Maternity reflexology is aimed specifically at women during pre-conception, pregnancy, labour and the post-natal period.
Reflexology works on balancing all of the body's systems to increase your overall health and well-being and provide the best possible environment for conception to take place. Both women and men can benefit from reflexology during this time as gentle pressure to the reflex points helps to balance the hormonal system and stimulate the reproductive organs.
Anecdotal evidence collected by the Association of Reflexologists suggests that reflexology can actively benefit couples who are having difficulty conceiving including those who are receiving IVF treatment for infertility.
Many couples who are having difficulty conceiving are told there is nothing wrong physically and that their problem is primarily psychological. Unfortunately, worrying about being infertile can make the situation worse - you can't fall pregnant until you relax and you can't relax until you fall pregnant. Reflexology can help by encouraging deep relaxation and alleviating stress and tension.
During pregnancy, your body goes through significant changes, all of which affect the emotional, hormonal and physiological balance of the body. Reflexology can help to alleviate or prevent discomfort arising from this imbalance by helping to restore the body’s equilibrium. Specifically, reflexology can help with the following:
• General relaxation
• Relief of stress and anxiety
• Increased energy levels
• Indigestion and heartburn
• Backache and sciatic pain
• Nausea and vomiting
• Fluid retention (eg in feet and ankles)
• Ligament and groin pain
• Bladder weakness
• Insomnia and sleep problems
• Turning a breech baby
Reflexology is safe and effective during pregnancy. It is, however, not recommended if there is a history of premature labour, severe hypertension, placenta previa or recent vaginal bleeding. If you suspect any problems in your pregnancy it is important to contact your doctor or midwife.
Research conducted in the UK and Denmark has shown that regular reflexology treatments during pregnancy can shorten the duration of labour, with some women even requiring less pain-relief. Other benefits include:
• Induction of labour for women who have passed their due date
• Pain relief
• Co-ordination and acceleration of regular contractions
• Preventing a retained placenta
I have produced a simplified self-help foot chart showing some of the reflex points which may be useful for helping to stimulate and maintain regular contractions. The foot chart has been designed to provide additional support to women who have been receiving reflexology treatments with me during their pregnancy. These techniques should only be used by or on women who are full or post term.
Reflexology can help to alleviate post-natal problems and help with breastfeeding. It has been shown to be effective for:
• Engorged breasts
• Urine retention
• Stress and anxiety problems
• Sleep problems
• Post-natal depression
• Increase in energy levels
Reflexology is also ideal for babies from age 4 weeks. Please see my baby reflex® page for more information.