Monday, March 22, 2010

What to expect at an IAIM training

The International Association of Infant Massage's (IAIM) CEIM/CIMI training is four, eight-hour days: seven hours on instruction and one hour for lunch.  It is intense, with a lot of information to take in very quickly; I wish I could record the presentation for future reference.  The core curriculum includes fifteen points, including:

  • The history of Infant Massage and IAIM
  • Demonstration of strokes and gentle activities
  • Three day Practicum with parents and babies (day 1 is mostly observation of the Trainer teaching a class)
  • Teaching the benefits of Infant Massage to others
  • Infant Crying
  • Infant behavioral states, cues, and reflexes
  • Bonding and attachment
  • Self awareness of emotional elements and support
  • Communication skills
  • Group Facilitation Skills
  • The Growing Child
  • Special situations and adaptations of the Program
  • Touch and massage research
  • Public Relations and marketing
  • Teaching skills
You receive a workbook and a spiral bound Manual.  The workbook has most of the space you'll need for taking notes regarding the above-listed curriculum, but I would recommend an extra notebook or several sheets of lined paper for taking notes on things presented outside that list, like quotes, self care, practical tips, and health information.  (For example, we spent about 15-20 minutes discussing plastic bottles and grades of plastic, with regards to giving each family their own bottles of oil to have and bring to class.  It's good information to have and understand and further research, but it's not covered in the curriculum.  P.S.: Code 5 is food grade.)  You are also given a copy of Vimala McClure's Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents.
My session is being taught by Suzanne P. Reese.  She is amazing; she's been teaching, practicing, and learning about infant massage all over the world.  (Check out her website for more information on her.)  Over the four days, about two-thirds of our lecture/discussion time was sitting up at tables, and about a third was spent on the floor.  We watched a few videos, including interviews with Vimala (VEE-mala), What Babies Want, and one that I'm blanking on the name of but that I've seen in my doula circle.  We learned the series of strokes, of course, how to teach them to parents, what to charge (about the local going rate for a full-body massage for a 4-6 week series of classes), and places to find support, networking, advice, and marketing.

The training is a wonderful experience, you'll meet some wonderful people that you'll miss after the classes are over.  To conclude, here's some advice for anyone who's going to take the training:
  •  Bring soft cushions and/or a BackJack or similar floor seating if the facility doesn't have them available.  Also bring an old sheet or blanket you don't care if it gets oily or walked on.
  • Find a doll early on before the training and test it for flexibility at home so you have ample time to return it if you don't like it.  Try to find one in the 18-22" (46-56cm) range, with a soft (inflatable's okay, but not great) body, at least one open hand, and soft limbs if you can find it.  Limbs that are too bent and unyielding are very annoying to work with, in my opinion.
  • Bring a digital camera, you will want to take a picture before the training ends (possibly before the last day so you can get it printed and have everyone autograph it.)  That way you can connect names with faces.  Write down who's who before you forget.
  • Speaking of names and faces, make a list of names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, locations, and background (what they do for work, what they have done).  This is the start of your resource list of people you already know, you know their training, you can talk to them, etc.  It's useful for giving referrals, as well as possibly getting other information and perspective.  (Example, if my classmate in Cameron Park knows someone in Sebastopol who's pregnant and wants a doula/a massage/an infant massage instructor, she has my name to give out and a personal experience with me that lends credibility to the referral.)  Include your Trainer on this list, too, and it wouldn't hurt to have information for the place where the training was held.
  • Be prepared to have your life changed.  Be willing to have your life changed.  The work of Infant Massage has the power and potential to change not only the families you touch, but yourself.  You will find yourself looking at others different, with more compassion.  You will look at yourself with more kindness.  You will come away with a greater sense of ownership over your own body and respect for others'.  If you let it truly change you, you will see everything in a whole new way.
And finally...
  • Enjoy the journey.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

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