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Maternity reflexology is a very gentle type of reflexology practiced on a woman before, during, and after the birth of her baby. Single-blind studies have shown that, after undergoing both lymphatic drainage and relaxation reflexology, pregnant women experienced a reduction in swelling and a deeper sense of well-being. Generally speaking, reflexology practitioners believe that every part of the body has a corresponding reflex point on the sole or top of the foot. Applying correct pressure to these points stimulates the body to heal itself and restore balance. Reflexology is believed to be an effective palliative therapy.
Before engaging in a maternity reflexology treatment, the patient should always notify her doctor to be sure that she does not have any contraindicated conditions. These are conditions in which reflexology should not be performed. In addition, she should always be sure her reflexology practitioner is fully qualified to practice maternity reflexology.
Pregnancy is a time of tremendous change for a woman's body, and proponents believe that maternity reflexology plays an important role in helping the body restore balance. Practitioners treat symptomatically, and patients commonly find relief from backache, constipation, hemorrhoids, nausea, and urinary tract problems. A reflexology session is crafted to be a relaxing experience, and expectant mothers also often report a decrease in anxiety, fatigue, and tension.
During labor, women may experience conflicting emotions of anxiety, excitement, fear, joy, anticipation, and pain. Reflexologists believe that proper manipulation of reflex points during labor can restore balance to the body and help regulate breathing, which in turn can help lessen the pain of childbirth. It is also believed that maternity reflexology can take the place of induction drugs for some patients, and can also help regulate contractions.
Many patients continue reflexology treatments after the birth of their child, and report a reduction in pain and a higher state of relaxation. Practitioners also claim that repeated treatments promote lymphatic drainage, which reduces swelling, and reduces breast mastitis. Many women also report that regular reflexology sessions have reduced postpartum depression or eliminated it entirely.
Reflexology is not solely for the new mother. Many women who have benefited from treatments throughout their pregnancy have also included their newborns in subsequent sessions. New mothers report a reduction in gas and constipation in their babies, as well as a decrease in incidences of colic. With regular specialized treatments, newborns are reported to sleep through the night more often, with fewer interruptions in sleep overall.