In this blog we look at frequently asked questions about Baby shiatsu and massage.
My baby has colic. Can shiatsu and massage help?
My baby has issues with sleeping. Can shiatsu and massage help?
Benefits of postnatal work for mother
Long term implications
Infant massage
How is shiatsu beneficial for your baby?
How is shiatsu different from massage?
Shiatsu can be done through the clothes as well as directly on the skin with oil
When can I start giving my baby shiatsu?
Useful reading

My baby has colic. Can shiatsu and massage help?

Yes, often. Emotional and physical issues are often very interconnected. With our approach we look at both the mother as well as the baby. If the mother is feeling stressed or unsupported in some way, this will have an impact on the baby and this needs to be addressed. However there are also specific techniques which can support the baby’s digestive system on both a physical and emotional level.

My baby has issues with sleeping. Can shiatsu and massage help?

The first thing the practitioner will do is to find out if there is a problem. Babies sleep differently from adults and it may be just that you have unrealistic expectations for your baby. This is why our therapist are aware of baby’s development at different stages. However it may also be that your baby has a digestive or emotional issue which is making sleep more difficult and often there are techniques which can support the baby directly as well.

Benefits of postnatal work for mother

Benefits for mother and partner

  • Helps promote postnatal recovery, facilitating the restoration of pre-pregnancy physiology eg by supporting abdominal and pelvic floor toning, relieving back and shoulder aches, improving circulation and lymphatic flow, supporting energy flows
  • May help prevent and provide support in cases of postnatal depression
  • Touch may help in the birthing recovery process by helping relieve stress and trauma, especially if the birth experience differed from the woman’s expectations. It may also help promote physical recovery and support healing from the effects of any strains or medical interventions experienced during birth.
  • Helps promote a positive relationship with her partner and baby: the partner can be involved in providing bodywork for mother and baby. The partner could also receive bodywork to support them in their adjustment to parenthood.
  • Provides support for the emotional demands of early mothering
  • Provides a relaxed environment
  • Helps promote sleep, giving space for rest, easing fatigue
  • Offers support for breastfeeding

Benefits for baby

  • Can offer a space for the mother to be with the baby without other demands
  • Offers support for bonding and feeding
  • emotional development

Long term implications

  • Supports the family unit in making the transitions
  • Helps lays foundations to support the long term emotional and physical health of mother, father and baby

Infant massage

Touch is beneficial to your baby. Massage is a lovely tool as it can include lots of stroking and touch with oil. Practitioners trained with Well mother will also include some elements of shiatsu (see below)
Suzanne and Anne Badger who run the infant massage courses have written two blog piece for…….link here

Regular massage/shiatsu contributes enormously to your baby’s physical and emotional development and can be fun for both the baby and the parents. It can also help heal birth trauma or support during periods of illness. You can learn techniques to use on your baby, or the practitioner may include some direct work with your baby if it seems appropriate – or a combination of the two. The main emphasis, however, is to enable the parent to work with their baby, rather than for the baby to receive work from a practitioner.

How is shiatsu beneficial for your baby?

baby-shiatsu-1Shiatsu can be a way to bond with your child. It includes touch, relaxation and exercise. There are techniques which can support your baby’s development, in a fun way.

You can have the option of being taught techniques you can use with your baby or the practitioner can work directly with your baby if this seems appropriate.

If your baby has specific issues which you need some support with then it may be appropriate for the practitioner to work directly with your baby in order to work out what would be most suitable. This way you can be given a specially designed programme.

How is shiatsu different from massage?

Shiatsu includes elements of massage, such as stroking and gentle kneading. It also includes some stretches and movements for your baby. Shiatsu also includes some work with meridians and acupuncture points.

Sometimes your baby may simply want to be held in certain areas rather than stroked. The stretches and movements can support different aspects of your baby’s development. A basic routine can be taught which you can adapt to your baby’s needs.

There are points which can address physical issues, such as digestion, breathing, teething and strengthening the immune system. There are also points which can have a direct emotional effect, such as calming and soothing emotional distress.

Shiatsu can be done through the clothes as well as directly on the skin with oil

infant massage classThis can be great when you are out with the baby, when it is cold, or if you don’t have time to undress the baby. It may also be that your baby doesn’t like being undressed.

Infant shiatsu is often included as part of a session with the parent.

The infant shiatsu practitioner will often give exercises for the parent as well as the baby. Work can be included for the parent if appropriate. In eastern cultures if the baby is ill, it is important to look at the parent as well as the child.

Some exercises will specifically include both parent and baby interacting. These are enjoyable as well as supportive for both parent and baby.

There is an awareness of you carry and touch your baby so that you can support their development and at the same time make sure that you are looking after yourself.

Breathing is an important part of this and shiatsu may include relaxing and breathing calmly with your baby.

When can I start giving my baby shiatsu?

As soon after birth as feels appropriate. Early shiatsu would probably consist of simple holds and skin to skin contact. This would be shown for you to do before the birth or the practitioner would come to your home in the first weeks. Later you can attend one to one sessions or classes.

Useful reading

Karin Kalbanter Wernicke : Baby Shiatsu published by Singing Dragon.

Photos on this page from “Baby Shiatsu” by Karin Kalbantner Wernicke.

Leave a Comment