Regular reflexology treatments can support a menopausal woman physically, mentally and emotionally. It can help a woman tune into her body’s needs, highlighting imbalances and areas which need attention. It can provide a safe space in which to relax, receive and be self-focused. Having an empathic reflexologist who understands the physical changes behind menopausal symptoms and takes her problems seriously can, in itself, relieve stress.
The treatment should focus on:
Stimulating the endocrine system: Adrenals (very important after menopause as hormone providers). Also pituitary (regulates other glands), thyroid and parathyroid (to balance calcium and phosphorus levels and regulate metabolism). Ovaries (to regulate hormone production) and uterus (to maintain its circulation). Head/brain area to stimulate hypothalamus (stimulates pituitary and controls body temperature) and pineal gland (body rhythms, sleep patterns). Lower spine to support reproductive area.
Promoting elimination and fluid balance: liver (to detoxify toxins and regulate body heat), kidneys (to filter blood and balance body fluid), lymphatics (encourage lymph drainage), colon and rectum (to regulate bowel habits).
Boosting the immune system – lymphatics, spleen, thymus gland.
Boosting self-esteem – solar plexus (calming, supporting, promotes positive self-image and boosts willpower).
Supporting emotional balance: heart and cardiac area (to release emotional tension and promote positive energy in heart chakra).
Relieving stress: use lots of moves which promote relaxation – chest and diaphragm to ease breathing; neck, occipital, shoulders, joints, spine to release tension.
Finally, good active listening and counseling skills can help to encourage a positive approach to menopause. The reflexologist’s suggestions about diet and lifestyle may increase the client’s understanding of the menopausal process and the factors which exacerbate her symptoms. This kind of support can help her to lose bad habits and make lasting changes.
Reflexology involves the manual stimulation of reflex points on the ears, hands, and feet. It is similar to shiatsu and acupressure. Thumb pressure is applied to specific points that correspond somatopically to specific areas or organs of the body.
To relieve the menopausal discomfort, reflexology treatment may be aimed at the pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands, the solar plexus and reproduction organ reflexes.
A controlled clinical study of thirty-eight women with premenstrual syndrome examined the effects of a thirty-minute reflexology treatment weekly for eight weeks. Those receiving the treatment were treated by ear, hand, and foot reflexology. Those in the control group were given placebo or sham reflexology. Based on a daily diary that monitored the severity of thirty eight premenstrual symptoms, the treated group had a 46% reduction, which was a significantly greater reduction than the 19% reduction of the controlled group.
Unlike the hormone treatment or antidepressant medications that is normally used for the treatment of PMS that results in severe side reactions, the treatment by reflexology produced no side effects. The researchers suggested that reflexology might work by softening adrenocortical reactivity to stress, which is known to exacerbate symptoms in PMS.