During my 3 pregnancies I struggled to find a massage therapist that was fully certified in Pre and Post Natal Massage. I always seemed to walk out of a treatment feeling a little disappointed, as I could never quite relax or feel I was in safe hands. Good news ! I have found a massage therapist who I know you will be comfortable and confident with.
Jodie Isles from Merkai Therapies is based in Brisbane and is a Mum to 3 children so knows the importance of nurturing and effective massage for Mum’s and Mum’s to Be.
Let’s find out more pregnancy certified massage therapist – Jodie :
Hi I’m Jodie, founder of Merakai Massage (& Merakai Therapies). This year marks 18 years marriage and along with 3 wonderful children, a dog and starting a new business life is crazily happily busy. My working career started in commerce accounting – software implementation & training, which I enjoyed but always felt stressed. I needed something that represented the ‘real’ me. So 14 years ago I decided to retrain as a massage therapist as starting point to becoming a physiotherapist, but once I started massaging I realised I had found a vocation that I truly loved and became passionate about.
What did you find challenging about Pregnancy ?
All three of my pregnancies were very different. My body actually coped with pregnancy very well. I had some nausea with all three pregnancies and I found the heart burn, and hip pain kept me awake at night towards the end of my pregnancies too.
The hardest journey for me having children was our secondary infertility and its associated issues on enjoying the pregnancy. It took us over 3.5 years to fall pregnant with our second child and we tried everything to fall pregnant naturally, before starting on the assisted fertility journey. Our attempts with ‘clomid’ were successful initially but unfortunately we found out at 10 weeks our pregnancy was not viable. We ventured down IUI path before going through IVF and ICSI which after our third traumatic cycle we had success. I had a lot of anxiety during my second (IVF) pregnancy, and never really felt I could relax and enjoy the pregnancy. Our third pregnancy was a surprise which was a relief to the previous difficult journey, but again I found I was anxious the whole time.
Did you have any challenges post-birth ?
When I look back on my postnatal journey, I think I had an element of Post Natal Depression (PND). I was very fortunate my pregnancies were physically uneventful, and although I required caesareans for all three births, I recovered very well physically. My breastfeeding issues and the lack of sleep was really what got to me.
Let me just say that women who have an extraordinary large supply of milk also struggle with feeding in the same way a new mum with little milk does – attachment problems, oversupply leads to the tap never turning off and a baby who can’t feed properly, the list goes on …. – anyone who has gone through that will understand. I always struggle when I don’t have enough sleep, and the first year after the birth with lack of sleep and the demands of being a mum with older children whilst caring for a baby I found difficult.
We have never had family close by and although my husband did his best to offer support he also worked long hours. We moved interstate when our second child was 6 mths old, which also added to the ‘stress’ of being a new mum.
Now that my children are 13, 8 & 6 I can look back at the time with a smile on my face, knowing that although there were some struggles, we made it, we are stronger and my family is my rock.
How long of you been a massage therapist ?
I have been in the massage industry for about 14 years. I had a 7 year break when we went through the last phases of fertility problems, having our second, moving interstate and having our third child. I have been active back in the massage industry for 2 years, and Merakai Therapies was officially launched in September 2016.
How did Merakai Therapies begin and what do you offer ?
Merakai Therapies vision is to “Nurture Life’s Journey” through the art of massage, and other allied health services. At present, we offer remedial, deep tissue and relaxation massage with a specialised interest in pregnancy, postnatal and labour support training.
Merakai is derived from the word Meraki – a modern Greek work used to describe doing something with soul, creativity or love. It’s about putting something of yourself into what you’re doing, whatever it may be. That’s how I approach massage therapy at Merakai Massage. I am passionate about massage and its restorative and nurturing benefits.
Clients sometimes find it hard to comprehend the benefits I receive from massaging other people – I often say it really is the only time of my day that I am truly ‘mindful’. I am in a zone when I massage, and focus only on the client and what needs to be done to improve their health, I actually finish massaging feeling very calm, re-energised and content. My clients truly become part of my Merakai family, to me ‘we listen, we care, we serve’.
Tell us about your massage sessions ?
Each massage is scheduled to accommodate the clients needs. We allow enough time for our client discussion up to 15min, with the client then experiencing their full treatment time on the table. We believe the time spent with the client should allow them to ‘escape’ life for the time they are with us. They should never feel rushed, or worry that their discussion time is a reduction in the treatment time. It has to be a relaxed, calm, nurturing experience.
How did you become Certified in Pregnancy and Post Natal Massage ?
I have always been passionate about pregnancy massage, and Catherine McInerey from Pregnancy Massage Australia (PMA) is the leading expert in pregnancy massage. It is a very specialised treatment, techniques and positioning that allows us to assist a woman through her pregnancy. As a Remedial Massage Therapist we have a base level of treatment knowledge, and PMA NurtureLife® practitioners have 40+ hours training specifically in pregnancy massage and associated techniques. I have also completed the PMA Postnatal and Labour Support Training to provide clients with all their postnatal massage needs, and training their labour support partners on specific techniques that can be used assist the woman during labour.
What do you love about exercise ?
I love feeling fit and healthy, and I exercise 3-4 times per week, usually High Intensity training. I don’t just exercise because I should, it helps me sleep better, cope with life stresses, gives me mental clarity, and physically helps me in my job to cope with massaging all day.
If you had any advice to any other Mum wanting during or after Pregnancy what would it be ?
I often say I could write a book on the ways to fall pregnant – I have fallen pregnant quite quickly after starting to try, gone through the IVF journey, and also had a surprise.
My main advice would be to find one thing you can do during your day that really gives you a boost. For me its meditation. For years, I wanted to meditate but felt l could never relax, do it properly, felt guilty relaxing when I had so many things to do etc. But now, I find 10-20min every day, put my head phones in and just find a zone to go to that helps me recharge.
I would like to offer some advice for these different ‘mum’ stages:
For mum’s wanting to be pregnant – A lot of people used to say ‘just relax’ when we were trying for our second child, and suffering infertility. That used to really upset me, because anyone who is going through this journey is trying everything to get their body in optimum health to have a baby, you feel like you are doing everything you can. So I will not say ‘just relax and enjoy the journey’ because unfortunately for some women their journey is a difficult one. I will say find your support network, surround yourself with people and professionals who are really there to support you and your partner. I found counselling where I could let out all my emotions without judgment or fearing saying the wrong thing to family and friends really helped, massage to help take me away from my situation, going to the movies, bushwalking … anything to feel like I was human helped.
During pregnancy my advice would be to listen to your body. Your body is constantly changing, and every woman’s pregnancy is different. What has worked for another may not work for you. If you are tired, then rest; if you have aches and pains call someone to find out what you need to do to alleviate it – exercise, massage, physiotherapy, acupuncture, osteopath there are so many options. As best you can keep fit during your pregnancy, it really does help you immensely postnatally.
Postnatally – just be kind to yourself. Don’t be a supermum, don’t try to achieve lots of things each day, and don’t fall into the trap of reading everything and trying to do everything. Put the books and google away, listen to your baby, and follow your instincts.
Jodie Isles Merakai Therapies
So what are you waiting for ? Book a Session with Jodie today
HICAPS is available. Merakai Therapies is based at Hawthorne & Balmoral in Brisbane’s East.
Dahlas Fletcher is one of Australia’s most respected and successful certified and experienced Pregnancy and Female Fitness Trainers. Her goal is to help you be the happiest, most fabulous version of yourself, inside and out.