A little while ago I was asked to assist the lovely Melissa Christie from PCOS Pathways to support her new project by contributing my expertise and knowledge of Reflexology in a 2019 Journal. Melissa is creating this journal as a resource to help women who have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) regain control of their healh.
And so of course I said yes. For a health practitioner who works with women's health and fertility it was a no-brainer. Far too many women suffer from effects of PCOS, and the diagnosis of PCOS itself can be devastating to a woman who is trying to conceive. It makes it tougher, the hormones aren't doing what they're meant to be doing, ovulation sometimes doesn't happen when it's meant to (or it doesn't happen at all), testosterone levels can be too high and other hormones too low-it's a vicious cycle that can wreck havoc on a women's long term health as well, And of course the menstrual cycle can suffer which is how it can really get in the way of fertility, It is common to hear in my practice that many women that struggle to have children and undergoing IVF have the diagnosis of PCOS either by itself, or in combination with other factors that get in the way..
I believe there's just not enough education out there in terms of how to support your body holistically when you have PCOS and so I'm thankful that this resource is being created. What a resource that includes holistic treatment options that work alongside the medical model to manage their hormones and health in general.
If you'd like to get your hands on a copy, you can pre-order it through the link below;
Good luck on your way to healthy hormones!
Reflexology, rain-dancing & Infertility
by Heidi Drieschner
With statistics flying around that 1 in 6 Australian couples struggle with infertility, many are turning to complementary therapies such as Reflexology to help them turn their dreams of having a family into a reality.
Short of doing a conception "rain dance" to whatever fertility goddess you can grab hold of, you may ask if there's something else you can do to assist you on your journey? The answer is YES, and the best part is that no sacrifices are needed!
Sometimes I feel like yelling from rooftops, "REFLEXOLOGY CAN HELP WITH INFERTILITY!" however at the extent of looking like a crazy lady and being arrested, I thought I'd write a blog about it instead.
How can a Reflexologist help with Infertility you may ask?
Well there are many reasons why Fertility Reflexology might be a great choice for you when you are trying to have the baby of your dreams. It can help you to de-stress about infertility, switch off your thoughts about getting pregnant, open yourself up to deep relaxation, and walk out the door feeling much lighter than when you walked in.
Fertility reflexology can assist with boosting your fertility and other reproductive health conditions. As part of your treatment, after discussing your health concerns with you, I will target specific points on your feet & sometimes hands (called reflex areas) corresponding with various organs, glands, and parts of your body involved with reproduction and conception. Reflexology stimulates the body's natural healing processes and can help bring you back into balance.
In pre-Conception, Fertility Reflexology helps to;
* regulate your menstrual cycle (particularly important when you are trying to conceive if you
have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or Endometriosis
* work your endocrine system (balancing hormones)
* stimulate ovulation (by working reflexes associated with the ovaries and fallopian tubes)
* remove toxins (by targeting reflexes of the liver and large intestine)
* support healthy mucous membranes (through lymphatic system stimulation)
* assist with painful periods (by targeting the spine and lower back reflexes)
* provide emotional support & well-being
* give you a well-deserved break from the worry and stress of infertility (providing an ideal environment for conception)
* holistically support women undergoing IVF
How many Fertility Reflexology sessions should I have?
Regular treatments over 3 cycles (roughly 3 months) are recommended to get your body into its best possible state for conception to occur. For the first four weeks, two sessions a week are recommended (or weekly) followed by weekly sessions ideally just before ovulation or before egg transfer for assisted reproduction such as IVF.
Can Reflexology assist with IVF or Assisted Reproductive Techniques?
Working alongside your medical program, Reflexology works well alongside your treatments when undertaken at the appropriate times. For instance, Reflexology is not undertaken after eggs are transferred to the uterus for IVF, and treatments are recommended as below:
* Two treatments in between menstruation and ovulation (prior to ovulation)
* During artificial hormone stimulation, no treatments
* In the week leading up to egg retrieval
* After egg retrieval (while egg is being fertilised) and prior to insemination
I practice from Awareness Institute in Crows Nest on Mondays-Thursdays.
Contact me on 0410 552 588 if you would like to find out more or if you would like to book into your fertility reflexology sessions. I look forward to working with you to maximise your chances of conceiving sooner rather than later!
In kindness and optimal fertility
* Motha, Dr Gowri, McGrath, Dr Jane. 1989. London. “The Effects of Reflexology on Labour Outcome”.
'Can reflexology really help with infertility? 'Mail Online, UK
by ANDREA PERRY, femail.co.uk. Printed Fri 17th May, 2013
Infertility can be an emotionally exhausting, not to mention expensive, condition. But according to a growing number of people, the key to overcoming the problem for many couples could be far simpler than they think - thanks to reflexology.
An increasing number of women claim this popular type of foot massage has helped them conceive. Now a medical study has been launched to discover if the claims are true.
Reflexology, a traditional healing art dating from the ancient Egyptians and Chinese, involves manipulation of pressure points in the hands and feet and is often used to ease period pain, headaches, sinus and back problems as well as the effects of chemotherapy.
Practitioners claim the soles of the feet are like a mini map of the inside of the body and are linked to our inner organs and systems, including the fallopian tubes and ovaries. By massaging different points on the feet therapists claim they can unblock energy pathways in the body and so help the body to regain its natural balance and heal itself.
Some points on the foot are associated with a woman's egg production and by manipulating these areas reflexologists claim they can correct the imbalances which can hamper pregnancy.
The latest research, a two year clinical trial at the IVF unit at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, is the brainchild of reflexologist Jane Holt. She approached the unit after 13 of the 23 women she treated with a range of fertility problems fell pregnant last year.
Beccy Wellington, 34, an auxiliary nurse, from Kingsbridge, in Devon, is convinced that her trip to see Jane in November 1999 resulted in the birth of her son Luke, who is now five months old.
'We had been trying for a baby for just over a year and had begun to look at other ways that would help me conceive when someone recommended reflexology,' she said.
'I had four treatments and was pregnant within three weeks. I am convinced that the reflexology got my body in working order so I was ready to conceive. I also felt ten times better, more positive and a lot happier in myself.'
'I went in there with an open mind, but was totally shocked to find myself pregnant so soon,' she said. 'I would definitely advise other women to try reflexology. It may not work for everyone, but it worked for me and it is worth trying.'
Jane Holt, a reflexologist for 12 years, claims one woman she helped had been trying to get pregnant for 20 years.
'Infertility is a complex problem and I think that often what is needed is something that gives the system a bit of a kick start and that's what reflexology can do,' she said.
'At least this gives women the option to try something else while they are going through hospital procedures and even if it works for some of them that's a bonus.'
Cathy Shipton, who plays nurse Duffy in the BBC TV series Casualty, is also convinced that reflexology on the set of the show in Bristol helped her to become pregnant.
She had been trying to have a baby for four years, but four months after having twice weekly reflexology sessions she became pregnant.
In the new study, 150 volunteers will be offered reflexology rather than the fertility drug clomifene, which is usually used to induce ovulation. This drug works in about 70 per cent of patients, but the drug's main drawback is it can increase the likelihood of a multiple pregnancy.
The volunteers will each receive eight treatments over a two to three month period. In order for the trial to be conducted in a scientific way, patients and hospital staff will not know whether true reflexology or a 'dummy' version has been given. Only the reflexologist will know who has had the real treatment.
One in seven couples suffers with infertility. Last year the Plymouth IVF unit saw over 900 patients. Thirty per cent of these were not producing eggs.
The hospital has already pioneered the use of acupuncture - the insertion of fine needles into the body to unblock energy channels - in pregnancy and routinely offers it to women who might benefit.
Dr Jonathan Lord, clinical lecturer in reproductive medicine at the hospital, is co-ordinating the new trial.
'At the moment there is no evidence to say whether reflexology works or not,' he said. 'Although there are several reports of patients in whom it has worked, this is not sufficient evidence to enable it to be routinely recommended.'
The effect of the moon on our fertility...
Many people have pondered on the effect of the moon on the tides, our emotional state and on people in our society as a whole. Who hasn't heard about the effects of the full moon on our levels of excitement, crime rates, and hospital admissions?
As far back as 1972, psychiatrist Arnold Lieber wrote an article based on a 15 year study in Florida around homicides and crime rates. It noted statistically significant rates of homicides connected to phases of the moon(1). He believed that as humans are mostly comprised of water, that our bodies may also have our own rhythmic 'tides' which could influence and impact on our emotions. Putting homicide aside now, how can the moon impact on our cycles?
Across most traditional societies-women have had believed that the moon influences their fertility and menstrual cycle. Francesca Naish writes about it in her book 'Natural Fertility', and has even dedicated a whole book to it called 'The Lunar Cycle'. In Natural Fertility, Naish discusses a women's reproductive as one that is cyclical in nature and impacted by the moon.
The moon impacts us through its gravitational pull, the light of the moon can impact on hormone stimulation, ionisation effects (adrenal function and levels of seratonin are affected by air ionisation), and through its electromagnetism(2). This indicates a very close relationship between the moon, hormones & emotions-ask many a menstruating woman why she feels emotionally upset or angry prior to getting her period and you may just get a clobber over the head if the words 'is it that time of the month' are uttered!
The lunar cycle (the impact of the moon on a woman's fertility) was initially discovered by a Czech psychiatrist Dr Eugen Jonas in the 1950's, who also had an interest in astrology (he preferred to call 'astrobiology'). Jonas was interested in natural birth control, and so was interested in investigating why the rhythm method had such a low success rate. His research led him to research into the conception dates of his clients, which often fell outside when a woman was supposed to ovulate (mid-cycle), which is not considered to be possible.
From studying over a thousand women over a period of a year in his clinic, his results led him to conclude that among other things, a woman is most fertile at the same phase of the moon that was present at her birth. The interesting this is that this 'fertile phase' may or may not coincide with her mid-cycle ovulation. Many women have heard about women that have conceived outside what is considered possible, for example during their menstrual period.
Is it really that inconceivable that this has something to do with the cycles of the moon and our own bio-rhythmic cycle? Is it such a surprise that a lunar orbit takes 28 days (the time the moon takes to travel around the earth), roughly the same time that the average woman menstruates? (2).
The huge importance of this observation for women that are trying to conceive, is a whole potential other window of opportunity for fertility during the menstrual cycle that most women are unaware of. Isn't this something that you should know about if it can potentially assist you to have a baby?
By understanding how the moon influences your cycle, you can tap into this resource-especially handy if you have an irregular menstrual cycle or do not know when you ovulate-which can be tricky when you're trying to fall pregnant. If this is a resource that you would like to utilise, contact me for a lunar cycle consultation so that you can find out how the moon can potentially assist you as a woman in your fertility.
Do you ever feel like your forever fighting the natural flow of things in your life and your fertility? This article marks the beginning of a four part special on how you can work with the cycles of life, reflected in nature through the seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
Autumn Equinox- March 20th
Cooler weather, greyer skies, leaves swishing and crunching under your feet as you walk under trees, craving to sleep in more, and retreat a little from the sometimes hectic social pace that is Summer. What else is Autumn about?
Traditionally, Autumn was a celebration of the end of summer. It is one of only two times during the year where there is a balance of light and dark, marking the move towards the cooler months. When societies were more in touch with the cyclical flow of nature, Autumn was about collecting the harvest from Summer-storing, and preserving food in preparation for the coming winter. It was also a time where more focus was directed towards bringing more rest into life.
In our modern times, heading out to the food markets on the weekend is not quite the hunter gathering times of late (although it may feel like survival of the fittest sometimes in a supermarket on a busy Saturday!). Autumn itself marks the opportunity for us to reconnect to our own internal cycle and feel more connected to our needs. This time of year can be utilised to encourage our ability to be more open and receptive to change, and the ebb and flow of life-and is a great time for us to let go of things we may have been holding onto.
What is this time good for?
* Sorting out any old business
* Bringing rest, relaxation and recuperation into our lives
* Finding a sense of inner stillness and becoming more reflective
Small Rituals to celebrate the change of season
* set up a special place on a small table for the occasion-place items on the table that symbolise the season of Autumn. Suggestions include dried herbs, ferns, a small fallen tree branch or dried leaves, wheat, corn, apples, potatoes, carrots, onion dried seeds. These are all just suggestions, you don’t have to include all the ingredients for a big pot of soup!
* wear the colours of the season-orange, gold, red or brown
* smudge yourself with incense, sage or rosemary to clear yourself energetically
* think of everything you have achieved over summer, and thank everyone involved out loud
* write down what you need to do to bring more balance into your life
* take a walk in the bush or anywhere in nature to reconnect
Signs of being out of ‘whack’ during Autumn
* recurrent colds/flus
* sinus problems
* flare ups of skin conditions
* gastrointestinal problems such as constipation or diarrhoea
* feeling emotions such as grief or loss
* having difficulty letting go of things in your life
Want to read more?
Refer to my blog section for more details and helpful hints about working with the natural flow of life.