Closing the Bones Massage workshop with Sophie Messager

Closing the bones is a nurturing massage ritual which involves using a rebozo shawl to rock and bind the mother’s body, together with a specific massage of the abdomen, hips, chest, shoulders and arms. It is designed to help healing and to realign and balance a new mother, as well as help her return to her centre, both physically and energetically.

Everywhere around the world, there used to be a period of about a month after birth during which the new mother was taken care of completely. Members of the community used to take charge of the household (chores, older kids etc), make sure the mother rested, provided specific nourishing foods, and well as give or organise some postpartum-specific bodywork. It was a ubiquitous practice in every continent (and still is in many parts of the world today). This used to be part of Western culture too.

The principles of a nurturing postpartum into four simple pillars: social support, rest, food and bodywork. Out of the four pillars, bodywork is the most neglected one. One of the most special forms of postnatal bodywork I know is the closing the bones ritual.

In this 2 day workshop, you will learn how to give this massage ritual.

What does the workshop include?

History and background of closing the bones and how and who I learnt it with

Practical tuition on how to give a full body rebozo massage, abdominal massage and closing ceremony.

Learning to create a ceremony as part of this ritual.

You will not only learn this technique in-depth, and leave able to offer it to your clients, but you will also experience for yourself how nurturing, powerful and deeply healing this massage and ritual is, as well as learning to provide it as part of a ceremony.

Plenty of time to ask all the questions you have, and reflect on what you have learnt

A small, intimate group of no more than 12 students.

An extensive, unique and detailed handout which includes a mix of traditional wisdom and scientific evidence. Each technique is accompanied by a description, a picture, a tutorial video link, and its effects on the various joints, muscles and organs explained by an osteopath

Access to a private Facebook group for people who have done the closing the bones training, where you can share knowledge and connect with a vibrant group of over 500 practitioners.

Who is this course for?

This course is for birth workers, perinatal educators and therapists, and for anyone who supports women during the postpartum and beyond.

A bit of background about me, your course instructor

Having worked as a doula from 2012 to 2022, I also have a diploma in antenatal education and spent several years teaching antenatal classes. I have been facilitating workshops for birth professionals for over ten years. I know how to present information in a way that is entertaining, easy to follow, and which allows students to learn easily and enjoyably, as well as apply what they have learnt in class.

Prior to being a doula, I gained a PhD in Physiology of Reproduction and spent 20 years working as a biology research scientist and I have a PhD in Physiology of Reproduction, and I teach with a unique blend of scientific, traditional and practical knowledge.

I am the author of the book Why Postnatal Recovery Matters, published by Pinter and Martin. Learning this massage was instrumental in opening my mind to our lack of postpartum care and to writing the book.

What makes this workshop special?

I offer a unique blend of scientific, theoretical, spiritual and practical experience. I was a biology research scientist for 20 years prior to reconverting to being a doula and perinatal educator over ten years ago.

As well as history and science, in the workshop I share real stories from my clients, from mothers and birth professionals, which help illustrate aspects of the massage, as well as give you plenty of practical ideas to make it work for you.

I have given this massage to hundreds of women and trained several hundred professionals in giving it. I also co-created a new version of this massage, called the postnatal recovery massage, with an osteopath, and I have also been teaching a version of the massage online to over 200 students.

You will leave the course able to start offering closing the bones to your community straight away.

Practicalities of the workshop

Each day runs from 9:00am to 5:30 pm

We will be practising a massage which covers the pelvis, abdomen and chest so please wear comfy clothing (soft trousers/leggings/jogging bottoms etc are comfier than jeans for this, and if you wish to keep your bra on, then a soft bra is preferable to a wired one)

We love babies and children, which is why we have to say with a heavy heart that they are too distracting for this workshop. During this course, we spend a lot of our time practising a massage in pairs, so babies would need to be put down and would get fed up and upset, and this would impair the learning for yourself and the rest of the group. You are welcome to bring a baby if you can bring another adult with you who can look after the baby and entertain them for the day or who can stay nearby with your breastfed baby until s/he needs a feed.

Refreshments: Tea, coffee, drinks and snacks will be provided at the venue. There will be a longer break for lunch. You will need to bring your own packed lunch, or some food to share.

Here is a video showing what the massage ritual looks like:

What is the investment required?

The workshop costs £349. You can book here>>

Some examples of what people have said about this workshop:

Amazing, I loved, loved, loved the course, the venue, the women, the ceremonial yet down to earthness feel, the course has stoked my heart. Well instructed, nicely paced, nice balance between instruction, demonstration and practice. A really wonderful day.

I really enjoyed the day. An excellent facilitator allowing knowledge to flow through the group with ease. The day was very well divided between theory and lots of practical. I look forward to practising and developing my skills.

A wonderfully informative and nourishing day. Perfect size group and atmosphere, and I loved your teaching style. You shared your knowledge and experience but also allowed the group to flourish and share viewpoints and experiences

Wonderful. I hadn’t anticipated the level to which I would experience the day. I can’t wait to incorporate this into my practice.


23 - 24 Mar 2024


All Day



More Info

Abington Barn


Abington Barn
52 North Rd, Abington, Cambridgeshire, CB21 6AS
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