TRIMESTERS Massage Therapy Education

The Power of Birth

This article originally appeared in Massage Therapy Canada, Summer 2003 issue.

Reproduced with permission.

by Cindy McNeely, M.T., co-founder of Trimesters

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Birth is the culmination of an incredible period of growth and development in the life of a woman and her family. Along with the wondrous physical, psychological, and spiritual changes that occur in the pregnancy, the woman then has a transforming event which will fundamentally change her life activities, goals, thoughts, career aspirations, and plans for the future.

As Massage Therapists, we are both witnesses and participants in the unfolding events of our clients lives through their lifespan. Nowhere does our contribution become more profound than in the births and deaths of our clients and their families. For many therapists, attending the birth(s) of a client(s) may be the highlight of their professional career.

The chances are high that every M.T. in practice will at some time in their clinical practice acquire clients who become or are pregnant. This is true whether the therapist creates a general practice or chooses to specialize in sports injury, trauma, chronic illness, or spa treatments. The skills of the Massage Therapist working with pregnant clients need to be enhanced beyond a basic understanding of pregnancy anatomy, technique and treatment application. The variation in pregnancy training in colleges throughout the world create a disparate capability amongst Massage Therapists regarding their skill level in prenatal care.

Many Canadian Massage Therapists can be extremely proud that they have attended colleges which have given them the best training in the world - including their pregnancy, and post-pregnancy knowledge. Each therapist has to understand the degree of comprehensivenesss of the training they have received, the philosophical approach their instructors have taken toward the area, and if needed, seek out post-graduate training that will prepare them thoroughly for the trust and wide-ranging concerns their pregnant clients will approach them with.

It is not sufficient to simply learn about the anatomical, physiological, and structural elements that apply to the pregnant woman. These subjects, while fascinating when compared to the non-pregnant person can lead us into a ‘pathological’ attitude toward the condition of pregnancy. Instead, when trained to understand the holistic process that begins from the moment a woman becomes capable of conceiving, the therapist can understand and approach her or his clients from a state which conjoins the woman in a sharing of the profoundness of the days and months ahead. page