistic to make an absolute determination in advance of whether or not you would accept various interventions.

Birth Plans Without Pain Medications

While the doula client may have every intention of having a natural labor, nature might not allow that. Maybe her water will break and contractions don’t start and artificial induction becomes necessary to lower the chance of infection to the baby. Often induced labors result in harder contractions, so going drug free becomes more challenging.

It is impossible to plan length of labor in advance, and a slow labor will lead to tiredness and stress that can make staying focused and fighting off the pain more difficult. Or maybe the mother is doing great but the baby starts to experience fetal distress and internal monitoring or even a C-Section become necessary. In all of these circumstances, failing to consider pain medications in the birth plans could result in later feelings of having been out of control or forced into something unwanted.

Birth Plans That Rely on Pain Medications

It is just as unrealistic to decide in advance that you’re going to have an epidural, in an effort to have a pain free labor. What if you progress slowly and you aren’t prepared for the pain that will happen before you’re far enough into labor that you can receive an epidural? What if you get to the point where you can have it, but you’re third in line for the anesthesiologist, and by the time he/she arrives, you’re too far along to have it? I’ve seen both of those situations occur. Failing to plan a strategy and mentally prepare for pain will make these types of situations more stressful.

The best birth plans are going to lay out the woman’s ideal birth, but they will go beyond that, and give consideration to the more common complications or interventions that may arise.

To Become a Certified Massage Doula

Massage therapists who want to become certified to attend births with their prenatal massage clients can earn the title of Certified Massage Doula through the Institute of Somatic Therapy. Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the NCBTMB as a containing education approved provider. Our courses are valid for AMTA, ABMP, and most state massage continuing education requirements. To learn more about becoming a certified massage doula, click here. To become a certified prenatal massage therapist, click here.


Aromatherapy Massage for Diabetic Patients - by admin@mcb on July 06 2017

Aromatherapy Massage for Diabetic Patients

Aromatherapy Massage for Diabetic Patients

Aromatherapy massage was recently shown to have a measurable improvement on neuropathic pain in diabetic patients. A study, published in the June 2017 Journal of Nursing Scholarship, sought to determine if massage with essential oils could lessen neuropathic pain in diabetic patients. The researchers found that diabetic patients who had been suffering with painful diabetic neuropathy realized a significant decrease of pain. Patients also experienced a significant increase of quality of life by adding aromatherapy massage to their care routines.

Research Results

The study, performed in Turkey, compared 21 patients who received the aromatherapy massage with 25 control patients who did not. The essential oils used in the study were rosemary, geranium, lavender, eucalyptus, and chamomile. The massage was given three times per week for a total of four weeks. The control group received only routine care, with no aromatherapy or massage of any kind. Data was compiled with the use of two different patient questionnaires (one targeting pain, the other targeting quality of life), along with a visual analog scale.

Based on the significant decrease of pain among the patients in the study group, as well as the reported increase in quality of life, researchers concluded that aromatherapy massage is a simple, effective, drug-free method to reduce pain and improve quality of life in patients with diabetic neuropathic pain.

The complete citation for the study is as follows: Gok Metin, Z., Arikan Donmez, A., Izgu, N., Ozdemir, L. and Arslan, I. E. (2017), Aromatherapy Massage for Neuropathic Pain and Quality of Life in Diabetic Patients. Journal of Nursing Scholarship. doi:10.1111/jnu.12300

The full article can be downloaded at

Aromatherapy Massage Certification

To learn more about the benefits of aromatherapy for conditions routinely experienced in a massage setting, Institute of Somatic Therapy offers a course in Aromatherapy for Massage. Some of the conditions covered in the course include arthritis, circulation problems, edema, headaches, inflammation, joint pain, muscle soreness, sports massage, sprains, stress, and more.

There are 32 essential oils covered in the course. They are: Basil, Bergamot, Birch, Carrot Seed, Cedarwood, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Clove, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Geranium, Ginger, Jasmine, Juniper, Lavender, Lemongrass, Orange, Patchouli, Pepper, Peppermint, Pine, Rose, Rosemary, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Tangerine, Tea Tree, Thyme, Vetiver, and Ylang Ylang. Students have the option to submit internship paperwork to become certified in aromatherapy massage.


Father’s Involvement Reduces Obesity in Children - by admin@mcb on June 13 2017

Father’s Involvement Reduces Obesity in Children

Father’s Involvement Reduces Obesity in Children

Infant massage isn’t just for mothers. In fact, there are several reasons why fathers should be just as involved in childcare, including learning infant massage for their babies.

Infant massage has many benefits for children, as well as benefits to the parents, as prior articles on this blog have detailed. One more benefit can be added to the list: lowering the risk of obesity in children.

A recent analysis of several studies showed that increased participation in childcare by fathers lowered the likelihood of the child becoming obese by age 4 by 33%.

The study followed over 10,000 American children from birth to first grade. All of the children in the study lived in two-parent, heterosexual households where the father was not the primary caregiver. The fathers in the study worked an average 46 hours a week and mothers worked an average 18 hours a week.

Michelle S. Wong, leader of the study, said, “There is growing evidence of the importance of fathers’ involvement in raising children in other areas of children’s development, and our study suggests that there may be benefits to child health as well.” Obesity in children is of growing concern, and something that can reduce it by 33% should be promoted throughout the medical community.

The complete study can be found here.

Include Fathers in Infant Massage Classes

Infant massage courses teach simple, yet effective, techniques for relieving many conditions common to babies. It is simple by design, since it is intended to be easily learned by new parents with no massage therapy training or background. The infant massage certification course offered by Institute of Somatic Therapy also includes movements and stretches designed to stimulate brain development and muscle coordination. To become certified in infant massage, students complete the 16 CE online course, and perform two infant massage classes. For details about the course, click here.

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

Postpartum Anxiety Relieved by Massage - by admin@mcb on June 09 2017

Postpartum Anxiety Relieved by Massage

Postpartum anxiety is one of the most common complaints in the postpartum period, and has several negative consequences. It can delay or prevent the release of oxytocin, potentially interfering with breastfeeding. Anxiety may negatively influence the emotional bond between the mother and infant, leading lead to potential psychological problems in children. Additionally, postpartum anxiety is a very strong predictor of postpartum depression. Early treatment of postpartum anxiety may help reduce postpartum depression disorder.

Research on Massage in Postpartum Anxiety

Iranian researchers conducted a controlled clinical trial to test the efficacy of massage therapy on postpartum anxiety. The study consisted of 100 primiparous (first time) mothers with normal deliveries. Women were divided into two groups – a massage group and a control group. Members of both groups were similar in age, education, and the use of medication during labor. (Citation: Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2016 Aug; 18(8): e34270. )

Massage was chosen as a treatment due to its ability to decrease levels of cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenalin. Massage also has other beneficial physiological effects, especially muscle relaxation. Relaxation in the postpartum period decreases the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. This can prevent postpartum depression, and it can also increase effective mother-infant attachment.

Postpartum Massage

In the experimental group, slow-stroke back massage was performed for 20 minutes. The massage was described as follows:

“The mother was seated on the edge of the bed. Then, the researcher grasped the top of the mother’s shoulders with both hands and placed the thumbs of each hand just below the base of the skull, making tiny circular movements on the upper neck. In the next stage, the researcher placed the palm of one hand at the base of the skull and made a long and smooth stroke all the way down the patient’s spine to her waist. The second hand followed the first at the base of the skull and stroked down the spine as the first hand returned to the base of the skull. Next, the researcher placed her hands on either side of the mother’s neck under the mother’s ears and stroked down and over the mother’s collarbones with her thumbs just over the shoulder blades and repeated the motion several times. Then, she placed the thumb of each of her hands beside the spine, beginning with the shoulders, and moved the thumbs down the spine to the waist and repeated this movement several times. Finally, she completed the procedure by placing her palms on each side of the mother’s neck and making continuous, long, sweeping strokes down the neck, across each shoulder, and down the back near the spine and repeated the entire process several times.”

Research Results

In the control group, a researcher sat with the mother for 20 minutes but performed no massage. Twenty minutes later, and again the following morning, the mothers completed anxiety questionnaires.

Prior to the massage, both groups had similar anxiety levels as shown in questionnaires. Immediately after the massage and the next morning, there was a significant difference in the anxiety scores. After receiving the massage, the anxiety level of the experimental group was significantly reduced. Research on mothers on the first day after labor, third day after labor, and second day after birth reported similar results. The level of anxiety in the control group did not change.

As a result of this study, it is recommended that midwives, nurses, or other caregivers use massage in the early days after labor to help the mother achieve relaxation.

Learning Prenatal and Postpartum Massage

To learn more about prenatal and postpartum massage, Institute of Somatic Therapy offers a certification in prenatal massage. We also offer related courses in doula support and infant massage.