Bookings and contact

Follow us on

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

Shiatsu and maternity care course

Shiatsu for pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period: course for midwives and maternity health professionals

Course dates

Next course with Suzanne Yates, London 9-11 July and 19 to 21 November 2018

with Lucy Trend in Edinburgh -a  2 day module of the 6 days course – Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th November 2017 10.00am-4.30pm

If you want an overview of our work with midwives and maternity health professionals please visit the introductory page

Shiatsu offers a specific form of  healing touch and a different approach to maternity care which can enhance your work.

This course has been running since 1999 teaching aspects of shiatsu which are relevant to midwives and other maternity health professionals. As well as learning practical skills for your clients you will learn skills which can support you personally. We can tailor lectures and workshops for small groups or at conferences, tailored for you about integrating shiatsu and a different approach.

This course was originally designed for midwives, but over the years has expanded to include doulas and other health professionals, including yoga teachers, birth educators, osteopaths, acupuncturists and massage therapists working with maternity clients, who would like to learn how to include some aspects of shiatsu and acupressure in their work.

Quotes from participants of Shiatsu and maternity care course for midwives and maternity health professionals

Birth-class-3“I would recommend this course to any colleague wishing to incorporate something new but also very useful into her practice. Julie Williams, midwifery tutor UWE in conclusion to her review. (link to full review)

I feel that though childbirth is very much medicalised it can work ‘hand in hand’ with complementary therapies to enable the women to have the best of both worlds.

Patti Saha, Community Midwife, London Patti Saha using shiatsu article

“The skills I learnt have helped me to create relaxing and supportive treatments for my clients.

I now use shiatsu within my sessions to reduce symptoms such as heartburn or back pain, help prepare for labour, as well as deal with issues such as positioning of the baby or milk production for breastfeeding. I have had a few experiences of treating women with breech presentation.  Where previously I would have referred for acupuncture or reflexology, it has been great to include the breech points in a session and get clients working with them at home.

I find that using shiatsu in my work helps me to maintain my energy, rather than feel drained with work. Working on a futon helps to feel more connected to the client- as there isn’t the barrier of the treatment table.  It’s also useful when treating postnatally, as the baby can be lying by the mother.  Suzanne’s tips of working on a ball have also been used during labour, and I have taught simple techniques for partners to use if appropriate during labour, such as sacral work.

I think that shiatsu can enhance the osteopathic treatments.  It addresses the subtle energies of the body that aren’t always directly addressed in structural osteopathic work.  It adds to the therapeutic experience for the client, which activates the parasympathetic response.  It is also useful for osteopaths to understand shiatsu and the five element theory in order to develop a language between themselves and other practitioners, which ultimately means better patient care.” Avni Trivedi, osteopath. You can read more in the Blog Avni wrote for Well Mother.

Why is shiatsu useful in maternity care? How can it be useful for midwives and maternity care professionals?

Shiatsu massage and touch are powerful tools to include in your work in supporting women, either as a midwife, or antenatal yoga teacher or pregnancy massage therapist. The  Well Mother approach can enable you to learn skills which can be practically  integrated in your work.  It also offers another perspective on pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period which can enhance your practice. You will also explore how shiatsu-based skills can support you personally – promoting your own well-being and preventing ‘burn-out’. Particularly relevant skills are: specific ways of touching,  awareness of posture, breathing, movement and exercise as well as relaxation.

You will learn to work in an holistic way, combining Eastern and Western philosophies as well as developing your touch sensitivity skills.

Can I learn enough in 6 days to be able to apply shiatsu into my maternity care work?

The essence of shiatsu is simply a focused way of touching: which can be integrated at some level even after one day of training. Well Mother courses teach Shiatsu skills which are particularly relevant to those working in the maternity field and which can be effectively learnt and applied without undergoing the full 3 year shiatsu training. Skills learnt can be immediately applied to practice and the hours completed on these courses may be able to count to hours required to become practitioners if midwives or doulas wish to continue further with their studies. They are primarily aimed at those who have no or limited pre-existing shiatsu knowledge, although courses can be tailored to suit specific groups such as acupuncturists or others who already have some knowledge of Chinese medicine.

There is an emphasis on giving a direct experience of these skills as well as more lecture based presentations.  All courses include supervised practicals working with maternity clients.

Some examples of how midwives have been able to integrate shiatsu into their work are given in the book “Shiatsu for Midwives”.

You can also read various articles.

Patti Saha using shiatsu

Justine teaching midwives.

One midwife who attended the course did a pilot study at St Michaels in Bristol. Ingram, J., Domagala, C., Yates, S., 2005. The effects of shiatsu on post term pregnancy. Comp. Ther. Med. 13, 11 – 15:

Another midwife wrote a review and she teaches shiatsu to student midwives at University of West of England.

Shiatsu falls in line with good practice as outlined in “Changing Childbirth” (UK). It is essentially about the relationship of one human being with another as well as with themselves. It is extremely cost effective as it doesn’t cost anything beyond the costs of the original training. It involves a shift of focus away from tests and technology towards using more “intuitive” midwifery skills.

Course overview: What will I learn each day of the Shiatsu and maternity care course

The full training is 6 days. The first two days can be attended on their own as an introduction.

Days one and two: Introduction to key theoretical and practical concepts of using shiatsu for pregnancy and birth. This includes developing touch skills and personal development work.

We will cover:

  • Introduction to key theoretical concepts (Qi, Jing, Meridians)
  • Introduction to Shiatsu Meridian Exercises
  • Introduction to Practical Principles of Shiatsu (working positions and posture;  use of pressure,  Mother hand/working hand, feeling full and empty energy patterns)
  • Shiatsu work for Labour (covering work in the all 4’s position, including the ball,  sacrum, back, neck, Governing Vessel and Bladder meridians,  labour points)

By the end of these two days you will have some idea of how you can use shiatsu in birth preparation, skills you can teach parents and shiatsu for specific situations such as back ache, connecting with baby, supporting optimal fetal positioning and so on.

Days three and four: Consolidating practice and learning more about shiatsu for pregnancy and the postnatal period

We will cover

  • Development and consolidation of shiatsu theory including learning about the Penetrating and Girdle vessel
  • Development of Shiatsu Meridian Exercises
  • Shiatsu for the abdomen, neck, legs(Gall Bladder, Stomach, Bladder) and arms (Lung ,Heart Protector) and the Penetrating Vessel
  • Shiatsu for Pregnancy and the postnatal period
  • Shiatsu in the Side Position

By the end of these two days, you will have more confidence in your work during birth and also some ideas of how to include shiatsu in antenatal and postnatal care for specific issues.

Days five and six; Deepening our understanding and working with maternity clients

 These two days offer an opportunity to consolidate the skills learnt and the course and understand how to apply them to different practical situations. Any practical skill such as shiatsu needs a time of repetition and consolidation. We also take time to deepen your understanding of the theory, which can often be a little difficult to grasp initially.  On the last day, pregnant and postnatal mums and their babies and partners are invited in so that students have a chance to work in a supervised setting in order to be able to refine their skills.

Aims and learning outcomes of six-day Shiatsu and maternity care course


1. To provide a practical understanding of the use of shiatsu and bodywork for pregnancy, labour, postnatally and for the baby

  • Knowledge of techniques for different stages of pregnancy.
  • Techniques to aid anterior cephalic presentation of baby.
  • Awareness of back and abdominal care for mother, including positions and techniques to avoid.
  • Techniques for labour, including their use in various birth positions.
  • Awareness and massage of the baby in the womb.
  • Use of exercise, breathing, relaxation, visualisations.
  • An understanding of the importance of appropriate position for mother’s and baby’s well-being and comfort.
  • To be aware of issues regarding use of oils.
  • Baby massage; Shiatsu techniques appropriate for the new-born, including how to teach some basic techniques to parents.

2. To provide a general theoretical understanding of shiatsu and Chinese medicine and a specific understanding of how this relates to pregnancy, birth and the immediate post-partum period

  • Oriental views of pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period – including energy changes in the mother and development of the foetus/baby.
  • Yin/yang, the nature of Ki, essence, function of meridians, location and function of points (“tsubos”), 5 element theory.
  • An overview of a different perspective on health and illness.

3. To provide practical tools for self-development to enhance the understanding of shiatsu and bodywork, especially in developing awareness and sensitivity of touch, and also to support your own well-being

  • Looking after yourself – exercises, breathing, relaxation to enhance your own well-being and vitality.
  • Exercises developing ‘sensitive’ touch.
  • Self development – awareness of how our beliefs and experiences affect our work, e.g. our births, sexuality.

4. Working towards an holistic model of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period

  • To be aware of how the orthodox medical model of pregnancy can undermine a woman’s and partner’s confidence in themselves.
  • Supporting development of the mother’s and father’s relationship with the baby and their confidence in their own bodies and wisdom.
  • Developing a sensitive model of care in which the needs of the baby are recognised, and the mother/father/baby bond is encouraged.
  • Guidelines on how the shiatsu approach can be included within midwifery practice including when to refer to a Shiatsu practitioner or other relevant health professional.

Entrance requirements and insurance for shiatsu and maternity care course

The focus of these courses is on the eastern view of the maternity period,  and so they do not cover the western theory of pregnancy and birth. They are aimed at professionals already working in the maternity field. If you want to cover this aspect this then you will need to do a Shiatsu practitioner or Massage therapist course.

Depending on your profession and your employment status, you will need to make sure that you have appropriate insurance cover to work with your clients. Well Mother can support you in supplying relevant certificates of attendance and course outcomes.

PREP suitable (NMC 2008)

Written work required to complete the Shiatsu for maternity care course

In order to attain the Diploma and be eligible for inclusion on the Well Mother register, some written work is required. This consists of writing up some case studies of work with women and a short project exploring how you will be including Shiatsu in your practice.

How to book

How to book maternity courses

For course dates, please click on the course you are interested in and you will find a link to the course dates on the left hand side of the page

If you would like to book a course in the UK you can email a copy of the correct booking form directly to Well Mother.

More information maternity courses

If you would like to book a course, but have a few more questions before booking, then please don’t hesitate to email

or phone us with any questions – see our contact details.

If you would like to book a course outside the UK, please contact the relevant organiser.

Methods of payment accepted are:

  • Cheque (payable to Well Mother)
  • Bank transfer (details available on demand)
  • PayPal (there is an additional charge of £15)