Friday, 26 July 2013

Reflexology In Pregnancy

Reflexology in Pregnancy - can it help?

I have been asked many times if reflexology is helpful during pregnancy - I can say that as a qualified reflexologist and aromatherapist, reflexology does help with pregnancy, both during and after and it can also help with fertility issues too.

Are you feeling tired, uncomfortable, or nauseous in your pregnancy? You may be surprised to know that an ancient form of healing called reflexologycan actually help treat many common pregnancy ailments and even help you during your labour.

What is reflexology?

Reflexology has been around for over 4000, originally practised by the ancient Egyptians and Chinese but it was first recognised in the Western world in 1913 when Dr William Fitzgerald noticed that pressure on specific parts of the body could have an anaesthetising effect on corresponding areas in the body. This was further developed in the 1930s by Eunice Ingham, who defined reflexology as it is practised today.
Reflexology is the technique of applying gentle pressure to the reflexes (pressure points) on the feet or hands to clear the vital energy pathways that can become blocked due to the stresses and strains of life. It is thought that the hands and feet are like mirror images of the body, with various points representing different structures and organs. (see a simple reflexology chart below)
A treatment involves the therapist applying pressure, stretching, and movement to find the blockages and break up patterns of stress, restoring balance and relieving tension. Reflexology treatments can also improve a patient’s circulation and elimination – two very important factors in maintaining good health and well-being.

Is reflexology in pregnancy safe?

Obviously when you are pregnant you want to make sure that everything you do is safe for both you and your baby. Midwife Hannah Hulme Hunter says, “Reflexology is generally considered safe in pregnancy, provided all is well with your pregnancy and your reflexologist knows that you’re pregnant.” However, some reflexologists will not treat a pregnant woman during the first trimester. The Association of Reflexologists (AOR) says that this is due to a misplaced patient fear that reflexology may cause a miscarriage.
“There is no evidence to even suggest that this may be the case,” the AOR says. “However, as miscarriages are more common in the first term of pregnancy, some reflexologists are not prepared to take the risk that the client may blame them should a miscarriage occur.”
In their book, A Complete Guide to Foot Reflexology, authors Kevin and Barbara Kunz say, “A miscarriage is a reaction of the body, NOT a reaction to reflexology. Under no circumstances has reflexology ever been shown to have caused the body to do something it didn't want to do.” Hannah’s advice to expectant mothers would be to contact a qualified reflexologist who specializes in pregnancy for further information.

When should it be avoided?

Although there are very few contraindications to reflexology, it should be undertaken by a qualified practitioner, preferably with experience in all stages of pregnancy.
Kevin Kunz recommends, “Reflexology is like exercise. It should be done gradually and within your comfort range.” However, there are some conditions where reflexology in pregnancy should be avoided altogether and these include:
  • Pre-term labour – at any time before 37 weeks gestation
  • Placenta previa – if Grade II or III after 32 weeks gestation
  • Hydroamnios – if there is too much amniotic fluid around the baby
    after 32 weeks gestation
Suzanne Ezner, a midwife and reflexologist, also advises women with some conditions to seek medical advice before having reflexology. These include:
  • Women with a risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Women with a risk of pre-eclampsia
She also suggests that in cases where the mother-to be is diabetic she should be asked to check her blood sugar before and after treatments, as reflexology helps to balance the endocrine system and insulin production.

How can it help?

The Association of Reflexologists says, “Nearly everyone can benefit from having reflexology during pregnancy.”
Babyworld moderator and complementary therapist Lynne Morgan says, “It is very successful in the treatment of a wide variety of pregnancy discomforts and conditions. “During labour itself, it can be used for relaxation and pain relief and research has shown that women who have regular reflexology treatments during pregnancy have far shorter labours than those who don’t.” Practitioner Valerie Lowe recommends that both expectant parents have reflexology during pregnancy to help couples during the emotional changes of pregnancy and birth. Other benefits include:
  • Relief from common pregnancy ailments such as morning sickness, back
    ache, fluid retention and swelling
  • Adjusting to the demands of coping with a new baby
  • Support as your menstrual cycle returns to normal
As well as this, much research has shown that reflexology is excellent for maintaining or increasing milk supply as well as helping with postnatal depression and general relaxation.
If you'd like anymore information on reflexology in pregnancy or would like to book a treatment, you can contact me at 

I wish you well on your pregnancy journey.
Kind Regards

Some of the information above has been sourced from

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