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About the Owner

Barbara Hoft

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Founder and owner of Shantala Therapy.


Barbara was always fascinated by babies and pregnant moms and is driven by the passion of making a difference in people’s lives.


She was born and raised in Brazil and there pursued her bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy, along with her Doula certification through ANDO. She learned the Shantala practice during her first year of college, and became specialized on it the following year, working with the massage since. For her thesis, she studied “Shantala Benefits and Improvement of the Bond Between Teenager Moms and their Babies,” and her study was the starting point for a volunteer program that she developed years later in the United States. During college, she opened her company and worked in daycare centers practicing Shantala on infants ages 2 months to 2 years old.

In 2013, Barbara moved to the United States as an Au Pair in what turned out to be one of the richest experiences in her life. She took care of two little girls, one has Down syndrome and, aside from learning a lot about infant and toddler routines, she could practice Shantala and prove all of the benefits that the technique provides.


Barbara is a Certified Doula by DONA and her passion of maternal-infant health lead her to enroll in the Midwifery program at the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery, where she graduated in 2020. She is also a Certified Infant Massage Teacher by Tina Allen, the founder of Liddle Kidz Foundation and a Developmental Baby Massage Certified Teacher by Peter Walker, who has pioneered the practice of Developmental Baby Massage. 

In 2020, Barbara gave birth to her first son, and since then has experienced in first hand the benefits of Shantala. In addition to all the physical benefits, the massage helped both of them to bond even more after their challenging birth. And until this day, Shantala is a special moment between the two of them - and Lucca, her son, loves every second of it! 

Barbara is now in the second term of her Masters in Public Health (graduation planned for Summer 2024) and besides Shantala, she is also dedicating herself to research about postpartum. She had the opportunity of presenting her work "Extended Postpartum Care" in the Postpartum Support International Conference in 2023, published an encyclopedia entree about Mother-Infant Bond in the Encyclopedia of Sexual Psychology and Behavior, and is working on other projects for the coming years.

While not working, Barbara enjoys spending time with her husband, son and pets, traveling, visiting family, exploring new places, baking and being with friends!

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