Wellness: Massage for Mommies, by Catherine Rose

In art college I played with clay but played sports to stay healthy. In 1997 this led me to becoming a massage therapist. For 13 years I worked with the National Ballet. Dancers are the perfect marriage of artists and athletes. As a massage therapist I was fulfilled. But when my daughter was born, the world of mommies, babies and children opened up to me.

Massage For Mommies was a business idea I had after a number of clients started bringing their children with them while they had a massage. As a result I created a Kids’ Corner in my large massage room. The way it works is that kids entertain themselves while mom or the caregiver has a massage. The Kids’ Corner has a desk with coloured paper and markers. It also has an egg-shaped swivel chair with a lifesize stuffed puppy dog. Kids can chose from a selection of age appropriate videos to watch on a dvd player. Or they can build creatures with a lego style plastic toy. One or two kids can entertain themselves for an hour while their caregiver gets a massage.

If the child is a baby, there is room for the car seat or for the baby to play with toys on the kids’ carpet.

Massage therapy is beneficial for moms. During pregnancy, body weight shifts to the front as the baby grows, putting increased stress on back and hip muscles. Also with increased blood volume, pregnant women may experience swelling in their extremities. Massage is helpful at decreasing muscle tension and swelling.

After the baby is born the mother’s body again has to adjust. Breast feeding and carrying the ever-growing baby add tension to upper back muscles. Also, sleep and time for yourself become a premium. Massage provides rest time and decreases muscle tension.

After the adult massage I offer infants and children 10 minutes of free massage. This can help educate parents so they know how to massage their baby. It also provides a calming 10 minutes for an energetic kid.

Therapeutic touch has been proven to hugely benefit the developing child. Research at the Touch Institute in Miami has shown that respond to regular therapeutic touch by developing, growing and digesting better. The baby is placed in a comfortable and safe position on its back. While making direct eye contact, the caregiver gently massages the baby.

With slightly older children massage can help develop their sense of touch. These little people learn from play. With my smooth hand, a prickly ball and a feather, they will experience different sensations. Massage also helps to decrease the discomforts of growing pains.

Massage therapy is beneficial to both adults and children because of the hormonal response. Therapeutic touch has shown to decrease cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone. As well, during the massage the body releases oxytocin, also known as the ‘cuddle hormone’. This hormone increases the sense of well-being and security.

Massage for Mommies has brought many new clients into my office. My experience with pregnant women and children has been extremely rewarding, especially as the years pass and I watch the children and the families grow. Massage therapy is something that all families should do in their play time.

Catherine RoseJust like any other mother, having children changed Catherine Rose’s life.

For 13 years she worked on staff as one of the massage therapists at the National Ballet of Canada. She also worked with members of the National Sailing Team through two Olympic campaigns and followed them to their world championships in Spain. Massage therapy was a tool that helped these athletes and dancers reach for their dreams.Β Since 1997, she has helped a wide range of people feel better through massage therapy.

Her life is full of physical activity. She loves doing triathlons and is aiming for the Master’s World Swimming Championships in 2014. But her main challenge is to keep up with her four year old.

It is her hope to help clients make the most of their lives by taking care of themselves and their families.

For more information, visitΒ www.massageformommies.caΒ orΒ www.catherineROSE.ca