Closing the Bones Postnatal Massage

A healing and nurturing postpartum ritual by Sophie Messager and Maddie McMahon

We were taught this traditional ritual and massage on several occasions at the doula retreat in Cae Mabon, Wales, by Rocio Alarcon. Rocio is an amazing woman from Ecuador. She was trained in traditional midwifery, shamanism and, ethnobotany by her mother and grandmother, and traditional Ecuadorian Shamans, and she also holds a PhD in ethnobotany.

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Rocio explained that if we did MRI scans of pregnant women we would see how the hips open during the pregnancy, becoming wider and wider, and that after the birth it is paramount to help close them back to their normal width, otherwise mothers suffer from pelvic instability (Rocio attributes the many women suffering from hip issues in our society to the lack of closing the bones massages post birth) and leak energy.

In Ecuador, women are given this massage within hours of the birth, and receive it again at least 5 or 6 times during the first 40 days postpartum. The massage stimulates blood flow which in turn; cleans, renews, moves fluids (may help with milk supply/lochia), moving hormones, immune system, toning muscles and tissue. In traditional cultures, the 41 days of the postnatal period represent a sacred time. In this time the woman will have the closing massage at least 5 times, the first being 6 hours after birth, this begins to put the bladder and uterus back into place.

Rocio also explained that the hips support the weight of the spine and head and that they are therefore the seat of unresolved emotions and trauma, which can be felt upon the hips as adrenalin crystals, that need to be popped and released during the massage.
The massage itself includes sifting with a rebozo, using the rebozo for closing the hip bones, and using various hand massage techniques using oil around the pubic bones, belly and around the hips. You can use any oil but we love the Sacral Chakra blend from Katseye blends.

We feel that beyond the physical aspect of closing the bones, there is a spiritual aspect to the massage, which provide a safe space/ritual for the mother to feel nurtured and release emotions associated with the birth and motherhood. Having experienced the massage ourselves and given the massage to new and not so new mothers, we have both experienced and witness how powerful this ritual can be in releasing birth emotions, even many years after the birth itself.

We have offered and given this massage to many of our clients and to the all women to whom we have taught the ritual. Working together as a pair to massage and nurture the woman has been a deeply emotional experience for both we doulas and the mother. It is a time out for her; a time to have a silent communion with herself and reflect on her journey to motherhood and to feel the loving hands of her sisters. We recently massaged a woman who was 2 years into her mothering. At the end, after her rebozo sifting, we wrapped the rebozo around her hips and sat, one each side of her, each giving firm traction on an end of the scarf, closing her hips.

Her tears began to flow. We sat and held her space for some time and, when it felt right, we released the rebozo and covered her in a blanket and sat silently, each with a hand on her, as she cried. We could sense it was a well-overdue release for her.

Some days later, she told us that a great shift had happened inside her. She has released feelings about her birth and the pent up tensions of the last 2 years and now everything felt different. This experience has reiterated for us how powerful and necessary it is to spend time nurturing the mother in a very physical way, honouring her amazing pelvis.


We now have a website called which is entirely dedicated to closing the bones. You can also read more testimonials here

What I offer

I am delighted to offer this nurturing massage to new or no-so new mothers. You can choose to have the massage either with myself (£85) or jointly with another doula (£140). There is something quite special in having two experienced mothers nurturing a new mother, as well as helpful arms to hold a baby if needed.

What happens during this treatment? I will talk to you in advance to make sure it is tailored to your needs, but the treatment involves getting to know you and what you are hoping to get from the treatment, lying on a comfortable mat on the floor, having your pelvis rocked with a traditional Mexican shawls called a rebozo, a massage of the abdomen (and can also include the chest too) with a special warming oil, more rebozo rocking, and wrapping your tightly from head to toe with different rebozos, and letting you relax whilst I read you a poem/sing/sound bathe you with my drum. If you wish I can add Reiki to the treatment too. After it is finished I let you rest for a while, then there is some time for you to talk about how it felt.

The treatment lasts 2h from start to finish. You can read what typically happens during a massage here

There is also the option for you to have a rebozo to keep after the massage (I will use this rebozo to massage and bind you, therefore it will be special and a lovely memento of the session and you can use it to wrap your hips again afterwards). The cost of the rebozo is £30.

If you have already booked me as your birth or postnatal doula, then I offer this massage at a lower price (£60) as part of a postnatal care package.

The massage is even more beneficial if done several time so I offer a buy 2 get one half price package-get in touch for this.

I know from experience that new mothers benefit hugely from this nurturing ritual, however our culture seems to only provide gifts to the baby, not the mother, so I would love for others to buy the massage for new mothers as a gift. I will happily provide a custom made voucher for this,

Travel expenses 30p per mile over a 5 miles radius

Get in touch to arrange a session

Comments from Closing the Bones clients


My closing the bones experience was beautiful and very special. Not only from the physical point of view but also emotionally. It was the first time since my baby was born that I have a “me” moment. Sophie and Maddie are amazing, every touch, every massage was very gentle and deep at the same time.…

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It was a wonderfully relaxing experience and I felt very comforted and calm afterwards. But it was the day after I noticed the benefits even more so. Prior to the massage I was getting up from sitting on the sofa or a chair with my legs wide in the same way I would as if…

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Thanks to Sophie, I was the recipient of a beautiful, calming and incredibly nurturing Closing the Bones ceremony at five days postpartum. My instinct after my daughter’s birth was to hunker down and pour my energy into caring for her. The massage, reiki, and rebozo wraps not only felt absolutely amazing, they also helped remind…

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Sophie performed a closing the bones massage 2 1/2 weeks after the birth of my 2nd son. Sophie took time to explain the massage and made me feel completely at ease. She carefully arranged the room and made it feel like a cosy space with beautiful aromatherapy oils and calming music.  The massage felt incredibly calming…

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