Posted by: Rhett Hatfield | March 20, 2009

Review: Shiatsu Techniques Help Induce Labor in Post-Term Pregnancy

Review: Shiatsu Techniques Help Induce Labor in Post-Term Pregnancy

See review by Body Wisdom, Director of Education, Rhett Hatfield at end of this article.

A study in England on 66 post-term women (those who attended a hospital clinic after 40 weeks gestation) showed that women who employed shiatsu techniques were significantly more likely to have spontaneous labor than the non-shiatsu group who more frequently required induced labor.

“The Effects of Shiatsu on Post-Term Pregnancy” evaluated the effects of shiatsu techniques, as taught by hospital midwives, on the progress of post-term labors and deliveries. The study was conducted by staff at St. Michael’s Hospital, Bristol, England, from March to July 2000.

The subjects attended a hospital consultant clinic appointment at 40 weeks gestation and were taught the massage techniques by a midwife who had completed a six-day shiatsu course. The control group consisted of 76 women who attended similar clinics but were not taught the shiatsu techniques.

Three shiatsu points were taught to the experimental group: Gall Bladder 21 (GB-21), Large Intestine 4 (LI-4) and Spleen 6 (S-6). All points were held with thumb pressure until the woman experienced a reaction. Once a reaction was felt, the woman was instructed to work the point deeply and firmly for as long and as often as was comfortable to her. Exercises and breathing techniques were also taught to the experimental group, and the women were encouraged to use the shiatsu techniques at home.

Outcome information for both groups was audited, including induction, type of delivery, length of labor and analgesia used. The women in the experimental group completed a questionnaire to document their use of shiatsu.

The women who used shiatsu were significantly more likely to labor spontaneously than those who did not (p=0.038). Of those who used shiatsu, 17 percent more went into spontaneous labor than those who were not taught shiatsu. Of those who completed the audit questionnaire, 80 percent found the shiatsu techniques helpful.

“This preliminary study raises the hypothesis that the use of specific shiatsu techniques on post-term women by midwives reduces the number of labors that need to be induced pharmacologically,” the authors conclude.

Source: St. Michael’s Hospital, Bristol, England. Authors: Jennifer Ingram, Celina Domagala and Suzanne Yates. Originally published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Volume 13, Issue 1, March 2005, Pages 11–15.

Review by Director of Education Rhett Hatfield

Massage Therapists should be aware of the points mentioned in this article!  The points mentioned are Gall Bladder 21 (GB-21), Large Intestine 4 (LI-4) and Spleen 6 (S-6).  These points have long been noted as contraindications for pressure during pregnancy and this study is the first to reveal that these points are in fact powerful in inducing labour for better or for worse.  Historically the caution has been to avoid these points completely anytime during pregnancy.  Now there seems to be some value in their use post term.  Prudence would dictate that any use of these powerful points should be under the supervision of ones doctor!!

Please let me know what you are thinking by commenting on this post


Rhett Hatfield, Owner/Director of Education Body Wisdom School
“750-1600 Massage Therapist Certification Programs, 5 Different Career Tracks.” Create your “custom massage certification program” of anywhere from 750-1600 hours of World Class Massage and Bodywork Education.  CEU Programs available



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