During pregnancy your body constantly changes as it adapts to the development and growth of her baby. Shiatsu is a wonderful way of assisting with these changes, with a combination of nurturing touch, breathing, exercise and postural awareness. Shiatsu eases physical and emotional disease and creates awareness of the changes going on in your body – through all stages of pregnancy from preconception to the postnatal period. 

Shiatsu treatment 

Shiatsu, also known as “finger pressure”, is a holistic healing bodywork developed in Japan and based on theories of Traditional Chinese medicine. It stimulates the energy systems of the body to promote health and well-being.

Shiatsu supports and strengthens the body’s natural ability to heal and balance itself. It works on the whole person; including physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of ourselves. It works on the autonomic nervous system; helping to release toxins and tension from the muscles, and can stimulate the hormonal system. The aim is not only to alleviate the immediate problem, but to determine and treat the cause. Diagnostic skills and techniques are used to determine the course of treatment.

Shiatsu integrates meridian therapy, point selection, moxibustion, cupping, gua sha and corrective exercises as part of the healing process. The practitioner uses palms, fingers, thumbs, elbows, knees and even feet in a combination of massage techniques, applying pressure to key points to influence and stimulate energy flow in the body. Stretches are an integral part of a shiatsu treatment, as are lifestyle advice such as diet, yoga, meditation and exercise. 

The person receiving shiatsu remains clothed and covered with a blanket and treatment is done on a Japanese style futon with supporting bolsters and pillows, adaptable throughout the different trimesters. The ideal positions may be on your back and stomach in the first trimester but move to side lying as your pregnancy progresses. There can also be the use of a fit ball or seated positions as your practitioner assesses each client individually. The treatment allows for the client to remain clothed therefore, comfortable, loose fitting clothing is recommended.

Mother benefits

Fundamental to shiatsu is the awareness of your relationship to the environment and how it affects your overall wellbeing. You and your baby are more sensitive to your environment during pregnancy. Shiatsu supports you to understand changes you can make in your internal and external environment to best support yourself and your unborn child.

Shiatsu offers the perfect solution to address your changing needs and can alleviate many of the unwelcome side effects of pregnancy, such as:

  • Back pain, sciatica, assisting with posture, muscle tone and mobility
  • Headaches, neck and shoulder tension
  • Aids digestion, relieves nausea and heartburn, eases constipation
  • Promotes balance, relaxation, aids sleep and reduces insomnia
  • Promotes improvement in blood circulation and lymphatic flow, ease oedema and varicose veins in legs and feet
  • Supports the physical, emotional, hormonal and spiritual journey through pregnancy
  • Allows time and space to relax, find calm, reduce stress, improve breathing, prepare for birth and parenthood.

Baby benefits

The shiatsu practitioner always considers the baby throughout treatment and focuses on the energy of both mother and baby. By providing a calm, quiet and relaxed space, the atmosphere allows you to feel relaxed and secure, in turn providing a nurturing environment for your baby. 

The practitioner helps build a connection between mother and baby, with breathing techniques and visualisations embedded into the treatment, working with slow, deep movements that have a powerful effect.

Birth preparation

The goal is to help you to enter childbirth with good health, body awareness and a strong connection to you baby. Supporting you to prepare for childbirth in a relaxed state helps reduce anxiety and increase self-confidence. This moderates the perception of pain during childbirth, and can reduce the length of labour, leading to a reduced need for medical intervention. 

The shiatsu practitioner can teach exercises to help your body adapt to the physical changes that occur during pregnancy, which are useful as preparation for childbirth. The regular practice of exercises and stretches relieves body discomfort while promoting body awareness. It can also help you better adapt to the changes experienced during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

In the last phase of pregnancy the shiatsu practitioner will assist with obtaining the optimal fetal positioning for delivery. This is done through gentle exercises and non-invasive techniques, often assisting with breech presentations and pregnancies past the estimated due date.

Postnatal benefits

Shiatsu helps promote postnatal recovery by supporting abdominal and pelvic floor toning, relieving back and shoulder aches, improving circulation and lymphatic flow. 

It benefits sleep, giving space for rest and easing fatigue. Other benefits for the postnatal period include:

  • A space for the mother to be with the baby without other demands
  • Support for bonding and feeding
  • Emotional development
  • Helps mother to find equilibrium as a new mother.

To begin exploring shiatsu treatment for pregnancy, postnatal or beyond, contact us to discuss your needs.