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How do you decide who to go and see for shiatsu and massage?

Pregnancy massage

We have a register of practitioners who have trained with Wellmother

At the end of the day, the person has to feel the right person for you. You have to feel comfortable with them: and of course that is going to be different for each person. The therapist your friend raves about may not be the right one for you.

Remember you can always try a few different therapists. If at the first session you don’t feel comfortable you can always try another person until you find the right match.

Having said that there are a few questions that you can ask to help come to a good decision for you.

1: Check their basic massage or shiatsu (or relevant bodywork) qualifications.

Also check that they have up to date insurance and that they are a member of a professional body. There is a list of some of the main regulating organisations as the end.

2: What specialist training do they have in fertility/ pregnancy/birth/postnatal work mother and baby ?

How long was the course? When did they do it? What did it include? What support, if any, do they offer for fathers?

All practitioners on the Wellmother register have not only attended Wellmother courses, but they have also completed a lot of written work to demonstrate their knowledge.  Wellmother has specialised in providing in depth training for therapists since 1998. Many more people have attended courses but not completed the written work and so are not on the register.  You can look on our course pages to find what the practitioners cover in their courses and the length of the different courses.

3:  Ask some more specific questions about the practitioner and their experience, support and interests

Some of the specific questions will depend on what you are looking for. However they could include:

What experience does the practitioner have? How long have they been working in the field?

What kind of support do they have to keep developing their work? What is their specific area of expertise?

4: Ask what the session/treatment involves

This includes questions such as:

What types of positions do they include as choices?

Ideally you want want them to include a range of options. Perhaps they just work on the floor or on  a table, but they might also use massage chairs, or balls.  Do they include work in the side positions or semi reclining?

Do they work on the abdomen? How much do they include the baby?

What would they do if you develop complications? Would they come and visit you in hospital?

Do they offer any support for your partner? Or ways your partner can become involved?

Do they do home visits? This is useful especially for after birth.

Can you bring your baby along for postnatal visits?

If you have specific issues then ask how they would work with them and what experience they have with your particular issues.

Understanding massage and shiatsu qualifications

Regulation of shiatsu and massage worldwide

Regulation varies depending on the country. In most countries the regulation is voluntary: the means practitioners can choose whether to be part of a regulating body or not. If a therapist has chosen not to be part of a regulating body, you would certainly want to ask them the specific reasons why they have not.

We include some of the main bodies here. Please let us know if you feel that anything needs altering or updating.

In the UK there is now an umbrella body for complementary therapists: the CNHC. This is a voluntary regulating body. Suzanne Yates is a member of this and is a Shiatsu Profession Specific Board member.  As it is relatively new not all therapists are members of this. If they are not a member of this, check if they are a member of their own professional body.


UK : Shiatsu Society. This is the main professional body for shiatsu practitioners in the UK

USA AOBTA Suzanne was made an honorary lifetime member of AOBTA in recognition of her work

NCCAAOM (recognise Well mother courses) National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Australia Shiatsu Therapy Association of Australia

Europe: European Shiatsu Federation  and International Shiatsu Network

Germany GSD



UK regulating bodies:

UK Professional Associations

APNT Association of Physical and Natural Therapist: accredits, assesses and recognises Well Mother courses

FHT Federation of Holistic Therapists: recognises Well mother courses

Embody : has accredited Well Mother courses

MTI  Suzanne teaches for some schools and has presented several times at their Conferences


NCTCMB  The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage Bodywork: has accredited Well Mother courses


Australian Association of Massage Therapists AAMT: accredits Well Mother courses

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