Reflexology is a method of massage focusing on the feet, hands, and ears. The theory is that specific points on the feet, lower legs, hands, and ears correspond to bodily organs, so massaging these points can help to relax the body both internally and externally as well as stimulating organs and systems to perform more efficiently.
Reflexology was used anciently by both the Egyptians and the Chinese, and hundreds of thousands of people around the modern world sing its praises in helping the body relax, heal, and shed stress. Many undergo regular reflexology appointments in an effort to reduce pain due to migraines and headaches, menstrual cramps, sinus problems, back problems, side effects of chemotherapy, and more.
If you are TTC(trying to conceive), you may be wondering if reflexology could help to increase your chances of conceiving or increase the chances of having a successful IVF treatment. Unfortunately, no medical studies have yet conclusively been able to state whether or not reflexology significantly increased ovulation or helped women struggling to conceive to conceive more easily or quickly. In these studies, some women received real reflexology and some received sham reflexology. In this study, concluded in 2008, researchers noticed that volunteers who received true reflexology and those who received sham reflexology all saw improvements in rate of ovulation (40% in both groups compared to the expected 20%), so it may be that even sham reflexology had a positive effect.
Anecdotally, reflexology has proven to be a miracle for some women, who swear that it was regular massages that helped them to finally conceive. Many medical doctors, while disagreeing that reflexology might be able to specifically target the internal organs, hormone imbalances, or improperly functioning systems that are contributing to infertility, do agree that helping a women who is TTC to relax and relieve stress is invaluable, and it is this ability to relieve stress that might contribute to a greater chance of conceiving.
Professional reflexology practitioners claim that regular hour-long reflexology treatments help the body rebalance, help you achieve a total state of relaxation, and signal to your subconscious that you are taking an active role in trying to become pregnant. All three of these benefits, they say, can help a woman more easily conceive.
Whether you are a believer or not, reflexology is an excellent and completely safe style of massage to try out while TTC or while undergoing IVF treatments.