Many of my clients either see a reflexologist or ask for referrals. So when I was pregnant the second time I thought I should really get in on this reflexology action and do some research of my own (it’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it). I contacted Caroline Rodgers a local reflexologist.
After just one session I felt really, really relaxed. The hour flew by and baby Pecan kicked like crazy. So I made reflexology a priority during my pregnancy – taking the weight off my feet, being pampered and improving my well-being were all high on my prenatal prep list and reflexology covers all of these. I caught up with Caroline over coffee to find out more about reflexology and how it can help in pregnancy.
When and why did you become a reflexologist?
I first became interested in Complementary Therapies when I lived in The Netherlands for three years.
The Dutch seemed to me a healthy society and managed their health in natural, drug-free ways, including giving birth.
I had reflexology a few times while there and also had regular massages while pregnant with my first child. It was then I realised that running your own therapy business was a great way of working around family needs.
Having moved back to the UK and after my second child was born, I became more and more interested in reflexology and started my training with the British Reflexology Association.
I qualified in 2008 and set up Sole Sessions Reflexology. I operated on a mobile basis to start with, then built my peaceful therapy room where I am now based.
I have undertaken specialist training in Maternity Reflexology and Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage.
I have also trained as a Bach Flower Remedy Practitioner and completed an Introduction to Counselling course to further enhance my work.
What is reflexology?
Reflexology is a gentle, non-intrusive complementary therapy, which uses reflex points on the feet to stimulate the body’s own natural healing ability.
Reflexology can help relaxation, improve mood, aid sleep, help to relieve tension and improve wellbeing.
I firmly believe that if you are relaxed, your body will feel happier and work more efficiently. One of my clients once said it should be called ‘Relaxology’ which I think is a very good name!
How can reflexology help pregnant women?
During pregnancy, reflexology aims to optimise the physical and emotional health of pregnant women.
It is a natural therapy helping to support and balance mother and baby during this special time. It can be deeply relaxing and pleasant to receive!
When do pregnant women first see you, and how do you support them through their pregnancy and beyond?
Reflexology can be used throughout pregnancy, although most people choose to come once they get to 12 weeks or after their first scan. A full history will be taken to ensure that it’s safe and appropriate to carry out a treatment.
Sessions are customised to each person and to each stage of pregnancy, focusing on relaxing techniques and direct attention to common symptoms of pregnancy.
Appointments are usually monthly until nearer the due date when they can be a little closer together.
It can also be wonderful to have a reflexology session after you have given birth to help balance the body and allow for a little relaxation during a very busy time.
What benefits can pregnant women get from reflexology that they might not get from other treatments?
Receiving reflexology during pregnancy allows mums-to-be time away from busy lives and a place where they can focus purely on themselves and their growing baby.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence from women who feel they have benefited from reflexology throughout their pregnancy.
Two recent studies have shown that reflexology in pregnancy reduced discomfort during labour, reduced the length of the first stage of labour, and improved quality of sleep in post-natal women.
Although there is no evidence that Reflexology can induce labour, the general view is that it will help support the body to prepare for labour and promote relaxation at a time when anxiety levels are often high.
As a Reflexologist I am there to support my clients through any worries or concerns they may have in a safe and confidential space.
What do you love about being a reflexologist?
I am really passionate about my job! I love helping people to relax and to be as healthy as they can, along with the self-awareness of their body that this can bring.
It helps people take responsibility for their health and encourages them to look after their well-being.
At the end of each session, most clients say “Ah that was wonderful!” What more could you ask from a job? It is always a joy to introduce people to reflexology and the benefits it can bring.
Can you tell me about one or two favourite work memories?
Reflexology can be carried out on babies, the elderly and anyone in between but I really enjoy working with pregnant women, especially if I have seen them right through their pregnancy.
The babies seem to enjoy reflexology and I love watching the moving tummies when I am working on their mum’s feet. Babies always seem to wake up when their mum relaxes!
What skills do you need to be a good reflexologist?
I think the ability to listen to people is key. When people come to see me, it is their time to have a little space and concentrate on themselves.
I like to provide a warm, calm environment with soft lighting, fresh flowers and gorgeous smelling organic products, to enhance the relaxing nature of the therapy.
Some of my clients say I have ‘magic’ hands but that’s the reflexology working for them!
What top tips would you pass onto pregnant women to help them enjoy their pregnancy?
Have some reflexology to help you relax and let your pregnancy hormones do their job. Pregnancy is a very special time – some people sail through it and others don’t have such a good time.
As I tell all my clients, be kind to yourself and treat yourself well, which includes eating healthily and getting enough rest. The healthier you are going into labour, the healthier you will be to look after your baby on the other side.
You are growing a new human, take time to realize what an amazing thing you are doing. And think about making space in your life right now for the new life that is to come.
If you feel your emotions are out of balance, the Bach Flower Remedies can be a safe, natural, supportive resource during pregnancy when the mind and body are going through big changes.
What top tips would you pass onto new mums to help during those first few weeks?
Look after yourself first so that you are healthy and well to look after your baby.
Do ask for help if you think you need it. People are always very willing to help but don’t always know what to do. We are not always good at delegating but this is one time when it is not possible to do everything yourself.
If you can find the time, have some reflexology! Postnatally, it aims to encourage your body to return to its non-pregnancy state and to give you a little me-time after your momentous event. And, as before, be kind to yourself, you have done a wonderful thing, pat yourself on the back and enjoy your new bundle of fun.
It is best that your obstetric caregiver knows that you are receiving reflexology. Reflexology is a complementary health support and is not a substitute for obstetric or medical care.