Reflexology is a particularly successful fertility boosting therapy when used in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Apart from relaxation, it can also boost blood circulation, help balance hormone levels and regulate the menstrual cycle. It is particularly useful in cases of sub-fertility and can be performed on both partners to promote optimum fertility. Reflexology can also help clients undergoing fertility treatment (IVF, IUI, ICSI and clients on medicated cycles). The increased blood circulation seems to enhance the effects of medical fertility treatment.
I use a combination of vertical reflexology (VRT), which is performed whilst the client is standing and hot stone reflexology techniques to stimulate and balance the hormone system. The remainder of the treatment is given in a reclining chair and is deeply relaxing. I also discuss the need for pre-conception care for both partners.
Key benefits of fertility reflexology:
- It promotes deep relaxation, maximising the chances of conception. Stress is a significant factor that affects fertility as chronic/ongoing stress causes the body to produce stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These slow the production of reproductive hormones, making it harder to conceive
- It helps to normalise the menstrual cycle and correct hormonal imbalances. By stimulating the reproductive organs, it synchronises ovulation and improves sperm production
- It can help clients undergoing IVF treatment as the increased blood circulation seems to enhance the effects of medical fertility treatment. I work with clients up to egg transfer/implantation and then again after 12 weeks, once the pregnancy has become established
- It provides a much-needed opportunity to escape from stress and worry. Many of my clients arrive despairing, upset and often angry about their difficulties conceiving. I am able to support them through these emotions and help them towards a more positive state of mind
Reproductive reflexology is for women at any stage in their fertility planning, whether they are enhancing their general health before trying for a baby, experiencing problems with conception or require help and guidance during pregnancy.
I conceived twins naturally whilst training in and receiving reflexology and VRT in 2009. I had reflexology treatments and vertical reflexology throughout my pregnancy and reached full term of thirty-eight week. I was forty-two years old!
I have gone on to support over thirty-five couples since 2009 (with a gap for raising my twins!) in their journey to conceive both naturally and during assisted conception. More than two thirds of my clients have conceived, several with sets of twins. Amongst the successes are women over forty years of age and women who have a history of recurrent miscarriages.
Key Facts about fertility:
- One in six couples in the UK experience difficulty conceiving
- In over 40% of instances of infertility, the causes are unexplained
- Fertility declines with age – this applies to men as well as women
- After pregnancy, infertility is the most common reason that women aged 20 to 45 visit their GP
- The majority of fertility treatment in the UK has to be paid for privately as NHS provision is limited and varies geographically
Pre Conception Planning
Please see the pdf guide about four month pre-conception planning
Harriet had an IVF cycle that had failed and a miscarriage with a second cycle. Her third IVF attempt produced her first son. She came to me for fortnightly reflexology treatments during her fourth and final cycle of IVF; she had two eggs transferred and conceived twins. She still has regular reflexology treatments.
Lisa had an IVF cycle that had failed so she came to me for her second cycle and successfully conceived a daughter. She returned for reflexology to support her third and final IVF cycle and this time conceived a son to complete her family.
Carol successfully conceived twins during her first round of IVF treatment with donor eggs. She approached me a year prior to attempting to conceive/have IVF treatment, as she was approaching 40 and expected to have to ‘work harder’ to conceive and for IVF to be effective.
Tina had reflexology to support an IVF cycle and conceived but unfortunately miscarried. As she was almost 42 she promptly began a second round of IVF and conceived a son.
Emma had unexplained sub-fertility; she had been attempting to conceive for 9 months without success. After two reflexology sessions and with some lifestyle changes she became pregnant.
Anna came to see me after a miscarriage that had left her extremely upset. She had fortnightly reflexology sessions to help regulate her menstrual cycle and rebalance her hormones. Within 3 months she had conceived again. She continued to have reflexology during her pregnancy and still has regular reflexology treatments.
Research into Fertility Reflexology
Association of Reflexologists
The Association of Reflexologists (AoR) has found that on average 50% of clients seeking help through reflexology for infertility; find themselves pregnant within the first 6 months of starting treatment.
The AoR has also found reflexology to be of assistance to those women suffering from endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which can be a primary cause of fertility problems as well as abdominal discomfort.
Danish Reflexology Association 1994
A trial was conducted in Denmark in 1994 by Leila Erikson, Chairman of the Danish Reflexology Association. 108 women under 35 years with no previous children, that had attempted to become pregnant for more than two years were selected from 260 applicants. 47 of the 108 withdrew. The remaining 61 women were given sixteen 45-minute reflexology treatments over a 7-8-month period. Treatments were given twice a week for 4 weeks, and then 2 treatments were given and timed before ovulation.
Nine of the women (15%) became pregnant within six months of starting reflexology treatment. Of two thirds of the women who had menstruation problems 77% experienced an appreciable improvement, with the majority having complete remission from their problems. Three quarters of all the women reported improvements in other ailments such as muscle tension, psychic imbalances, indigestion, poor circulation and general imbalance.
Unfortunately, the study only ran for 9 months which is a short time frame given that it takes, on average, 5 months for most couples to conceive.
Jane Holt Reflexologist, Kingsbridge Devon 2008
In a two-year clinical trial at the IVF Unit of Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, 13 of Jane’s 23 clients became pregnant after she treated them for a variety of fertility problems.
Beccy Wellington, 34, a nurse had four treatments within three weeks and is convinced that the reflexology ‘got her body into working order’ so that she was ready to conceive. She also felt ten times better, more positive and happier with herself.
Sometimes our bodies just need a kick start to conceive. Other sub-fertility problems are more complex and reflexology can play an effective supporting role in their resolution.Harvard Medical School Mind-Body Institute 1978
Harvard designed a ten-week group program for women with unexplained fertility. They encouraged the women to shift their focus away from stress, and the effort involved in trying to conceive a baby by using yoga, guided imagery, relaxation techniques, good nutrition, and education in topics pertinent to fertility. These methods have an excellent track rack for reducing stress levels and 57% of the women became pregnant within six months of completing the ten-week course.
NHS guidance for pregnancy
Links to pre-conception planning sites
Fertility and infertility support
Women’s health website focussing on the nutritional approaches
My personal favourite and author of “Getting Pregnant Faster”
The UK’s independent regulator overseeing fertility treatment and research