Reflexology reduces lower back and pelvic pain during pregnancy

There was a very interesting article I read recently about reflexology during pregnancy and I wanted to share this with you.

The article was written by Dr Julie McCullough and was published in the FHT (Federation of Holistic Therapists monthly magazine for Spring 2018. I appreciate this is not available to all and therefore I will attempt to summarise the article here. Dr McCullough was involved in research to establish the impact of antenatal reflexology on women suffering from stress caused by LBPGP – LBPGP means lower back pain and pelvic girdle pain.

The affects of this can last for up to 10 years after giving birth.

The trial was carried between July 2012 and December 2014 at Ulster Maternity Unit in Northern Ireland. The trial consisted of first time pregnant women being asked to take part in the trial and were given 30 minutes of reflexology for six weeks, 30-minute foot bath for six weeks or just the usual antenatal care. 90 women took part in the trial in total, 30 women in each group.

The results of the study are as follows – LBPGP frequency increased in the footbath group and there was a reduction in both the reflexology and usual care groups. However, the reflexology group noted a significantly greater reduction in pain, when recorded on the VAS pain scale. In addition, at birth the reflexology group experienced a mean duration of second stage labour, 44 minutes shorter compared with the usual care group and the footbath group.

The study was the first to test the hypothesis that beta-endorphin is released in response to reflexology, enhancing general feelings of well-being. Overall the results indicate that reflexology is safe for women in the third trimester of pregnancy and reduces pain and stress.

This is wonderful news for all reflexologists, who strive to make a difference and for all expecting ladies – complimentary help is at hand without the use drugs and medication.

Ayuverda – Doshas and Indian Head Massage

Why not spend some time looking into doshas and how your dosha type is connected to diet and your reaction to certain foods.

At this time of year, a lot of thoughts turn towards the spring and getting in shape for the changing of the seasons. As the weather starts to get warmer, we are often more inclined to exercise and start to feel the urge for lighter, healthier foods. So how can knowing about doshas help?

The three body types in Ayurveda, called doshas, are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each of us has elements of each dosha in our constitution, however most tend to have one or two dominants. By understanding your dosha type, you can focus on food that will aid weight management and promote well-being.

The dosha types are:

  • Vata – this represents the force of propulsion and it governs movement. People with a prominent Vata dosha type are often lightweight and can suffer from dry skin and feel the cold. Nourishing food is very important for this body type and should include cooked grains, cooked vegetables, dairy and nuts.
  • Pitta – this represents warmth, brilliance and focus. People with a prominent Pitta dosha type are often strong and driven but can suffer from overheating, skin problems and overwork. Very spicy, hot food should be avoided however ideal foods include salads, raw vegetables and seeds.
  • Kapha – this represents love and nurture with a tendency towards stamina and resilience. Kapha dosha types have a tendency towards weight gain and congestion when unbalanced, although when balanced this body type will be strong, calm and steady. Foods to enjoy include salads, cooked vegetables, spicy foods and grains, however foods to avoid include oily foods, sweets, dairy and nuts.

There are a number of free tests available on line, to help you identify your dosha type and there is also a lot of published information available.

The College of Ayurveda has some interesting links see here.

Indian Head Massage has its roots in Ayuverdic treatments and can be used as a programme to help rebalance the body. Why not give it a try!

How Hand Reflexology can be used instead of treating feet

Did you know that hand reflexology can be used where it is not possible to treat the feet? Many do not know about hand reflexology even though there are positions in the hand which correspond to those on the feet. However, they are not often used because hands are more exposed and less sensitive than feet and therefore the reflexes lie much deeper. However, the basic techniques are the same and suitable for those who do not like their feet touched. There is even a treatment that can be self-administered.

When suffering from a headache, with the thumb and index finger pinch the fleshy part of the hand between the thumb and the index finger of the other hand. Find the part that feels most tender and massage it firmly. Perform this on the hand on the same side as the headache, however treat both sides if the headache is across the head on both sides. This is a great use of hand reflexology techniques that can be administered anywhere and at any time.

Holistic Therapies in the treatment of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

At this time of year (and particularly in the post Christmas lull), SAD (seasonal affective disorder) affects many. How can holistic therapies help?

There are many useful websites including These explain the use of CBT and hypnotherapy for example, which in my experience are very effective. These can, however, be coupled with other treatments which physically help relieve stress and promote the active levels of serotonin in the body. Suitable treatments may include Indian Head Massage or Body Massage.

The use of massage in the treatment of SAD was recently reviewed by Danish researchers – further information can be found at

Indian Head Massage for Upper Body Tension

I recently had a client come to see me at Top to Toe who had been referred by their Doctor, for a session of Indian Head Massage. The client suffers from severe upper body tension and has benefited hugely from receiving the treatment. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to see the medical profession recognising the benefits of complimentary therapies, such as Indian Head Massage.

The feeling of a body which is “balanced” and energised is a wonderful experience. Whilst the world of complimentary therapies cannot replace traditional medicine, it can do so much to help. If you are undergoing medical treatment it is advisable to always consult your GP or consultant before receiving a complimentary therapy treatment. That advice may also assist in helping to identify the right treatment for you. However, do not be afraid to ask your GP or consultant, if a complimentary therapy will help the recovery and healing process.