Springtime Arrivals with Reflexology.

Spring heralds new beginnings and given the restrictions over the last couple of years I for one am pleased that we are now being encouraged ( with caution) to move forward and start socialising once again. On a personal note, I have completely restricted visiting my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. So all the more exciting is the wonderful news that I am to become a great grandma for the fifth time towards the end of March. A truly springtime arrival! 

Trying to support my granddaughter throughout her pregnancy from a distance has been difficult. However the usual symptoms associated with pregnancy such as morning sickness, aches and pains , fatigue and swelling of feet and ankles have been eased by the relaxing effects of reflexology. I emailed a simple reflexology foot map with instructions and my granddaughter’s husband became a dab hand at giving relaxing foot rubs. Relaxing the various nervous systems of the body does not only benefit mum but baby too. When acute symptoms during the later stages of pregnancy such as sciatica, low back pain or Pregnancy Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) are present the skills of a professional clinical reflexologist are needed. Combining the use of acupuncture meridians, trigger points and reflex zones and areas on the feet.

The use of reflexology during labour is commonplace in many countries and some maternity units in the UK use reflexology trained midwives to offer choices to women. According to a North Bristol NHS trust “Reflexology may be used to start an overdue labour, reduce pain, regulate breathing and stimulate effective contractions.” There are three stages in labour. The first, onset of labour is marked by dilation of the cervix and the spontaneous rupture of the amniotic sac and the start of contractions. The second stage is when the cervix is fully dilated (10 cms) and regular contractions signify the imminent birth. The third stage is from delivery of the baby to delivery of the afterbirth. Reflexology can be used throughout this process. (Beryl Crane 1997 Reflexology. The definitive practitioner’s manual.  326-327)

A Danish reflexology childbirth study of 103 women (Tidsskrift for Jordemodre  number 3 1988, a periodical for Dutch midwives) with the purpose to offer reflexology treatment as an alternative to medical pain relief during childbirth in a general hospital in Denmark. 68 women chose reflexology instead of medical pain relief of these, 61 stated the treatment had a positive pain-relieving effect. 49 women chose to try reflexology treatment before medical labour pain relief of these 24 gave birth without medication. The study results were judged as positive by the reflexologist, head midwife and doctor on the maternity ward.

A more recent Iranian randomized clinical trial study in 2008 of 120 women with low risk pregnancy. The effect of reflexology on pain intensity and duration of labour on primiparas (M.Dolatian. A Hasanpour et al 2011 July 1) Showed pain intensity at all three stages of cervical dilation was significantly lower in reflexology group.

Putting the science to one side it is worth noting that childbirth is a natural process and the female body is pre-programmed to complete the process successfully. This is in no way to suggest that medical/clinical intervention is to be disregarded quite the contrary. Medical/clinical interventions are essential especially where there are risks and complications may arise. It is merely to suggest that the complementary therapy reflexology has a place in modern medicine within a healthcare system such as the NHS. The key word being Complementary as professional therapists will testify to the fact that we work alongside our fellow healthcare providers in all areas of healthcare delivery for the benefit of the individual patient.

At the time of writing this I am planning a visit to my granddaughter to help her with sciatica and SPD before the eagerly anticipated arrival of my newest great grandchild.

For any complementary therapy advice on fertility, conception or pregnancy please get in touch.