Anyone who has been trying to conceive for more than a few months will know that as the months start to tick away, anxiety and concern can start to build. How long will it take? Can I get pregnant? Do we have a problem? How long should I wait before getting advice? It can be a frustrating time and unsurprisingly stress levels can begin to climb. Ironically this stress that can reduce your chances of conceiving, and so a vicious circle begins…. cue reflexology!
How does stress affect fertility?
Anxiety and stress can in themselves be detrimental to fertility; the body reacts to these emotions by producing a hormone called Cortisol which causes the production of another inhibitory hormone that in turn reduces the production of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinising hormone. Both of these are integral to both the release of the egg and the implantation of embryo after fertilisation. In other words feeling stressed is not supportive for getting pregnant.
It is therefore important that couples trying to conceive build in some method of stress reduction into their lives to aid their conception journey – and reflexology is one such method.
What is reflexology?
Reflexology is based on the theory that different points and areas on the feet, lower leg, hands, face and ears correspond with different areas of the body. Reflexologists believe that working these points or areas aids relaxation and helps improve wellbeing which can help us to cope better and can ease the stresses of modern life.
Receiving reflexology during this stressful time also allows the couple time away from their often busy lives and offers a time and place where they can focus purely on themselves and a time to express their anxieties and stresses. Reflexologists work holistically and can provide general lifestyle advice and support to their clients to help support their conception journey.
Reflexology acknowledges that every person is a unique individual, the only way to know if reflexology will help you is to try it!
Hand Reflexology for supporting conception:
It is recommended that you spend 5 minutes a day on hand reflexology, try and find a time where this can fit into your daily routine e.g. if you always watch a set TV programme, or always have a morning cuppa. Alternatively spend time with your partner and work on each other’s hands. Perform these moves on both hands:
1. Place your thumbs on the solar plexus reflex point which is good for calming, this is situated in the centre of the palm, take 3 deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. As you breathe in push gently into the reflex point.
N.B. If you are doing this on yourself do one hand at a time
2. Spend time massaging all over each thumb, this is the head reflex which can help ease tension and calm the mind, this is also where the pituitary reflex is found. The pituitary controls all hormones.
3. Next rub along the spine reflex to help calm the nervous system. Use one thumb to rub along the edge of the other thumb from the wrist all the way to the top, then swap hands
4. The adrenal gland reflex is particularly good to work for anxiety. This reflex can be found easily by pinching at the base of the ‘V’ at the base of the thumb and first finger. Place your thumb and finger on the top (dorsal) and bottom (palm) and squeeze gently together.
5. To work the uterus, ovary and fallopian tube reflexes, place one had over the top of the wrist and squeeze (just below the wrist bones), then slowly move the top hand backwards and forwards over the top of the other wrist.
6. Finish with solar plexus reflex again
Where can I find out more about reflexology?
For more information on reflexology have a look at the Association of Reflexologistswebsite. There are interactive hand and foot maps you can look at, plus YouTube videos on how to carry out hand reflexology and plenty more useful information on Reflexology.
If you feel like trying a full Reflexology treatment, there is a ‘find a reflexologist’ search, where you can put in your postcode to find a well-trained and insured reflexologist local to you