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Learn the importance of the Extraordinary Vessels for female clients: understand the menstrual cycle and how to support fertility, the peri-menopause and beyond

Do you feel that you could give better support to your female clients at different phases of their cycle whether or not they are trying to conceive? Would you like to understand how to support your own energies better?

The menstrual cycle offers a valuable tool for understanding the nature of women’s energies and how to support them more effectively, especially if we are trying to conceive or going through the changes of the menopause.

The most effective way to support women's cycles, conception, the whole maternity period and the menopause, is to include work with the Extraordinary Vessels.  All of the Core Four Extraordinary Vessels are especially important. You will learn to work with the Girdle (Dai) and Penetrating (Chong) as well as the Conception (Ren)  and Governing (Du) Vessels. You will also be introduced to the Outer Four (Linking and Stepping - Wei and Qiao).

As well as deepening your shiatsu, you will learn self care exercises and meditations which will be useful not only for your clients but also you! This course can be taken as a stand alone module, but also gives a basis from which we will build into more detailed work in specialised maternity modules.

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What you will learn

  • How to start integrating the Extraordinary Vessels into your work, especially Penetrating, Girdle, Conception and Governing (with some awareness of Wei and Qiao)
  • Eastern understandings of the menstrual cycle, which will help you integrate the Extraordinary Vessels along with the 12 channels into your work with all female clients
  • Relevant Anatomy and Physiology of the menstrual cycle in an engaging and practical way
  • More about your own connection to your menstrual cycle
  • How the menstrual cycle slows down as we move through the menopause and physical, emotional or spiritual issues that these changes bring up,
  • How we integrate these changed energies after the menopause and in later life and how to process and support this period
  • Breathing, visualisations and exercises as well as practical shiatsu and massage sessions to help you understand the nature of these changes, which will benefit both you and your clients

The importance of the Extraordinary Vessels

Do you have clients coming to you with issues you don’t feel you are working with as effectively as you could be? Do you feel that there is some quality of connection you are not quite reaching? This may present especially with issues related to their fertility, sexuality, early childhood experiences. Learning to work with all 8 Extraordinary Vessels will fill in these gaps in your work and transform the way you work with all clients. Living up to their name: they truly are Extraordinary! They help us tap into the creative power and potential of our body on a profound level. You will also discover their transformative effect on you personally as well.

These vessels are not so well known as the 12 channels but are relevant for all clients at all stages of their lives. They regulate fundamental energies, including our ancestral connections and why we are here, to our capacity to be present in each moment and experience the fullness of life as who we are. They are especially connected to our reproductive systems and our sexuality and to how we live through major transitions in life including death. Without them, we are missing out on tapping into fundamental aspects of our being.

We will use the menstrual cycle as a model for learning about how their energies change. It is helpful for men to understand this cycle, not just for their clients, but to understand their own energy flows too. Understanding this cycle, also prepares those students who are interested in following up this course with Suzanne’s maternity modules, to have a good foundation.


Foundation module: stand alone or can continue to maternity modules and Wellmother Diploma

Running since 1999, this course is a pre requisite to covering the material of the three specific maternity modules of pregnancy, birth and postnatal. During the course you will work with each other and discuss cases so that you can begin to integrate the Extraordinary Vessels into your work and that you are ready to continue with the more specialised work of the maternity modules.

The full maternity course for Shiatsu practitioners consists of a foundation module or day, followed by 3 modules, Pregnancy, Birth and Postnatal. You can choose to attend the individual modules in any order and each is a self-contained course. You can choose to complete case studies for each module and have a certificate for that module or, if you complete case studies for all three modules and a reflective piece, then you will receive the Maternity Diploma. This  means you can go on the Wellmother register and be part of our global network.

The maternity modules are: Pregnancy  January 2024, Birth January 2025 and Postnatal January 2026: all in Bristol at the Centre for Whole Health.

The course runs from  9.30 to 5.30 Thursday to Saturday and till 5 on the Sunday. An accommodation list is available by clicking the link on the right.

I feel that the course gave me some invaluable insights into the female psyche and the impact of their ‘Yin-ness’ on their well being – so much so I can now empathise more readily with them.

Dave Hopwood MRSST

Shiatsu Practitioner

I knew I lacked confidence in working with pregnant women and wanted to change that. I finally took the step to do all of Suzanne's modules on maternity care, labour and postnatal. What I learned was much more than I expected. Not just the techniques for supporting women, their partners and babies,  but also how using the extraordinary vessels can have amazing benefits for everyone else I treat with shiatsu, including myself.  Suzanne has an incomparable depth of knowledge and a teaching style that makes you feel able to learn and apply those skills confidently

Vennetta Royal

Shiatsu Practitioner

Suzanne's work has had a huge impact on me: my studies completely changed the quality and depth of my treatments, not only with pregnant women but every client and I learnt so much about myself.

Szilvia Feher, MRSS

Shiatsu Practitioner

Dates and location

  • Bristol, Centre for Whole Health BS3 3BP: 4 days
    10/11/2022 - 13/11/2022


Suzanne Yates

Suzanne Yates

Suzanne is the founder and principal teacher at Wellmother, established 1990

Entrance Requirements

  • You need to be a shiatsu practitioner, or in your final year of studies, or a bodyworker who works with Chinese medicine.

Supporting material

Pregnancy and childbirth

Suzanne Yates

Order the book

More information


£325 early booking (8 weeks before) , £355 full price

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