Healing Touch for Families: Labor Massage for Partners

Santafe.com - June 17, 2011

"Nurturing touch is a beautiful language and art form..."

In my 25 years of working with families as a massage therapist and labor support doula (birth assistant), I continue to be amazed at the powerful benefits of massage. Nurturing touch is a beautiful language and art form which communicates compassion and caring, transcends fear and separation, and makes one feel valued and cared for.

As one of my clients said: “Receiving regular massage throughout my pregnancy, birth and post-partum was deeply nurturing and helped me to feel comfortable in my ever-changing body. Having a doula at my birth assisted in the natural, intervention-free birth of my dream! Massage after birth was an essential element of my post-partum rejuvenation. It was a worthy investment that I recommend to all women.”

My wish would be for all women to receive professional massage during pregnancy & postpartum and to have a doula at their birth. Just as valuable, is for partners to learn and offer their loved ones, healing touch, beginning with massage for labor. For over 30 years, researchers have known that “the presence and involvement of partners who touch women during labor have been significantly correlated with less need for drugs, shorter labor, fewer perinatal problems and more optimal maternal interactions” (Sosa 1980). Equipped with “tried & true” healing touch skills, dads are very happy to have something meaningful and constructive to do during labor…and Mom is happier too! Of course others, like mothers, sisters, aunties and doulas, can benefit greatly from learning more about healing touch for labor.