Here are my top 10 reasons why you should consider having reflexology while pregnant
- Reflexology is a non-invasive complementary therapy
Reflexology is great for pregnant women as it focuses on the feet. So, all you need to do is take off your shoes and socks – no need to undress. You can sit or lie down for the duration of the treatment with supporting cushions to keep you comfy and its typically pain-free.
- Reflexology supports your well-being
Reflexology is deeply relaxing and helps to optimise your physical and mental well-being. Pregnancy is no exception – this is a time when you go through insane & dramatic physiological & emotional changes and so promoting wellbeing is all important.
- Reflexology is good self-care
During pregnancy not only do you have to nurture and grow another human being but, as that baby’s home for 40-ish weeks, you need to ensure that you are looking after yourself too! Regular reflexology during pregnancy will give you some “me time” to relax and care for you.
- Reflexology helps to reduce stress
Pregnancy can come with a fair amount of stress. You may have concerns about work, body changes, the baby’s health or well-being, the birth itself, the future, your ability to parent, finances and so on. All these things can take a toll. There has been a significant amount of research that consistently concludes that stress during pregnancy (and prolonged high levels of cortisol) can negatively affect the baby – from preterm births and low birth weights to even longer term impact on babies’ behavioural and cognitive development (Coussins-Read, 2013). So finding ways to manage that stress is critical and reflexology can help as it can reduce physiological stress in the body.
- Reflexology is possible throughout your pregnancy
Many women turn to reflexology as they approach or even pass their due dates, but reflexology has benefits throughout pregnancy. As your needs and symptoms evolve during your pregnancy (from morning sickness and fatigue early on to the aches and pains in the later stages) reflexology can continue to help you feel better able to cope with whatever pregnancy throws at you.
- Reflexology may help with pregnancy-related conditions
Reflexology doesn’t have the same financial backing as big pharmaceutical companies and so we don’t always have the research to prove its specific benefits. But of course, reflexologists get positive feedback from their clients about how they are feeling following a treatment or series of treatments all the time.
There is a small and growing body of research to help build the case for reflexology during pregnancy. For example, one study showed that reflexology during pregnancy may help to reduce lower back and pelvic girdle pain and the stress associated with those conditions (Close et al 2016). Another found that regular pregnancy reflexology reduced fatigue experienced by pregnant women (Shobeiri et al, 2017).
- Reflexology helps to improve sleep
Many women experience disturbed sleep while pregnant, especially in the last trimester. Reflexology is a relaxing and sleep inducing treatment and many people fall asleep during the treatment and have a better night’s sleep after a treatment. A review of the existing research on reflexology and sleep found there is a link between reflexology and improved sleep (Lee et al, 2011)
- Reflexology may reduce the pain intensity and duration of labour
There have been a few studies showing that reflexology can have a positive impact on labour. One study has shown that reflexology during labour can help reduce pain intensity (Valiani et al, 2010) as well as reduce the length of labour (in all three stages of labour) (Dolatian et al, 2011). A more recent pilot study has shown that when pregnant women with low back pain or pelvic girdle pain received regular reflexology (six weekly sessions), the duration of second stage of labour was reduced by an average of 44 minutes (McCollough et al, 2017)
- Reflexology may reduce anxiety during labour
Going into labour can trigger anxiety and overall it can be an incredibly stressful experience for some women. A recent study has also shown that reflexology during labour helped to lower total anxiety scores. (Yilar Ekek & Aktas, 2018)
- You can often get a reflexologist to come to your home
Many maternity reflexologists offer home visits. This added value service has many benefits for pregnancy – you don’t have to travel to and from your appointment, you can stay in your pyjamas during and after the treatment and you can feel relaxed and comfortable in your home environment.
Little Steps Reflexology is proud to offer home visits for pregnant women in and around Central and South East London. Take a look at my website to find out more and browse my pregnancy reflexology packages, contact me directly or click here to book an appointment online.
I recommend you always look for a fully qualified, insured and accredited Reflexologist on the Association of Reflexologists (AOR) website
· Coussins-Read, 2013, Effects of Prenatal stress on pregnancy and human development: mechanisms and pathways, Obstetric Medicine
· Close et al, 2016, A pilot randomised controlled trial (RCT) investigating the effectiveness of reflexology for managing pregnancy low back and/or pelvic pain, Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 2016 May 23; 117-124
* Shobeiri et al, 2017, Effects of Counselling and Sole Reflexology on Fatigue in Pregnant Women: A Randomised Clinical Trial, Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Reseach, 2017 Jun; 11(6): QC01–QC04.
· Lee et al, 2011, Effects of Foot Reflexology on Fatigue, Sleep and Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, Journal of Korean Academic Marketing, 2011 Dec;41(6):821-833
· Valiani et al, 2010, Reviewing the effect of reflexology on the pain and certain features and outcomes of the labor on the primiparous women, Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, Dec; 15(Suppl1): 302–310
· Dolatian et al, 2011, The Effect of Reflexology on Pain Intensity and Duration of Labour on Primiparas, The Iranian Red Crescent Medicine Journal, July, 13(7): 475–479
· McCollough et al, 2017, A pilot randomised controlled trial exploring the effects of antenatal reflexology on labour outcomes, Midwifery. 2017 Dec;55:137-144
· Yilar Erkek & Aktas, 2018, The Effect of Foot Reflexology on the Anxiety Levels of Women in Labor, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2018 Apr;24(4):352-360