MM_stack of booksAs a qualified therapist for pregnancy and/or infant massage, you’ve gone through specific courses or programs and completed a prescribed practicum. But from time to time, you may confront an issue that has you baffled or that you haven’t faced since your days in the classroom. This is the time to turn to written resources for the answers.

Certain industry names spring to mind immediately when you mention pregnancy and/or infant massage. These well-known therapists have many years of experience in the field and some have collected data for articles and book length publications. Depending on your specific questions and the population you serve, you might want to keep some of these tomes handy.

Massage educator Carole Osborne has been an integrative body therapist since 1974 and brings her acquired knowledge to the page in Pre- and Perinatal Massage: A Comprehensive Guide to Prenatal, Labor and Postpartum Practice. Now in its second edition, this updated version features illustrations and online video sessions along with instructions for three techniques. The book contains current, relevant research and four new chapters that address gestational complications, positioning, ethics and business considerations.

Leslie Stager’s book Nurturing Massage for Pregnancy: A Practical Guide to Bodywork for the Perinatal Cycle is touted as one of the most comprehensive books for massage students and practitioners who treat pregnant, laboring and postpartum clients. The author, a perinatal massage instructor, registered nurse, childbirth educator and doula, offers readers detailed instructions for addressing the various needs of women from conception to the weeks after baby arrives. Therapists will learn about a variety of general techniques as well as complementary modalities to optimize the massage experience.

With nearly 35 years experience, Elaine Stillerman has plenty of first-hand knowledge on which to draw when it comes to pregnancy massage. Her book Mother Massage: A Handbook for Relieving the Discomforts of Pregnancy provides a strong argument in favor of massage during pregnancy and offers an all-inclusive overview of the complaints that some expecting moms experience. In addition to explaining—with illustrations—techniques to use during and after pregnancy and for infants, Stillerman details massage for specific discomforts, such as heartburn, back ache, morning sickness, leg cramps and others.

One book you might want to keep on hand for your clients is Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents written by Vimala Schneider McClure, founder of the International Association of Infant Massage. Backed by research, the information in this book will ease any parent’s concerns. Chapters address how to reduce colic, alleviate chest congestion, deal with crying and modifications to use for premature infants, babies with special needs and those who have been adopted. McClure includes lullabies and rhymes to use in conjunction with massage and devotes a chapter to new dads.

The above-mentioned books represent a very small sample of the literature available for practitioners of pregnancy and infant massage and for your clients. Not only do these volumes serve as a good resource for you, the therapist, but they may also be useful for nervous moms-to-be who might have questions.

So what’s on your bookshelf?

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