Updated: Jan 31
What if I told you there was a gentle but powerful and ancient technique to help with milk production, to nurture your soul and help return strength and balance to your pelvic floor after birth?
There is! A gentle and nurturing technique that has your dear Mumma at its heart, you’ll wish someone could perform it weekly.
What is It called?
’Closing of the Bones’ of course and it’s divine!
Cheri Channer aka Cheri the Doula from the Sunshine Coast shares more about this wonderful and nourishing technique and why she offers it as part of her Postpartum services.
What is ‘Closing of the Bones’?
After childbirth (or any kind of significant womb event, such as miscarriage, trauma, fertility issues, hysterectomy, puberty) your body can be left feeling vulnerable and 'open' or 'loose'. Birth is a huge event for your beautiful body, and afterwards, it makes sense that you would need some tender love and care to help bring everything back together. A “Closing of the Bones” ceremony, uses massage techniques, oils, and a rebozo (a big strip of woven cloth) to gently promote blood-flow, encourage your uterus to shrink back down, support bones and ligaments that have shifted and changed position throughout pregnancy & birth, and guide your abdomen back together. You are held in this deeply supportive wrap as you lay back & relax - honouring your body for her amazing work!
"The Closing the Bones massage includes a traditional shawl called a Manta (also known as a rebozo in Mexico) to rock and articulate the mother's hips. followed by a complex abdominal and pelvic girdle massage using a warming oil, and then finished by tightly wrapping the cloth around the woman's hips."
- Shuniya Kundalini
Where does it come from?
Rebozo Massage has been practised in cultures around the world for thousands of years. It is a style of massage & binding that is typically done during the post-partum period. For best results, it is done in the first 24-48 hours after birth, but can be done anytime after birth (even years after the fact).
It's unclear where exactly this practice first originated, but cultures around the world have brought this practice with them into the 21st century. Latin America, Asia and African countries as well as India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka all have many women who offer this type of massage to new mothers & hold the practice as a regular part of post-partum healing. The Rebozo cloth used in this massage originates from Mexico, traditionally used by the midwives there in the birth & postpartum period. In the west, this practice is slowly starting to gain popularity as well. Many midwifery hospitals in the 1970s would wrap their mother's tummies. However, in our society, it has been marketed to "help you lose weight & get your pre-baby body back". There is no scientific evidence to support that it will help you lose weight, and that is not its purpose. “Closing of the Bones” ceremonies and Rebozo Massage is about bringing the body back together after birth (a very opening experience), promoting a mind-body-womb connection, & setting aside time to love, honour & respect your body and the amazing things she does.
Loosens the lower vertebrae & releases tension in hips
Brings pelvic bones back into position after birth
Encourages abdominal muscles, bladder & uterus to return to their original place
Promotes blood circulation (Helpful for milk production & lochia flow)
Shifts energy & clears blockages
Promotes a deep connection to the womb
Can ease digestive discomfort & promote healthy digestion (a big pro after birth as you prepare for that first toilet trip!)
It is done in the privacy of your home, lying down on cushions or the bed
You are anointed with oils ( in my ceremonies I use Lavender, Geranium & frankincense to promote relaxation, femininity & grounding)
Gentle massage is performed over the hips and abdomen and can include the rest of the body too.
A rebozo is used in a technique called 'sifting', where it is wrapped around your hips and you are gently rocked back and forth to release tension
You are then wrapped securely in the rebozo, bringing your hips together and holding you.
You can stay wrapped in your cocoon, nice and warm, with calming music and aromatherapy to promote deep relaxation & rest.
A newborn can easily nurse during this time
A cup of herbal tea is often shared afterwards to ground the process & encourage communication & debriefing if desired
This can often bring up emotions that are welcomed, acknowledged and communicated.
This process is best to be repeated between 3-6 times post-partum, however even one session will have wonderful physical, emotional & spiritual benefits
It can also be beneficial for women who have gone through puberty, during menstruation, fertility issues, trauma, miscarriage or just want to show their womb some love & bring some attention and mindfulness to this all-important part of their body.
In some cultures, the new mother keeps the cloth Rebozo that is used for her ceremony, to use for future wrapping at home, to carry her new baby around in, and then as a shawl for the next winter, or a table runner for celebratory dinners.
Closing of the Bones Ceremonies that incorporate Rebozo Massage has and continue to bring health & vitality to women in many stages of life, particularly in the post-partum period. It can be a beautiful & symbolic ceremony where you are free to invite your partner, child or close sisters/friends too or a beautiful time for you to be alone to thank and support your body as she heals. Add this to your Postpartum recovery “To Do” list, it really should be prioritised.
Cheri Channer is a well regarded and in-demand Birth & Postpartum Doula and birth and breastfeeding educator. She is passionate about holding space for women during their transformative stages (pregnancy, birth and matrescence) and offers her signature ‘Closing of the Bones’ ceremonY in her packages. If you are local to the Sunshine Coast, QLD you can book in for your own ceremony with Cheri the Doula through Instagram (@cherithedoula) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cheri is one of our beautiful Birth Workers and Ambassadors, learn more about her by visiting the Directory and her profile HERE.
Rebozo Technique for Fetal Malposition in Labor. Susanna R. Cohen CNM, MSN, DNP 2015.