• Closing the bones

    Posted on March 31, 2015 by in Home Birth


    I have just spent a day working with Maddie McMahon & Dr Sophie Messenger exploring the traditional women to women abdominal massage techniques of “Closing the bones”.

    When I had my first child 26 years ago, my mother (who was from Jamaica) produced a bit of broad strong cotton binder, which she had sew for me. She wrap it around my pelvis to under the rib cage.  This was to help my pelvis and uterus to go back into place after my amazing home birth.

    Her mother had done this for her, and she was passing on this tradition to me.  I didn’t know other cultures did this until now.  It seems that cultures all over the globe had their own way of helping the mother to feel held, nurtured and cared for after the birth of their baby.  Physically and emotionally.

    Both Maddie & Sophie had experienced this technique at a Doula retreat and was introduced to it

    “We were taught this traditional massage at the Doula UK retreat in Cae Mabon, Wales, by Rocio Alarcon. Rocio is an amazing woman from Ecuador. She was trained in traditional midwifery, shamanism and, ethnobotany by her mother and grandmother, and she also holds a PhD in ethnobotany.” Says Maddie and Sophie.

    Rocio explained that if we did MRI scans of pregnant women we would see how the hips open during the pregnancy, becoming wider and wider, and that after the birth it is paramount to help close them back to their normal width, otherwise mothers suffer from pelvic instability (Rocio attributes the many women suffering from hip issues in our society to the lack of closing the bones massages post birth) and leak energy.

    In Ecuador, women are given this massage within hours of the birth, and receive it again at least 5 or 6 times during the first 40 days postpartum. The massage stimulates blood flow which in turn; cleans, renews, moves fluids (may help with milk supply/lochia), moving hormones, immune system, toning muscles and tissue. In traditional cultures, the 41 days of the postnatal period represent a sacred time. In this time the woman will have the closing massage at least 5 times, the first being 6 hours after birth, this begins to put the bladder and uterus back into place.

    For further information visit their website : http://thebirthhub.co.uk/closing-bones-workshop/

    The benefits are as follows:

    • To provide bring back into place for good mobility the L4-S1 joints which come under great pressure, if not from position of the labouring woman, from the movement of the tail bone to let the baby do that last rotation and decent into the birth pelvis itself.
    • Helps remove uterus and bladder tension, align pelvis and uterus
    • release fascia attachments to gluteal and periformis
    • increase function of sacra–illiac joints
    • help improve pelvic floor function
    • improve blood and lymph drainage
    • aligns symphysis pubis
    • improves mobility and increase energy and vitality
    • brings ease and relaxation to the mother
    • improves bonding with baby if birth tension has been released

    This process can be very healing, emotional support as well as on a very practical level, helping the womens body to come back into balance and harmony.

    Once I get back from India I will be offering this abdominal massage and holding skill to the women I work with.  If you are interested in coming for a session (which will be approximately 1 hour to 90 mins please email me on info@arlenedunkley-wood.co.uk

    The picture was taken at the workshop I attend with Maddie and Sophie and is not for use other than by myself.  Please respect my wishes.2015-03-20 15.40.33