Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Good for Your Sole

Fibromyalgia Hands-On Therapies

Are you feeling tired, uncomfortable, or nauseated in your pregnancy?
You may be surprised to know that an ancient form of healing called reflexology can actually help treat many common pregnancy ailments and even help you during your labor.

Reflexology, which may have been around for over 4000 years, was originally practiced by the ancient Egyptians and Chinese was first recognized in the Western world, in 1913, when William Fitzgerald observed that pressure on specific parts of the body could have an anesthetizing effect on areas in the body. They practice of modern reflexology theory was further developed in the 1930s by Eunice Ingham, who defined reflexology as it is more commonly practiced today.

Reflexology is the technique of applying gentle pressure with the hands or specialized tools to the reflex points on the feet or hands to clear the vital energy pathways that become blocked. It is thought that the hands and feet are like mirror images of the body, with various points and zones representing different structures and organs.

A treatment involves the therapist applying pressure, stretching, and movement to find the blockages and break up patterns of stress, restoring balance and relieving tension. Reflexology treatments can also improve a patient’s circulation and elimination - two very important factors in maintaining good health and well-being.

Benefits include deep relaxation, better sleep, relief from hormonally induced headaches and improved mood. Women have reported relief from common pregnancy ailments such as morning sickness, back ache, fluid retention and swelling,

Other reported benefits include:
  • Reflexology may help labor begin naturally without the use of drugs
  • Many mothers enjoy the benefits of reflexology during labor, and midwives, doulas and labor and delivery nurses have observed the benefits of treatments on the mother during the birthing process.

Although there are very few contraindications to reflexology, it should be undertaken by a qualified practitioner, preferably with experience in all stages of pregnancy.
However, there are some conditions where it should be avoided altogether and these include:
  • Pre-term labour - at any time before 37 weeks gestation
  • Placenta previa - if Grade II or III after 32 weeks gestation
  • Hydroamnios - if there is too much amniotic fluid around the baby after 32 weeks gestation
Suzanne Ezner, a midwife and reflexologist, also advises women with some conditions to seek medical advice before having reflexology. These include:
  • Women with a risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Women with a risk of pre-eclampsia
She also suggests that in cases where the mother-to be is diabetic she should be asked to check her blood sugar before and after treatments, as reflexology helps to balance the endocrine system and insulin production.

I became interested in reflexology when I took a course on it through the Utah College of Midwifery. I saw the positive benefits for my pregnant clients and decided to pursue further education and certification through Integrative Reflexology 
Claire Marie Miller, who developed this form of reflexology, has a very comprehensive knowledge of the physical needs of expectant and birthing women, so this is a great training for birth professionals. You can be sure that your Certified Integrative Reflexologist has been well trained. 

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