Reflexology is the technique of applying gentle pressure to reflex points on the feet (or hands) to bring about a state of deep Relaxation, stimulate the body’s own Healing Process, and help a person return to a state of balance and well-being.
It is holistic complementary therapy that aims to release blockages and improve the flow of energy in the body by working through body zones (rather like the meridians an acupuncturist or Shiatsu practitioner works on). Reflexology has roots in Ancient Egypt, China, Japan and India.
Reflexology can provide Relaxation, pain and Stress relief, stimulation of all body systems eg the immune and digestive systems, and balance for the mind, body, emotions and spirit. Most people find Reflexology an enormously comforting and nurturing therapy.
In general, Reflexology has been shown to help relieve a whole host of ailments, including:
- Digestive Disorders eg Constipation, Heartburn
- Migraines and Headaches
- Stress and Anxiety
- Sleep Problems
- PMS and hormone related problems
- Back and Joint Pain
- Respiratory disorders eg sinus
- Pregnancy related ailments
Introduction To Maternity Reflexology
Maternity Reflexology can be applied as pre-conceptual care, and care during and beyond Pregnancy. The fact that many midwives now incorporate Reflexology into their practice speaks for its efficacy. These stages of life bring their own particular challenges, and regular Reflexology can help to maintain balance and well-being while tackling associated conditions and ailments. One of the major benefits of Reflexology is balancing of the endocrine system - the set of glands that produce the body’s hormones (chemical messengers). Hormones play a key role in Fertility and Pregnancy.
For couples hoping to conceive, it is desirable to treat both partners to balance and Relax them, and get them into an optimum state for conception. As well as requiring healthy sperm and ova, there is a need for mental and emotional preparation, as Pregnancy can be a rollercoaster for both partners. Creating another person is a hugely significant undertaking, therefore it is best to be well prepared. The couple will want to have a good look at their lifestyle in terms of sleep, diet, Stress levels, Exercise, smoking, drinking and so on. Reflexology has a good reputation with helping couple to conceive, because of its balancing effects.
Pregnancy brings a number of significant changes to the couple, and not just physical ones. Things that seemed to work just fine before don’t appear to work any more! Reflexology can bring balance and harmony when it feels as though your world has been turned on its head. You might find you’re suddenly constipated and bloated, or getting Acid Reflux, or that you burst into tears when you’re looking at baked beans in Sainsbury’s. You might get all sorts of odd Aches and Pains that appear from nowhere. It goes without saying that you must seek medical attention for serious complications of Pregnancy. However, Reflexology can help you to manage ailments such as:
- Symphysis pubis pain
- Rib pain
- Morning sickness
- Leg Cramps
- Raised blood pressure
- Tiredness and Sleeplessness
- Mood Swings
Working with maternity Reflexology has shown me how it enhances health and well being as well as creating a wonderful caring environment for the mother and Incoming Soul (a lovely term coined by Susanne Enzer, maternity Reflexologist). I enjoy seeing how active the unborn babies become when their mother is treated - and spotting bottoms, heads, feet and other assorted bits of baby zooming around inside the confines of the bump!
In a post term situation and with the permission of the obstetric caregiver and client, a skilled Reflexology can help to prime labour. Many post term women who are experiencing a problem free Pregnancy respond well to this, although ultimately the baby decides when it is ready to come. Not even medical induction is guaranteed to succeed, and this is no different. Reflexologists may attend births to assist their client with pain control, Relaxation, and emotional and psychological support.
Your Reflexologist can be at hand during the post natal period to help the mother, father and newborn. A weekly session can help the mother in particular to adjust after giving birth, and she can hold and feed her baby comfortably during treatment. Reflexology may encourage lactation and help with breast tenderness or mastitis, and can help the body return to normal function following delivery. It can also help the new parents make the emotional and psychological adjustments to parenthood.
Finally, the newborn baby can benefit from Reflexology too. Playing with your baby’s feet and toes is a wonderful way of bonding with him or her. Did you know that ‘This Little Piggy’ is a version of a powerful Reflexology balancing technique?
You can play before your baby goes to bed, at bath time or perhaps when you’re winding them after a feed. Find a time that’s right for both of you. A Reflexologist can show you some simple, comforting moves to help with any problems your baby is having, for example colicky tummy, Constipation, poor feeding or distress.
About the author:
Siobhan Forsyth - http://www.at-one.uk.net