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Supporting the transformative power of pregnancy with shiatsu and massage and understanding how this affects us for our whole life

Shiatsu and massage offer effective tools and we want to see them taking their place as a core part of 21st maternity care.

We see pregnancy as a time in women’s lives which offers much potential for change, growth and personal development: for the whole family and which affects them for the rest of their lives.

Parenthood offers a wonderful opportunity to understand more about ourselves, to heal old patterns and grow and develop physically and emotionally. It is also the time when the foundations of our relationship with our children are laid down. The long term health of women and their families is affected by the experience of the maternity period.

This aspect is often neglected in modern maternity care with its focus on what may go wrong. The very nature of the care it provides tends to undermine the confidence of the mother and the partner in listening to and acting on their own wisdom, and that of their baby. While things do sometimes go wrong and orthodox medicine is essential in some cases, it is also important to be supported in the joyful and transformative aspects of this time.

We have found that shiatsu and massage offer effective tools to support the well being of mothers and their families through their experience of pregnancy and birth and want to see them taking their place as a core part of 21st maternity care.

We also find that our approach to shiatsu and massage is relevant for people at all stages of their lives.

We also find that shiatsu and massage, because they are simply working with supporting your body, work alongside all other forms of treatment, whether more medical or complementary. They tend to enhance whatever other work you are doing.

Why do we think that massage and shiatsu can be beneficial in maternity care?

Shiatsu and massage offer tools to enable women and their families to focus inward and process the changes which are going on for them, both emotionally and physically.

Shiatsu and and massage offer a powerful combination of nurturing touch, breathing/visualisations, exercise and postural awareness.

Nurturing touch can ease physical and emotional dis-ease and help the mother be more aware of the changes going on in her body. This includes tools for connecting with her baby and her partner.

Breathing can help the mother be more relaxed and connected with herself, as well as her baby and partner.

Exercise and postural awareness help support the mother’s body in the changes she is experiencing and prepare her body for birth and the postnatal period

Shiatsu includes an awareness of the eastern/traditional view of the body as a garden which needs to be nurtured and tended: supporting our body in its relationship to the environment.

The traditional views of the body tend to focus on how we change according to the environment we are in. This is a key stone of Chinese medicine, which includes Yin and Yang and the five element theory. We all know how stress affects us but we are always affected by our environment in subtle ways: by the time of day, where we are in the world, the season, who we are with and so on. Sometimes small changes we can make in our environment can have a big impact, such as simply getting up and moving around if our work involves a lot of sitting or choosing to limit the time we spend with people who are not supporting us. We are more sensitive to our environment when we are pregnant and our baby is also being profoundly affected by the environment. Shiatsu can support us to understand the changes we can make in both our internal and external environment to best support ourselves and our unborn child.

Awareness of the importance of the quality of the energy of whoever is working with the mother and her family

As we are affected by the environment, we are affected by people working with us. If our health professional is stressed that affects us and our baby. All Well Mother work is about tools which are equally useful for the practitioner as well as the mother and her family. If you see a Well Mother trained practitioner we hope that you will feel relaxed and at ease with them, however if you do not, then it is important to find a practitioner with whom you feel a supporting connection. For the practitioners who do our course, we encourage them to work with the tools to support their own health and well being. This is an important part of traditional healing practices: “physician heal thyself’. Especially with massage and shiatsu, the practitioner is, in essence, the tool for supporting change and balance and so needs to be in a state of health and balance themselves.

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