The Journey of Fertility
Midwife and Fertility Therapist
The statistics show that as high as one in six couples find it hard to conceive, but there is very little written about fertility in relationship to complimentary therapies. Evidence shows that a range of complementary therapies from massage to acupuncture can boost fertility and aid the often stressful journey which accompanies infertility. Complimentary therapies are not going to solve the many contributing factors which accompany infertility, instead, they encourage the body to return to homeostasis and in that way aid conception.
I see women in my fertility clinic who were on their last journey of IVF – who gave up and then they got pregnant. I see women in their 40’s conceiving, women with endometriosis and polycystic ovaries – easing the discomfort and relaxing into the process that comes with invasive procedures. Complimentary therapies are just that- fantastic in compliment to orthodox medicine.
Women are fascinating, awe-inspiring and a wonderful support for each other – no more so than I see at the time of wanting to conceive and the journey subsequently to motherhood. However, in our modern day world, we often self-impose the belief that we need to be wonder women. As a midwife, I’m not convinced that feminism has actually got us that far we are often overstressed, juggling too many balls and out of touch with the essence of self-care. All of which are deeply motherly techniques that need to be cultivated. When working with women in my fertility clinic I stress the importance of relaxation and a daily practice of self-care. This is number one. For the majority of women, this includes learning the art of saying no. Therefore, in a treatment session I start with gaining a picture of how life is for you, where slowing down can come in and a priority focus on relaxation and nutrition as a solid base for conception.
When we practice self-care we initiate the first step towards releasing the relaxing hormones responsible for facilitating conception- we kind of jiggle the ‘mother’ of all hormones, oxytocin- up. Produced in men and women it’s basically the pleasure hormone. Opposite of the flight or fight stress response, this amazing hormone and neurotransmitter bring our body, mind and spiritual body back into alignment- once we let it. Massage, acupuncture, yoga, homeopathy, reflexology, aromatherapy- a walk in the woods, listening to your favorite music, looking into the eyes of someone you love- all of these (plus a good orgasm) create a flood of oxytocin. This is where complementary therapies excel. Cocooned and safe, your body relaxes and the magic happens.
The complementary therapies I see having the most effect for men and women and couples in the fertility journey are:
Reflexology works through ten zones mapped on the feet and hands. A map of the body is worked with using whether a herbal based cream or talcum powder to enable a localised stimulation of the specific points. Provided in your comfort either lying down or seated the therapist spends an hour working on the areas that facilitate or inhibit fertility and release oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. With over 7,000 nerve endings in the base of our feet the stimulus which travels to the brain then affects the hormones and a targeted area in relation within the body. It is important to remember that reflexology is not a physical medicine, rather an energetic one which works to bring you back to balance. You will find yourself in a deep relaxation and afterwards often tired and in need of a deep sleep. This is reflexology working through you. Let it. I would work primarily on the kidney points, pituitary gland, ovaries and fallopian tubes as well as solar plexus and digestive system. With maybe a bit of Reiki (Japanese healing) to complete the session. Lots of water afterwards.
Massage for those who have never had one may not be very relaxing initially. You’re wondering what’s going to happen, how it will be and if you will actually like it. With a good therapist there is time to talk before the session and on consultation will be assessing you and identifying areas of focus- this is different for each individual. For fertility massage I like to use a blend of deep tissue to work into the deep areas and underlying beliefs, holistic and balancing with energetic work, rocking and heat. I also work specifically on the abdomen and the uterus area which, with some heat and attention responds very well to massage. The intention is to bring oxygen and healthy blood flow to the area whilst encouraging the uterus into a good position. A lot of stuck energy is found in the abdomen, the seat of our emotions and the area where if we are not careful, it accumulates. Used with aromatherapy oils to deepen the treatment and balance hormones – over a course of several hours the gift of regular massage releases your body to let go.
Yoga is a movement practice, designed to take you to stillness. In our daily lives, we are so busy that stillness is something that quite literally is alien to many of us. Constantly plugged into something- we stay in our heads and away from our bodies. Yoga pulls you inwards, connects you to your breath, stretches areas which are not acknowledged as being tight and opens the pelvic area to enable more blood flow to your reproductive organs. Yoga is life. Find a teacher, find a class and enjoy- even those of you who think it is too relaxing and slow- there is yoga for you too. Yoga connects you to others and connects your body and awareness to the areas which are stuck. A daily practice will benefit you and connect you to other women for life.
An ancient Eastern medicine- acupuncture works on the meridian points and energetic flow. Drawing stuck energy from one area to another enables the practitioner to work with your body to balance itself. Needles are not large or as one may think. They are small and feel more like a pin prick initially than anything more. Different points feel different but the process is not invasive and deeply relaxing. Excellent for fertility for both partners. I see wonderful success with acupuncture for my clients.
These are just a few aspects which I recommend and use with couples who come to see me. Each woman and couple are unique and individual and sessions are tailor-made to meet requirements on the day.
For more information and an appointment with Kirsty in Cork or Southampton contact me HERE
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