Can reflexology support fertility? Well, with these statistics I believe traditional healing methods including reflexology are an excellent adjunct for all fertility concerns.
“1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. (2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth, CDC)
11.9% of women have received infertility services in their lifetime. (2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth, CDC)
Approximately one-third of infertility is attributed to the female partner, one-third attributed to the male partner (interestingly male fertility has declined by 50% in the last 25 years) and one-third is caused by a combination of problems in both partners or, is unexplained. (www.asrm.org)
A couple ages 29-33 with a normal functioning reproductive system has only a 20-25% chance of conceiving in any given month (National Women’s Health Resource Center).
Interestingly, Barbara Scott in her recently published book Reflexology for Fertility informs us that IVF/ICSI success rates have not increased since the birth of the fist IVF baby, Louise Brown, more than 30 years ago and remain at a staggeringly low 25%. So why do many couples believe that assisted conception is the panacea for their fertility? I think this is a lengthy subject and probably not for today but I consider western science amazing. It has come far with fertility research and assisted conception procedures but, if Barbara Scott is right, then we still have a long way to go and much to learn. Combine this with the statistics above then we can see natural fertility is reducing.
Can reflexology help your fertility journey?
I believe so. In a recent study carried out by the Association of Reproductive Reflexologists (2016, fht.org.uk) 68% of clients conceived having reflexology. It wasn’t a big study – scientific funding is hard to come by for reflexology but out of the 180 clients studied 100 conceived naturally and a further 22 conceived with a combination of IVF and reflexology.
Did you know reflexology can be used at any stage of your conception journey, from pre-conception (preparing for pregnancy/3-4 months prior to TTC) , Trying to conceive (TTC), during assisted conception and throughout your pregnancy too?
Fertility is a complex subject and every client is unique so my treatment plans, whether they are reflexology or nutritional therapy based are tailored to your individual needs. Whilst reflexology can be used as a stand alone treatment I get my best results combining a personalised fertility nutrition protocol (Fertility MOT ) with naturopathy. This not only helps to assess your starting point but offers a clearer protocol. Ideally I recommend you submerse yourself in my TTC Programme which includes a naturopathic Fertility MOT and 6 reflexology treatments to boot!
When you preparing for conception (assisted or not), reflexology supports both women and men by reducing stress and anxiety and may help to relieve conditions associated with sub fertility. (see list below):
- Natural conception
- Post miscarriage or failed IVF
- Recurrent miscarriage
- Low AMH, High FSH or oestrodiol levels
- Regulating pituitary-ovarian function
- Modulating cytokines and immune response
- Assisted conception – Clomid, IUI,IVF & ICSI cycles
- Donor eggs or sperm
- Menstrual cycle/hormonal imbalance
- Increase blood flow to the uterine lining
- Endometriosis, Fibroids, PCOS
- Reduced PMS & PMT symptoms
- Sperm quality and quantity
- Stress related problems
- Peri-menopause and fertility
- General health and wellbeing
How many reflexology treatments will you need?
This will depend on your circumstances. Here’s a general idea:
Reflexology and natural conception:
Fertility reflexology can be used as a stand-alone treatment to enhance natural fertility. Initially, I recommend weekly treatments for 1-2 moon/blood cycles to support your personal cycle/ovulation etc. Once established I then suggest 2 reflexology treatments per month, between day 3-19 of your cycle. This will vary dependant on your specific issues. Examples include a need to regulate hormone levels further (oestrogen/progesterone balance), increase blood flow to the uterine lining, support your immune response, support you post miscarriage, calm endometriosis, reduce fibroids or support ovulation due to sticky eggs/ PCOS. Everything needs to be considered and associated naturopathic compresses or treatments may be appropriate to be used during your reflexology treatment – such as castor oil packs, far infrared therapy, acupressure, abdominal massage, the use of aromatherapy oils to support hormonal balance or Spagyrics etc. This protocol continues until a pregnancy is confirmed.
Reflexology and assisted conception
During an assisted conception cycle there are specific times when reflexology treatment can be most beneficial. I understand assisted conception treatments and use specialist reflexology techniques to support you. This form of reflexology has a slightly different approach because it considers efficacy of the drugs, timings and helps to regulate stress hormones that may affect implantation.
- During a course of Clomid I recommend reflexology once a week until shortly after ovulation. This would be the same each Clomid cycle.
- If you having a “scratch” I always recommend a reflexology pre-or post procedure.
- At the end of down regulation (long protocol) or prior to menstruation (short protocol. This ensures efficient elimination of the old endometrium and encourages formation of good quality new endometrium lining
- During stimulation phase: 2 reflexology sessions can support good blood flow to the ovaries and womb lining and ease the ovarian discomfort associated with it. One of these treatments is usually just before or on the day of egg collection.
- I offer a reflexology treatment on the day of egg collection to support collection trauma and calm hormones and stress response.
- On the day of transfer: I offer a pre or post transfer reflexology treatment to increase blood flow in the uterus, reduce implantation contractions, promote relaxation and generally support well being.
I recommend weekly treatments for at least two to three months after completing the assisted cycle. If you did not conceive on this cycle, I recommend you read my blog, What to do when IVF fails. to restore a natural hormonal balance to all of your body and reproductive system plus a nutritional cleanse.
Following a successful conception, my focus now supports your pregnancy. The 1st trimester is very gentle and supports relaxation, confidence in the pregnancy and to ease any 1st trimester nausea or fatigue often associated with the first 12 weeks. The 2nd trimester is aimed at promoting a healthy pregnancy for both you and your baby whilst the 3rd trimester helps to ease any discomfort associated with the final trimester and prepare you and your baby for labour and birth.
Justine Evans ND is a Registered Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist, Hormone Alchemist and fertility reflexologist. Working with fertility she integrates Western science with Eastern philosophy using nutritional therapy, functional laboratory testing, traditional healing methods, the moon, cycles and seasons. Call her on 07747 133170 to book an appointment.
Disclaimer: This article has been written as personal opinion and guidance only and should not be construed as medical advice. I am not a medical doctor.