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Ask the expert: Author and researcher Barbara Scott on Reflexology for Fertility(1 Post)
Barbara Scott is an acclaimed reflexologist who is pioneering research into the use of reflexology for fertility.
Watkins Books has recently published her title Reflexology for Fertility -- the first book to be published on the treatment of male and female reproductive conditions using reflexology.
Though the book is aimed at practitioners, Barbara has a wealth of successful case-studies and endorsements (her book's foreword is written by Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD, Nutritionist and bestselling author of Getting Pregnant Faster), and is an amazing source of knowledge due to her 20+ years of experience in reflexology and alternative therapy. These experiences make her an excellent person to speak to about reflexology, fertility issues, and the issues and benefits of alternative therapies.
We were lucky to have the chance to ask her some questions about how she believes reflexology can support fertility and efforts to conceive. Here's what we found out! We hope you find the answers of interest - feel free to post any questions you might have for Barbara in the comments below and she will endeavour to answer them for you.
Please remember to always consult your medical practitioner before embarking on your reproductive journey.
How does reflexology help with the fertility journey?
Reflexology can help couples who are trying to conceive in a number of different ways, and this will be individual to each couple. A Reproductive Reflexologist will spend the initial consultation exploring what issues might be affecting fertility for both the male and female, as causal factors for fertility issues are usually attributable a third female, a third male and a third joint.
Some of the most common issues that we address are those affecting the menstrual cycle. And so we spend time ensuring that it is functioning at its best and that women are aware of when they ovulate, as so many women know so little about their own cycles, and many women still believe that they ovulate on day 14 regardless of the length of their cycle or the length of the luteal phase of their cycle.
In men we are usually addressing issues with sperm morphology, motility or count. Along with any underlying conditions that can be contributing to poor results.
We use a series of protocols for treating a wide range of issues, that aim to remedy any underlying causes and promote fertility health and well-being. In addition to this we spend time educating couples on understanding and optimising their 'fertility window', managing stress levels and providing them with a diet/nutrition/lifestyle 'toolbox'. All of this is aimed at putting them back in the driving seat so that they feel in control and therefore less stressed.
One of the most wonderful things about it is that as well as being very effective, it can be a very pleasant and deeply relaxing form of treatment.
Is it just for those experiencing problems becoming pregnant?
No, it can be used for any reproductive condition, male or female, and is not just for those trying to conceive. We treat many men as well as women who have a very wide range of conditions and just want to improve their health. Some of the most common conditions that we are likely to see are PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, luteal phase defects or just an irregular cycle.
However, it is important to say here that we do not diagnose conditions and it is not a replacement for traditional treatment for serious medical conditions.
Is it just for women trying to become pregnant or can wannabe dads try it too?
We treat many men and very much like to include them right from the initial consultation. We know that men are involved in approximately 50% of cases and therefore we feel it is essential that they are involved in the process. We often refer men for medical testing so that we are able to assess their levels of fertility and use these tests and results to monitor progress.
Is reflexology for fertility safe?
The short answer is yes, however, it is important that you make sure that you find a practitioner who is appropriately trained and insured, so that you can be sure that they have a comprehensive understanding of your individual circumstances and are able to treat accordingly.
What's the research / science behind the practice?
The techniques used are evidence based in that we used a range of medical tests that allow us to measure progress for both men and women along with client rated improvement of symptoms.
An example of this could be a woman with progesterone deficiency. She may have had a progesterone blood test (which should be taken 7 days post ovulation) that has shown her progesterone levels to be poor and tells us that she is either not ovulating or levels of progesterone are too low to support a pregnancy. We use a specific reflexology protocol in the luteal phase of her cycle and Basal Body Temperature charting to monitor progress. Once we can see and feel improvement in progesterone levels, we would suggest a re-test.
In 2013, we undertook a study collating data from 180 cases treated using these prescriptive treatment protocols. We were amazed to find that 68% of clients conceived whilst receiving treatment (we have a breakdown of statistics, available on request from your Editor Bromley@mumsnetlocal.com).
Should reflexology be undertaken as a standalone tactic or in partnership with other lifestyle practices?
Reflexology can be used on its own or alongside diet, nutrition and lifestyle changes as these support the work that we do.
How can we find out more about reflexology for fertility?
You can find out more about what we do and where to find a registered practitioner near you from our websites www.serennaturalfertility.co.uk or www.reproductivereflexologists.co.uk which also has a 'Find a Therapist' page.
Any tips for those new to reproductive reflexology?
1. Find someone who specialises in reproductive reflexology. It is a complex field and you need to make sure that your practitioner really knows their stuff and are well qualified to treat you.
2. Ring 2 or 3 before practitioners before making a decision, you need to make sure that you feel comfortable with your practitioner and feel able to work with them.
3. Our practitioners will send out a pre-conceptual questionnaire before you attend your initial consultation, so do make sure that you complete it fully and bring along any relevant test results to your appointment. This will help your practitioner to fully understand what might be causing your fertility difficulties.
4. Make a list of things you would like to know or ask at you first appointment.
5. And finally.... remember this is your journey and you need to make sure that you feel safe, comfortable and confident in your treatment.
More about Barbara
Barbara trained at the Bayly School of Reflexology and she is a member of The British Reflexology Association, The Association of Reflexologists, The Federation of Holistic Therapists, and is now Chair of The Association of Reproductive Reflexologists. She lectures at universities and conferences around the UK and Europe, has spoken on the BBC and Heart FM, and has developed a course to train practitioners on reproductive reflexology. She has trained over 300 practitioners in the UK, Germany, Denmark, India, and Israel.
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