What is Closing the Bones?
Closing the Bones is a Latin American midwifery rite. It completes the birthing process energetically, physically, and emotionally. Some women receive it three days postpartum or a few weeks later, and others a number of months and years after giving birth. It is also used after a miscarriage, abortion, illness or rite of passage. It can actually address any kind of depletion a person may be experiencing.
The ritual begins with a hot bath infused with special herbs to calm and relax the mother. She is invited to talk about whatever aspects of the birth or her new role as mother are lingering that she may want to resolve. The mother then receives an abdominal-sacral massage. After this her body is wrapped up. This ‘hug’ is performed from crown to toes with rebozos (Mexico) or mantas (Ecuador) creating a sensation of closure. Rebozos and mantas are traditional shawls. I offer a sound bath environment drumming and singing to finish with silent meditation. Once complete she lies quietly to integrate her experience and I’m there with her to praise and support her in every way. We use this time to acknowledge the beauty and power that her body and soul has given to the birthing of her child.
This process literally helps “close” a mother’s body, which “opens” in so many ways, both in preparation for, and during birth itself. During the ceremony, pelvic bones are pulled back to their pre-pregnancy placement, and shrinkage of the uterus is facilitated. This helps “close” a new mother energetically, as both pregnancy and particularly the intense process of labour and birth can be very vulnerable times for a woman, psychologically and psychically. The loss of blood during birth is thought to induce a “cold” state in a postpartum mother, so the hot bath helps restore her warmth. It can also increase milk flow, help milk to let down into the breasts, prevent the breast milk from being “cold,” and address muscle fatigue, heaviness in the limbs, oedema, appetite loss and constipation. Hot baths alone can positively influence cardiovascular, hormonal, immune, musculoskeletal and respiratory systems. The herbs for the “Baño de Hierbas” are specifically chosen to stimulate circulation, energise the body, fight infection, and recover vital heat and moisture. The essential oils released by the herbs affect recuperation, balance, and relaxation.
Closing the Bones is a very intimate ritual performed in your home. Plan on two hours of time between feeding your baby and to have a caretaker (papa perhaps) present to attend to your baby while we are in ceremony.
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