Postnatal Recovery Massage
A healing and nurturing massage for new mothers, inspired by closing the bones, created by doula and healer Sophie Messager and osteopath Teddy Brookes
Sophie learnt the closing the bones massage, a postnatal ritual from Ecuador, in 2013, and has been offering it to her clients and teaching it since 2014. Together with fellow doula Maddie McMahon, she has trained over 400 people in offering this massage.
Sophie and Teddy met in 2014, and Teddy provided the anatomical and physiological effects of the techniques for the closing the bones handout.
Closing the bones is done on a mat on the floor. Some of the trainees asked Sophie if it would be possible to provide a massage table version of closing the bones, because they knee or bad issues made working on the floor challenging, or because, as massage therapists, packing away their massage tables between clients wasn't feasible.
Sophie and Teddy started working on developing a massage table version of the technique in 2017. This took over 18 months to develop.
They modified many of the techniques to adapt it to the massage table, and also added several new elements to the massage, for example treating the ribs and the shoulders.
They ended up with a unique massage which is inspired from the original technique but is really quite different.
They called it the Postnatal Recovery Massage.
What is the Postnatal Recovery Massage?
Inspired by a traditional Ecuadorian postnatal massage called closing the bones, the Postnatal Recovery Massage (PRM) is done on a massage table and involves using a rebozo shawl to rock and bind the mother’s body, together with an extensive massage of the abdomen, hips, waist, ribs, chest, shoulders and arms with a special warming oil.
It is designed to help realign and balance a new mother, as well as help her return to her centre, both physically and energetically.
This unique technique was developed by doula and healer Sophie Messager (who has been offering and teaching the floor version of closing the bones for over 5 years) together with Cambridge osteopath Teddy Brookes.
The technique took over a year and a half to develop over many sessions.
To ensure good tuition, this workshop is reserved to a small group of up to 14 students.
It is a deeply practical workshop, where you will not only learn this technique in depth, and leave able to offer it to your clients, but you will also experience for yourself how nurturing, powerful and deeply healing this ritual is, as well as learning to provide this treatment as part of a single person or group ceremony.
You will be given an extensive, unique and detailed handout which includes a mix of traditional wisdom and scientific evidence. Each technique is accompanied by a description, a picture, a tutorial video link, and a description of its effects on the various joints, muscles and tissues of the body, so you have a way to refresh your memory after the training and not to worry about forgetting the various massage strokes.
You will also gain access to a private Facebook group for people who have done the closing the bones training, where you can share knowledge and connect with an vibrant group of nearly 500 like minded birthworkers and bodyworkers.
Practicalities of the day
We will be practising lots of a massage which includes the abdomen and hips but also the upper abdomen, shoulders and arms. Please wear comfy clothing (soft trousers/leggings/jogging bottoms etc are comfier than jeans for this), and if you would prefer to keep your bra on then a soft bra is more suited than one with wires for this.
We love babies and children, which is why we have to say with a heavy heart that they are too distracting for this workshop. During this course we spend 90% of our time practising a massage on a massage table in pairs, so babies would need to be put down and would get fed up and upset, and this impairs the learning for the mother and the rest of the group. You are welcome to bring a baby if you can bring another adult with you who can take the baby out and entertain them for the day or who can stay nearby with your breastfed baby til s/he needs a feed.
Refreshments: Tea, coffee, drinks and snacks will be provided at the venue. There will be a longer break for lunch; and we suggest you to bring a packed lunch with you.
About the Workshop
During this one day workshop you will learn the background behind the technique and get to practise it in steps with plenty of practical support from Sophie and Teddy. There will be an extensive Q&A session after the practise, and we will show you how to make it into a ritual too.
What makes this workshop unique?
This is a small group workshop limited to around 14 people so there is plenty of time for individual attention.
You will received a unique handout, which not only contains very detailed instructions of each massage stroke, but also a picture, video tutorial links and explanation of the effect of each technique on the body. You will also gain access to a secret Facebook group which has around 400 trained closing the bones practitioners-a brilliant space to share knowledge and learn from each other.
This workshop runs from 9h30 to 5h30. It cost £180 per person, and includes one year practitioner listing to this website.
Our Experience with the Postnatal Recovery Massage
Beyond the physical aspect of closing the bones, there is an emotional and spiritual aspect to the massage, which provide a safe space/ritual for the mother to feel nurtured and release emotions associated with the birth and motherhood.
Having experienced the massage ourselves and given the massage to new and not so new mothers, we have both experienced and witnessed how powerful this ritual can be in releasing birth emotions, even many years after the birth itself.
Not just for new mothers
The main philosophy behind the Postnatal Recovery Massage is to restore and nurture a new mother and to help treat the changes and discomfort brought on through pregnancy.
Whilst these techniques are designed with new mother in mind, they are an effective and relaxing massage for any age, or gender, and we would like to encourage you to use them to for your friends and family as well as your clients.