Survey of Graduates of Maternity Massage Therapy Certification Courses Developed by Carole Osborne
Conducted Spring 2009
After almost 3 decades of teaching maternity bodywork and massage, I wanted to know: Who of my former students are practicing this work and where? What percentage of their practice is prenatal work? What are therapists’ fees and practice settings like? Who are they engaging with collaboratively? What effects are their clients reporting to them? What are the challenges and rewards of their perinatal work? With these questions in mind, I undertook the task of surveying graduates of my childbearing-related certification courses.
An experienced public health researcher, Jane Serling MSPH, and I pilot tested and then finalized a questionnaire. We then mailed or emailed them to more than 3000 therapists who had been my students, from as far back as the mid-1980s on through to the most recent certified graduates. We received 247 surveys over a two-month period, which was a response rate of only about 8%. This low response rate was the one predominant methodological limitation. It is due in part to surveys not reaching the intended recipients, as we were unable to verify addresses or mail follow-up surveys. In full recognition that those practitioners who returned surveys are not representative of all practitioners, we continued with our task of drawing meaningful conclusions from the information that we had.
Despite the shortcomings of this survey, the information provided by massage therapists from across the country gives us an unprecedented glimpse into the practices of those who pursued 32 hours or more of hands-on training in pregnancy, labor, and postpartum massage. It paints some broad strokes for your consideration that may inform and inspire you as you begin or nurture your maternity massage practice.