If you have been trying to conceive for a while you may be considering how complementary therapies could help. One complementary therapy that many women turn to is reflexology.
Reflexology is a massage technique that applies pressure to specific points on the feet. These exact points are believed to correspond directly to specific organs of the body and applying pressure to these points acts to stimulate the organ into working more effectively. In terms of fertility, reflexologists believe that they can help improve ovulation and cycle regulation as well as balancing hormones, but where is the evidence?
Unfortunately, very little is known scientifically about the benefits of reflexology for fertility. This is mainly due to poor quality research studies that did not yield conclusive results. A small study by Holt et al conducted in 2008, was unable to reach a definitive conclusion due to the small sample size and suggested that any effect on ovulation with reflexology was not clinically relevant. However, all studies to date call for more research using randomised controlled trials (a robust study design) so that medical professionals and patients alike can make better-informed decisions.
But, about the anecdotal evidence? I have lost count of how many women tell me that they feel better for seeing a reflexologist. How an hour of relaxation and space helps them to feel calm, uplifted and more in control of their fertility journey. These are the unquantifiable benefits, the benefits that science and research can’t always measure. My advice is always, if reflexology makes you feel like YOU then make it part of your self-care regime. It certainly can’t do you any harm and might just give you the extra help and support you need.
Guest Author: Kate Davies, Fertility Nurse Consultant
For 20 years Kate Davies, Fertility Nurse Consultant, worked in the NHS as a specialist nurse in Gynaecology, Sexual and contraceptive health and fertility. Kate now has her own practice in the UK and supports women nationally and internationally.
- Holt, J., Lord, J., Acharya, U., White, A., O'Neill, N., Shaw, S. and Barton, A. (2009). The effectiveness of foot reflexology in inducing ovulation: a sham-controlled randomized trial. Fertility and Sterility, 91(6), pp.2514-2519.
Last updated 27/09/2019 Next review due 27/09/2022