What it is:
Stroking is a massage technique. It is long, smooth movements with a full hand with moderate pressure over large parts of the body.
How it works:
Stoking helps to remove excess tension from the muscles of the body. By helping the mother to pay attention to certain parts of her body, she is better able to keep them relaxed.
How to do it:
With the palm of your hand, begin at one end of a long bone, and stroke down with moderate pressure to the other end. Pick the hand up, and begin again at the same beginning point.
As with other massage techniques, do not start this after a contraction starts. Stroking is much more effective when done over several contractions.
Do not stoke in two directions. Always begin and end at the same points. "Rubbing," stroking in two directions, will be distracting to the mother's relaxation and she will be annoyed.
Implementing it in labor:
Begin with your palm on her shoulder. Stroke down to the elbow slowly. Pick the hand up, place the palm back on her shoulder and slowly stroke down again.
You can use the same technique on her back, thigh, calf, forearm, or from the wrist to the fingers.