The LK Massage Programme® - The Courses
The aims of the LK Massage Programme are to ensure that control over the birth process is with the mother and her chosen birth partner, supported by the health professionals, mainly the midwife. Couples are taught the Programme during the last month of pregnancy and are well practised to work together in labour, often encouraging them to remain at home within their own environment until labour is well established. Alternatively, chosen techniques can be taught during labour to consenting couples.
We believe that by using a non pharmacological coping strategy such as the LK Massage Programme, the overall birth experience for mothers, birthing partners and midwives can be enhanced.
The Programme is regularly modified on the basis of new evidence on maternal fetal and paternal neuro – hormonal adaptations to pregnancy and labour.
With this in mind and because of requirements from various professional bodies, we felt it necessary to write the following:
Competency, safety and risk management
Because of the increasing demand from women for different forms of complementary therapies, government, professional and regulatory bodies have begun to identify standards of knowledge and skill required by practitioners for safe and effective practice.
According to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), registered midwives who practise complementary and alternative therapies must have successfully undertaken training and be competent in this area (NMC 2002:9). In addition the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has compiled a register of midwives who practise the use of complementary and alternative therapies. These practitioners must have successfully undertaken training and benchmark statements identifying subject knowledge, understanding and associated skills that qualified midwives should be able to demonstrate on the effects of complementary therapies on pregnant, labour and lactating women, the fetus and neonate(QAA 2001:12).
In response to recent pressure from the European Union to establish safe standards for complementary and alternative therapies (CAM), the Department of Health(DOH) has obtained responses on its proposal for a CAM council, to keep a register of members admitted to practise; determine standards of education and training for admission to practise, give advise about standards of conduct and performance and administer procedures relating to unfitness for practice and professional misconduct(DOH 2004).
Considerable work is needed to establish scientific status for a variety of complementary and alternative therapies including massage. Many English speaking countries including Britain regard massage as an alternative or complementary treatment, whereas on the European Continent and in Asia it is considered a conventional treatment, particularly for back pain.
The series of courses have been adapted and developed by three midwives considering the current research evidence and in response to feedback from couples using the LK Massage Programme.
Competency for intending practitioners
Professionals offering the LK Massage Programme nationally and internationally need to be competent to practise, up to date and registered with Childbirth Essentials.
The Programme has been tested at the Horton Hospital, Maternity Unit and subsequently updated, on the basis of periodic reviews of relevant research findings and experiences gained from case studies undertaken by students and experienced practitioners, in home and hospital settings, in the UK and Hong Kong.
To enable interested practitioners to become competent to use the current Programme:
Competency for practitioners who have undertaken previous courses
Midwives, doulas and massage therapists who attended courses prior to 2004 and who wish to update their knowledge and skills, need to begin by undertaking the Basic Course. Course fees for past students will be reduced (For further details, contact Childbirth Essentials).
To remain on the live register three yearly updates are recommended, as relevant research findings continually emerge that impact on the Programme. Childbirth Essentials will keep practitioners up to date with new material that is relevant for practice. A dialogue between practitioners and Childbirth Essentials is recommended to standardise practice and ensure equity across countries.