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I was teaching my Pregnancy Massage course in Bristol in March with Heidi Armstrong, Well Mother teacher and director of Complementary Therapies College Bath.  On the last day Katy Whitehouse, from the APNT, who validate the course came and did the external assessment.  As often the case, our conversation turned to how many myths still persist about massage in pregnancy. Several students during the course had been told in other pregnancy massage courses things like:  work with the sacrum needs to be avoided,  along with shiatsu points around leg and shoulders (without detail on exactly where), abdominal work, work in the first trimester. When I asked what rationale was given, there was none!  Katy and I are thinking of starting a discussion on these topics to get therapists more aware of the issues.  I wrote my book “Pregnancy and childbirth”  to try to give some clarity: but I am aware that not everyone will  have the time to read it and get the answers. So we are going to try to write some short pieces about these different myths.

One blog is on Massage in the first trimester

Please let me know your thoughts and any myths you have come across.

I am getting more and more students on my courses who have done short courses but don’t feel they are being sufficiently prepared to address the needs of  pregnant women.  Let’s keep working to get the standards raised so that pregnant women get the massage they deserve!  And please write in with stories of your work with pregnant women.


Seated pregnancy massage


Lindsey Seabrook did my course recently and was inspired to share this about her training.


Lindsay doing with pregnancy massage

Lindsay doing with pregnancy massage

My training with Well Mother: by Lindsey Seabrook
Having just recently qualified from my holistic massage course with Bodyology in London, I wasn’t looking to take on another course straight away! I qualified in July 2012 and I wasn’t quite sure where my massage course was going to take me and whether it was a career move or not at this stage.

On 24th November 2012, I attended one of the fabulous London MTI workshops about Pregnancy Massage, presented by Fiona Barnes. What an exciting time of life to be working with women and how satisfying and pleasurable to help them physically and mentally throughout their pregnancies. I have always felt that being pregnant can be quite a lonely, painful and stressful time for some women. There appears to be a lack of support, both emotional and physical for women at this time and although the NHS provides an excellent service, I don’t feel that their resources offer quite enough. Pregnancy massage therapists can fill this gap and offer an additional level of support.

Fiona gave an excellent demonstration, on the floor, of a pregnancy massage and how to work with women during their pregnancy. She seemed to be so enthusiastic, confident and fulfilled in her work and re-iterated how it was a great pleasure and honour to be working with women and offering a service that they perhaps were not getting from their primary health care providers.

Fiona had trained with Suzanne Yates at Well Mother and said that Suzanne was the ONLY person to go to for pregnancy massage training! Feeling very enthused and intrigued by this workshop, I started to do some research of my own about pregnancy massage courses.

There are a lot of 1 and 2 day courses on offer that claim to teach you ‘all you need to know’ about pregnancy massage in that time. How is that possible? You can’t even learn the anatomy and physiology in a weekend and that’s before you’ve even started treating a client!

Well Mother’s Pregnancy massage Diploma seemed to offer such a well-rounded package that was head and shoulders above anything else that I found on the Internet. Two days after the workshop, I had signed up to take the Diploma.

There was 4 days face-to-face teaching time with Suzanne, which offered all of the core training to get you started as a pregnancy massage therapist with a practical exam at the end. The follow up was then to work with case studies and submit a project in which I included both my practical work as well as research work. The project did require a fair degree of research and several days spent in the King’s College Library, London which has an excellent collection on Midwifery, Pregnancy and Massage. However it was another excellent way to further our knowledge as students.

The whole course took approximately 6 months and I couldn’t contemplate completing it in any less time, given the amount of client work and implementation needed to cement the skills, alongside the anatomy and physiology learnt. It was only after the 6 months once all of my work had been submitted and assessed that I qualified with a Diploma. It was hard work and well worth it. I had gained a new level of knowledge and confidence from working with pregnant women and their partners.

I am now a full time massage therapist and pregnancy massage is one of my specialities. I know, having received feedback from my clients that they love my treatments and I feel confident that I am trained to such a high standard that my clients are receiving the best care from me. Wow, what a satisfying feeling at work! Thank you so much Well Mother. I shall look forward to furthering my skills with you in the future.

Lindsey Seabrook
07899 900608







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  1. Lilian Kluivers on 26/03/2014 at 12:22 pm

    Dear Suzanne, I think it is a really good idea to share more on this topic and I look forward to the pieces you are going to write about it. In my Do-In pregnancy classes I often hear women say they got a massage and ‘luckily the therapist didn’t work on the sacrum but only very hard on the shoulder area.’ But, as you write as well, never a good explanation why it should be like this. (And of course for us being aware of gallbladder 21 working hard on the shoulder area as whole doesn’t sound like a very good idea). Other times also the shoulders are completely left out of the massage.
    When I teach (the fathers or any other trust person) how to work on the sacrum, they tell me it feels so nice, a relieve for the whole pelvic area and often they feel the effect on the whole back.
    There seems to be a lot of fear around working with pregnant women. When therapists get to feel more secure with what they are doing, because they understand the working of the acupressure points better, this can change. This would be such a welcome change, to surround the pregnant women with confidence and trust instead of fears of insecurity. Thank you so much for working on your mission!

  2. wshiatsu on 25/03/2014 at 5:24 pm

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