With St Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day not long ago, this period of the year has always been associated with Love. This is the time when most people celebrate and demonstrate their affection to their partner and mother who makes them emotionally fulfilled and supports them through their personal journey and the challenges of their daily life. But what is it that makes this relationship so special? The Spark of Love.
It all starts at the conception when the sperm meets the ovule. That initial spark is the beginning of a new life and it will be followed by many other sparks as the foetus grows to a baby and the baby grows to an adult.
Early in the embryo’s life, key energetic channels emerge from the compaction sparks: The Governing Vessel (GV) out of the ectoderm; the Conception Vessel (CV) out of the endoderm and the Penetrating Vessel (PV) out of the mesoderm.
Later on in the embryo’s life, Ming Men and the 6 classical channels will take shape as the organs start forming. Then a new key energetic channel appears, the Girdle Vessel that links Ming Men with all the 6 classical channels.
As a Shiatsu Therapist, I have been working with these key extraordinary meridians every time the flow of life force was out of balance and when clients were looking for a transformative journey and were relying on their natural healing capabilities to support them on this venture.
What is conception, pregnancy and child birth, if it is not a transformative journey? How conception, pregnancy and child birth would happen, if it was not generated by the natural power of the life force?
At the pre-conception stage, Shiatsu supports both mother and father-to-be by rebalancing and maintaining a healthy body in its natural functions and rhythms. The focus is about promoting their respective Pre-Heaven Essence (Jing) through the work of extraordinary vessels as well as the 6 classical channels but also by recommending appropriate diet (Food Qi) and physical exercises (Air Qi). So when the conception comes, the foetus Essence is strong enough to encourage its own growth and development.
During pregnancy, the key objective is to restore and maintain the most balanced production and flow of Qi, Blood energy and Essence for both the mother and the baby. The 3 extraordinary vessels GV, CV and PV are important in regulating the physiological and psychological changes throughout the 3 trimesters. The Girdle Vessel is also key in supporting the physical changes in the pelvic area whether it is about the mother’s muscles, ligaments, joints or the Uterus itself.
As a Shiatsu Therapist, my role is to support the mother and the baby and also to include the father in this transformation journey, by recommending supportive exercises to the mother whereby the father becomes a partner and feels valued in this triangular relationship.
During Labour, the Shiatsu Therapist and the Midwife have a fantastic opportunity to work collaboratively towards the mother and baby wellbeing and the partner’s contribution. Once again this triangular relationship – another form of the Spark Of Love – is key in the process.
Giving birth involves phenomenal changes and movements of Qi, Blood and Essence for the mother; GV and CV will regulate the hormonal changes and will be exposed differently from the 1st to the 2nd stage of labour. The Girdle Vessel will help regulate the physical movements of contraction and relaxation of the pelvic area. Another channel, I personally love to work on, is the Heart-Uterus as it enables the baby to take on the required energy to get out to the outside world and also promotes the emotional bond between the mother and the baby.
During birth, the baby will transition from a dependent state taking nourishment out of the mother’s Qi, Blood and Essence to an independent state producing his or her own energy. GV, CV and PV will be exposed differently as the baby moves from a foetal position inside the womb to a stretched body in the outside world. These three extraordinary vessels GV, CV and PV supports the baby’s life force, the energetic capital for the rest of his or her life. And mirroring the mother’s emotional state, the baby’s Heart-Uterus channel will promote his or her emotional connection with the mother.
At the postnatal stage, many changes happen with different needs whether we look at the mother, the baby or the partner’s energetic pattern.
With her abdomen containing no longer the baby and the loss of the placenta, the mother faces depletion of her vital force through her abdomen, as well as depletion of her Yin and Blood energies. Shiatsu together with gentle specific exercises will help the mother restore her energetic balance: Heart Uterus and Girdle vessel will support the pelvic area including uterus and anchor emotions hence lessening postnatal depression. If working on PV will support breast feeding, the CV and GV will regulate the postnatal hormonal changes.
As for the partner, it is often a time for challenges. The couple relationship changes as the mother’s attention is focused on the baby, the quality of their night sleep is affected, responsibilities and duties can become overwhelming and their social life may be reduced to almost none. The focus of my work as a Shiatsu therapist lies on the emotional consequences of these changes to the partner. PV will regulate his emotions, Heart-Uterus will help the partner to keep his bond with the mother and their baby active and nourishing, GV will balance his sensitivity to change and clear his mind.
Sometimes, being born can be traumatising for the baby and the postnatal period becomes a time for getting familiar and comfortable to its new environment. Because the mother and her partner receive Shiatsu themselves, it will become natural for them to learn how to gently stroke their baby after the daily routine of bathing and changing. This will help the baby to get comfortable with human touch, find emotional reassurance and nourishment and reinforce the family bond overall.
This is a demonstration that Nature has given us all the tools we need to balance our life throughout its ups and its downs, Shiatsu is one of these tools that helps us to connect with others and reconnect with ourselves so we safeguard the continuity of life.
Lao Tzu in Tao Te Ching said “Can you balance your life force and embrace the One without separation?”
Does this article resonate with you?
Do you live in West London and would like to receive Shiatsu?
please visit www.zenshiatsutherapy.com , email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 074 4438 2847.
This article is the result of a fusion of two sources of great inspiration for my Shiatsu work.
Dr Daniel Keown, GP, Doctor in Chinese Medicine and Acupuncturist
Author of “The Spark in the Machine – How the science of Acupuncture explains the mysteries of western medicine”
Suzanne Yates, Director of Well Mother – Education for Maternity Care, Bristol, UK