The Role of Reflexology for Fertility Issues
Experiencing issues with your (or your partner’s) fertility can be an extremely difficult and emotional time. Although reflexologists do not claim to cure infertility, treatments are incredibly calming and relaxing which may in turn, help to balance the hormones that are fundamental to the optimum functioning of the reproductive system.
Gabby Lamplugh has specifically trained in reflexology techniques for enhancing fertility and maternity care by David Wayte - a leading reflexologist with many years’ experience and success in helping couples overcome infertility, who was also filmed for the BBC3 series 'Make Me A Baby'.
Gabby has specialised in Fertility Reflexology for over 4 years and has helped hundreds of couples on their “baby journey “.
Reflexology may help to:
- Balance hormone levels
- Regulate ovulation and the menstrual cycle
- Boost blood circulation
- Relax the whole body
- Stimulate endorphin release - the feel good hormones
- Create a balanced environment for conception to take place
The feet have over 7000 nerve endings, some of which are mapped out as “reflex points” on the feet. By working on these reflex points, a signal is sent to the brain which recognises this stimulus as coming from part of the body. This stimulus triggers the body to respond with a healing process, such as increased circulation to part of the body.
Reflexology dates back as far as Ancient Egypt and theories of how it works vary from the spiritual to the medical. However, a research paper was published in May 2013 providing evidence using an MRI machine that stimulating a reflex point in the foot is recognised by the brain as part of the body 1.
Reflexology Treatments for Fertility Issues
Firstly, it must be made clear that Reflexology does not claim to cure causes of fertility issues. However, it has been found to be a contributing factor in many successful cases both in my own clinic and through scientific research.
A course of reflexology treatments for couples with fertility issues would work mainly on two areas. Stress management and hormone balancing. Ideally both the male and female partners would have treatments, particularly in cases of unexplained infertility.
A typical treatment for the woman would include 2 or 3 hormone based treatments starting on Day 1 of the menstrual cycle and finishing just before ovulation. The purpose of this is to ensure that the hormones are balanced, ovulation occurs at the optimum time, the fallopian tubes are clear and that the uterus is prepared to receive an embryo. After ovulation, the hormones are left alone so as not to disturb a potential pregnancy. From this point onwards, stress management is the main focus. For the man, the reflexology treatments focus on reducing stress so that sperm quality can be optimised.
During IUI/ IVF/ ICSI protocols, it is usual to avoid hormone based reflexology treatments so as not to disturb the effects of medication. However, this does depend on the individual and their response to the treatments.
It can take 3 months for changes to the body to affect egg and sperm quality. Therefore it is advised that you plan to have reflexology well in advance of any assisted conception treatments. But don’t worry if you have only a short time before your IVF treatment starts, reducing stress levels beforehand is still beneficial.
As Gabby herself has experienced problems with her own fertility she is able to offer an empathetic, understanding service. If you would like to discuss your personal circumstances to understand how reflexology can help, please feel free to call before booking your initial consultation.
Scientific Evidence : It is suggested that stress affects fertility by compromising the hormones needed for reproduction 2. Reflexology has been proved scientifically to reduce stress 3 therefore improving the conditions needed to conceive.
Links to Fertility Reflexology in the News
Daily Mail - Is reflexology the new cure infertility?
Daily Mail - Reflexology: can it aid fertility?
The Independent - Hospital tries reflexology to boost fertility
Woman who suffered three miscarriages becomes a mother of two after using reflexology.
Gabby Lamplugh, pictured with baby Georgia, from Cheshire, was devastated after she and husband James lost their unborn babies one after another.
• Activity in the primary somatosensory cortex induced by reflexological stimulation is unaffected by pseudo-information: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Naoki Miura 1 2 * , Yuko Akitsuki 2 3 † , Atsushi Sekiguchi 2 4 † and Ryuta Kawashima 2 3 5 † BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:114 doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-114
• Stress reduces conception probabilities across the fertile window: Evidence in support of relaxation. Buck Louts GM, Lurn KJ, Sundarm R, Chan Z, Kim S, Lynch CD, Schisterman EF, Pyper C. Fertil Steril July 2010
• Evaluation of anxiety, salivary cortisol and melatonin secretion following reflexology. A pilot study in healthy individuals. McVicar AJ, Greenwood CR, Fewell F, D’Arcy V, Chandeasekheran S, Aldridge LC. Complementary Therapy Clinical Practice Aug 2007.