Nearly everyone can benefit from having reflexology during pregnancy. – Association of Reflexologist
It is very successful in the treatment of a wide variety of pregnancy discomforts and conditions. – ‘Babyworld’ moderator and complementary therapist Lynne Morgan.
These may include:
- Heart burn, nausea, morning sickness
- General fatigue and anxiety
- Back pain, sciatica and PSD (pubis symphysis diastasis)
- Fluid retention, swelling and discomfort
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. It might also be recommended that both expectant parents have reflexology during pregnancy to help couples cope with the emotional changes of pregnancy and birth.
Please note: home visits are available after your due date, either to assist the onset of labour and early stages. Please call for information. It is recommended to have at least 2-4 sessions during the last trimester to assist with labour.
Post natal care: After the birthing experience which may have be exhausting yet joyful, you may wish to use reflexology to help with your new life and the demands of a new baby. Reflexology is wonderful in terms of its balancing, harmonising and restorative properties.
Other needs maybe:
- Adjusting to the demands of coping with a new baby – emotional support and care
- Working with any trauma or birthing issues
- Support as your menstrual cycle returns to normal
- Maintaining or increasing milk supply
- Postnatal depression and general relaxation
Reflexology can be of assistance through from preconception right the way through to birth and beyond. Don’t forget too, you will find working baby’s feet a pleasure and you will be able to help them through some basic baby problems – vomiting, constipation and diahorrea, colic or generally being unsettled. This can really help to form strong bonds between both parents and baby.
Research and Studies:
1. VALIANI M ET AL (2010) Reviewing the effect of reflexology on pain and outcomes of the labour of primiparous women. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. 15(Dec) p302-310.
2. LI C-Y ET AL (2011) Randomised controlled trial of the effectiveness of using foot reflexology to improve quality of sleep amongst postpartum women. Midwifery. 27. P181-186.
Studies and Research from “Reflexology Australia”
Randomized Controlled Study of Premenstrual Symptoms Treated with Ear, Hand and Foot Reflexology by Terry Oleson, PhD and William Flocco “Obstetrics & Gynecology”
To determine whether reflexology therapy – the application of manual pressure to reflex points on the ears, hands, and feet that somatotopically correspond to specific areas of the body – can significantly reduce premenstrual symptoms compared to placebo treatment.
Thirty five women who complained of previous distress with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) were randomly assigned to be treated by ear, hand, and foot reflexology or to receive placebo reflexology. All subjects completed a daily diary, which monitored 38 premenstrual symptoms on a four-point scale. Somatic and psychological indicators of premenstrual distress were recorded each day for 2 months before treatment, for 2 months during reflexology and for 2 months afterwards. The reflexology sessions for both groups were provided by a trained reflexology therapist once a week for 8 weeks, and lasted 30 minutes each.
Analysis of variance for repeated measures demonstrated a significantly greater decrease in premenstrual symptoms for the women given true reflexology treatment than for the women in the placebo group.
These clinical findings support the use of ear, hand and foot reflexology for the treatment of PMS (Obstet Gynecol 1993; 82:906-11).
|Symptom||True Reflexology||Placebo Reflexology|
|Nervous or Anxious||36%||24%|
|Depressed or Sad||66%||24%|
|Forgetful or Confused||76%||25%|
|Critical of Self & Others||68%||36%|
|Tired or Fatigued||27%||8%|
|Difficulty Falling Asleep||33%||0%|
From the Division of Behavioural Medicine, California Graduate Institute, Los Angeles; and the American Academy of Reflexology, Burbank, California. This study was funded by private contributions to the California Graduate Institute and the American Academy of Reflexology.
Expectant Mothers Helped by Reflexology
Ten studies show the impact of reflexology on issues important to expectant mothers. Research shows that women given reflexology work during pregnancy or labour experienced shorter labour times and less analgesia use. In addition, reflexology work aided with the problems of retention of the placenta and primary inertia during labour, helping the women avoid surgery or medication.
Reflexology during pregnancy
Pregnant women given 10 foot reflexology sessions from 20 weeks into their pregnancies to term experienced a better labour time than textbook figures. The average for those receiving reflexology work was: first stage, 5 hours; second stage, 16 minutes; and third stage, 7 minutes. This compared to textbook figures of 16 to 24 hours’ first stage, and, 1 to 2 hour’s second stage. In addition, 89.0% of the women experienced a normal delivery. (1) One study found that women who received 4 or more sessions experienced less analgesia use and more forceps deliveries. In comparison to the control group who received no reflexology treatment, they showed no difference in onset of labour and duration of labour. (2) Questions have been raised about validity of this study: “The findings should not be taken as particularly significant clinical value since some of the women received only one session of reflexology at 39 weeks.” (http://www.expectancy.co.uk/docs/expectancyreview.pdf)
Reflexology during labour
Research demonstrated that reflexology given to women during labour showed a 90% effective rate as a pain killer during delivery. (3); another study showed an effective analgesia rate of 94.4%. (4)
Women in the foot reflexology group of one study experienced an average birth process of 2.48 + 1.48 hours versus the control group (intravenous drip of 10% glucose plus a vitamin C injection) with an average birth process of 3.32 + 1.19 hours (4)
Reflexology was applied in two 30 minutes sessions to women diagnosed with primary inertia during labour during a research study. Assessment of dilatation of the cervix showed that 70% of them made progress when treated with reflexology. In the control group, 38% of women offered extra supportive midwifery care made progress. Under usual care, they would have been offered unpleasant and painful oxytocin augmentation to aid in labour. (5)
Research showed that, among women given reflexology work during labour, 11 of the 14 experiencing retention of the placenta after giving birth avoided an operation to correct the situation. (3)
Lactation in new mothers
Research showed that new mothers who received reflexology work initiated lactation in 43.47 hours (+12.39 hours) and in comparison to the control group average of 66.97 hours (+28.16 hours). At 72 hours satisfactory lactation was documented in 98% of the foot reflexology group and 67% of the control group. Reflexology work helped avoid use of drugs in lactation that may be harmful to the baby. (6)
In a controlled study of postpartum women experiencing anxiety and depression, six hours of reflexology work demonstrated a significant difference for foot reflexology with traditional Chinese medicine foot bath group when compared to control groups. (7)
In another study, postpartum women given six hours of foot reflexology work with traditional Chinese medicine foot bath showed a significant difference in: appetite; lactation; anxiety and depression scores when compared to the control group. (158)*+
Research showed that postpartum women recovering from Cesarean section showed a significantly shorter first voiding time when receiving foot reflexology or machine (electric foot roller) foot reflexology as compared to the control group. (9)
Postpartum women recovering from Cesarean section showed a significant difference in time to first defecation when receiving reflexology for three days as compared to the control group. (10)
(1) Dr. Gowri Motha and Dr. Jane McGrath, “The Effects of Reflexology on Labour Outcome,” Forest Gate, London, England, Nursing Times, Oct. 11, 1989
(2) McNeill JA, Alderdice FA, McMurray F., “A retrospective cohort study exploring the relationship between antenatal reflexology and intranatal outcomes,” Complementary Therapeutic Clinical Practice 2006; 12: 11925. (Queen’s University, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Belfast, Ireland) (PMID: 16648089)
(3) Sorrig, Kirsten, “Easier Births Using Reflexology,” Danish Reflexologists Association, Research Committee Report, Feb., 1995
(4) Zhang Changlong, “The application of foot reflexology in relieving labour pains,” China Reflexology, Centre du Documentation du Groupes d’Etudes et de Recherches en Acupuncture, Registre des essais comaratifs randomises en acupuncture publies en 2000-2001, March 1 2001
(5) Clausen J, MÃ¸ller E. En randomiseret undersÃ¸gelse af zoneterapi ved inerti og retentio placentae (A randomised (blinded, controlled) trial of reflexology in inertia). Ã…rhus Kommunehospital Afd Y8, 1992.
(6) Siu-lan, Li, “Galactagogue Effect of Foot Reflexology in 217 Parturient Women (milk secretion / lactation in new mothers),” (19)96 Beijing International Reflexology Conference (Report), China Preventive Medical Association and the Chinese Society of Reflexology, Beijing, 1996 p. 14
(7) Peng Guizhi, Qiu snow-sheung, Meng Li-fang, Zhou Ying, Wei Dan He, “Post-natal care and intervention on anxiety, depression impact study,” China’s Health (medical research) 2007 14
(8) Peng Guizhi, Liao Tao, Meng Li-fang, Wang Yuan-, Wei Jihong, Qiu snow-sheung, Wei Dan He, Zhou Ying, “Study for the effect of recovery for puerperium women treated Chinese native medicine foot bath combined with full foot bottom massage,”Nurse Education magazine, 2007 23
(9) Zhongcuifang, Huang Lihong, HE Miao East, Zhou, Wen-Cheng Peng Pai, Hsiao-Hui Lee, Bao Jinlian, paragraph Fortunately, Wen-Jie Li, “Foot Massage on postpartum urinary system rehabilitation research,” Maternal and Child Health Care of China, 2003, No. 09
(10) “Foot after cesarean section on the recovery of gastrointestinal function; the Influence of Foot Soaking and Massage on the Recovery of Digestive System after Cesarean,” Contemporary nurses (Academic Edition) Today Nurse 2004, Section 01