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The Benefits of Becoming a Massage Doula

Updated: Dec 2, 2023

Sabrina Ortolano, birth doula, Certified Massage Therapist, owner of IPSB, and our Prenatal Massage instructor, was asked if she could teach a group of doulas some “tricks for massage” to provide pain relief during pregnancy, labor, and post-partum. So the idea was born to bring the IPSB-550 Massage Therapy program to this fast growing segment of holistic healthcare providers.

Becoming a massage therapist with a license to touch will not only enhance the many ways doulas support their birthwork clients, but will also make them more marketable, increase their rates, and provide supplemental income outside of birthwork, if they choose to do so. Many doulas may believe they can offer massage to their clients because someone showed them a few massage techniques, and they can then bill themselves as pregnancy bodywork providers. What they might not know is that in the state of California, it is required for birthworkers to have a license to touch to provide massage during labor or in postpartum care.

IPSB - School of Psycho Structural Bodywork is one of LA’s longest-running and most prestigious massage therapy schools. Female, queer, and doula-owned, IPSB places great importance on intersectional bodywork and birthwork. The 550-hour massage therapy program will allow birthworkers to serve their clients on a deeper and more supportive level, while also learning body mechanics to prevent work-related injury and strain. Our classes are designed to take place around work schedules, so students can go at their own pace. 

So what are some benefits of massage therapy and birthwork?

Stress Reduction: Massage can aid in reducing stress and anxiety, promoting a more relaxed state for the pregnant individual. This can be especially beneficial during labor and delivery.

Pain Management: Massage can help manage discomfort associated with pregnancy and childbirth. By addressing muscle tension and promoting relaxation, it may contribute to pain relief.

Improved Circulation: Enhancing blood flow through massage can have positive effects on overall circulation. This is valuable during pregnancy as it supports the transportation of nutrients and oxygen to both the mother and the developing fetus.

Emotional Well-being: The tactile and nurturing aspect of massage can positively impact the emotional well-being of the pregnant person. It provides a comforting touch, fostering a sense of support and care.

Client Connection: Massage techniques allows birthworkers to establish a deeper connection with their clients. Touch is a powerful form of communication, and incorporating massage into support services can strengthen the bond between the doula or birthworker and the pregnant individual.

Adaptability: Massage techniques can be adapted to various stages of pregnancy and individual preferences. This adaptability allows birthworkers to tailor their approach based on the unique needs and comfort levels of their clients.

Comprehensive Support: By integrating massage therapy into their skill set, doulas and birthworkers can offer more comprehensive support. This holistic approach addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of the birthing experience.

Studying massage therapy enriches the toolkit of a doula or birthworker, enabling them to provide more well-rounded and personalized care during the transformative journey of pregnancy and childbirth.

If you are a birth doula and would like to expand your skillset and add another source of revenue with a Certification in Massage Therapy we will be holding a virtual open house on Dec 20 where you can meet Sabrina and have all of your questions answered. This free virtual open house is specifically geared toward birthworkers, and how massage therapy (and specifically IPSB’s program) can enhance how doula’s can support their clients. We'll provide an overview of our school, the program, and financial information, and answer any questions you may have.  Register here:

We can’t wait to meet you!


(310) 342-7130


3400 Airport Ave, Unit 25

Santa Monica, CA 90405


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