Suzanne is the founder and principal teacher at Well Mother
BA (Hons), PGCE(PCET), MRSS(T), DipHSEC, DipAPNT, CNHC registered, AOBTA honorary member
Suzanne is the founder and principal teacher at Wellmother. She teaches on many of the courses and teaches in French, Italian and Spanish, as well as English. Other courses are with translations.
As well as her teaching, she also continues to work with individual clients, both male and female, from her clinic in Bristol and can offer phone or email appointments/skype consultations.
Although she works with clients at all stages of their lives, she specialises in working with women’s health from preconception through to the menopause and beyond, as well as integrating partners and babies through pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period.
“Even though it has been over 30 years since I discovered shiatsu (what is shiatsu), I am still amazed by its power and simplicity. It reaffirms for me how important it is to not lose the traditional wisdom of our ancestors, and especially, in this high tech world, to be able to tune into our bodies and work with our own healing power.
I had just finished a degree in modern languages at Bristol University (1983), and wanted to be a writer. However, I had also been ill with a kidney infection and felt I needed to look after my body. I had already explored massage, counselling, yoga and meditation and shiatsu seemed to bring them altogether.
After my first class in shiatsu, I began to realise all the different aspects of myself I had been neglecting. It led me to a voyage of self discovery which continues to this day.
My journey deepened when I became pregnant for the first time in 1989, with my daughter Rosa Lia. I was saddened by the fear based approach to pregnancy and birth as I felt very connected to all the changes going on and enjoyed being pregnant, giving birth and getting to know my new baby. As there was no training in maternity massage or shiatsu I went to study in the US while pregnant, with Elizabeth Noble obstetric physiotherapist and pioneer of exercise in pregnancy in America.
I started teaching my first Wellmother classes in 1990, taking baby Rosa along with me for the postnatal exercise and baby shiatsu. These classes were weekly antenatal and postnatal exercise classes which included a mix of shiatsu and yoga-based stretches, breathing and some shiatsu and massage techniques. I was still teaching all these when I became pregnant with my son Bram in 1995 so he became my new model!
During Rosa’s birth my partner, a yoga teacher, used shiatsu and massage techniques and I had a wonderful home birth. This inspired us to run birth preparation workshops based on shiatsu, massage and yoga. These were very popular. Obstetricians, GP’s and midwives attended my classes and were impressed by the effectiveness of shiatsu and touch. They encouraged me to develop birth preparation and support work for midwives. The first Wellmother courses for professionals were born in 1998 when I taught my first class at St Michael’s hospital in Bristol.
I am still in awe of the impact of our time in the womb on the whole of the rest of our lives and the importance of working with women in the maternity period for me is not just about supporting women but in supporting the baby at the beginning of their life. While a lot of my work is with women during the maternity period, I find working with my students and other non pregnant clients, the experience of pregnancy and birth is always relevant.
My passion is in integrating eastern and western approaches to provide holistic maternity care and collaborating with relevant health professionals to do this. While I value all my formal training, I continue to learn from my students, my colleagues, the women I work with and through on-going study and research. I especially value the continued learning from parenting my own two children Bram and Rosa, who were the original inspiration for Wellmother. “
Suzanne served on the National Health Service Maternity Services Liaison Committee from 1995-2000 and was involved with a practice audit on shiatsu for post-term pregnancy at her local maternity unit in Bristol, published in 2005. In addition to a degree in modern languages (French and Italian), from Bristol University, Suzanne holds diplomas in shiatsu and therapeutic massage. Her main shiatsu teacher was Sonia Moriceau at the Healing Education Centre, where Suzanne studied from 1984 -88 and then assisted Sonia for several years. Suzanne also holds a postgraduate certificate in teaching (PGCE) and has trained in antenatal and postpartum exercise with Elizabeth Noble (Boston, USA). She continues to deepen her shiatsu studies with Japanese masters in Europe and attending other relevant workshops. Recently she has been working with the ideas of Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen (Body Mind Centring) both with Bonnie and Linda Hartley and Cherionna Menzam Sills.