Reflexology is the study and use of certain points known as 'reflex' points to relieve pressure and tension in other parts of the body. These reflex points are specific points on the body where massage and pressure is given so as to relieve tension, pain, and stress, and thus, help in relaxation. The main principle on which reflexology works is similar to acupressure; however, since there is application of pressure on certain points on the body, reflexology does not work with the flow of energy in the body, the way acupressure does.
There are many uses of reflexology but one of the recently discovered uses is induction of labor. Labor pain is one of the most excruciating and painful experiences, and delayed labor is very worrying for expectant mothers indeed. Hence, in such situations, rather than resorting to the use of drugs which may lead to further complications, it is best to try out methods to induce labor naturally. One such method that is rapidly becoming a popular option for inducing labor is the use of reflexology.
Arch of Foot
This point is located inside the arch of the foot, just in front of the heel. Never press this point to such an extent that it becomes very painful. The pressure applied here should be firm in nature, but not so intense that it causes pain. Once the tension is released after the application of pressure, the threshold of pain increases. Thus, this point is very important and helpful in cases of intense pain during childbirth and the stage of labor, and delivery.
Another important point that is used, is the point between the big toe and the second toe. This point will also be tender on the application of pressure.
This is the point present just inside the heel of both the feet. This point can be identified by the fact that it will be quite tender on application of pressure.
This point is said to influence the pituitary gland, which is stimulated into releasing oxytocin. Oxytocin is one of the main hormones that brings about contraction of the uterine wall. For using this point, one has to firmly press on the center of the thumb for at least three minutes, after which, you can switch to your other thumb.
- It is important to keep in mind that reflexology is best performed by an expert. Some of these points, especially the thumb point, can be used as one of the natural ways to induce labor at home. Although you can try these points yourself, it is still advisable to get this massage done by an expert.
- If you try this method, and if contraction begins, stop the pressure. You can then repeat the application of pressure once the contraction stops.
- You must always keep in mind that the use of reflexology for induction of labor should not be employed under any circumstances before the due date. Therefore, wait until at least forty-one weeks are complete so as to avoid a premature delivery.
Although it has not yet been conclusively proven that reflexology does help induce labor, and there are many that are still skeptical of it, this is one of the harmless and relatively risk-free way to induce labor. But, for women who still find using reflexology to induce labor questionable, they can always consult their gynecologist for other alternatives.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.