In 2012 I decided, along with Anne Badger, to set up a new Infant Massage course to move beyond a more routine based approach to include more of a therapeutic and individualised approach. This approach is based on evaluating the individual needs of the mother, father and baby as well as incorporating the specific skills and expertise of each therapist. This course is also open to midwives and others working in the field as well as massage therapists.
I teach shiatsu for infants as part of the shiatsu Diploma course and sometimes run specialised courses for midwives and other professionals on infant shiatsu. I also organise Karin Kalbantner Wernicke’s Infant shiatsu course. Information on all these courses is on the website.
Here is a review of the 2012 Infant massage course by a participant Sally Teal:
“I decided to take part in the Baby Massage Instructors Course for several reasons- I had consulted the FHT (Federation of Holistic Therapists) and they stated that this course was approved by them. It was also only 30 minutes from my home town and on research Suzanne and Anne were both very respected and popular in their fields.
I was made to feel very welcome as the course began, Suzanne and Anne made our group at ease and ensured we all got to know each other and began to bond as a group.
Course notes and work had been sent to us in advance so I had absorbed as much of the information as possible but as the course began it was like a light bulb coming on, all that I had read began to make sense. Suzanne and Anne used demonstrations, practical work, verbal explanations and examples to guide us through module 1.
The practical work was fascinating and Suzanne guided us through floor exercises showing us baby reflexes and developmental stages in a step by step easy to understand way. Child development and Anatomy and Physiology information was given to us in a written guide from conception to birth and beyond.
Once we had an understanding of baby development we began to learn the baby massage techniques and appropriate shiatsu points. As we continued through Module 1 using these points and massage techniques became second nature and both Anne and Suzanne worked through the massage routine giving us invaluable tips and techniques.
Towards the end of the first module we ran a baby massage clinic in groups of three. This gave us support from our fellow students but also gave us the wonderful experience of how it felt to lead and teach. We had ample preparation time for this and were guided and supported by Suzanne and Anne through the process.
We ended module 1 by being prepared by Anne and Suzanne on how to run our case studies and how to set up our own baby massage classes.
I felt very well prepared and set about starting up my own baby massage business. Between ‘module 1 and 2’ I ran 5 baby massage classes with a maximum of 8 in each, these classes became part of my case studies and aided me to feel confident in my studies and in teaching.
The second module was based on one to one teaching and babies with extra needs. We had to study premature babies and babies with extra needs and then we held a role play session and Anne and Suzanne gave us advice on how to deal differing situations and how to extend our work.
We ended the module by holding a clinic and teaching on a one to one basis.
I am now running three classes of eight parents and babies per week and have had lots of positive feedback on my classes. I feel that I have been taught to a very high standard and have had a high level of support from ‘Well Mother’ to ensure my success. Thank you Suzanne and Anne for this wonderful opportunity. “
Suzanne first began teaching baby massage to parents in 1990 in Bristol when she set up Well Mother. She has always integrated shiatsu along with massage, and working with oil. This was in the days before the IAIM was set up and Suzanne developed her approach from her work with Elizabeth Noble (Obstetric Physiotherapist in Boston, US, with whom she did some training) and Infant Shiatsu developed by Wataru Ohashi and her work with her own two children. Anne started teaching infant massage in Bristol after completing the IAIM course. As both Suzanne and Anne work with mothers with shiatsu and massage, we developed an approach with more of an emphasis on the mother’s and father’s role and needs, and on understanding the baby’s development from a meridian as well as muscle/western perspective.