Couples planning to start a family may consider a series of reflexology treatments for a wellness “tune up” before conception.
Reflexology sessions are aimed at balancing mind, body and spirit through techniques applied to the feet, hands or ears by a trained reflexologist. For some women and their partners, this is an ideal modality to incorporate into a preconception wellness plan.
General reflexology practitioners can offer a standard reflexology session aimed at general wellness – working reflex points that correspond to every organ, gland and body part. Specialists in the field may offer customized protocols for the parents-to-be based on health history and wellness goals.
Managing Stress with Reflexology to Improve Chances of Conception
Research is giving more clues to the detrimental effects of stress on short term and long term health and wellness. In a recently published study involving 274 women trying to conceive, stress markers were tested before ovulation. The study found that women with high levels of adrenalin, the body’s “fight or flight” hormone, were subject to a 12% less chance of conception than those with low levels.
Couples should take into consideration various levels of stressors in their life before determining how many reflexology sessions they may want to try. A quick survey of stress like the following sample can help couples visualize where they’re at and create a plan encompassing reflexology and other mind-body therapies such as meditation and yoga.
On a scrap piece of paper, rate the following sources of stress on a scale of 0 to 10, zero equaling non-existent stress and ten equaling unmanageable stress:
– home and family life stress
– career and workplace/office stress
– health and wellness stress
Couples that consider themselves “low stress” candidates may want to shoot for two to three reflexology sessions apiece. As every body has a unique response to reflexology, this number may fluctuate. Couples with medium to high stress levels may choose to go for a series of six to eight reflexology sessions each to build in regular intervals of deep relaxation.
Basic Preconception Reflexology Treatment
Most reflexology book authors will recommend monthly reflexology treatments for health maintenance and disease prevention. In a typical foot reflexology session, the practitioner will take a history of past and current health conditions and any goals the client is presenting with. Reflexologists don’t treat for specific conditions and ailments like doctors – they look at the body holistically and work to encourage the body’s own healing mechanisms to bring balance to all parts and organs.
The reflexologist will use manual finger and thumb techniques to manipulate reflex areas on the map of the feet. For most, this is a pleasant and relaxing experience, but some may find they have sensitive areas on the feet that are temporarily unpleasant. Communicating with the reflexologist when an area is sore or uncomfortable will not only enhance the experience but also gives cues to the reflexologist on what points may need a little extra attention in the following session.
When to Seek Out a Specialist Reflexologist
Couples who have been having difficulty conceiving, or have been given a diagnosis of sub-fertility or infertility may want to find a reflexologist that is more familiar with this realm of fertility. Some call themselves a “fertility reflexologist” or “maternity reflexologist.” Others will simply indicate these types of sessions are available in their menu of services online or in their brochure.
Since reflexology is not a foot massage, but instead a unique form of bodywork employing pressure techniques, the client should take into consideration education and experience for even general reflexology wellness. In some parts of the United States spas, massage offices and the like will advertise reflexology without having the proper training in the modality.
- High stress ‘delays pregnancy’ by Helen Briggs for BBC News, 8/11/10, accessed online August 2010.
- Stress reduces conception probabilities across the fertile window: evidence in support of relaxation, Journal of Fertility and Sterility, PMID: 20688324, accessed online August 2010.