Reflexology is a very supportive treatment for women experiencing hormonal deregulation around menopause and peri-menopause; or those generally struggling with their menstrual cycle. It is a successful hormone balancing therapy when used in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Apart from offering relaxation, it can also boost blood circulation, help balance hormone levels, help regulate the menstrual cycle and improve sleep patterns.
We are all living in an environment where we are constantly exposed to xenoestrogens (oestrogen mimicking chemicals) within food packaging and our meat and dairy produce contains both growth hormones and pesticides. We are also consuming less fruit and vegetables than 30 years ago and thus less phytoestrogens (plant based natural oestrogens).
Countries like Japan where the food chain traditionally contains more vegetables, more fresh food, less packaging and less hormone-fed meat generally find that menopause is a much smaller problem. As a consequence of the western diet, many of us have too much oestrogen in our bodies and too little progesterone. Our hormonal symphony is easily unbalanced.
Many women approach the menopause with dread as they anticipate that it will be unpleasant, with symptoms ranging from hot flushes and tiredness to broken sleep and low mood. Reflexology, combined with lifestyle, dietary changes and guided supplementation offers a more holistic approach to hormonal regulation. Increasingly women are not happy with HRT as an option and are seeking a more natural approach to their menopause.
I have experience of working with women who have had a hysterectomy and/or ovary removal as well as those seeking support for an early onset menopause.
In addition to working with women going through peri-menopause and menopause, I am increasingly treating women with pre-menstrual tension (PMT) problems, endometriosis, fibroids, poly cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), menstrual problems (heavy and irregular periods) and general hormone imbalances. Some women present with painful periods and abdominal cramping, others have extreme irritability, memory problems and low mood.
The impact of stress
Stress has a significant impact upon our hormones; chronic/ongoing stress causes the body to produce stress hormones; such as, cortisol and adrenaline. This slows the production of other hormones; such, as oestrogen and progesterone. Long-term stress can lead to adrenal exhaustion; the adrenal glands are an important source for reproductive hormone production after menopause and therefore need supporting.
Examples of stress include
- Busy lifestyles; such as, those involving a long working week or managing a family and home
- Not incorporating enough exercise into your week to burn off stress, maintain endorphin levels and cardiac health..........or weight gain
- Drinking too much tea, coffee or alcohol to perk yourself up or wind you down
- Eating infrequently, consuming high sugar content snacks to “keep going” and experiencing slumps in energy, brain fog and low mood
Reflexology to balance hormones
I use a combination of vertical reflexology (VRT) and fertility/maternity reflexology techniques together with hot stones, cold stones and crystals to balance the body’s entire endocrine system. This helps to normalise the menstrual cycle and correct hormone imbalances by stimulating the reproductive system.
My objective is to help reduce the stress response of the body and this can be encouraged to continue declining with regular treatments. I focus on all the endocrine organs, including the adrenal glands, thyroid and parathyroid glands. This supports the hormone symphony of the body for the stress response and the multiple functions that our hormones have to perform.
Research into menopause reflexology
Whilst HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is said to be very effective at relieving night sweats and hot flushes in particular – the treatment is known to have a number of potential side effects, ranging from headaches and vaginal bleeding to an increased risk of blood clots and breast cancer. Many women are seeking more natural alternatives; such as, complementary therapies, herbal remedies and dietary support.
A recent study selected 120 women attending a menopause clinic in Turkey during menopause and pre-menopause, experiencing untreated hot flushes. The women were split into a control group who had a basic foot massage and a therapy group who received reflexology for half an hour twice weekly for six weeks. Whilst both groups experienced a decrease in symptoms, the reflexology group showed a much greater decrease in symptoms. They also experienced significantly improved sex drives and reduced sex avoidance behaviour!
Gozuyesil E, Baser M (2016)
The effect of foot reflexology applied to women aged between 40 and 60 on vasomotor complaints and quality of life. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 24: p 78-85
Reducing exposure to estrogens
Phytoestrogens and oestrogen/progesterone balance, pesticides and GM foods
Women’s health website focussing on the nutritional approaches
My personal favourite and author of “Natural Alternatives to HRT”