Reflexology & The Menopause
May 2022 saw the release of Davina McCall's documentary, ‘Sex, Myths and Menopause’, a programme exploring a woman’s journey through the menopause. The noise created on social media, in the news and on social forums by Davina’s documentary has been staggering. We wanted to share our thoughts on how Reflexology Massage & Acupressure could contribute to the relief of some symptoms associated with Menopause, and improve quality of life.
The Menopause affects everyone differently, in terms of the severity and duration, but there are a number of common symptoms among women, such as:
- Mood swings
- Sleep disorders
- Hot flashes or flushes as they can be know
- Headaches or migraines
- Poor concentration
- Joint Pain
- Loss of Libido
Over the last few years, more information, teaching, awareness and advice has become available for women going through ‘the change’. The aim of some celebrities such as Divina McCall is to reduce the stigma associated with this journey and to educate friends, families, and workplaces how they can help half the population that suffers for up to one-third of their life with what can be hugely sad, frustrating, difficult and debilitating time.
Menopause, the gradual ending of a woman’s reproductive life, is a natural process, however for many it can severely affect the quality of day to day life and activities. The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally. Periods usually start to become less frequent over a few months or years before they stop altogether. Sometimes they can stop suddenly. The menopause is a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman’s oestrogen levels decline.
HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) is the one form of conventional medicine for hormone treatment. Many women are opting or would prefer to use complementary medicine or therapies to avoid side effects of HRT. Some popular, non-hormonal treatments include acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, Chinese herbs, dong quai, evening primrose oil, ginseng, kava or red clover extracts, black cohosh.
Each therapy or treatment has their own research, although limited, on how much they can or may help with various symptoms. We are going to focus on how Reflexology could help relieve the symptoms on the menopausal journey.
A study was conducted in Iran to determine the effects of Reflexology as an alternative treatment for menopausal symptoms, specifically looking at Sleep Disorders. The result of this study suggests that reflexology is an effective non-hormonal approach for treatment of sleep disorder. Over the course of the study, women reported significant decrease in sleep disorder during the trial. With more empirical and non-empirical research being carried out, the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among menopausal women has increased.
Reflexology is a complementary therapy that is based on the theory that different points and areas on the feet correspond with different areas of the body. Reflexologists believe that working these points or areas contributes to better health of your organs, glands, muscles and systems in your body. A Reflexologist will stimulate these pressure points on your feet, or the nodules of Revs reflexology massage footbed, to increase blood flow allowing the organs, glands, muscles and systems in your body to function better, and bring your body back to its natural balance, often referred to as homeostasis.
There are many symptoms associated with the menopause, very common ones include anxiety and hot flushes which can leave a woman feeling out of control, exhausted, overwhelmed and unable to cope. As many of the symptoms either cause stress or are exacerbated by stress, then a way to calm and soothe the mind and body is essential.
Under pressure our nervous system heads into flight and flight causing a cascade of stress hormones to release, particularly cortisol and adrenaline. However when calm, the hormonal system can re-regulate, rebalance and the liver, the organ which flushes excess hormones from our system, can function more efficiently.
During peri-menopause and the menopause the focus of reflexology therapy is regulating the hormones and glandular functions of the body. It can help to alleviate and balance both the physical and emotional systems. By working with the hypothalamus and pituitary, reflexology can help to restore balance to the endocrine system. This in turn can alleviate menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes as well.
By calming the central nervous system, sleep disturbances can be alleviated and anxiety and stress levels reduced. Reflexology also helps the ovaries to regulate their oestrogen secretions and the uterus to maintain its natural health and flexibility.
Reflexology massage encourages the nervous system away from fight and flight. Many women report feeling deeply relaxed and are able to get a better nights’ sleep after having reflexology. The mind calms and returns to a more positive state, and challenges don’t feel quite so overwhelming.
As the nervous system calms, the stress hormones regulate, and the body rebalances, reducing the number and intensity of hot flushes and night sweats. Whilst the treatment cannot eliminate all menopausal symptoms, it is frequently reported to be highly beneficial.
If you feel that you are in the early stages of peri-menopause, or experiencing more intense symptoms, regular reflexology treatments could help to alleviate the symptoms you experience. We believe Revs Reflexology & Acupressure Footwear can offer similar benefits and are an easy, effective way to receive these therapeutic, natural, drug-free benefits.
As always if you have any feedback or questions please call us or email us and we will do our very best to offer the support you need.
Big thanks to the lovely ladies at the 'Auld Floaters' for posing in our fab new reflexology sandals and flip flops!