Should you try prenatal reflexology? Francesca Hornak, 23 weeks pregnant plus a working mum with a two-year-old, relaxes with a holistic treatment.
With a two-year-old son to look after, as well as work, my second pregnancy is proving very different to my slow, self-indulgent first.
My mind routinely races at 2am, and both my energy and patience are in short supply. So, I booked a reflexology treatment in the hope that this holistic treat might re-set my frazzled mind.
I also liked the idea of having a pampering treat without having to undress or have my senses affronted by heavily scented oils.
What is reflexology?
Reflexology is based on the theory that certain points on your feet, lower legs, hands and face correspond to different areas of your body.
The idea is that massaging these points can release tension and promote wellbeing.
It’s about balancing mind, body and spirit – when your body is coping with the hormonal changes growing a baby brings, this can only be a good thing.
Is reflexology safe during pregnancy?
It’s safe throughout pregnancy, unlike many complementary therapies.
What makes it really good for mums-to-be is that many reflexologists offer home treatments. Clara, the reflexologist, brought a reclining chair with her to our house, and I got comfortable while she asked questions about me. This helped me focus and stop thinking about my to-do list.
It was more matter-of-fact than I’d expected from a complementary therapist, and Clara’s verdict was: ‘You need to listen more to your body.’ It was a fair point.
What happens during a prenatal reflexology session?
The reflexology took an hour, during which I lay back, cocooned in warm towels and listening to rainforest sounds.
I was worried that it might tickle, but Clara kneaded my feet firmly, concentrating on the problem areas I’d told her about: my shoulders were tight from tension and pushing a buggy, and pregnancy had slowed my digestion.
Any doubts about whether prodding my toes could bring about tangible results in the rest of my body vanished when I felt pangs in the relevant areas, but the twinges weren’t painful.
About halfway through, I felt my mind stop whirring and I became oddly emotional – letting someone else take over while I tuned into the life growing inside me made me a bit weepy.
After the treatment I can’t say I registered lasting physical changes or benefits, but my mood was more positive and calm.
I rose above my son’s strops with a new serenity. And I realised how important it is to relax while I’m pregnant: it’s now a priority, whereas before the treatment it didn’t figure on that to-do list.
All in all, it was an indulgent hour very well spent.