Health and well-being are our greatest gifts to ourselves and others. This is especially true during pregnancy and beyond, when looking after yourself really benefits the baby too. ‘Treat the mother to treat the baby’ states Oriental wisdom.
During pregnancy, as you receive nourishing Shiatsu your baby benefits too. Sometimes they will relax into stillness with you during Shiatsu, and at other times they will move about as they feel the energy moving! It is lovely to have space to connect with your baby and relax together.
What to expect from a Shiatsu session
Beginning with talking about how you are feeling, each Shiatsu session focuses on your individual needs. At the first session, I take a health history and find out how your pregnancy has been and how it’s going. I check in about any visits to the midwife, GP, or Obstetrician so that I am fully aware of anything I need to be. There is space for you to talk and ask any questions too.
Women tell me they feel ‘deep relaxation,’ ‘ease,’ ‘lightness’ and ‘plugged back into myself’ after receiving Shiatsu, and experience relief from many symptoms such as morning sickness, fatigue, muscular aches, shortness of breath, puffy legs and pelvic/hip/back pain.
“I can’t thank you enough for the excellent therapy I received from you. I very much enjoyed the sessions and found them to be of immense benefit when physiotherapy essentially suggested that I tolerate the pain in my pelvis until the baby was born.
Shiatsu is very relaxing and takes me into a space like yoga and hypnobirthing – that space between being asleep and awake. It feels really lovely.”
Farah, St Andrews
Depending on the stage of your pregnancy and comfort, you might be lying on the futon or in side position well supported with cushions or leaning over a ball or seated. You even stay fully clothed.
Shiatsu’s acupressure and energy techniques, and gentle stretching take women into a deep relaxation they say feels special and they love feeling their baby moving in response! Shiatsu is based on the principles of Oriental medicine. The practitioner works along the whole meridian channels as well as specific points, and connects with the deeper energy systems to support you, and to optimise health and well-being. This is when you and your baby may feel the sensations of energy moving.
Shiatsu also supports emotional well-being and connection with the baby, and helps to relieve any anxieties, stress or tension you feel.
“After experiencing four miscarriages and falling pregnant for the fifth time I decided I needed explore different ways of nurturing the pregnancy and providing relaxation during times of stress and anxiety. I had met Helen before and heard about Shiatsu and after trying acupuncture and various other alternative therapies I decided to give Shiatsu a go. I didn’t regret it, from the first session Helen allowed me space and time to let her know what I needed help for, I was very upset because of my past experiences. Helen listened and took notes and then practiced Shiatsu on me and my baby. I instantly felt at ease and in safe hands, I was deeply relaxed and really enjoyed the session. I continue to attend Shiatsu regularly and really do believe that it has played a part in nurturing me and my pregnancy, and overjoyed to say that I am currently 35 weeks. I am so grateful to Helen for her personable service, amazing shiatsu and would recommend it to anyone!”
T Edwards, Edinburgh
Shiatsu is safe to receive during all trimesters of pregnancy. Gentler techniques are used during the 1st trimester for relaxation and nourishment. You can lie on your back at this stage too. As the baby grows during the 2nd trimester, sessions take place in side position or using the ball for greater comfort. In the 3rd trimester at 38 weeks, we can introduce acupressure points that help to prepare your body for birth and these can also be used if your baby is overdue for support. There are techniques to offer support in cases of breech too, through relaxation and easing anxiety, and also to optimise positioning.
Shiatsu for Birth
Shiatsu Birth Preparation sessions with your birth partner allow you to discover how to move into different birth positions with your partner supporting you. The techniques and acupressure points can be used leading up to the birth and during different birth situations. Shiatsu does not interfere with drugs and is often effective as pain relief in itself. You can book 1 to 1 sessions, or gather a few friends together for a mini workshop or a series of classes at the 30 weeks plus stage.
After the birth, regular Shiatsu is very nourishing for both you and your baby. A practitioner can come to your house during the early weeks.
The post-natal period is a great time to receive Shiatsu because the body is open to support and healing. In ancient times in Japan, they would have had Shiatsu available as needed, alongside other support from the community, in the first ‘Golden’ month or so after the birth because they recognised the importance of nurturing the mother as she nurtured her baby.
Shiatsu supports your energy levels, breast-wellbeing, emotional balance, scar healing, general birth recovery including from any trauma, and easing any muscular tension/pain. You can even feed your baby, if you need to, while you receive Shiatsu.
Women really enjoy the deep relaxation and sense of well-being that Shiatsu brings.
Helen Kermode is a qualified Shiatsu practitioner, registered with the Shiatsu Society UK, and has completed Advanced Shiatsu for Pregnancy, Birth, and Post-natal with Well Mother UK.
For more information and to book appointments please contact 07914 725460 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Appointments are available in Kingskettle, Fife, Monday to Thursday and at The View Studio in St Andrews on Friday afternoons