To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Support the Future with Fertility Massage,” by Claire Marie Miller, in the November 2011 issue. Article summary: Year after year, many women struggle to become pregnant—and when medical techniques fail them, many women turn to complementary methods, including fertility massage, to help them conceive.

by Carole Osborne

Experienced perinatal massage therapists develop professional relationships with fertility treatment experts primarily in three methods: their patients, their staff members and through educational activities.

The easiest route to doctors, licensed acupuncturists, psychotherapists and other providers is through their patients. If you have a client undergoing fertility treatments, ask her to share the benefits she feels from your work with her doctor.

Provide her with informative materials: your brochure, articles about massage therapy’s stress-reducing benefits and summaries of research that validate your main points. Some therapists require communication with the doctor or staff member to clarify any precautions, concerns or limitations specific to this individual person. This is a direct opportunity to share information in a manner that shows your general knowledge, your understanding of conception, gestation and fertility issues and treatments, as well as your respect for and ability to work in a complementary manner with these experts.

Offering educational events or materials to staff or patients gives you similar opportunities. A brief demo and discussion at a staff-development meeting or lunch—don’t forget to bring them lunch or dessert, too—introduces you to the powerful practice managers, head nurses and others who advise and make decisions for busy doctors. Provide instructional fliers on deep breathing or simple self-massage techniques, or offer to teach these to patients at a special class or in the waiting room.

If you can arrange bring your massage chair to a doctor’s waiting room, offering complimentary or low-cost mini-massages serves several purposes. On-site massage offers immediate stress reduction in a highly charged situation for most patients. This potentially contributes to the effectiveness of their treatments. Those patients uninterested or unable to receive work then and there often want to learn more about how to relax. Be prepared with brochures, educational materials and a discount coupon for their first table session in your office.

Often acupuncturists, nutritionists and psychotherapists are even more receptive to a cooperative approach to treating their patients.

“I get a lot of referrals from a local traditional Chinese medicine doctor who is doing fertility work,” says a massage therapist I know. “We actually have never met in person, but we have shared clients over the years. She has helped many women with fertility so I have shared her name with clients that are exploring this, and she has heard great feedback about me so she refers pregnant women and those seeking to be back to me.”

Carole Osborne is an internationally recognized instructor of maternity massage therapy who has been in practice since 1974. Author of Pre- and Perinatal Massage Therapy, Second Edition, her course by the same name prepares therapists for maternity work. She contributed to Penny Simkin and Phyllis Klaus’ book, When Survivors Give Birth, and to Teaching Massage Therapy. Her first book, Deep Tissue Sculpting, Second Edition, is also an established text in many schools. She was the American Massage Therapy Association’s 2008 National Teacher of the Year. For more information, visit www.bodytherapyassociates.com or her Facebook page, Carole Osborne’s Prenatal and Deep Tissue Massage Training.

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