Is reflexology the new medicine for infertility?

By Floor Tuinstra

Is reflexology the new medicine for infertility?

Infertility can be an emotionally draining, expensive and time-consuming affair. For some couples it can be more than 10 years.
But for many couples the key to overcoming the problem is simpler than they think; reflexology (also known as foot reflexology, fertility reflexology or fertility reflexology).
An increasing number of women report that this form of foot massage has helped them become pregnant.

  • How is it possible that fertility improves through reflexology?
  • What results does reflexology have for infertility?
  • What studies have been done on foot reflexology and becoming pregnant?
  • How often do you need a reflexology treatment?
  • A DIY reflexology massage to improve fertility
  • Interesting links about natural remedies to improve fertility.

You will find that and more in this blog article.


One in seven couples deals with infertility problems.
For women, there is a long list of possible blockages, including hormonal imbalances, polycystic ovaries, endometriosis, fibroids, irregular menstrual cycles and of course stress.
Problems in men include low sperm count, abnormal sperm production, duct blockages, hormonal problems leading to lower testosterone levels and chronic stress is a big factor.

The self-healing capacity of our reproductive area is activated

A key benefit of reflexology is the balancing of the endocrine system, which is the set of glands that produce the body's hormones. Hormones play a key role in fertility and pregnancy and can be affected by stress. Reflexology is one of the best natural ways to open the body's internal systems in a non-invasive yet effective way. A number of points on the foot are associated with a woman's egg production. By treating these areas, imbalances that can hinder pregnancy can be corrected.

Reflexology is a complementary (alternative) medicine.

By applying finger pressure to reflexology points on the head, hands, ears, abdomen and especially the feet, complaints such as menstrual pain, headache, sinus and back problems, as well as the effects of chemotherapy can be alleviated.
The soles of our feet are a small map on which our body is reflected, including the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. By treating different points, blockages elsewhere in the body are removed. This way your body can regain a natural balance.
Reflexology is holistic. Holistic means that if someone suffers from their knee, they do not just look at the knee, but at the whole. This way the body is brought back into balance and it will work more optimally.
It is not a magical solution for all complaints, it will not guarantee a pregnancy. But by encouraging the body to work more efficiently it can create a healthier environment for a potential pregnancy.
It brings the body back into balance, restores the menstrual cycle, helps hormones to perform better, relieves stress and stimulates blood and lymph circulation to the pelvic area and our reproductive organs, for both women and men. This creates an optimal climate for becoming pregnant.

Women with fertility problems are turning to reflexology and the results are so impressive that a hospital trial has now begun.

A medical study has now been launched in Great Britain to discover whether the claims about fertility reflexology are true.
The latest research, a two-year clinical trial at the IVF department of the Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, Great Britain, is the work of reflexologist Jane Holt. She approached the clinic after 13 of the 23 women she had treated with fertility problems became pregnant.
The study was designed to test the effectiveness of ovulation induction using reflexology in women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome.

“I had four treatments and was pregnant within three weeks.”

Beccy Wellington, 34, a nurse from Kingsbridge in Devon, is convinced her trip to see Jane resulted in the birth of her son Luke. “We had been trying to get pregnant for just over a year and were now looking at other options. Then someone said try reflexology. I had four treatments and was pregnant within three weeks. I am convinced that reflexology got my body in a good condition so that I was ready to become pregnant. I also felt ten times better, more positive and a lot happier. I went into it with an open mind, but was still surprised that I got pregnant so quickly. I would definitely recommend other women to try fertility reflexology. It may not be for everyone, but it worked for me and it's worth a try.”

“It took me four years and four IVF attempts to have my first baby Matthew. I had not had my period for five years and after the first reflexology session I got my period. That in itself was a mini-miracle.”

When Paula Lavin, 34, and her husband wanted to have a second baby, doctors said it was highly unlikely she would ever conceive naturally. But Paula was determined: her first child was born after four years of fertility treatments and this time she wanted to try a natural approach. Her doctors were very skeptical. She booked an appointment with a reflexologist. Two months later she was pregnant.
“I couldn't believe it,” she says. “It took me four years and four IVF attempts to have my first baby Matthew. I had not had my period for five years and after the first reflexology session I got my period. That in itself was a mini-miracle.”
'Infertility is a complex problem, what is needed is something to give the system a bit of a kick start and that is what reflexology can do.' 'At least it gives these women the opportunity to try something different while they go through hospital procedures. Even if it works for some of them, that's a bonus.” Jane Holt, reflexologist for 12 years.
Cathy Shipton, who plays Nurse Duffy in the BBC TV series Casualty, also believes reflexology helped her get pregnant.
She had been trying to have a baby for four years, and four months after receiving twice-weekly reflexology sessions, she became pregnant.

8 fertility reflexology treatments over 2-3 months

There is also an ongoing study in Exeter's Fertility Unit in which reflexology aims to determine the effectiveness of reflexology in ovulation induction.
Volunteers each receive eight fertility reflexology treatments over a period of 2-3 months. To ensure the trial is conducted in a scientific manner, patients and hospital staff will not know whether they are receiving reflexology or a foot massage version. Only the reflexologist knows who has had the real treatment.
Fertility reflexology is used instead of Clomiphene (an ovarian stimulant), a fertility drug usually used to induce ovulation. This drug works in about 70 percent of patients, but the main disadvantage of the drug is that it increases the chance of multiple pregnancy.

“I wish I had been offered reflexology before taking the medication. The stress of taking the medication and knowing I could have multiple births was horrible. I wanted one baby, but not three.” Tina Budd

Of course, there is always the issue of timing: the chance that with or without the treatment, at least some patients would have become pregnant. However, some stories are hard to ignore. For example, the situation of Tina Budd (33), who tried to get pregnant for three years. After two years of taking Clomiphene, nothing had changed and she was told she needed surgery to see if her fallopian tubes were blocked. Dissatisfied with this option, Tina decided to visit a reflexologist. “I had had very light periods for years. But the day after my first reflexology treatment I had a very heavy period that lasted five days,” says Tina. 'I had six treatments in total and at the end of the last session my reflexologist said: “There is nothing I can do now, come back next year if you are not pregnant. “But I never went back. Two weeks later I found out I was pregnant.'
Tina Budd thinks she was advised to take Clomiphene too quickly.
Not only is fertility reflexology a cheaper alternative to IVF and IUI, it is also less stressful and can be used in combination with other treatments.

Results of a Danish and Chinese study on fertility reflexology

A 1994 study by the Danish Association of Reflexologists found that of 61 women under 35 who had been trying to get pregnant for more than two years, 9 women (15%) were pregnant after 6 months. They received fertility reflexology treatment twice a week prior to ovulation. Of the two-thirds of women who had menstrual problems, 77 percent had a significant improvement. The majority no longer had menstrual complaints at all.

A Chinese study in which four women had fertility problems reported that all four women became pregnant. Of the 4 women, 3 had primary infertility (never been pregnant) and 1 had secondary infertility (pregnant once but unable to become pregnant again), all aged 26-30 years. They received 30 to 40 minutes of foot reflexology every day for 10 days. Before the start of the session, they had both feet in warm water for 10-15 minutes and drank 300-500 ml of warm water. In this study, reflexology was not given during menstruation. All 4 ladies became pregnant after the sessions.

How often do you need fertility reflexology or reflexology for fertility?

A program consists of approximately six to eight treatments that take place per week.

A do-it-yourself fertility boost

To help with fertility problems, reflexologists gently but firmly press on the reflex points for the hypothalamus, thyroid, adrenal glands, ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. Try the following on your own to boost fertility:
1) Treat the thumb, especially the first joint on the pillow bed (the back of the nail), by making small movements all over like a crawling caterpillar. This includes the hypothalamus and pituitary gland.
2) Work in a similar manner, backwards and forwards, across the center of your palm. Move from thumb to finger four times. This helps stimulate the stomach and spleen to encourage blood flow, the adrenal glands to balance hormones and relax the solar plexus.
3) Now treat the spine and nerve supply by using the thumb of the opposite hand to rub deeply into the thumb and rub back. Work from top to bottom about four times at a time.
4) Work in a circle around the base of the palm and wrist, using two fingers. This treats the uterus, Fallopian ducts and ovaries.

Interesting links

Don't walk barefoot if you want to get pregnant
Barefoot is generally very healthy, but if you want to become pregnant it is better not to do so. Read why this is the case in this article.
Pomegranate stimulates libido and improves fertility
Read in this article how you can best use pomegranate for your fertility and what its effects are on your body.
Hagar Basis teaches the reflexology course for women's health . Here, reflexologists learn techniques to apply for processes from menstruation and fertility to the onset of menopause and the development of female sexuality.

Sources :
Eriksen, L; FDZ Research Committee, Northern Jutland, Denmark 1994.
Dong, D., and Xu, P., “Treatment of 4 Cases of Infertility with Foot Reflexotherapy.” (1998) China Reflexology Symposium Report, Beijing: China Reflexology Association, pages 58-59.

The Unquantifiable Benefits of Reflexology for Fertility