What is shiatsu?
Shiatsu is a Japanese therapy based on the same ideas as acupuncture but combined with a western knowledge of physiology. Also known as “Japanese finger pressure”, it works by stimulating pressure points in a similar way to acupuncture or reflexology. However, shiatsu practitioners use their fingers and thumps to deliver the right pressure and even other parts of the body including feet and even elbows.
The pressure helps to encourage your body to heal itself by improving circulation and draining lymphatic fluid which helps stimulate the immune system. At lower pressure it also helps with stress and aids relaxation – always welcome in pregnancy!
Shiatsu in pregnancy
Like many holistic treatments, shiatsu can be useful for treating pre-existing conditions if pregnancy rules out medication. It can also alleviate the niggles and aches that pregnancy causes. Your first session will include a hara, which is an examination of your abdomen to map the energies in your body. Some practitioners are able to give insights into conditions they notice but it is not a diagnostic tool.
In pregnancy, shiatsu is recommended for relieving morning sickness, vomiting and constipation. It is also good for aches in your back, neck and shoulders. It also has emotional effects, lifting depression and tiredness. Often, people feel invigorated after treatment. Later in pregnancy it can also be used to treat oedema, fluid retention and swelling.
Shiatsu tips safety
Check that your practitioner has experience working with mums-to-be as there are some pressure points that should not be activated in pregnancy.
After treatment you may notice flu-like symptoms or a headache in the first 24 hours. This may be a healing reaction by your body. If they stick around, contact your practictioner.