Shiatsu for pain relief in labour, by Caroline Bozkurt

Shiatsu works on different levels beginning with the story the body tells in terms of posture and alignment. I like to give people space to talk if they want to or if they don't, that works too. The central component of my practice is far harder to explain because it involves connecting to and feeling the flow of a person's energy. I can do this, not because I have a special gift but because I have devoted time to it. I can't play the violin but that's because I never tried.

This energy work can stimulate the body's own healing system and release stress patterns that could be causing symptoms like back ache or a blocked sinus.

Far better than talking about shiatsu is receiving it, so I demonstrated some moves on willing volunteers. Shiatsu is received fully clothed on a futon but in pregnancy I also use a bean bag so that I can give a back treatment or work comfortably using a side position with pillows.

I also give private coaching sessions for pregnant women and their birth partners. Here I teach easy but effective techniques for pain relief in labour.


My number one top tip for pain relief in labour?

Firm pressure to the lower back during a contraction.


How to do it

Sit leaning forward over a bean bag or backwards on a kitchen chair, cowboy style. Use cushions to make yourself comfy if using a chair. Your birth support partner should sit behind you and place both hands palm down over the flat bone called the sacrum. They should just lean rather than push. This soothing, pleasant sensation gives a confusing message to the body so the pain is less intense. If using a TENS machine just arrange the pads so that they are not on the sacrum.