Neonatal Touch & Massage Certification®

An exclusively neonatal, advanced, one-of-a-kind certification for neonatal healthcare providers

About NTMC Certification

Neonatal Touch & Massage Certification®

(NTMC) is an exclusively neonatal, advanced, one-of-a-kind certification for neonatal healthcare providers.

NTMC® combines a holistic, neonatal and systems theory approach to massage, with an emphasis on families and nurturing opportunities, while elevating the standard of care that neonatal caregivers provide in their daily practice. This certification is not just a test you study for, but a process to advance both your knowledge AND skill development in Neuroprotective, Developmental, Family-Integrated Care!

NTMC was developed with a 3-fold purpose: to help NICU babies, families, and staff. It’s all about maximizing positive long-term development of the infant and giving families the opportunity and tools to provide care for and bond with their infant.

NTMC includes both On-Line Education and Hands-On Training along with continuing education hours, professional credentials, and expertise in Neuroprotective, Developmental, Family-Integrated Care. Nurses and Therapists (OT, PT, SLP) complete the ~19 hours of On-Line Education and attend all of Day 1 of Hands-On Training, while Therapists (OT, PT, SLP) also attend all of the Day 2 Hands-On Training. The certification fee covers both the NTMC On-Line Education and Hands-On Training.

The Certification process has three phases:

Upon completion of all three Phases, you will receive NTMTC (therapists) or NTMNC (nurses) credentials for your professional signature and be placed in our directory of NTMC professionals!

You Will Learn How To:

  • Provide neonatal massage techniques to maximize sleep, comfort, and neurodevelopmental outcomes.
  • Enhance your observation skills of neonates, increase your knowledge of infant development, and raise your understanding of the incredible effects of your touch.

  • Improve bonding for infants and parents while optimizing infant development.

  • Provide Neuroprotective Care practices such as Skin-to-Skin Holding, Swaddled Bathing, 2-Person Caregiving, and Therapeutic Positioning & Handling.

  • Provide manual therapy techniques including myofascial release, trigger point release, and awareness of cranial sacral therapy benefits.

NTMC Phase I: Application and Registration

  • 1

    Complete and submit the NTMC Application including your selection of where/when you plan to complete your Hands-On Training.

  • 2

    Complete and submit the NTMC Verification form verifying 1000 hours neonatal experience.  If you do not have these hours, but have other relevant experience, email ntmc@neonatalcertification.com.   Limited number of Waiver Applications are available for each NTMC.

  • 3

    Once accepted, you will receive an NTMC approval number and instructions to register and proceed to Phase II.

NTMC Phase II: On-Line Education

The NTMC On-Line Education is an advanced level course designed to further your knowledge as a nurse or therapist (OT, PT, SLP) in a vast array of neonatal topics ranging from brain and sensory development to the lymphatic system. It allows you to develop a plan of care with an understanding of developing at-risk infants, their families, and the significant impact the environment and caregiver activities have on them.

At the end of Phase II On-Line Education the participants will be able to implement their knowledge by being able to:

  1. Develop a plan of care for three neonatal diagnoses based on benefits of massage identified in the literature.
  2. Rearrange the sequence of three caregiving strategies provided in the NICU to optimize brain & sensory development, protect sleep, and support parents’ experience.
  3. Combine three neuroprotective care activities to minimize neonatal stress & pain, foster positioning & handling, and ensure trauma-informed care.
  4. Modify the caregiver’s role to optimize lymphatic and respiratory system function.
  • Complete all On-Line Educational webinars (at your convenience in the comfort of your own home) provided by experts from the United States and Canada through our training portal
  • The On-Line Education takes about 19 hours and is self-paced.
  • Complete and pass (>80%) the 5 question test after each webinar with re-takes available
  • Complete within 4 months of registration and assure completion 10 days prior to attending NTMC Hands-On Training
  • Complete course evaluation
  • Obtain contact hours for the On-Line Education (No partial credit is provided)

Phase II NTMC On-Line Education is available to you from the comfort of your own home, in an On-Demand format in short units to allow for full integration of information in your own timeframe. It must be completed prior to the Hands-On Training and takes ~19 hours to complete. You may re-watch and review as needed for successful completion before the Hands-On Training.

Access NTMC Speakers’ Disclosures Here

Living a Great Story, Michelle Ulrich, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC

29 minutes| This presentation focuses on reflection of attendees own life story and their tremendous impact on the life stories of the infants and families they serve in the NICU. Developmental and Mental Health outcomes of infants and families from the NICU are reviewed. The intensity and presence of compassion fatigue in the NICU is addressed along with ways to alleviate stress for the caregiver and patient.

Theories, Conceptual Models and Praxis for a Trauma Informed Approach to Care, Mary Coughlin, MS, NNP, RNC-E

70 minutes| We all make meaning out of the world based on how the world makes us feel, beginning in infancy. These feelings create cellular memories mediated primarily by maternal caregiving experiences which influence hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis reactivity and effect the developmental trajectory of our lifelong health and wellbeing. Mitigating the iatrogenic psychological effects of medical care in the NICU and beyond is a moral and ethical imperative for quality healthcare delivery. This webinar, Theories, Conceptual Models and Praxis for a Trauma Informed Approach to Care, will ensure neonatal caregivers understand the concepts of infant medical traumatic stress and its association with alterations in brain growth and development. Additionally, the webinar highlights the biologic relevance of a trauma sensitive, developmentally aware approach to care in the NICU and beyond.

Brain and Sensory Development: Applications for Clinical Practice in the NICU, Aune Hjartarson Nunn, OT Reg. (Ont), CNT, NTMTC

93 minutes| This presentation will review critical brain and sensory system development in the context of NICU care. It will highlight tangible methods to adapt care practices, modulate the sensory environment, and support brain and sensory system development. Strategies to involve parents and caregivers will be integrated as a vital part of supporting brain development and empowering families during the NICU admission. This advanced level information will enable neonatal clinicians to be intentional in the care they provide with the goal of optimizing the short and long term outcomes for infants and families.

The 5th Vital Sign: The Vital Nature of Pain Management for Preterm Infants, Elizabeth Jeanson, PT, DPT, CNT, NTMTC

84 minutes| Pain is universal. In the NICU baby, pain can be prolonged, repetitive, and exaggerated leading to chronic stress, and long-term neurobehavioral effects. As caregivers, we must shift our focus from reactive to a more proactive approach to pain management. It is not simply enough to medicate for pain. Pain must be managed in a relationship that promotes behavioral organization, stress relief, trust and security. This presentation will identify the long-term effects of unmanaged pain, and discuss interventions and techniques to manage pain in a relationship-based care model.

Sleep Impacts Brain Development, Bridgette Rillo, BSN, RNC-NIC, C-ELBW, NTMNC

45 minutes| The purpose of this presentation is improve the learner’s knowledge of the critical role of sleep for the neonatal population. Sleep, sleep states, and sleep cycles will be explained as well as the critical role sleep has in brain development and overall biological function. Resources will also be provided for interventions to assist in safeguarding sleep.

The Role of Nutrition in Neurodevelopmental Care, Katherine Bell, MD

49 minutes| Nutrition has long been recognized as an important determinant of long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes among preterm infants. In this course, we will discuss the development of the neonatal gastrointestinal tract and its implications for nutritional management of infants after preterm birth. We will review evidence-based recommendations for nutritional management strategies that promote optimal neurodevelopment of preterm infants, with an emphasis on the importance of mother’s own breastmilk, and how to incorporate family-centered strategies for promoting maternal breastmilk provision into clinical care at the bedside. Growth targets will be reviewed along with different strategies for monitoring growth utilizing recently published novel growth charts for preterm infants.

Anatomy: Bones & Muscles, Erin Springer, MOTR/L, CNT, NTMTC

55 minutes| Anatomy of the bones and muscles is reviewed, including the cranium helping the learner understand the impact of plagiocephaly and other implications for development. Likewise, the presentation reviews the bones and muscles of the upper and lower extremities, with implications for positioning infants in the NICU to prevent shortening and deformation during the NICU stay.

Positioning & Handling of the Neonate, Ginny (Virginia) McGill, PT, DPT, CNT, NTMTC

55 minutes| Positioning of the neonate effects their postural and neuromotor development as well as their current physiologic stability and sleep. In this module you will learn why the neonate is particularly susceptible to changes in their development due to positioning and how to optimize their function now and for the future through infant positioning and handling.

Communicating with NICU Parents: It Isn’t Just the Words You Speak, Keira Sorrells, BSFCS

49 minutes| This presentation will explore the specific psychosocial needs of high-risk mothers and NICU parents to uncover common barriers of communication and provide tools, strategies, and resources to overcome those barriers and improve outcomes.

Neonatal Skin and Touch: Implications for NICU Practice, Rachel Harris, OTD, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC

72 minutes| Skin is our largest sensory organ that provides us a conduit for learning and tactile experiences. Touch is an essential part of human interaction, development and communication. Positive touch is critical to support an infant’s development and bonding with their parents. It is the first thing a parent wants to do when their baby is born: hold, touch, and comfort them. However, we know from working in the NICU that skin and touch is a complex matter for premature infants. In this webinar, we will discuss neonatal skin and tactile development, the influence of toxic chemical exposure during pregnancy and in the NICU, practical implications for caregiving in the NICU, and ways to best support parents in providing their infants with the positive, loving, and caring touch they both need to thrive.

The Lymphatic System: Integrating Manual Edema Mobilization within the NICU, Holly Schifsky, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC, CBIS

77 minutes| Medically complex and premature infants in the NICU can demonstrate fluctuations with excessive fluid in their extremities due to co-morbidities or genetic conditions. During this session, we will review the development of the lymphatic system, its role to allow infants the ability to obtain physiological stability, and positioning/handling interventions to maximize the ability of the integumentary system to support lymphatic flow. Discussion of therapeutic interventions and assessment of edema to determine critical reasoning for treatment planning with use of manual edema mobilization or complete lymphedema therapy.

The Respiratory System, Ann Davis, M.Ed. RRT-NPS

73 minutes| This presentation describes the major causes of lung injury in the newborn, the risk factors associated with chronic lung disease, the impact of infant positioning on the artificial airway, characteristics of respiratory support modalities, and the possible causes of a BPD “spell”.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: Getting Beyond the Diagnosis, Kara Ann Waitzman, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC

64 minutes| The Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Epidemic continues to grow at a rapid rate with no sign of slowing. Our knowledge and understanding of how to provide optimal neuroprotective and neuropromotional care for this high risk population has improved significantly over the last decade. This presentation will provide learners with improved understanding of this diagnosis and its impact on development, how to maximize parental involvement and support, and most importantly how to optimize outcomes for the babies and their families.

Massage Literature Review, Rachel Harris, OTD, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC

77 minutes| This is an extensive, up to date review of the research from the past 10 years related to neonatal massage, including the medical, therapeutic, developmental, and parental benefits of massage in the NICU.

Infant-Driven Caregiving, Kara Ann Waitzman, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC

58 minutes| This presentation facilitates the participant to individualize the care provided to the NICU infant and family, based on the individual needs of the infant and family at the time. Likewise, developmental care practices such as skin-to-skin and swaddled bathing are shown through videos to help the participant implement these practices in the NICU.

Integration of Neurodevelopmental Positioning Products, Kara Ann Waitzman, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC

47 minute| This presentation goes through common positioning products used in the NICU and provides tips for optimal use and precautions while using basic principles of flexion, containment, alignment and comfort. Positioning during bathing, skin to skin transfers and in prone, supine and sidelying are reviewed.

Foundation of the Listening Touch Massage, Melissa Bloomer, MA, CCC-SLP, NTMTC

47 minutes| Massage has a host of benefits such as decreased pain and stress, improved digestion and increased weight gain. This presentation provides introductory information about the Listening Touch Massage TM, which was exclusively designed for infants in the NICU and beyond. The touch-brain feedback loop, types of touch and massage, contraindications and benefits of massage are discussed, along with the overall goal to empower families to provide the Listening Touch Massage both in the NICU and after discharge.

Access NTMC Speakers’ Disclosures Here

KATHERINE BELL, MD

Dr. Katherine Bell graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Biophysical Chemistry. She obtained her MD from the University of California, San Diego, during which time she conducted research on pediatric neuromonitoring strategies. Dr. Bell completed her clinical training in pediatrics at UC San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland where she also served as Chief Resident, and was subsequently recruited into the Harvard Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship Program, where she served as Chief Fellow. She is currently an attending neonatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Instructor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Her clinical research investigates the associations of infant nutrition and body composition – the relative contribution of fat and lean mass to body weight – with long-term outcomes such as brain growth and risk of obesity. Her work has been supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics and The Gerber Foundation. Her current research interests include novel assessments of nutritional status for preterm infants, including body composition measurement, and their influence on brain growth, neurodevelopment, and cardiometabolic health.

MELISSA BLOOMER, MA, CCC- SLP, NTMTC

Melissa is a licensed SLP with nearly 20 years of experience working in a variety of acute care settings, with the last 12 years focused on infant feeding and family-integrated care. Melissa currently works in a Level IV NICU at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington DC. She is co-chair of the Feeding Committee, sits on the Developmental Care Committee and provides comprehensive education as a professional support for all regional Medstar NICUs. Melissa provides regular physician and nursing education and lectures in the Master’s Programs at Gallaudet, Howard, UDC and GWU in Pediatric Dysphagia. Melissa is passionate about infant-led feeding practices, feeding development and neurodevelopmental care. She strives to support and empower families in providing and advocating for optimized developmental care in the NICU and beyond.

MARY COUGHLIN, MS, NNP, RNC-E

Mary Coughlin, MS, NNP, RNC-E is the Founder and President of Caring Essentials Collaborative, LLC and a graduate of Northeastern University where she received her baccalaureate and master’s degrees in nursing. Ms. Coughlin has assumed roles as staff nurse, charge nurse and neonatal nurse practitioner culminating in her current position with Caring Essentials Collaborative. With a clinical background that spans over 30 years, Ms. Coughlin is the internationally recognized expert in the field of trauma-informed, age-appropriate care in the NICU. A leader in the field of neonatal nursing and international key-note speaker Ms. Coughlin is a published author of multiple publications including Clinical Practice Guidelines for Age-Appropriate Care of the Premature and Critically Ill Hospitalized Infant for the National Association for Neonatal Nursing (NANN), Transformative Nursing in the NICU: Trauma-Informed, Age-Appropriate Care and her latest book entitled: Trauma-informed Care in the NICU: Evidence-Based Practice Guidelines for Transdisciplinary Neonatal Clinicians. Ms. Coughlin lives in Boston Massachusetts with her husband Dan and their dog George.

ANN DAVIS, M.Ed. RRT-NPS

Ann is a licensed respiratory care practitioner and neonatal pediatric specialist who has cared for neonatal patients for over 34 years. She has worked in a 60 bed, single family room, level 3 NICU as a staff therapist and trainer, as an infant monitoring specialist, and as an educator for the interdisciplinary NICU team. In her role as an infant monitoring specialist, Ann was a co-author for a white paper detailing the use of documented event monitoring for pre-discharge screening. Her committee work included providing education for the small baby team initiative and she worked with Creative Therapy Consultant President Kara Ann Waitzman and other NICU professionals to develop the best practice for skin-to-skin transfer of the intubated infant. Ann also developed a comprehensive neonatal stabilization training and continuing competency program for birthing center respiratory therapists within the hospital network. As adjunct faculty at a local community college, Ann developed and facilitates an online short term certificate program focusing on respiratory care of the newborn. She also provides classroom and simulation laboratory instruction to future respiratory therapists focusing on physiology, disease processes, and best practices unique to the neonatal and pediatric patient.

RACHEL HARRIS, OTD, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC

Rachel received her clinical doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Washington University School of Medicine. During her time at Washington University, she was actively involved in research related to maternal mental health and neonatal feeding outcomes. Rachel worked in a level IV NICU at Medical City Dallas Children’s Hospital for five years, where she also saw infants through home health with torticollis, plagiocephaly, and developmental delays. Rachel currently works in a Level III NICU in Chicago, is on the Creative Therapy Consultants’ team, is an NTMC presenter, and is passionate about improving outcomes for neonates and their families.

AUNE HJARTARSON NUNN, OT Reg. (Ont), CNT, NTMTC

Aune is an Occupational Therapist in the NICU at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She received her undergraduate degree and Occupational Therapy Degree from McMaster University. She is part of McMaster NICU’s small baby team and the VON collaborative. Aune is a certified neonatal therapist, and has been privileged to call the NICU home for over 20 years. Aune is a sought after international speaker, educator, and consultant. She lectures in the McMaster University Masters OT Programme, has published in the area of clinical and video fluoroscopic assessment of aspiration in high risk infants. She was awarded the OT Practice Excellence Award at Hamilton Health Sciences. Aune is a dedicated life-long learner, and passionate about education to empower clinicians, teams, and families in the NICU.

ELIZABETH JEANSON, PT, DPT, CNT, NTMTC

Dr. Elizabeth Jeanson currently serves as the Developmental Specialist in Neonatal Intensive Care at Sanford/USD Medical Center. Dr Jeanson was NIDCAP trained, Infant Behavioral Assessment and Neonatal Network Neurobehavioral Scale certified. She is also a certified infant massage instructor and a certified child passenger safety technician (car seat). Recently Dr Jeanson completed her Neonatal Touch and Massage Therapy certification. She is a certified neonatal therapist. In her current position Dr. Jeanson is responsible for direct and indirect implementation of developmental family centered care in a large level 3 neonatal intensive care unit. Dr. Jeanson is now a Clinical Consultant for Dande LION Medical. She has spoken on topics including sensory development of preterm infants, positioning of infants in NICU, non-pharmacologic pain management for preterm infants, supporting the development of post term infants in the NICU, as well as team building and strategic planning for multidisciplinary teams. She published, One to One Bedside Nurse Education as a Means to Improve Positioning Consistency in 2013. Dr Jeanson’s passion is improving the outcomes of premature infants through cautious/thoughtful intervention, family support and staff education.

GINNY (Virginia) McGILL, PT, DPT, CNT, NTMTC

Ginny McGill graduated from Creighton University with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2001. She has practiced in the NICU for 22 years, at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Providence Alaska Children’s Hospital. She has received certifications in Neonatal Therapy, Neonatal Touch and Massage as well as wound care and lymphedema. Ginny teaches locally and nationally. You may have seen her speak through her work with the Vermonth Oxford Network (VON), Engage Grow Thrive or Creative Therapy Consultants. She enjoys sharing knowledge and is grateful to her mentors, John Chappel, Mary Massery, Kara Ann Waitzman and the many babies, families and therapists she has worked with throughout her career. Ginny lives in Anchorage, Alaska with her family and dog, Finn, and enjoys exploring the outdoors, especially any water sport she can find.

BRIDGETTE RILLO, MBA, MSN, RNC-NIC, C-ELBW, NTMNC

Bridgette has been a nurse for over 18 years at a large level III-b NICU. She started her career in an emergency room and quickly learned her passion extended beyond emergency care. Bridgette transitioned to her role as a NICU nurse in 2005. She was a NICU educator for six years and continues to help other NICU nurses grow in their knowledge and experience. Bridgette has served on the unit’s Vermont Oxford Network Committee, Shared Governance Council and other NICU committees during her career. She received her Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing certification in 2015 and her Care of the Extremely Low Birth Weight Neonate certification in 2020. She received her Master of Science in Nursing Administration and a Master of Business Administration in December 2023. Bridgette’s goal is to continue her passion for improving the lives of infants and families in and beyond the NICU by sharing her knowledge, expertise, and experience with the future generation of nursing.

HOLLY SCHIFSKY, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC, CBIS

Holly is an Occupational Therapist who has worked in pediatrics for the past 24 years with the past 16 years in a level IV NICU. She is a Certified Neonatal Therapist, Certified Neonatal Touch and Massage Therapist, Certified Brain Injury therapist, an active member of National Association of Neonatal Therapists, and has completed 6-month mentorship in infant/child NDT. She has worked within the NICU and NICU follow-up clinic to maximize patient and family outcomes for the most complex premature and medically- fragile term infants. Holly received her Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational therapy from the University of North Dakota in 1997. She has dedicated her career to clinical care and advancing developmental care practice patterns for all multidisciplinary team members. She is a faculty member for the Neonatal Touch and Massage certification and for Education Resources Incorporate. She provides educational courses to NICU clinicians across the world and has presented at many regional and national conferences. She provides Developmental Care, Feeding Intervention, and NICU education throughout the country. She is the recipient of the National Association of Neonatal Therapists Clinical Excellence award in 2018, due to her clinical expertise and dedication to advancing the therapeutic interventions for NICU infants with cardiopulmonary conditions.

KEIRA SORRELLS, BSFCS

Keira Sorrells is the mother of triplets born at 25 weeks, 5 days gestation. Ms. Sorrells spent nine and a half months in the NICU with her girls and experienced every parent’s greatest fear when one of her daughters died at 14 months old. In 2008, these traumas led Ms. Sorrells to launch the Zoe Rose Memorial Foundation, a non-profit that supports NICU families. She soon became aware that the voice of the NICU parent was underrepresented in Maternal and Infant Health community. In response, Ms. Sorrells helped launch and now serves as President of the Preemie Parent Alliance (PPA). PPA a network of over 30 NICU parent support organizations that is dedicated to representing the needs and best interests of NICU families in all facets of healthcare policy, care guidelines, advocacy, education, and family support. Ms. Sorrells strongly believes that no single organization or provider can serve all the needs of all NICU families, only through collaboration can the true voice of the NICU parent be represented appropriately.

ERIN SPRINGER, MOTR/L, CNT, NTMTC

Erin has practiced as a pediatric and neonatal occupational therapist for 22 years. She received her Master of Science from University of Puget Sound and currently works at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. She works in the Main Campus level 4 NICU as well as the off-site level 2 nurseries. She is a Certified Neonatal Therapist, certified lactation educator, and a certified Neonatal Touch & Massage therapist. Erin has presented nationally and locally on developmental care and support for infants in the NICU. She has completed training for Small Baby Care Specialist and also participates in the Vermont Oxford Network Quality Improvement initiatives focused on enhancing the care of micro-preemies. Erin also has experience in NICU follow-up for developmental and feeding support. She is passionate about working with these little babies and their families

MICHELLE ULRICH, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC

Michelle graduated from Indiana University with a BS in Occupational Therapy in 1992. She began her OT career in Acute Rehab with a focus on traumatic brain injury. Michelle currently works at Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. Initially Michelle treated patients all over the hospital, from 0-18 years of age. For the past 24 years, Michelle has worked specifically in the Level IV NICU. She received her designation as a Neonatal Developmental Care Specialist from NANN in 2013 and became a Certified Neonatal Therapist in 2017. She was certified in Neonatal Touch and Massage in 2019.

KARA ANN WAITZMAN, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC

Kara Ann has been a neonatal therapist for 36 years in a level III NICU and serves as the nursery’s developmental specialist. Kara Ann is president of Creative Therapy Consultants, Founder of the Neonatal Touch & Massage Certification (NTMC®) and Original Co-Founder of Infant-Driven Feeding® and original co-developer of the Infant-Driven Feeding Scales©. She is certified in NTMC, is Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Therapy (NDT) trained and reliable in NIDCAP. She has served on the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) Continuum of Care Advisory Board and Power of Touch Committee, the National Association of Neonatal Therapists (NANT) Professional Collaborative, the Pampers Womb to World Advisory Board, and the March of Dimes Program Services Board. Kara Ann has been a nationally sought after speaker, educator, and consultant for almost three decades and has published articles on Neuroprotection, positioning and feeding, and has written a chapter on Neuromotor Development and Massage. She developed videos on Massage, Skin-to-Skin, and Swaddled Bathing. Kara Ann has received professional awards including the Ohio Occupational Therapy Pediatric Model Practice Award, the March of Dimes Healthcare Worker of the Year Award, the MVH Excellence in Service Award and the Inaugural Pioneer in Neonatal Therapy Award from the National Association of Neonatal Therapists.

Course requirements for the Phase II NTMC On-Line Education includes > 80% test score following each webinar and completion of course evaluation. No partial credit is available and learners must register for NTMC to participate.

  • This nursing continuing professional development activity was approved by the American Holistic Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.
    • Approved to award 19 contact hours. AHNA Approval Number 1804.
    • Approval for contact hours through the American Holistic Nurses Association is based on an assessment of the educational merit of this program and does not constitute endorsement of the use of any specific modality in the care of clients.*
  • This activity has been approved for 18.90 CCUs by the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners for PTs and PTAs.*
  • Creative Therapy Consultants is an AOTA Approved Provider of professional development. PD activity approval ID# 08690. This distance learning independent training is offered at 1.9 CEUs, advanced level, Occupational Therapy Service Delivery. The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA or indicate AOTA approval of a certification or other professional recognition.
    • This PD activity is approved for 19 contact hours (1.9 CEUs).*

  • The Neonatal Touch & Massage Certification Phase II On-Line Education is offered for 1.85 ASHA CEUs (Advanced Level, Professional Area).*

* Partial credit for course will not be given.

NTMC Phase III: Hands-On Training

Provided In-Person OR Virtual

The NTMC Hands-On Training is an advanced level course designed to further your skills as a nurse or therapist (OT, PT, SLP) and promote the health, well-being, and development of both the infants and the infant-parent dyads you serve. You will learn how to promote infant comfort, movement, alignment and a parasympathetic response while fostering the infant-parent relationships. Skills include integration of neonatal touch, massage, positioning, handling, myofascial trigger point release (therapists only), skin to skin holding and other neuroprotective, developmental, family-integrated caregiving activities that you can implement the next day!

At the end of Phase III Neonatal Touch & Massage Certification (NTMC) Hands-On Training, the participants will demonstrate their skill by being able to:

  1. Integrate appropriate touch & massage techniques for infants in three different clinical scenarios.
  2. Justify two caregiving activities appropriate for infants in two different stages of development.
  3. Construct a plan for appropriate handling and positioning of infants in three different clinical scenarios.
  4. Formulate two goals to support parent engagement in their infant’s care.
  5. Critique a clinical video of myofascial trigger point releases by identifying one modification in technique needed to achieve the intended goal (THERAPIST ONLY).
  • Complete both Phase I Application & Registration and Phase II On-Line Education prior to attending the Phase III Hands-On Training
  • Attend all of Day 1 (Nurses) or all of Day 1 & 2 (Therapists) of Hands-On Training (see details for Virtual/In-Person options below)*
  • Complete and pass with a >80% score the Skill development activities and tests, which includes a video analysis test
  • Complete course evaluation
  • Obtain contact hours for the Hands-On Training

NTMC Hands-On Training is a live course with instructor lecture, demonstration, group Q & A, role playing, case scenarios, videos and skill development session with dolls, which is offered in either a physical location (In-Person) format or via  the internet (Virtual using Zoom) format.

In-Person Hands-On Training

  • Arrive by 7:40 AM to complete the sign in process.
  • All Live NTMCs are 8AM-4PM in the time zone of the location
  • No early dismissal will be available
  • Lunch is 45 minutes long, so plan to bring lunch or purchase it at the facility
  • Dress comfortably

Dress is casual, and please wear a short sleeve shirt on Day 1 and a sleeveless shirt on Day 2 (feel free to have a sweater for in between activities!).

Virtual Hands-On Training

We understand that technology is not everyone’s friend! So if you are not comfortable and able to meet the below requirements, simply sign up for an in-person NTMC Hands-On Training instead!

  • Sign on by 7:40 AM to assure Zoom functioning.
  • ALL Virtual Hands-On Training are provided 9AM- 5PM Eastern; 8AM-4 PM Central; 7AM-3PM Mountain; 6AM-2PM Pacific
  • NTMC is provided live through a Zoom platform
  • Access to a computer with a functioning video/web camera and microphone
  • Adequate internet bandwidth and speed to support continual streaming
  • Comfort and competence accessing a live Zoom meeting with the use of your web camera and computer audio
  • A quiet background/ space for optimal learning and interaction
  • Feel free to dress comfortable but you will be streaming live through your web camera with other attendees for the duration of the training. We will also be taking screenshot photos of you during the certification class to validate your attendance and for a NTMC Graduation picture.
  • About 6 weeks prior to the course, a package will be mailed to you via UPS for those living in the USA and via email if you live internationally. This package will have detailed information about how to access Zoom and what supplies you need. We will be providing the ppt handouts and other resources for the course.

** Accessing a zoom meeting is simple and straight-forward. Details regarding your specific Hands-On Training Zoom meeting will be sent to you after registration. However, if you are unfamiliar with zoom, check out how to access a meeting here.

  • RNs attend day ONE. Therapists attend both day ONE and day TWO.
  • In-Person NTMC is provided from 8 AM to 4 PM each day in the time zone of the location.
  • Virtual NTMCs are 9AM-5PM Eastern; 8 AM to 4 PM Central; 7AM – 3PM Mountain, 6 AM – 2 PM Pacific

Access NTMC Speakers’ Disclosures Here.

Access NTMC Speakers’ Disclosures Here.

MELISSA BLOOMER, MA, CCC-SLP, NTMTC

Melissa is a licensed SLP with nearly 20 years of experience working in a variety of acute care settings, with the last 12 years focused on infant feeding and family-integrated care. Melissa currently works in a Level IV NICU at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington DC. She is co-chair of the Feeding Committee, sits on the Developmental Care Committee and provides comprehensive education as a professional support for all regional Medstar NICUs. Melissa provides regular physician and nursing education and lectures in the Master’s Programs at Gallaudet, Howard, UDC and GWU in Pediatric Dysphagia. Melissa is passionate about infant-led feeding practices, feeding development and neurodevelopmental care. She strives to support and empower families in providing and advocating for optimized developmental care in the NICU and beyond.

RACHEL HARRIS, OTD, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC

Rachel received her clinical doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Washington University School of Medicine. During her time at Washington University, she was actively involved in research related to maternal mental health and neonatal feeding outcomes. Rachel worked in a level IV NICU at Medical City Dallas Children’s Hospital for five years, where she also saw infants through home health with torticollis, plagiocephaly, and developmental delays. Rachel currently works in a Level III NICU in Chicago, is on the Creative Therapy Consultants’ team, is an NTMC presenter, and is passionate about improving outcomes for neonates and their families.

AUNE HJARTARSON NUNN, OT Reg. (Ont), CNT, NTMTC

Aune is an Occupational Therapist in the NICU at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She received her undergraduate degree and Occupational Therapy Degree from McMaster University. She is part of McMaster NICU’s small baby team and the VON collaborative. Aune is a certified neonatal therapist, and has been privileged to call the NICU home for over 20 years. Aune is a sought after international speaker, educator, and consultant. She lectures in the McMaster University Masters OT Programme, has published in the area of clinical and video fluoroscopic assessment of aspiration in high risk infants. She was awarded the OT Practice Excellence Award at Hamilton Health Sciences. Aune is a dedicated life-long learner, and passionate about education to empower clinicians, teams, and families in the NICU.

BRIDGETTE RILLO, MBA, MSN, RNC-NIC, C-ELBW, NTMNC

Bridgette has been a nurse for over 18 years at a large level III-b NICU. She started her career in an emergency room and quickly learned her passion extended beyond emergency care. Bridgette transitioned to her role as a NICU nurse in 2005. She was a NICU educator for six years and continues to help other NICU nurses grow in their knowledge and experience. Bridgette has served on the unit’s Vermont Oxford Network Committee, Shared Governance Council and other NICU committees during her career. She received her Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing certification in 2015 and her Care of the Extremely Low Birth Weight Neonate certification in 2020. She received her Master of Science in Nursing Administration and a Master of Business Administration in December 2023. Bridgette’s goal is to continue her passion for improving the lives of infants and families in and beyond the NICU by sharing her knowledge, expertise, and experience with the future generation of nursing.

ERIN SPRINGER, MOTR/L, CNT, NTMTC

Erin has practiced as a pediatric and neonatal occupational therapist for 22 years. She received her Master of Science from University of Puget Sound and currently works at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. She works in the Main Campus level 4 NICU as well as the off-site level 2 nurseries. She is a Certified Neonatal Therapist, certified lactation educator, and a certified Neonatal Touch & Massage therapist. Erin has presented nationally and locally on developmental care and support for infants in the NICU. She has completed training for Small Baby Care Specialist and also participates in the Vermont Oxford Network Quality Improvement initiatives focused on enhancing the care of micro-preemies. Erin also has experience in NICU follow-up for developmental and feeding support. She is passionate about working with these little babies and their families

KARA ANN WAITZMAN, OTR/L, CNT, NTMTC

Kara Ann has been a neonatal therapist for 36 years in a level III NICU and serves as the nursery’s developmental specialist. Kara Ann is president of Creative Therapy Consultants, Founder of the Neonatal Touch & Massage Certification (NTMC®) and Original Co-Founder of Infant-Driven Feeding® and original co-developer of the Infant-Driven Feeding Scales© She is certified in NTMC, is Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Therapy (NDT) trained, reliable in NIDCAP. She has served on the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) Continuum of Care Advisory Board and Power of Touch Committee, the National Association of Neonatal Therapists (NANT) Professional Collaborative, the Pampers Womb to World Advisory Board, and the March of Dimes Program Services board. Kara Ann has been a nationally sought after speaker, educator, and consultant for over two decades and has published articles on positioning and feeding, and written a chapter on Neuromotor Development and Massage. She developed videos on Massage, Skin-to-Skin, and Swaddled Bathing. Kara Ann has received professional awards including the Ohio Occupational Therapy Pediatric Model Practice Award, the March of Dimes Healthcare Worker of the Year Award, the MVH Excellence in Service Award and the Inaugural Pioneer in Neonatal Therapy Award from the National Association of Neonatal Therapists.

Course requirements for the Hands-On Training includes attendance (all of Day 1 for Nurses and all of Day 1 & 2 for Therapists), completion of all skill development activities and testing with > 80% test scores (which includes a video analysis test) and completion of the course evaluation. No partial credit will be given.

  • This nursing continuing professional development activity was approved by the American Holistic Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.
    • Approved to award 7 contact hours. AHNA approval number 1813.
    • Approval for contact hours through the American Holistic Nurses Association is based on an assessment of the educational merit of this program and does not constitute endorsement of the use of any specific modality in the care of clients.
  • This activity has been approved for 13.50 CCUs by the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners for PTs and PTAs.*
  • Creative Therapy Consultants is an AOTA Approved Provider of professional development. PD activity approval ID# 7630. This live & distance learning interactive activity is offered at 1.36 CEUs, Advanced Level, OT Service Delivery. The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA or indicate AOTA approval of a certification or other professional recognition.
    • This PD activity is approved for 13.6 contact hours (1.36 CEUs).

  • The Neonatal Touch & Massage Certification Phase III Hands-On Training is offered for 1.35 ASHA CEUs (Advanced Level, Professional Area).*

* Partial credit for course will not be given.

Certification Details

Who can Become Certified?

Neonatal Touch & Massage Certification is open to neonatal nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech language pathologists with a minimum of 1000 hours experience in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or Special Care Nursery. The applicant must have a valid license and be in good standing with their licensing body. A Waiver Application of the 1000 hours is available in limited quantities for each NTMC, for those with relevant clinical experience.

Credentials:

Upon completion of Neonatal Touch & Massage Certification requirements, nurses will obtain professional credentials of NTMNC® (Neonatal Touch & Massage Nurse Certified) and therapists will obtain professional credentials of NTMTC® (Neonatal Touch & Massage Therapist Certified).

These professional credentials will last 2 years, and recertification is completed every 2 years online, for a nominal fee and with no travel required.  Recertification is our commitment to you to keep you an expert in this specialized neonatal area.

Fees for NTMC:

$875 Therapists; $650 Nurses.

  • Fee includes On-Line Education, Hands-On Training and course materials.
  • A 10% discount is offered if 3 or more candidates from one hospital apply/register and attend Phase III together.
  • Therapists must complete the Two Day Hands-On Training while Nurses must only complete the One Day of Hands-On Training.
Click the links below for more information about the following topics. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Simply send an email to NTMC@neonatalcertification.com

Learn specific details about each training by clicking on the location/date you are interested in attending.  Keep in mind, Nurses attend Day 1 only and Therapists attend both Day 1 and Day 2.

2024 NTMC  Schedule

In-Person Hands-On Training

Virtual Hands-On Training

2025 NTMC  Schedule

In-Person & Virtual Hands-On Training

FAQs

What is Neonatal Touch & Massage Certification (NTMC)™?

Neonatal Touch & Massage Certification is an exclusively neonatal, one of a kind certification for neonatal healthcare providers! It includes current literature through On-Line and Hands-On training, and is clinically applicable for daily caregiving in the NICU. NTMC has been developed with a threefold purpose:

1. Support NICU Infants:

Neonates often experience an overbalance of medical and procedural touch in the NICU, and have a greater risk of developmental issues. This certification will re-set the scales to balance out this negative touch with intentional, positive, nurturing touch to optimize the long-term development of infants.

Curriculum includes, but is not limited to:

  • Skin, Touch and Neonatal Massage Literature
  • Brain and Sensory Development
  • Trauma Informed Care and Als’ Synactive Theory
  • Infant-Driven Caregiving
  • Importance of Sleep for Development
  • Lymphatic System
  • Respiratory System
  • Impact of Pain and Stress on Development
  • Myofascial System
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

NTMC supports infants

2. Support NICU Families:

Families in the NICU ache to touch and hold their son or daughter. This certification will raise NICU caregiver’s awareness and skill to provide families with opportunities to parent their infant through touch and massage in the NICU and beyond.

Curriculum includes, but is not limited to:

  • Family Integrated Care Principles
  • Using Green Products in the NICU and Beyond
  • Maternal Administered Infant Massage
  • Swaddled Bathing
  • Skin-to-Skin Holding
  • Parent Support Resources for PTSD and ASD

Likewise, staff will obtain an advanced certification, professional credentials, contact hours, and become an expert in Neuroprotective, Family-Integrated, Developmental Care.

NTMC supports NICU families

3. Support NICU Staff:

Neonatal healthcare providers are not always equipped with the knowledge, skill, and practice to implement touch and massage into their daily caregiving activities. This certification will provide the lessons and tools to do just that!

Curriculum includes, but is not limited to:

  • Impact of Massage on Growth and Development
  • Therapeutic Positioning & Handling
  • Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT) Principals
  • Lymphatic Drainage
  • Myofascial Trigger Point Releases
  • Neonatal Massage Techniques
  • Anatomy: Muscles, Bones, and Ligaments
  • Handling, Bathing, Procedures, Skin-to-Skin
  • Positioning Effects on Respiratory System

NTMC supports NICU staff

How is this certification different from other Infant Massage Certifications?
The nature of the NICU: complex medical status, brain maturation, development status, and parental stress-is no comparison to infants outside of the hospital setting.  NTMC was designed exclusively by and for neonatal professionals with vastly different goals, approach, practice, and education than infant massage.

What are the benefits of becoming certified in NTMC?
  • Earn credentials for your professional signature! NTMTC for Therapists and NTMNC for Nurses
  • Raise your understanding of the latest research on touch and massage in the neonatal population
  • Have the opportunity to learn from experts throughout the United States and Canada
  • Learn from the experts who are actually completing and publishing research in neonatal care
  • Increase your knowledge of neonatal and infant development
  • Enhance your skill with daily caregiving and handling activities
  • Learn specific touch and massage techniques to maximize sleep, comfort and neurodevelopment
  • Sharpen your observation and assessment skills
  • Obtain an advanced practice certification in the highly specialized field of neonatal care
  • Earn an NTMC Pin to highlight your expertise in neuroprotective, family-centered, developmental care

What benefits does NTMC offer for babies and families?

Babies benefit when their NTMC professional improve the baby’s movement, alignment, comfort, level of stress, and sleep through touch, massage, 2-person caregiving, proper handling and positioning,

Families benefit when their baby’s NTMC professional teach them how to provide massage, skin-to-skin holding, swaddled bathing, and positive touch. Learning these caregiver activities improves the parent’s confidence and independence in parenting, improves infant-parent attachment and reduces parenting stress while improving the neurodevelopmental outcomes of the babies.

benefits for babies and families

dad massage

Where will I complete the Hands-On Training?
What is the difference between a Hands-On Training in person vs virtual?

Very little is different between the two trainings! The learning objectives, content, instruction, CEUs, professional credentials, and expertise in neuroprotective, developmental, family-centered care are identical for both trainings. Both are ‘live’ and thus are able to have discussions, answer questions, demonstrate techniques, and see you perform these techniques in both trainings. This includes 1:1 feedback to improve hands-on skills in neonatal massage, swaddled bathing, skin-to-skin transfers, therapeutic handling & positioning, and myofascial trigger point releases (therapists only), and so much more! Whether you choose to attend in person or virtual, your clinical practice will grow with NTMC.

How do I become Neonatal Touch & Massage Certified?

The process has three phases:

Phase I Application and Registration

  • Complete and submit the application, including a copy of your current license, and the validation form verifying 1000 hours worked in the NICU or SCN.
  • Once accepted, you will register and receive an NTMC login and instructions on how to proceed to Phase II.

Phase II Neonatal On-Line Education

  • Complete all On-Line Educational webinars (at your convenience) provided by experts from the United States and Canada.
  • Complete and pass (>80%) the short test after each webinar.
  • Complete course evaluation.
  • Obtain contact hours for the On-Line Education

Phase III Hands-On Training (offered both In-Person and Virtual)

  • Attend one day (Nurses) or two days (Therapists) of Hands-On Training.
  • Complete and pass (>80%) the final exam, which includes video analysis.
  • Complete course evaluation.
  • Obtain contact hours for the one or two days of Hands-On Training
  • Earn Professional Credentials: NTMNC (Nurses) or NTMTC (Therapists)
Are there any scholarships available for NTMC?

Pampers Professional is proud to support Creative Therapy Consultants’ vision to improve the lives of NICU babies and families through healthcare provider education and skill development. Pampers is providing -In-Kind support by funding two scholarships for each of CTC’s Neonatal Touch & Massage Certifications (NTMC®).  A NTMC Hosting Scholarship is available for one professional from the NTMC Hosting Site and a Surprise & Delight Scholarship is available to an NTMC Candidate who is self pay.  Pampers has no input into the planning, delivery, content or evaluation of NTMC. Click here for more information on the scholarship and eligibility criteria.

How can I host NTMC at my Facility?

It’s simple! Creative Therapy Consultants does most of the work for you.  You only need to have 10 staff from your facility attend (any combination of neonatal RNs, OTs, PTs, SLPs) and provide the room, data projector/screen, along with a light breakfast.  We provide everything else, including marketing, binders with handouts, dolls for lab, instructors, brochures, contact hours, credentials, and certificates!  Click HERE to learn more and download a document or simply send us an email to set up a time do discuss your options further!

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