Prenatal & Babies

My online course, Baby Massage for Parents and Caregivers is now open for enrollment!

 


In my practice, I offer perinatal bodywork for mom, baby bodywork, and baby massage instruction for parents.

Prenatal and Baby massage & craniosacral therapy in Charlottesville, VA
A baby I worked with in the womb and just after birth.

It’s an important thing, creating new little humans. A mother’s body goes through so many physical changes throughout the gestational period, not to mention the emotional difficulties that can arise. Then there is the work of childbirth, which brings its own set of challenges to both the mother and child.

Having my own children, and now helping them as they are having their children, I have learned a lot about all of this. Witnessing and supporting the pregnancies and births of my seven grandchildren has taught me many, many lessons. As a bodyworker, I have taken many specialized trainings to learn even more ways to support mothers and babies throughout the birth year.

 

Prenatal Bodywork

Craniosacral session for mom and baby together, soon after birth, at SeaRhythms in Charlottesville, VA
Craniosacral session for a mom and baby together, soon after birth.

Besides relieving physical discomforts, perhaps the most important thing I can offer in support of mothers and babies is the quiet, nurturing space to pause, calm, breathe deeply, and let go of stress. Studies show that your levels of stress can directly affect your baby, and can even alter the way its nervous and immune systems develop. Bodywork is clinically proven to lower stress hormones in mom, and this is very good for your baby.

Here is an article you might like to read about this: The Truth About How Mom’s Stress Affects Baby’s Brain.

I can also offer resources to help you to slow down and connect with your baby in utero at home. Babies are sentient beings who are aware, and very attuned to mom. From birth, they can sense their mother’s presence, recognize her voice and smell in a room full of people, and will look for her from the moment of birth. If the dad talks to baby in utero, baby will also recognize his voice. Your relationship with your baby begins even before conception. This is such an important time.

I offer prenatal bodywork sessions from conception to birth. I use a combination of relaxing massage, myofascial therapy, and craniosacral therapy. Postpartum, I offer sessions for mom and baby.

 

Baby Bodywork

Baby bodywork and craniosacral at SeaRhythms in Charlottesville, VA
Another one of the beautiful babies I have worked with since before birth.

Mom has her experience of the birth, but baby has an experience, too. Baby experiences the uterine contractions, the times when labor may be slowed and their little bodies are compressed waiting for things to move along,  the effort required to make their way through the birth canal.

Sometimes the realities of pregnancy and birth can result in compressions in the craniosacral system (head, neck, spine) which could affect cranial nerve function and lead to difficulties with nursing, colic, digestive problems, torticollis, plagiocephaly, and other issues.  These can often be relieved with 2-4 sessions of very gentle craniosacral therapy.

Babies can benefit from therapeutic massage as well.  Often, because of the way baby was positioned for long periods of time during pregnancy and birth, certain patterns can imprint into their myofascial tissues, and massage can be very effective for correcting this.

I have many skills and resources to share with you and your baby.  In cases where I believe the situation is beyond my skill set, I can refer you to specialists with more experience who will be able help you.

Janet Evergreen has been one of my most influential teachers of craniosacral therapy.  In this video interview she explains craniosacral therapy for babies, children, and adults.

 

Learn to Massage Your Baby

I teach moms and dads how to massage their babies at home.

My online course, Baby Massage for Parents and Caregivers is now open for enrollment!

Mom and baby bonding after baby's massage at SeaRhythms in Charlottesville, VA
Mom and baby bonding after baby massage class at SeaRhythms in Charlottesville, VA

Benefits of Infant Massage

THE BABY (PSYCHOLOGICAL):
•    Increases sense of being loved and accepted, and helps baby learn to trust its parents
•    Improves body awareness as the infant learns through touch how their body is constructed, and where body parts are in relation to one another
•    Teaches children appropriate touch and the option of refusing touch as they grow
•    Increases self-esteem. Ashley Montague, an anthropologist, makes the assertion that a child’s self esteem is increased based on a close relationship with its parents
•    Enhances relaxation

Baby massage at SeaRhythms in Charlottesville, VA
Mom brought this cutie in for a baby massage class. She liked it!

TO THE BABY (PHYSIOLOGICAL):
•    Releases stress, which reduces the estimated 60–90% of illnesses attributed to stress
•    Stimulates circulation, which improves oxygen and nutrient flow to the cells and enhances removal of toxins from the cells
•    Strengthens digestion by stimulating the vagus nerve which assists peristalsis
•    Strengthens circulatory, and intestinal systems
•    Strengthens the immune system by stimulating lymph flow and by increasing natural killer cells (white blood cells that kill many types of tumor cells), which can positively impact children suffering from immune disorders or cancer
•    Deepens respiration, allowing asthmatic children to breath better
•    Reduces discomfort from colic, gas, constipation, teething, congestion, sinus congestion (see specifics on these conditions further into this manual)
•    Develops and improves muscle tone
•    Improves sleeping patterns, deepening sleep and sometimes contributing to longer periods of sleep
•    Speeds myelination (development of the myelin sheath that increases impulse transmissions) of the brain and nervous system, stimulates right/left brain development and coordination
•    Enhances neurological development by balancing the stimulation of massage with relaxation, which promotes the production of a hormone from the pituitary gland (ACTH), which leads to the growth of neuron connections
•    Helps to develop coordination by encouraging midline orientation and using opposite limbs in rhythm

TO THE PARENT/GIVER:
•    Improves relaxation, reduces stress
•    Promotes parenting skills, by increasing confidence by enhancing their baby’s health and development, and giving them methods to relax the baby if it becomes stressed
•    Provides quality bonding time for both parent and child
•    Increases “communication” between baby and parent and allows parent to better read babies’ cries and vocalizations
•    Makes for a calmer, happier baby, which makes for a calmer, happier family
•    Increases parent’s awareness of their baby’s physical condition, so they are more in tune to any abnormal lumps or conditions they might not have felt otherwise