Round about: Infertility

By Dorthe Krogsgard and Peter Lund Frandsen, Denmark - February 2006

In Denmark reflexology is the mostly used alternative treatment form, with one in four having consulted a reflexologist. In Danish fertility clinics around 70-80 percent of the patients also have contacts with the complementary field, the majority of whom choose reflexology. Therefore a lot of know-how on treating infertility exists among Danish reflexologists.

Touchpoint has developed a reflexology seminar on fertility including the following topics:

  • Energy - the basis for understanding reflexology
  • What is infertility - Common causes
  • How is infertility treated in the medical world?
  • Male fertility
  • A complementary view on fertility
  • Trigger points and muscular exercises
  • Nutrition, vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Demonstration of reflexology treatment using techniques from various Danish, Nordic and European methods

Definition of infertility
Of those women who wish to become pregnant 80 percent are successful within one year.
A generally accepted definition of infertility is: Desired pregnancy not obtained within 2 years.

How big is the problem?
More and more couples are infertile. In Denmark every 6th couple experience problems reproducing themselves.
The worldwide prevalence is 8-12 percent which equals 60-80 million people worldwide.

In only 35 percent of all infertility cases, conventional medicine is able to identify the underlying cause. We will look at these diagnoses in the seminar.
In the remaining 65 percent the medical system can not find an explanation for the lacking fertility. It is especially within this group reflexologists are often able to help.

A complementary view on infertility - Possible causes for the 65 percent unexplained cases
You could choose to view infertility as a "friend" and not an enemy. It often provides the information that the body of the woman or the man is not in a suitable condition, physically or mentally to become pregnant, and thus offers a chance for change.

A multitude of different causes of infertility exist and often many are acting together at one time. Our job is to assist the woman - or man - in achieving the best possible health condition, so nature will perceive the body as ready to create a new person. The general condition is important with special attention to the following:

Heat stimulation
It is very common that women with infertility problems have cold feet. Hot-cold alternating baths could be recommended. Advise the client to keep her feet warm. Cold feet can adversely influence problems in the genital organs and bladder. Be aware of low thyroid function - and especially the kidneys in the treatment. Suggest daily exercises for the pelvic muscles to increase blood flow.
Hormonal status
Is the menstrual cycle regular? And where in the cycle does ovulation occur? Many women don't know how their cycle works! - surprising in these days of female individuality. Take note of variations and problems in the cycle, as this gives you an idea of how to prioritise the treatment.
Infection with Chlamydia and old encapsulated infections may influence the immune system. Chlamydia infection is very common and tricky because often you don't feel any symptoms and may have it for years. It is the most common cause of closed fallopian tubes in women and closed vas deferens in men.
Fungus infection in the cervix, often caused by Candida albicans is another common condition. It is probably not possible to get pregnant if you have this.
Condition of mucous membranes in general
A functional connection seems to exist between all the body's mucous membranes. If the epithelial lining of the nose, throat, bronchi, lungs, stomach, intestines or bladder has been irritated, week, swollen or the microbiological balance is disturbed, chances are high that the mucous membranes in the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries are also affected.
Most of our clients with infertility problems have or have had mucous membrane problems somewhere else in the body.
Allergic reactions
May cause irritated mucous membranes as mentioned above. An over reactive immune system could see the sperm as an enemy and attack them.
Musculo-skeletal tensions in the pelvic area
The increased focus on the pelvic area because of the infertility problem, sexual - or other problems may cause tensions in the pelvic muscles and tendons. Menstruation pain could be an indicator. Pay special attention to the psoas muscle and lower back muscles.
Stress level
Women trying unsuccessfully to become pregnant may have levels of stress, in terms of anxiety and depression, equivalent to women with serious diseases.
When we are under stress, we experience several neurochemical changes. This can alter the ordered release of hormones that regulate the maturation and release of an egg. In addition, the concentrations of several important chemical messengers involved in reproduction change when our emotional states change. There is a direct link between the brain and the reproductive tract. Nerve fibres connect the brain directly to both the fallopian tubes and the uterus.
The autonomic nervous system influence the ovary's ability to produce healthy eggs and hormones. For example, when a woman is under stress, spasms occur in both the fallopian tubes and the uterus, which can interfere with movement and implantation of a fertilized egg.
In case of man, both physical and emotional stress are known to affect the fertility. Sperm counts, motility, and structure are altered under stress. Problems such as impotence and difficulties with ejaculation are often caused by the emotional distress in men.
Mental health
Today, many European women have two fulltime jobs, one outside the home and one as manager of the family as well. Perhaps, being in a fulltime job - some even in a high status career job - is a shift towards what we may define as masculine values? Does that influence the female fertility?
It is a good idea to have a talk about the essential and existential aspects of creating a new human being. It is important that the body is ready - but it may be even more important that the mind is ready!

Reflexology therapy - combining different reflexology methods
In our practise of reflexology we use a mixture of different techniques. This means that often we have several different reflex zones or points at our disposal for treating the same body area and are able to attack the problem from many different angles.
At the AoR seminar we go deeper into the various methods, including Danish classical reflexology, the Karl-Axel Lind method and techniques from the Marquardt school and Nerve Reflexology.
In this article we have chosen to show a few important reflex zones for the reader to explore:

1) Nerve reflex point for the pudendal plexus (figure 1)
The pudendal plexus contains both motor, sensor and autonomous nerve fibres and supplies nervous innervation of the pelvic muscles and organs. Nerve reflex points are always treated with a firm static pressure for a maximum of 15 seconds.

2) Reflex zones for the ovaries and fallopian tubes
according to the Karl-Axel Lind Method (figure 2).

3) Nerve reflex point for the major psoas muscle
(figure 3)
The psoas muscle is an often neglected cause of many pelvic problems. Because of the close relations, tensions in this muscle may influence nearby structures including the ovaries. (Static pressure max. 15 sec.)

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