Shiatsu & Pregnancy
Claudia Picher studied with Suzanne at the Shambahla Shiatsu School in Vienna. Here she writes about her work.
This was originally an article written in German.
Shiatsu is a wonderful accompaniment in pregnancy, because it comes to extreme physical, hormonal and energetic changes. The strengthening, balancing and soothing effect is positive for the mother – child relationship. The sensitive Shiatsu touch facilitates the change of the body in the pregnancy and supports the bonding to the unborn baby gently.
Treatment techniques and effectiveness Shiatsu can be used in all phases of pregnancy, at birth, after childbirth, but also in the desire to receive a child.Emotional and physical tensions, such as sleep deficit, bad nutrition or stress, can have a negative effect to conception. With Shiatsu the energy balance and thus the fertility as well as the fertility capacity can be influenced positively.Subsequently the Shiatsu unit is adapted to the pregnancy progress. In the first trimester we prefer quiet, gentle and holding techniques to support nidation of the embryo. In the second trimester the fetus and the belly of the mother are growing very strong. During this time, it is important to support the Qi (energy) and good blood flow. In the third trimester, all the organs except the lungs of the fetus are developed and it is already turning into a birth position. The Shiatsu unit becomes more active: we work with exercises, breathing techniques and movement techniques. The gymnastics ball, as well as sitting and standing positions are integrated in the treatment. There is the possibility to incorporate the partner into the session so that he / she learns handles and points to facilitate the birth of the partner. After birth, the emotional changeover is supported with Shiatsu. The strengthening techniques are helping the mother to regain strength, support the flow of milk and the remission of the uterus. The baby can be integrated into the treatment wonderfully and the mother – child relationship can be strengthened. A shiatsu treatment does not replace a consultation and a corresponding medical clarification.
Shiatsu exercises for a relaxed pelvis In pregnancy, it is important not to forget about your own physical wellness because if you feel good, it is also good for the baby. When we are working with pregnant women it is very important to create an exercise program for at home. These physical exercises are individually adjusted and adapted to the pregnancy progress. In case of pain or complications, however, always obtain medical advice!Here are some examples to support the pelvis in the 2nd and 3rd trimester:
Basic position for each exercise while standing: Standing hips-wide, legs straight, not completely stretching your knees, pelvic floor, belly and buttocks muscles are gently tense. Thus the pelvic is tilted slightly forward and there is no hollow back.
Circling the pelvis: From the basic position, circle the pelvis slowly a few times to the left and then to the right. Breathe calmly into the pelvis. You can put one hand on the sacrum and one hand on your belly, or hold your hands on your hips.You can also perform this exercise on a gymnastics ball while sitting. Relaxes and stimulates blood circulation to the pelvis.
Strengthening pelvic floor: Take up the ground position and then make a wide straddle and stretch your arms straight in front of the body. Now you squat down as it is pleasant for you. You breathe out and at the same time tense your pelvic floor muscles. Re-inhale and relax the pelvic floor musculature. Repeat this movement several times. Affects: strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and the ligaments.
The cat´s arched back: Quadruped stand, the knees are under the hips and the hands under the shoulders, the back is straight. Push your spine up to a hump, breathe out, and gently tighten the abdominal muscles. Now breathe again, relax the abdominal muscles and bring the spine back into a straight position. Repeat this exercise several times. It has a relaxing effect on the abdomen and strengthens the back and abdominal muscles.
Advantages of Shiatsu in pregnancy
Benefits for parents:
• Adapting to pregnancy
• Development of the emotional attachment to the baby
• Improvement of the body feeling
• Facilitating pain relief
• Trust in one’s abilities during birth
• Support for normal birth
• Involvement of the partner during pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal period
• Support for the desire to have a baby and at every stage of pregnancy, as well as after birth
Support for possible physical ailments such as:
• tensions in neck and shoulder area•
back pain and sciatic pain
• headache, migraine
• nausea, vomiting
• digestive problems, frequent urination
Benefits for the baby:
• Support at every stage of pregnancy
• Promote a tight mum, baby and dad relationship
• Easier finding the optimal birth position
• Reduce stress during labor
• Support physical and emotional development
The author: Claudia Picher
Dipl. Radiographer, Dipl. Shiatsu Practitioner, Holistic Womenshealing-Massage, LifeWave Partner, certified instructions as Well mother (Wish to have a baby, pregnancy and birth), Shiatsu for babies and childs, Japanese Acupuncture for children (Shonishin), Shiatsu for chronic diseases and cancer, as well as special massage techniques, pain therapy, cupping and moxa.