Shiatsu Diploma


Shiatsu Diploma for Doulas and Midwives

The diploma is accredited by Well Mother and covers Shiatsu for pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. It is aimed at Doulas and other maternity health professionals with no or limited pre-existing shiatsu knowledge.

Shiatsu massage and touch are powerful tools to include in your work supporting women. The course offers practical skills which can be integrated into your practice and also explores how shiatsu-based skills can support you personally, promoting your own well-being and preventing burn out. You will learn ways of touching, awareness of posture, breathing, movement, exercise and relaxation.

It involves a shift of focus away from tests and technology towards using more intuitive birthing support skills. It is essentially about the relationship between one human being and another and about our relationship with ourselves.

There is an emphasis on giving a direct experience of these skills as well as more lecture based presentations. All courses included supervised practicals working with maternity clients.

In order to attain the Diploma and be eligible for inclusion on the Well Mother register, some written work is required. This consists of writing up some case studies of work with women and a short project exploring how you will be including Shiatsu in your practice.

Depending on your profession and your employment status, you will need to make sure that you have appropriate insurance cover to work with your clients. Well Mother can support you in supplying relevant certificates of attendance and course outcomes.

The course runs over 6 days – an introductory weekend and a 4 day workshop .

I learned a lot and feel confident to use it straight away. Really worthwhile.

Diploma course content

Days one and two: Introduction to key theoretical and practical concepts of using shiatsu for pregnancy and birth. This includes developing touch skills and personal development work. 

We will cover:

  • Introduction to key theoretical concepts (Qi, Jing, Meridians)
  • Introduction to Shiatsu Meridian Exercises
  • Introduction to Practical Principles of Shiatsu (working positions and posture;  use of pressure,  Mother hand/working hand, feeling full and empty energy patterns)
  • Shiatsu work for Labour (covering work in the all 4’s position, including the ball,  sacrum, back, neck, Governing Vessel and Bladder meridians,  labour points)

By the end of these two days you will have some idea of how you can use shiatsu in birth preparation, skills you can teach parents and shiatsu for specific situations such as back ache, connecting with baby, supporting optimal fetal positioning and so on.

Days three and four: Consolidating practice and learning more about shiatsu for pregnancy and the postnatal period

We will cover

  • Development and consolidation of shiatsu theory including learning about the Penetrating and Girdle vessel
  • Development of Shiatsu Meridian Exercises
  • Shiatsu for the abdomen, neck, legs(Gall Bladder, Stomach, Bladder) and arms (Lung ,Heart Protector) and the Penetrating Vessel
  • Shiatsu for Pregnancy and the postnatal period
  • Shiatsu in the Side Position

By the end of these two days, you will have more confidence in your work during birth and also some ideas of how to include shiatsu in antenatal and postnatal care for specific issues.

Days five and six; Deepening our understanding and working with maternity clients

 These two days offer an opportunity to consolidate the skills learnt and the course and understand how to apply them to different practical situations. Any practical skill such as shiatsu needs a time of repetition and consolidation. We also take time to deepen your understanding of the theory, which can often be a little difficult to grasp initially.  On the last day, pregnant and postnatal mums and their babies and partners are invited in so that students have a chance to work in a supervised setting in order to be able to refine their skills.

Diploma learning outcomes

01. To provide a practical understanding of the use of shiatsu and bodywork for pregnancy, labour, postnatally and for the baby

  • Knowledge of techniques for different stages of pregnancy.
  • Techniques to aid anterior cephalic presentation of baby.
  • Awareness of back and abdominal care for mother, including positions and techniques to avoid.
  • Techniques for labour, including their use in various birth positions.
  • Awareness and massage of the baby in the womb.
  • Use of exercise, breathing, relaxation, visualisations.
  • An understanding of the importance of appropriate position for mother’s and baby’s well-being and comfort.
  • To be aware of issues regarding use of oils.
  • Baby massage; Shiatsu techniques appropriate for the new-born, including how to teach some basic techniques to parents.
  • Looking after yourself – exercises, breathing, relaxation to enhance your own well-being and vitality.
  • Exercises developing ‘sensitive’ touch.
  • Self development – awareness of how our beliefs and experiences affect our work, e.g. our births, sexuality.

02. To provide a general theoretical understanding of shiatsu and Chinese medicine and a specific understanding of how this relates to pregnancy, birth and the immediate post-partum period

  • Oriental views of pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period – including energy changes in the mother and development of the foetus/baby.
  • Yin/yang, the nature of Ki, essence, function of meridians, location and function of points (“tsubos”), 5 element theory.
  • An overview of a different perspective on health and illness.

03. To provide practical tools for self-development to enhance the understanding of shiatsu and bodywork, especially in developing awareness and sensitivity of touch, and also to support your own well-being

  • Looking after yourself – exercises, breathing, relaxation to enhance your own well-being and vitality.
  • Exercises developing ‘sensitive’ touch.
  • Self development – awareness of how our beliefs and experiences affect our work, e.g. our births, sexuality.

04. Working towards an holistic model of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period

  • To be aware of how the orthodox medical model of pregnancy can undermine a woman’s and partner’s confidence in themselves.
  • Supporting development of the mother’s and father’s relationship with the baby and their confidence in their own bodies and wisdom.
  • Developing a sensitive model of care in which the needs of the baby are recognised, and the mother/father/baby bond is encouraged.
  • Guidelines on how the shiatsu approach can be included within midwifery practice including when to refer to a Shiatsu practitioner or other relevant health professional.

When and Where


Course Information

You will need to attend one introductory weekend and one four day training to complete the diploma. The costs are for the course only – accommodation and travel are extra. See the booking page for more information.

The introductory weekends planned for 2016 are:

26/27 November at the Natural Health Centre in  Narberth, Pembrokeshire – £150

3/4 December at the Da La Luz Birth House, Orgiva, Spain – £150

The 4 day follow-on diploma training is offered at the Da La Luz Birth House, Orgiva, Spain this year from 5-8 December – Cost £250

If you would like to attend the introductory weekend and the 4 day diploma in Spain you can book both together at a discounted rate of £300