Reflexology

Reflexology for Fertility

How can reflexology help with fertility?

There are many different reasons for fertility issues for both men and women. Reflexology can be beneficial in treating menstrual problems including PMT, heavy or irregular periods, endometriosis, and PCOS. According to research there is evidence to suggest that women with high levels of a stress hormone can stop ovulating and are therefore unable or less likely to conceive.

Fertility problems

Fertility is not just a female concern…Approximately 1 in 6 couples experience fertility problems, 30% can be attributed to female problems 30% to male, 30 % to both and 10% as ‘unexplained’. Male fertility is dropping at a rate of 2% per year. Many men can also benefit from complementary therapies.

Stress and fertility

The link between stress and fertility is unknown but the impact is evident for some couples trying to conceive. A study in the Human Reproduction Journal along with many articles found that pregnancy was more likely to occur when couples reported feeling relaxed less stressed and that it was less likely to occur when they were feeling tense or anxious, this applies for both women and men. Many patients find the relaxation through reflexology extremely helpful. Besides the relaxation aspect; there is strong evidence to suggest that Fertility Reflexology can help to work on the reflex points to:

  • Balance the Endocrine System and hormones responsible for the reproductive process.
  • Relieve Stress. Stress can cause neurological changes that can alter the release of hormones which regulate the maturation and release of an egg.
  • Treat the spinal nerves which relate to the reproductive area.
  • Relieve tension in the Psoas in the Pelvic region which can be a cause of infertility.
  • Stimulate the Immune System and Lymphatic System to help drain toxins and create healthy mucous membranes.
  • Detoxify the Large Intestine and Liver.
  • Essential oils can be used where appropriate and necessary as Gemma is also a qualified aromatherapist to further enhance the reflexology treatment for fertility.

Suggested treatment plan for fertility reflexology

The treatment plan usually takes between 8-12 visits over a period of 6 to 12 weeks but depending on stress levels and medical conditions this can vary. Medical intervention maybe required if there is a medical reason for infertility and reflexology is not intended to take the place of assisted conception methods such as IVF but can help support and complement this process. Stress also plays a huge factor in the success of assisted conception treatments such as IVF according to a study in Fertility and Sterility (2005). Reflexology can be used before IVF treatment to help relax and prepare the body for egg collection and embryo transfer. Gemma will advise each individual patient as appropriate on course of treatment upon consultation.

Pregnancy Reflexology

(from conception to natural labour induction)

How is reflexology used in pregnancy / childbirth and why is it so effective?

  • During pregnancy your body will go through emotional, hormonal and physiological changes. This will alter the balance of the body and can cause you discomfort and unease. Working directly on the feet can help reduce swollen feet and ankles and associated discomfort.
  • With 80% of expectant mothers experiencing ‘morning sickness’ at some stage caused by the surge of pregnancy hormones that are helping in the development of the baby’s placenta, reflexology can help reduce the nausea and vomiting.
  • Almost half of women suffer constipation and heartburn especially after 12 weeks as the intestinal organs move and become squashed by the growing foetus. Reflexology can work on the digestive area points to relieve any discomfort.
  • An overactive bladder and the constant urge to urinate can start in the early stages of pregnancy, due to the bladder sitting directly in front and eventually behind the uterus. Reflexology can bring some relief to this condition and can certainly help prevent cystitis or any bladder infections.
  • Hypertension/high blood pressure can be an issue some women face in pregnancy and can be damaging to the baby. Reflexology, due to its relaxing nature and helping balance the body, has been shown to reduce blood pressure. If you continue to have problems with blood pressure you should seek medical attention.
  • Painful breasts are common (even for many non pregnant women). Particular attention to the breast area reflex and all the lymphatic drainage points can help alleviate this unpleasant symptom.
  • Pelvic Arthropathy is a condition experienced in the later stages of pregnancy, where the bones of the pelvis normally held together by ligaments start to move due to the effect of the pregnancy hormone ‘relaxin’ being released to help the birthing canal widen. Walking and general motion can be very painful and Reflexology on the medial and lateral hip reflexes along with the spinal reflex can be very helpful.
  • Aches and pains are common at this time, especially back ache due to your centre of gravity being pulled forward by all the increased weight, increased stress is put upon the spine and associated muscles. Ribs may also ache as the intercostals muscles will be taking an increasing role in breathing. Reflexology can work on these reflex areas to help provide some relief.
  • Pregnancy Reflexology generally promotes deep relaxation to help stress relief and can help with sleep problems and insomnia.
  • You body is changing rapidly during pregnancy and regular reflexology treatments are encouraged to help prevent pregnancy related conditions and symptoms.
  • A series of regular treatments throughout your pregnancy can also help prepare for labour.

Labour and reflexology

Research and medical trials have shown that, with regular reflexology treatments labour time can be reduced and many women require less pain relief. (Mirzaei, F., Kaviani, M. ,Jafari, P. 2008). Many women find it helpful to have Reflexology to induce labour once they have reached their due date.

Specific Oxytocin stimulating and energising points that can be used once you reach your due date and if the big day has come and gone but your baby hasn’t arrive, now it’s time for working on these points to help with labour induction using a firmer pressure.It is advised to obtain your midwife’s or doctor’s consent and to let them know your intentions. However it must be said that if the baby is not ready to be born then Reflexology cannot perform miracles. Reflexology acts when something is not quite right to restore balance, not to unnaturally force things happen.

Postnatal reflexology

Enjoying continued reflexology treatments after your bundle of joy arrives can encourage a speedy recovery from the birth and also give you a bit of time out to rest, relax and reenergise. This is so important especially if you are juggling coping with your new born, family commitments and other young children. This is particularly relevant in modern society as 75% of illnesses are said to be stress related from our busy lifestyles.

Qualified reflexologist

NB It is important to make sure your Reflexologist has undergone specific maternity reflexology training as the protocol differs to that of a general or clinical reflexology treatment.
Safety of treatment in Pregnancy

It is generally safe to have pregnancy reflexology from a suitably qualified pregnancy Reflexologist during pregnancy, but some ladies like to wait until after the first trimester just to be sure. Gemma will be happy to discuss this and there are some main contra indications where treatment would not be recommended or carried out.

Contra Indications to pregnancy reflexology:

In addition to the contra indications for clinical reflexology the following apply for pregnancy reflexology specifically.

  • In the first trimester of pregnancy, if there is a history of miscarriage or unstable pregnancies
  • Placental abruption
  • Placenta Praevia
  • Vaginal Bleeding
  • Continuous vomiting
  • Toxaemia
  • Pre-ecclampsia
  • Ecclampsia
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Pica syndrome
  • HELLP syndrome

Clinical reflexology

The Benefits

Reflexology can have many positive effects on the body’s systems such as:

Immune system

1. Reboot the immune system, if it has been compromised
2. Helps the body fight and eliminate or ward off infection
3. Provide relief of an existing illness, disease or condition

Circulatory and cardiovascular system

1. Improve circulation of the blood, which carry nutrients, glucose and oxygen to the body parts and cells

Lymphatic and Excretory System

1. Improve and encourage elimination of waste products from the body enhancing detoxification

Nervous System

1. Reduce nervous tension and improves nerve supply
2. Ease symptoms of stress related illness caused by a build-up of nervous tension in the body
3. Calm and sooth the mind and body
4. Restore mental alertness
5. Revitalise energy levels

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) reflexology

Irritable Bowel syndrome (IBS) is an uncomfortable and inconvenient condition, common symptoms being abdominal pain, indigestion, diarrhoea and or constipation. IBS can be managed very successfully with a holistic approach.

Reflexology can help to relax the body and mind whilst working directly on the digestive system reflex point to help with any digestive discomfort. Tackling the emotional and stress factors are of paramount importance when managing IBS symptoms effectively. Reflexology is perfect for aiding deep relaxation, promoting the body’s natural healing and restorative powers to restore balance and reduce stress levels.

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