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Home Study

The Institute of Somatic Therapy offers four distinct home study, continuing education courses related to pregnancy, childbirth, and infants. CEUs are available for licensed massage therapists. Anyone may enroll in the home study courses, but only licensed massage therapists who complete the course requirements may advertise themselves as a Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist or a Massage Doula.

Prenatal Massage Fundamentals Click here for full details and to enroll!
The Fundamentals of Pregnancy Massage is the first course in the prenatal massage certification and doula certification series, and is a pre-requisite to taking the prenatal or doula certification courses. With it, you earn 12 CEs (classified as cognitive, valid for states like Texas). It lays the groundwork by teaching you the cognitive, conceptual aspects of prenatal massage so that you can:
  • 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.

 

Prenatal Massage Techniques Click here for full details and to enroll!
If you wish to move beyond the fundamentals to earn the title of Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist, after completing the prerequisite Fundamentals course, you next take the Prenatal Certification course (worth 12 kinesthetic CEs), which teaches you how to perform a full body massage during all three trimesters of pregnancy. You will learn techniques utilizing your forearms and elbows to reduce stress to your hands and thumbs.

This course teaches in side-lying and modified supine positioning. We do not recommend specialty tables or equipment designed for allowing the woman to lay on her stomach for several reasons: Unless it is perfectly molded to her body, it may 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). We currently recommend the Oakworks Sidelying Bolster System, which is available at www.massagecredits.com. As an alternative, we are happy to provide the dimensions for the foam cushions we use in our video, if you prefer to have them custom made.

 

Massage Doula Click here for full details and to enroll!
If you wish to earn certification as a Massage Doula (Step Three), you must already have completed our Prenatal Massage Fundamentals (Step One) and Prenatal Massage Techniques (Step Two) courses. (Therapists who can provide evidence of having taken a minimum of 12 hours of prenatal massage will be allowed to omit Step One.) The Massage Doula course (Step Three) isworth 12 cognitive CEs. This portion of the course does not teach massage technique, since you will already have learned all the techniques that may be referenced in the Massage Doula training. In this course you will study how to:
  • Provide physical comfort, information, and emotional support during childbirth.
  • Describe and explain the medically proven benefits of continuous labor support services (also known as doula services).
  • Provide a variety of useful pre-labor coaching suggestions to prepare your client for delivery, physically and emotionally.
  • Describe and understand the physical processes that make up the three stages of labor, and some of the possible complications that can arise.
  • Suggest a number of various positions for laboring that decrease discomfort and back labor, and promote more effective pushing.
  • You will learn labor support from the perspective of a doula, so your labor room training will not be limited to massage, but instead will also cover the labor process itself, pre-labor coaching, back labor remedies, and pushing options.

 

Infant Massage Click here for full details and to enroll!
Basic infant massage can soothe an anxious baby, and will provide all of the wonderful benefits that massage holds for adults. This home study continuing education course teaches simple routines for general massage, as well as exercises to stimulate muscle development and coordination. We also cover special situations such as colds, colic, hiccups, constipation, diarrhea, teething irritability and other conditions. This course focuses on teaching the parents to massage their baby, because most new parents cannot afford to pay you to massage their baby, and because they are the ones who need to have the bonding that massage can bring. Plus they need to have the tools to settle a fussy baby in the middle of the night. For this reason, the techniques are simple by design, meant to be used with confidence by non-massage therapists on their most precious asset - their new baby.

Fertility Massage Click here for full details and to enroll!
In this program, Massage Therapist and Master Herbalist Hethir Rodriguez shares how you can use massage to help improve reproductive health. You will learn a series of techniques that you can use on yourself or your clients, 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 will study the female reproductive system, benefits and contraindications to fertility massage, and scientific studies of fertility massage.

When you complete the online test, you earn your massage therapy CEUs immediately. You also have the option of working with a client to her them toward her goal of conception to earn the title of Certified Fertility Massage Therapist. You also read your choice of two books from a selection of titles regarding infertility. When you enroll in the course, you will receive the paperwork necessary to document your internship to earn the certification title. There is no time limit to complete the internship.

Fertility Massage has many benefits. Some of these benefits include:

Helps to restore the uterus to its normal position and shape if it has become tilted or compressed by a fecal impacted intestine; Improves circulation to the reproductive organs (Improved circulation brings fresh oxygenated blood and nutrients to the organs, as well as to the ova); Helps loosen scar tissue and clear blockages to the Fallopian tubes; Helps relax a stomach that is hardened from stress or digestive issues; Promotes liver health to process toxins from the body; Helps to improve digestive health and nutrient absorption by promoting small intestine health; Eliminates impacted feces in the large intestine; Helps to achieve hormonal balance (Dr. John Lee, in his book Hormonal Balance Made Simple, says that hormonal balance starts in the digestive system); Helps to relieve cramps

During pregnancy a woman's body undergoes tremendous changes, and all in a relatively short space of time. These changes occur not only physically, but emotionally too. The overall goal of pregnancy massage is to help to minimize stress, promote relaxation and help prepare the muscles for childbirth.

Massage during pregnancy can help to relieve:

Lower back pain Sciatic pain Tension in the neck and shoulders Tension headaches Calf cramps Insomnia Swollen hand and feet

Labor is both physically and emotionally demanding for the mother. Birth partners often feel at a loss as to how to help at this time. Learning the massage techniques specifically designed for use during labor not only gives the birth partner a positive role to play, but also helps the mother at the same time.

Easing muscular tension Relieving calf cramps Relaxing tight muscles Aiding relaxation and energy conservation Lowering blood pressure Helping the mother to focus her breathing Provide a safe, non-invasive form of pain relief

"Doula" is an ancient Greek word for "servant" or "handmaiden" and has come to refer to "A woman who is experienced in childbirth, and who provides continuous physical, emotional and information support to a woman before, during and immediately after childbirth". A doula offers help and advice on comfort measures such as breathing, relaxation, movement and positioning. A massage doula also uses massage techniques which can help the mother to have a more positive birth experience.

Having a doula present at the birth can help to:

Shorten the length of labor Reduce the need for pain medication Reduce the need for epidurals Reduce the need for Caesarean sections Reduce the need for forceps or vacuum extraction Enhances the mother's birth experience

Scheduling regular massages after delivery helps reduce the time your body needs to regain its former shape and return to its pre-pregnant state. Postnatal bodywork helps reposition the pelvis and spine after delivery. It also helps reprogram muscles to respond to the sudden loss of ten to fourteen pounds, and aids in realigning the posture to support the postpartum distribution of weight.

Special massage techniques restore muscle tone to abdominal muscles stretched by pregnancy. Massage therapy helps relieve upper back muscles which must support fuller breasts and the added weight of carrying an infant. Regular massage therapy can also alleviate neck and shoulder pain associated with breastfeeding and bottle feeding.

Finally, massage can help speed the healing of a Cesarean incision.

Infant massage has been practiced in many cultures since ancient times, and is now being rediscovered in the West. Clinical research has shown that positive, loving, nurturing touch has an important impact on an infant's development. Infant massage is something that every parent can learn - providing benefits to both the infant and parent.

Infant massage can:

Help promote bonding between the parent and infant Enhance the parents' ability to understand their baby's needs Soothe babies and help improve sleep patterns Aid digestion and help to relieve colic, gas, and constipation Help to calm babies' emotions and relieve stress Help develop muscle tone, co-ordination and suppleness Help to stimulate the circulation