Shiatsu with a Practitioner – Jan and Laura’s Story
I was having some shiatsu for a back problems when I discovered I was pregnant. My family already consisted of my husband and 2 small girls and I was in a high-pressure job, experiencing stress and pressure on a daily basis. I took the view that a weekly shiatsu would benefit me throughout my pregnancy. It was worth the considerable time juggling to fit the treatment into my schedule because I benefited in the following ways:
1. Less tired and stressed
2. Lifelong problems with irritable bowel (constipation / flatulence / localised pain) were eased when in previous pregnancies I had to resort to medication (lactulose) to remedy the problem.
3. Lifelong sufferer from poor circulation which improved and made me feel less sluggish. Oily skin didn’t suffer as it had previously.
4. The eczema I suffered in previous pregnancies was alleviated and reduced to a small spot on neck
5. No problems with my asthma which is triggered easily during pregnancies.
I saw a professional practitioner, Jan, who treated me throughout my antenatal care and postnatal recovery. I tried to do the breathing exercises during pregnancy and found them beneficial. I experienced a degree of scepticism and firm advice that I would need a Caesarean section (my two girls had been born by C-section, before I had made contact with shiatsu) which is what I had in the end. My practitioner told me of the benefits of the Heart-Uterus connection which I tried and felt more in touch with my baby boy. I remember one night clearly thinking my hand was on top of his head. The next day the midwife told me that the area I indicated to her was indeed where the baby’s head was lying.
Jan Walker, obstetric physiotherapist and shiatsu practitioner, working in Manchester was the practitioner Laura went to see. Here is her perspective.
At the first pregnancy session, (possibly 5-6 weeks pregnant) I felt an aliveness to the lower hara and held the HT/Uterus connection. I tonified the Earth Qi and did all work in the direction of the hara. She really enjoyed the HT-Uterus connection, feeling a need to connect Fire with Earth. Laura always has excess of Qi in her upper body and head. I held the Spleen in her feet with a gentle swinging movement which she liked. As pregnancy progressed, I worked a lot with Metal energy, to support the changing roles and boundary issues. Laura is having to change borders – finishing her old job, which she has done for many years and exchange to new life at home. She has restricted breathing as she is finding this exchange difficult. By the end of pregnancy, the Hara was full and inviting and Laura liked constant contact and pressure with the ampuku. A lot of tightness that was held in the body has been let go.
I had to deal with my own dissatisfaction that Laura, although wanting a normal delivery had been undermined by the doctor and filled with fear into agreeing to another elective caesarean. She was disappointed but happy that she and the baby were healthy.
Postnatally, I have had 3 abscesses on my scar and an infection of the lining of the uterus. I was alerted to the potential problem when Jan told me that my legs were retaining fluid and my left side was very clogged. She also told me that the spleen was under pressure and the energy was depleted. I went to see the doctor who confirmed the infection which was treated with antibiotics. I then suffered the usual problems with irritable bowel and poor circulation. The shiatsu treatments have improved my bowel movements, circulation and lifted my feeling of well being. I felt more energised post each treatment. I did use the points which Jan demonstrated to me. They were very tender at first but have become less so in time.
A recurrent theme in this dance of balance of energy seems to have been work on Kidney, Spleen, Liver, Heart. The connection between LV/SP being indigestion, nausea and sluggish erratic eliminations. The connection between SP/KD with the heaviness and weakness in neck, back, sacrum and frequent urinations. KD/HT connection seen in hot head, chest and face with coldness of belly, buttocks and feet. Again here using the HT/UT connection, seems to lead to a dampening of excess Fire in her head and upper body, giving a real warmth to the lower Hara. What I feel here is an “Awakening” of the true Heart, an allowing of a real opening up of the Self. The Fire that has raged in her pregnancy and is all consuming settles and becomes grounded, nurtured and allows the other Elements to come into balance, bringing the warmth and the Hara into balance.
The over all benefit of the shiatsu treatments have been:
1. pain relief
2. move energy
3. relief of stress and tiredness
4. greater feeling of control over my body or perhaps more in tune with it. I feel I know myself better than before and have better resources available to me
5. lifts depression /lethargy.
As opposed to an indulgence, which I have to say I thought was the case in the early stages, I have come to regard the shiatsu treatments as a essential maintenance and health care. To a conservative, analytical cynic that is a long journey in a comparatively short time..
Thanks to Laura and Jan