Today I’m so lucky to get to introduce you to Stephanie Ortmeier. She is a doula and Cranio Sacral Therapist, and I’ve had the honor of working side by side with her in labor. I’ve also gotten to see how much her care has made a difference for TCM moms and babies that she has worked with, prenatally, postpartum, and on newborns. Time and time again, I’ve see Cranio Sacral help relieve discomforts of pregnancy, help babies be in a better position for birth, and help the breastfeeding relationship be more comfortable for both mom and baby. Stephanie makes for a pretty fabulous doula as well, since having these skills at any birth can be pretty useful. Find out more about her practice at Happy Birth. Enjoy!
Name: Stephanie Ortmeier
Occupation: Cranio Sacral Therapist and Birth Doula
Family: Married to Josh with 3 kids, Aidan (10) Max (7) and Addison (6)
Home town: I grew up in St. Louis Park
Lives in: South Minneapolis
Favorite weekday dinner: During the week something fast and easy that my kids will eat! I am always trying to sneak some kind of vegetable in them, right now we really like making pesto with spinach and add it to a lot! I love to make any kind of soup especially this time of year, Buttnernut Squash is a favorite.
Favorite Workout: Yoga, a good spin class or a walk around the lake with a good friend.
Favorite downtime activity: meditation or movie night with the kids
Kate: When did you learn about Craino Sacral Therapy and what was your journey to become a Craino Sacral Therapist?
Stephanie: I first learned about Cranio Sacral Therapy when I had taken my oldest son to a chiropractor for an ear infection when he was 4 months old. I was no stranger to different forms of health care but I had never heard of this. She did some Cranio Sacral and I was fascinated. We had gone in for an ear infection and over time found that all sorts of other issues were clearing up. Nursing got better, pooping was easier, he just really started thriving. I took my first class in Cranio Sacral a few months after that. This work was really life changing for my family and I. My second son came in to the world with a congenital heart defect and we spent many weeks in the hospital. They told me he would never nurse and we would be lucky if he took a bottle. After a few Cranio Sacral sessions in the hospital he was nursing!!! I was hooked!! I worked on him just about every day, we also saw another Cranio Sacral Therapist and Chiropractor, doctors were amazed at his progress and recovery! Little by little I finished my training, worked on countless friends and family members, and had another baby…. Now that my kids are a little older I am able to have a practice that I love. I feel so blessed to be able to do this kind of work.
Kate: You are also a doula, did that come before or after you become a CST?
Stephanie: I was still training to become a Cranio Sacral Therapist when I became a doula.
Kate: Tell me a bit about your practice.
Stephanie: My practice is at Blessing Way Bodywork in Minneapolis. I treat everyone with a focus on pregnancy and infants. An initial visit for an adult is about 1 hour and 20 minutes, follow ups are 50 minutes. An initial visit for an infant or child is about 50 minutes and follow ups are about 20.
Kate: What is the best part of your job?
Stephanie: I love being able to help someone bring balance to their body and their life. There are so many components to Cranio Sacral, I feel it touches on not only the physical body but also a persons emotions and spirituality to bring deep healing.
I love all aspects of it but when you can help a baby who is fussy or having a lot of nursing issues, it is incredibly rewarding.
Kate: I’ve seen first hand how moms who get bodywork throughout pregnancy have much smoother and shorter labors. Can you explain why that is?
Stephanie: Cranio Sacral Therapy in short brings balance to the body. When working with pregnancy I focus on the muscles and ligaments surrounding the uterus so baby has plenty of space to get in perfect position. I also focus on the pelvic diaphragm and sacrum to make sure it is all moving so baby has an easy passageway. If baby is in a great position and can easily slide through the pelvis your body and baby have a lot less work to do which makes for an easier shorter labor.
Kate: You often work with babies too. How would you say working with a newborn is different than working with an adult?
Stephanie: One of the many reasons I love to work with babies is they can change a lot faster and easier than adults can. With infants we are usually working with restrictions that happened in utero or during delivery.
Kate: Are willing to come and adjust a mom during labor? What does that look like? And how does that help?
Stephanie: Yes! Whenever a labor is stalled or starting and stopping or back labor is happening Cranio Sacral can be extremely beneficial. It can loosen up those ligaments or sacrum for instance so baby can get in to a better position making each wave more effective.
Kate: How does being a doula affect your work as a CST and visa versa?
Stephanie: They work so well together, when I became a doula it really solidified my belief and work in Cranio Sacral Therapy. I have used Cranio Sacral at every birth I have ever been to. First off it feels really good, is very relaxing to the mama and it has the added benefit of making more room for baby for an easier delivery. I also like to work on the babies in the first few days of birth.
Being a doula and having knowledge about birth helps me as a Cranio Sacral Therapist especially when I am working with a baby. The birth can have a huge impact on babies cranial plates, how they overlapped during moulding and how they released afterward.
Kate: For people who have never worked with a Craino Sacral Therapist before, how would you describe what you do and what they could expect at their first visit?
Stephanie: Cranio Sacral Therapy works with the soft tissue in the body which surrounds every bone every muscle and every organ. If you have ever worked with a chicken breast it is the thin white film that surrounds it. That is what I am working with. I work on the whole body with a focus from the sacrum up to the top of the head. I am smoothing out any imbalance and also making sure the cerebro spinal fluid is flowing smoothly. I use the soft tissue to work with the cranial plates, sometimes after a birth, fall or life in general there can be some overlapping or restriction. I make sure the cranial bones are balanced and moving properly so the cerebro spinal fluid can move freely.
Therapy is done on a massage table. I work on the whole body and you stay fully clothed. Clients find it very relaxing and describe it as a light touch massage that reaches deep in to the body.
Kate: How would you say that you are unique from other CSTs or bodyworkers in the community?
Stephanie: I have a focus and passion on pregnancy and infants. In addition to this work I am also a Certified Health Coach I am happy to talk about nutrition with any of my clients. I also am a Sacred Pregnancy Instructor which is based on the spiritual and emotional aspects of birth (classes coming soon…).
Kate: Do you have any advice you’d like to share with our pregnant readers?
Stephanie: Bodywork can be so helpful not only for your birth but also throughout your pregnancy. I love Cranio Sacral but I always encourage my clients to find what works for them. Pregnancy doesn’t have to be hard or uncomfortable. Take time each day to honor yourself, your pregnancy and your baby. Your body is amazing!
Kate: Do you have any advice you’d like to share with our post birth, new mom and new dad readers?
Stephanie: Just as you hopefully heard throughout your pregnancy and birth: Trust your body, Trust yourself, Trust your baby. Listen to that inner knowing. You know just what your baby needs and you know the perfect way to parent for you and your baby!