Shiatsu is a traditional form of Japanese massage therapy that has become well known the world over. Shiatsu is a massage therapy that was usually done within the families, although there was and are professionals that are quite advanced in the therapy and can help alleviate more than just sore or tense muscles. Shiatsu employs the use of gentle but firm pressure using the palms, fingers, and thumbs along meridians or pressure points all over the body. Thankfully, Shiatsu can be used during pregnancy to help alleviate all the sore muscles that come along with pregnancy, and then some.
While Shiatsu is safe during pregnancy, that doesn’t mean that you should just start practicing the massage therapy without some education. Many of the pressure points that are used in Shiatsu actually stimulate the uterus. During the first three months of pregnancy, using improper Shiatsu techniques can actually induce a miscarriage, so it’s important that you, or your Shiatsu therapist know what you are doing or the consequences can be quite catastrophic. So, if you are going to a massage therapist be sure that they are licensed and aware of your pregnancy before you begin.
That being said, Shiatsu can help make pregnant women become much more comfortable than they would have been otherwise. Shiatsu therapy can help reduce back pain, leg pain, constipation, heartburn, water retention, and painful swelling in the extremities. A weekly Shiatsu massage can mean the difference between being an uncomfortable pregnant person and being quite comfortable and really enjoy your pregnancy. Many Shiatsu therapists also have a lot of luck reducing the nausea often associated with the first months of pregnancy, which can be a lifesaver for those who suffer.
While you must be careful not to stimulate the uterus too much during pregnancy, those techniques can come in very handy during labor or once the due date has been passed and the mother would like labor to start. Employing these techniques during or before labor can help speed up the process, intensifying uterine contractions. Shiatsu massage can also help a woman be more comfortable throughout the labor process.
After delivery it was customary for Japanese women to rest for two weeks in bed to avoid exhaustion and depression. After the two weeks passed women would begin Shiatsu therapy again to help bring the muscles to life, and help the now nursing and caring mother recover more quickly. Many mothers today find that Shiatsu is just what they need to get back in shape and be the best mother possible.