Complementary therapies and infertility
Around 1 in 6 couples in the UK today have difficulty conceiving, affecting over 3.5 million people. This can be very distressing for all involved and it can seem like a very lonely and isolating journey.
There are many different treatments available to help deal with infertility and many couples today opt for high tech methods like IVF or IUI. But a growing number of people are also trying alternative therapies to boost the functioning of their reproductive system.
Alternative therapies have proved beneficial for those who are not comfortable with conventional treatments or drugs, and also for those who have had to deal with repeated failures of various assisted reproductive techniques.
The aim of complementary therapies is to enhance the chances of natural conception or to act as a safe support in the process of assisted conception.
The intention is to not only optimise the quality of both egg and sperm but also to create the best possible emotional and physical environment for the pregnancy. Reduction in the effects of stress is one of the most recognised benefits of complementary therapies as well as greater hormonal balance, and improved blood flow and nerve supply to the pelvic area.
How does stress affect fertility?
Stress has been found to directly affect both male and female hormones. We produce adrenalin and cortisol to help us cope with stressful situations. However studies have shown that stress or anxiety over a prolonged period of time, can disrupt the production of hormones affecting ovulation, implantation conditions and sperm quality.
Stress doesn't just come from external factors like work pressure or excessive pace of life. Internal stresses can be just as important, for example, worries around what kind of parent we might make, how to juggle work and family life, how to pay the bills on one salary, childcare issues etc. Studies have shown that the tension generated by concerns related to the prospect of starting a family can actually disrupt a person's ability to conceive and carry to term.
Reflexology and Infertility
Reflexology is based on the principle that there are certain reflex points on the feet, which are linked to different organs of the body. When certain points are stimulated, they in turn stimulate specific body parts. The main use of reflexology is usually as a stress inhibitor, as it helps the whole body to relax and increase the endorphin secretion, which elevates the feel good factor.
Reflexology as a treatment for infertility is useful as a complementary therapy. Apart from relaxation, it can also boost the blood circulation, help balance hormonal levels and regulate the menstrual cycle. It has also been found to be of assistance to those women suffering from endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
What is Reproflexology?
Reproflexology or Reproductive Reflexology involves working with singles and couples experiencing fertility difficulties and is specifically dedicated to tackling infertility and to enhancing fertility through reflexology. Reproflexology can be used as a stand-alone treatment to enhance your natural fertility or alongside conventional treatments, such as Clomid, IUI, IVF, ICSI as well as with donor egg cycles.
Members of the Association of Reproductive Reflexology are specially trained to work alongside medicated cycles using treatment protocols designed to enhance the medication’s efficacy.
How can I help?
One of my particular areas of interest is in the field of infertility and I have recently undergone specialist training in Reproflexology with Barbara Scott, chairman of the Association of Reproductive Reflexologists, and widely acknowledged as one of the UK's leading experts in this field.
I have received training specifically designed to help me treat individuals or couples who are not currently receiving any conventional medicated treatment but may be experiencing infertility, either with or without a diagnosis, or anyone with a condition which may be linked to infertility, even if they are not currently trying to conceive. For example, the treatment could be highly beneficial to someone with endometriosis or PCOS who isn't actively trying for a baby, but just wants help to regulate their cycle and ease their symptoms.
I am also qualified to offer treatment to anyone undergoing a conventional medicated cycle such as IVF, IUI or ICSI using protocols specifically designed to complement these treatments.
What can I expect?
At our first meeting, I will take a detailed medical history, including information on your fertility history, hormonal cycle, details of any previous or current treatments being undertaken, discussion of any tests or medications you may have taken, and details about diet and lifestyle. I will also listen to any concerns or anxieties you may have which may be impacting upon your current state.
Based on this consultation, you may then be offered a course of treatment which could include reflexology for fertility, hypnotherapy, counselling or advice on dietary/lifestyle changes. You may also be referred for further testing, including hormone profiles and semen analysis.