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Shiatsu practitioners

Welcome to Well Mother for shiatsu practitioners wishing to specialise in maternity work and in deepening their understanding of the Extra-ordinary vessels

For information on each course we run please click on the course you are interested in using the tabs on the main toolbar or the menu on the left hand side of this page.

We teach courses in English, French, Italian and Spanish and with German and Portugese translation: click on the relevant language pages to find information in your language.

The main courses are:

Shiatsu and various aspects of maternity care: fertility, pregnancy, birth and postnatal for mother and baby: either a full Diploma or Foundation modules

Shiatsu and the Extraordinary Vessels: why they are relevant for work with all clients

Exploring the elements and residentials: courses to support you as well as your practice

Suzanne has also written a book for you “Pregnancy and Childbirth: a holistic guide to massage and bodywork” : which covers both the eastern and western view of pregnancy and birth and includes shiatsu work as well as massage

Our courses will not only help you to develop your work with maternity clients but you will also find that the Well Mother approach to Shiatsu enhances your work with all  your clients. Many people also find the courses are a powerful healing process for themselves.  The time we all spend in our mother’s womb and our experience of birth and our early childhood forms the base of experience for the rest of our lives. Understanding the impact of this time is fundamental to understanding our energy in the present.

A fundamental aspect of our teaching is work with the Extra-ordinary vessels. The maternity period is a time when they are activated and changing: it is what the ancients called a gateway of change. Working with mothers and babies has enhanced our understanding of these important vessels and the courses offer an opportunity to experience these vessels deeply.

What is the Well Mother approach?


Our main courses are

  • Shiatsu foundation courses in Extraordinary vessels, and women’s health and introduction to various aspects of the maternity period
  • Shiatsu Diploma 3 modules of 4 days


Suzanne´s work is amazing. She teaches the quality of touch during pregnancy so well, that I am really looking forward being pregnant myself. Sabine Kovats, Vienna

Sabine Kovats, attended Modules in Vienna, Austria:” I attended already two courses of the Well Mother modules and Suzanne´s work is amazing. She teaches the quality of touch during pregnancy so well, that I am really looking forward being pregnant myself. My husband and I struggle already a long time with fertility problems and we want to conceive naturally and decided not to go for IVF.

After the second course in autumn 2012, which was focusing on birth, I experienced a huge difference in my body. We did a lot of spirals and movements in the hips and already during and after the course I felt my woman-power so much, it was amazing. I am pretty sure that this course also had an effect on my menstruation, which used to be painful for several years, and changed completely now! I even didn’t recognize that it started and also the blood consistency changed! It was really a new experience for me to be without severe pain during this time. I still didn’t conceive up to now, but the work with this topic changed my mind. Instead of forcing being pregnant I let it go and I am open in a way which is totally new to me.

Thank you so much Suzanne! Your courses influenced my work with pregnant women in a wonderful way!”

I didn’t expect the profound impact that the course would have on me personally and in terms of my professional practice.

Dave Hopwood attended the modules in Bristol, UK. “I started my Shiatsu journey a year before I retired from the Army after 29 years service.  During my diploma course we only spent a day and a half on pregnancy which sparked my interested as a practitioner and so I decided to do use Suzanne’s diploma as CPD to develop my knowledge and skills further.  My aim was to develop my knowledge of the ‘energetics’ of pregnancy and to develop my Shiatsu skills to support any pregnant clients.  The course subsequently delivered all of this and much more.  What I didn’t expect was the profound impact that the course would have on me personally and in terms of my professional practice.

The insights and experiences that I had during the course regarding the energetics of pregnancy, labour and postnatally, the female psyche, the power of the Eight Extraordinary Vessels, the power and impact of touch on babies and the integration of the role of the father-to-be at all stages of pregnancy, birth and postnatally have changed my whole approach and ways of working not just with pregnant clients but all of my female clients. In essence women are still a mystery to me but 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 empathise more readily with them. To any male Shiatsu practitioners who plan to work with pregnant clients this course is a MUST.

Clare James attended a foundation day: “When I received shiatsu from Suzanne I had been experiencing two years of heavy periods after having a coil fitted. I wanted a coil and to stop taking the pill so my hormones could find their natural balance again but of course the coil has its own effect on the system… I was training on Suzanne’s course and luckily she was my practice partner,  during a 5-minute exercise with Suzanne holding my belly and back I felt a subtle tremor in my body, and I knew something had changed in my whole body. On that day I was half-way through my period and I planned to visit the Ladies straight after the lesson, but when I did, there was less blood than I was expecting. The next day my period was nearly finished – about 3 days earlier than usual. Since then, it’s been nearly two years, my periods have been regular and light, just as they were when I was a teenager. I’ve used this technique ever since when I’ve wanted some comfort and I’ve shared it with friends and my yoga students who say they have also benefitted from it. I’m so grateful to Suzanne for teaching me an invaluable pick-me-up and more than anything, for bringing me back to my easy periods.”

The Well Mother community

The Well Mother Register of Maternity Professionals, Massage therapists and Shiatsu Practitioners specialising in maternity work; Once you have completed the work for each module, you can go onto the Well Mother Register.

Well Mother Community: Well Mother Facebook and Yahoo discussion groups: to communicate with other therapists, teachers and maternity professionals  who have studied with Well Mother.

Continuing education events

There is the opportunity to network with other practitioners at Continuing education events. Some are taught by Well Mother teachers and others with outside specialists. Some are half day or one day courses. There is a regular  Residential gathering. These courses offer  a wonderful opportunity to link with other Well Mother practitioners such as midwives, doulas and massage therapists


Books by Suzanne Yates, director of Well Mother

The main course text book for the massage courses is: “Pregnancy and Childbirth: an holistic approach to massage and bodywork”  This is written by the director of Well Mother, Suzanne Yates, one of the main specialists in the maternity bodywork field internationally.

Suzanne also wrote the book “Shiatsu for Midwives”

Articles by Suzanne Yates

Suzanne has written many articles on various aspects of shiatsu and the Extra-ordinary vessels

DVDs and Audio CDs in progress

We are currently making some DVD’s and audio CDs. Please contact us for further information so we can keep you updated.

Why would you want to do a Well Mother course?

A unique perspective; includes the Extra-ordinary vessels

We believe our programme is one of the most in depth in the world and includes a unique perspective on the Extra-ordinary vessels, developed out of the work in the maternity period. This work is ultimately beneficial for all clients.

Emphasis on personal development

A key aspect of the courses is understanding how the maternity period has affected you personally, either as a baby or a mother/parent. Space is given to process this.

Working with maternity clients since 1990

Suzanne, the main teacher, has built up considerable body of knowledge having pioneered work in this field since 1990. The knowledge has been developed through her work with midwives, other childbirth educators and professionals working in the field and the work of her students and assistant teachers.

Excellent support resources during your maternity studies

We not only offer excellent study resources but we offer pre course support to prepare you to get the most out of the courses which are fairly intensive, but very stimulating.  During the course there is plenty of hands on experience including a clinic session with pregnant women (or postnatal or babies depending on the course).  When you have finished the training we support you while you consolidate your work with case studies. We feel this is important to gain experience of working with a range of women. We support you with Skype tutorials during the case study part of the course.

Support to build and maintain your practice

Once you have completed the course, we continue to support you with the Well Mother community, including Facebook and Yahoo groups, newsletters, CPD events and tutorials. You can always discuss issues related to clients with us, through direct email or Skype contact with Suzanne Yates or other Well Mother teachers. We also facilitate one to one supervision sessions and study  groups in your local area.

Well Mother Expertise built since 1990: pioneering maternity massage and shiatsu

We have been building our expertise since 1990, at a time when most therapists were scared of touching a pregnant woman and there were no pregnancy massage courses and only very basic shiatsu and pregnancy courses anywhere in the world!  That fear still remains for many and there are still many myths and misconceptions about working in pregnancy.

Suzanne Yates is considered a pioneer in the maternity bodywork field and the majority of courses are taught by her or include some input from her. She is supported by a team of teachers who are also passionate about maternity work and support the Well Mother ethos.

Our work is valued internationally and we work alongside midwives and other health professionals so that we can constantly enrich and develop our work.

Even if you decide not to specialise in maternity work, we believe understanding the effects of pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period on the mother, baby and family can enrich your work with all your clients at all stages of their life.