The Benefits of Reflexology During Pregnancy and Labor
Ali Sugarman – Doula & Reflexologist
When an individual becomes pregnant, there can be a lot of emotions that unfold! While this can be an exciting time for some, it can be confusing and not so pleasant for others. No matter how you feel about getting pregnant, self-care, time to process, and prepare for birth and parenting is essential for wellness. Reflexology is a great way to optimize health and happiness in the second & third trimesters, and can also help in early and active labor to reduce pain and anxiety.
So what exactly is reflexology? It’s not your typical foot massage- although it has a similar relaxing effect. A reflexologist uses light to medium pressure (without lotion or oil) and specific hand, finger, and thumb techniques to activate reflex points on the feet. This is based on a whole body to foot mapping system, where certain areas on the feet reflect other areas in the body. For example, the toes are associated with the head and sinus area, the middle or sole of the foot is associated with the internal organs and solar plexus, and the ankle is associated with the reproductive system.
There are many benefits of reflexology, and you can receive this relaxing modality at any age. These include but are not limited to, better sleep, improved respiratory function, increased circulation, improved lymph movement, a decrease in foot and body pain, and an overall sense of wellbeing. It’s also a great way to give yourself some love and practice self care!
As a doula and reflexologist, I always work on my clients’ feet because these benefits are so potent! A pregnant person carries more weight, may have some anxieties about giving birth or becoming a parent, may have trouble sleeping, experiences morning sickness (to be clear, morning sickness can happen at any time of day!), or have swelling in the ankles and feet. Reflexology has been known to lessen these symptoms and make daily life more enjoyable.
Did you know there are also some reflex points that have been shown to shorten labor and help with labor pains? That’s right! Here are some of those points:
Reflexology is a great tool for humans to gain optimal health and wellness in their feet and spirit (let’s be honest, what is better than a foot massage?), especially during pregnancy. We spend a good majority of our time on our feet or sitting in a chair, and these sensitive and strong body parts need more love! Not only will you feel like you’re walking on a cloud after you receive reflexology, but your whole body will feel revitalized and well taken care of.