"AT MENARCHE A YOUNG WOMAN ENTERS HER POWER, THROUGHOUT HER MENSTRUATING YEARS SHE PRACTICES HER POWER AND AT MENOPAUSE SHE BECOMES HER POWER"
(Native American saying*)
Research and experience have shown that hormonal activity and balance has a major impact on women’s health, throughout their reproductive life and during the menopause. This list is only a sample of issues that can affect women. By no means is this an exhaustive list, however these are the more common conditions where Reflexology, Aromatherapy and Therapeutic Massage with a combination of specialist advice have been effective.
PMS & PMDD - In Premenstrual Syndrome & Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder the symptoms can vary widely: Physical: tender breasts, fluid retention, headaches, migraines, etc. Psychological: irritability, depression, mood swings. In PMDD anxiety, anger, etc may also occur. It is believed to be the result of hormone fluctuations during the menstrual cycle, as well as low levels of serotonin. Experience has shown that regular Reflexology treatments have achieved good results for sufferers of these conditions as well as menstrual pain, irregularity and heavy bleeding.
PREMATURE MENOPAUSE - Premature menopause is defined as the onset of menopause before the age of 45. Early menopause, premature menopause and/or premature ovarian failure are terms that are often used to describe the same condition, whatever the cause. Often the cause remains unknown, although a number of factors may play a role: stress, genetic predisposition, smoking, alcohol, infection, prolonged use of contraceptives, etc. Reflexology, through its cleansing, detoxifying effect can be particularly effective as well as reducing levels of stress. Aromatherapy and Holistic Massage can be also beneficial in addressing stress and environmental factors affecting fertility.
MENOPAUSE - It is a time in a woman’s life when her menstrual cycle gradually ceases. Menopause is something that typically happens between the ages of 47 and 53. Oestrogen production declines and changes in hormone levels can result in hot flushes. Some women have decrease in sexual drive, while others report an increase! Clients have reported a marked improvement on the emotional aspects of well being, as well as regulating extreme temperature shifts, particularly following Reflexology and Aromatherapy treatments.
TREATMENTS TO IMPROVE FERTILITY
While it is important to stress that there is no "miracle cure", complementary therapies - in particular reflexology - may provide a good starting point in dealing with fertility issues.
The miracle of conception and birth is largely reliant upon the mother's openness – conscious and subconscious - to become a "receptacle" for a new human being, so if you begin to look at successful fertility as resulting from a balanced and relaxed lifestyle you are well on the way to cultivating the positive outlook and sense of wellbeing which is so crucial to carrying and bearing a child.
By opting to live a more holistic lifestyle you are making a commitment to your body, mind and spirit to change your state of being. Your body may be out of balance and one way of alerting you to an imbalance may well be blocking your ability to conceive. Listen to your body and take control.
For conception to take place lays to a large extent in becoming in tune with your own body and all its complex signals, bearing in mind that age, lifestyle and biological and medical factors can all play a role in the fertility of both males and females.
Complementary therapies can be a particularly powerful tool in dealing with fertility issues, but it is much more effective when complemented by a healthy lifestyle. Emotional stress from work, relationships or home may be an issue to look at and changes to some of the following can also make a difference:
Many couples have found that reflexology has helped them to conceive. Reflexology is ideal for this as it is a truly holistic therapy that can balance body, mind and spirit and address any disturbances at a very deep level. Amongst its many benefits, reflexology can:
Research undertaken in Denmark and the U.K. has shown that reflexology can increase fertility. Reflexology works best for fertility if both partners commit to treatment and agree to sustain it for a certain period of time. Ideally, treatments would be given once a week for 6-10 weeks as part of an agreed treatment plan. Over time, this can help to regulate the female cycle, encourage ovulation (and boost sperm count).
Conditions such as PCOS and endometriosis may also experience relief in symptoms. Most importantly, reflexology works to achieve balance or homeostasis, throughout the entire body, mind and spirit.
REFLEXOLOGY IN PREGNANCY
From the early stages to delivery, pregnancy can be physically and emotionally demanding. Regular gentle reflexology treatments can help with some of the conditions associated with pregnancy, such as morning sickness, nausea, headaches, water retention, constipation, stress, anxiety, sleeping problems. Reflexology can also play an important role during the last phase of pregnancy, particularly to encourage labour especially if overdue.
Massage during pregnancy is therapeutic bodywork which focuses on the special needs of the mother-to-be as her body goes through the dramatic changes.
Prenatal Massage enhances the function of muscles and joints, improves circulation and general body tone and relieves mental and physical fatigue.
In addition to the fact that massage during pregnancy just plain feels good, there are many other benefits. A study conducted by Dr. Tiffany Field at the University of Miami School of Medicine showed that massage actually reduces stress hormones in the body. Touch is vital to the mother's physical and emotional well-being as she adapts to her new body image. Regardless of individual circumstances, a pregnant woman's body is challenged, changed and stressed in many ways. Massage gives special attention to the mother-to-be, which in turn nurtures the new life that grows within her.
Other benefits include:
- emotional support through nurturing touch
- help with relaxation and insomnia
- stress relief on weight-bearing joints, such as ankles, lower back, pelvis
- relief from neck and back pain caused by muscle imbalance and weakness
- assistance in maintaining proper posture
- preparing muscles used during childbirth
- reduced swelling in hands and feet
*Quoted in: Alexandra Pope - The Wild Genie: The Healing Power of Menstruation