By Sheryn Gung
Specializing in the Children of the New Earth and their Ascension
“Sheryn, you got a message. Chris is in labour.”
I snatched my phone off my partner at 7:17am this morning. After treating one of my best buddies over the last two weeks to try to induce her, this was the news I’d been waiting for.
I had treated Chris with shiatsu. From experience with clients, this is one of the best therapies to not only support, nurture and physically care for a pregnant woman, but to facilitate a smooth pregnancy and a quicker birthing experience. (Yes, I did learn something from Alison – “labour” is such a harsh word to use during one of the most special moments in a woman’s life! “Birthing experience” is much nicer.)
Chris has gestational diabetes and was trying to avoid a caesarian, given the complications she had with the birth of her first child. Being fiercely independent, she had not accepted help from me (in the form of shiatsu) until the last moment to avoid having a c-section – it was week 38.
I treated Chris in side position on the shiatsu futon, with pillows, a comfy bolster (“Much better than a body pillow,” she’d said) and Deva Premal chanting in the background. My focus was on creating downward movement of energy, to help bring little Jasmine to the world.
Tonifying the meridians in Chris’ body (which means I worked gently with broad techniques such as palming, to help build energy), I periodically applied pressure on Spleen 6, Large Intestine 4, Stomach 36 and Gall Bladder 21 – all points traditionally used in inducing labour and helping energy move downward in general. I also worked on Chris’ sacrum and back to stimulate the points there, and to ease the pressure from a heavily pregnant woman! (Please note that the aforementioned points are to be avoided during pregnancy unless you are inducing. They can be used post-natally if breasts are engorged with milk, due to their downward-moving action).
Although Chris didn’t give birth on my lounge room floor (which I was secretly disappointed about because it would’ve made for an exciting day), I did instruct her to frequently press these points at home and to breathe into them. From the first treatment, she did experience several cases of Braxton Hicks contractions, as well as a feeling of distention in her pelvic area as if she was ready to give birth.
Very soon, Chris will be post-natal. Some say that since the pre-natal period is nine months, it also takes nine months (if not longer) for the mother’s body to recover. There are several issues to consider from an Oriental Medicine perspective for a newly post-natal mother:
- Health of the Mother: Body fluids and Blood are typically lost during child birth (“Blood” with a capital “B” is to denote the Asian view of blood – it means both the quantity and the quality of blood). The loss of Yin energy, Ki (life force energy) and Blood can lead to exhaustion, light fever, aversion to cold and sweating a few days after delivery. This is a crucial period when a new mother can easily get sick (according to Oriental Medicine, Cold and Wind can easily enter her body). The mother should change out of wet clothes as soon as possible, keep away from fans and air conditioners and keep warm (not hot) by drinking warm liquids and using a heat pack.
- A further point about Keeping Warm: A sarashi wrap is a Japanese girdle wrap traditionally worn by pregnant women at some point during the 16th – 19th week of pregnancy until delivery. The wrap would make the mother look more pregnant and then she would formally announce her pregnancy. A girdle wrap helps a pregnant woman feel movement from her baby, and supports her posture and eases backache. Each night the pregnant woman would take off the wrap and re-wrap in the morning, and she would continue doing this up to one month after the birth, to keep warm what’s known as the “Girdle Vessel” (Dai Mai) as well as her kidneys, which store a vital essence known as “Jing”. Time consuming, you say? Nowadays, corsets are often used instead.
- Food: Mothers naturally detoxify more strongly during pregnancy than at other times. Immediately after birth, the cleansing process can be facilitated by having a simple diet of nourishing foods, including warm soups to build Blood and Ki. Chicken soup is often recommended to strengthen Ki (especially with ginger) and Dong Quai may be thrown in to strengthen Blood. It is normal to eat more than usual post-natally, although mothers should avoid strong stimulants and minimize alcohol – remember that foods ingested will be passed on to the baby as breast milk. As side notes, excessive dairy intake by the mother can cause colic in babies; likewise, it is said that excessive intake of oranges causes hyperactivity (a strange one, I know!) Alfalfa is excellent as it encourages the production of good quality breast milk and helps its flow, as does fennel tea. Raspberry tea is also great – use before and after childbirth to tone the mother’s uterus.
- Rest: In Japan, an initial post-natal resting period of 21 days (toko age 21 nichi) is observed. Japanese mothers often stay in their maternal home for up to eight weeks after the baby is born and a midwife usually assists. The mother may engage in gentle exercises to get Ki moving, and may have shiatsu for the same reason. In the West we do things a little differently, but having a good resting period with minimal stress will do wonders to help the mother recover and set the vibration of a positive, healthy, nurturing environment for the little bub. For a post-natal bath to speed healing, add equal parts of uva ursi, shepherd’s purse, comfrey root and garlic to a hot bath and soak for half an hour or so.
- Shiatsu: Shiatsu supports the adjustment of energy in a post-natal mother. This is important since she has just gone through such a dramatic change through the delivery of her child. The hara (abdomen – the hub of energy) has an underlying deficiency after birth, and the mother will have a tendency to be over-stimulated, especially if the birth was traumatic. An experienced shiatsu practitioner would nourish kyo (deficient areas) first with gentle holding techniques to bring Ki to the hara, before applying sedating (stronger, firmer) techniques on areas like the neck, shoulders and breast – jitsu areas that hold stagnation. In Asia, breast massage is commonly performed on post-natal women to build the quality of milk and encourage its flow.
So… how successful was Chris’ birthing experience? Was it natural like we had hoped? I only just received the text message – four hours, natural birth. Watch this space for post-natal care in action by yours truly!
Simply Natural Therapies supports your Birthing Journey from Fertility and Conception through to Pregnancy Care and Birthing. Check out our list of therapies including our ever-popular Hypnobirthing Classes. And if your babies grow up to be sensitive, intuitive Crystal or Rainbow Children, contact Sheryn Gung for private or group consultations via firstname.lastname@example.org