A two-weekend course in Paris, 16/17 March and 13/14 April 2019 with Atelier Shiatsu

gabi baby shiatsu 5

In my work I aim to settle into myself and be quiet with my client, whether it’s an adult or a child. I ask questions and work with Clean Language if I can, but babies communicate in other ways. Inside I am as still as possible and this simplicity is the essence of the connection.

The French philosopher Comte-Sponville said: `Intelligence is the art of making complex things simpler, not the other way around’. From Guide to Buddhism A-Z

I started to teach Baby Shiatsu to groups of parents in 1996 after the birth of my second daughter. No-one was teaching the subject to Shiatsu practitioners at that time, so I got hold of the books Suzanne Yates recommended and developed my own style as I went along. It was based on sound Shiatsu practice gleaned from my clients over the previous seven years and being with my first child, born in 1992.

‘The most prevalent kind of sensory stimulation throughout prenatal life is tactile. The amniotic fluid and sac encasing the fetus provide an unborn baby with what amounts to an almost continuous soothing massage.’

Touch for Love by Wataru Ohashi with Mary Hoover

gabi baby shiatsu 3

As the years went by I learned traditional baby massage from colleagues, and was part of the Edinburgh Baby Massage group organising classes, bringing Suzanne up to Scotland and also working with baby massage luminaries such as Peter Walker. A lot of what I learned dervied from running the classes and the adults and parents who attended them.

The Baby Knows!

Underpinning all my work is the belief that the baby knows.The baby innately inhabits her whole self, and if she is allowed to move freely she will externally express what is going on inside, giving us clues to her healing process.

‘You need to be silent to see them, and they come and go as a silent gift.’

A Book of Silence, Sara Maitland

What is my job?

When I give Baby Shiatsu, my job is to

  • Sense what the baby is telling me
  • Interpret that using Shiatsu theory
  • Develop bodywork or games for the baby and her carer

gabi's baby shiatsu 2


Baby Shiatsu helps parents and carers get to know their babies through touch and thereby develops mutual understanding. Most babies are well, but as they grow they come across people who are not and this touch can help strengthen the immune system and prevent serious complications. If there are difficulties, Shiatsu can boost the parent or carer’s confidence in dealing with them in a natural way, suggesting techniques and treatment if needed. Many new parents are nervous, fearing they may miss something or misunderstand the baby’s needs. Regular Shiatsu means that they get to know the healthy state on a daily basis and are therefore more likely to know when something is out of the ordinary and perhaps needs medical attention.

‘The movement repertoire that develops in the first year of life is a language in itself and conveys desires, intentions and emotions.’

The First Year and the Rest of Your Life, Ruella Frank

Natural Development

Watching my own two grow up and giving them Shiatsu; being with baby groups; working one-to-one with babies who had talipes, reflux, constipation, teething problems and insomnia; and participating in experiential Feldenkrais exercises helped me recognise the early human developmental patterns.

‘Before motivation of mind becomes effective a neural pathway for the physical enablement of this movement has to be established.’

Peter Walker

random baby shiatsu
Baby Shiatsu uses oil and strokes directly onto the skin, whereas usually you wear clothes when receiving Shiatsu

Baby Shiatsu Workshops

If you attend the workshops, you will learn:

  • The difference between Shiatsu for adults and babies
  • A basic routine (with acupoints) to teach to parents and carers
  • How to promoting a safe and compassionate touch
  • To understand the common childhood ailments
  • To prepare and support the adult
  • How to teach them to hold and play with the baby
  • To start to develop therapeutic skills to work in the clinic with a single baby and adult
  • How to work on the adult for the benefit of the baby
  • To develop games and exercises for the adult to play with the child at home
  • To give Shiatsu directly to the infant

There will be live demonstrations of Shiatsu with babies

Together we will create a supportive and safe environment for finding ways to tap into our own baby selves using early movement patterns; hone our acute observation skills and through breathing, visualisation and other exercises you will have added confidence in this field.

Once you can see what the baby is telling or showing you, then you will be able to apply your instinct, understanding and theory for the benefit of the baby and carer.

emma doing baby shiatsu

I am looking forward to sharing some of this with you in the workshops in Paris or elsewhere.

Atelier Shiatsu, hosts of the Baby Shiatsu course in Paris

gabi baby shiatsu 4

Other influences

Snippets of training with key teachers including Bill Palmer and Karin Kalbanter-Wernicke, studing Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen in my 20s, reading Ruella Frank‘s work later, and especially working with my collegaues Audicia Morley and Cynthia Shuken has put some words and theories to my hands-on experiences. Laban Movement Analysis and Shiatsu taught me to look, see and interpret. Resources and a book list will be circulated.