Fertility massage therapy can be an intrinsic part of the journey you will undergo as you travel towards motherhood.
When you begin to explore your fertility with the hope of becoming pregnant, you may introduce many practices into your daily life.
There is much research to support the many benefits of massage not only for our physical body but also our emotional wellbeing.
But even in 2020 there is still an absence of study and evidence-based research into the specific results of massage treatment on fertility outcomes. So much remains unclear. So what do we actually know?
In this article we will explore 5 frequently asked questions in relation to fertility massage and how it can help prepare your body for conception.
#1: Where do I find a fertility massage therapist?
At this important stage of your journey, it is essential to find the right people to support you.
A therapeutic or remedial massage therapist has the skillset and anatomy knowledge and experience to apply to fertility massage.
But it’s important to seek a therapist with specific experience in women’s health and pregnancy. They can offer holistic support, with greater understanding of the reproductive system and the menstrual cycle, the tests and procedures involved with gynaecology, and the processes used within assisted fertility.
Continuity of treatment is also an important factor to consider. A specialised massage therapist can provide treatment from fertility, through conception and pregnancy, and after birth.
#2: When should I start treatments & for how long?
Start fertility treatment when you have made the decision to start trying for a baby and you are ready to begin your journey into parenthood.
Regular massage treatment is important to help build a mind-body-spirit connection. Massage is a wonderful way to reverse the effects of stress, work, and the general busyness of our lives.
Massage helps the body in many ways:
- Maintain muscle integrity
- Improve posture and circulation
- Relieve aches and pains
- Stimulate detoxification
- Assist many systems of the body including immune, nervous, lymphatic and endocrine
- Assist with emotional and spiritual aspects – managing stress and tension, providing emotional relief and having a positive effect on your mood.
Stress triggers can increase when assisted reproduction methods such as IVF are needed. Massage can be complementary to IVF and work in conjunction to reduce these stress levels, allowing you to be at your best during the important times in your cycle.
The best way to support fertility and conception is to make lifestyle changes to support general health and wellbeing. This include a healthier diet, exercising, eliminating bad habits, introducing supplements and more. Massage can be included as it supports your focus towards a healthier way of life.
The best results from massage happen when treatments occur on a regular basis. So don’t just go occasionally – make it a habit, plan your calendar and book your appointments ahead of time. Keeping up the focus on your self-care is a vital part of your fertility plan.
#3: What should I expect from treatment?
Your massage treatment should be individually tailored to target your specific needs. Your therapist will initially want to know where you currently are on your journey, how you are affected, stress levels and what you realistically hope to achieve. A dedicated treatment plan should be formulated to guide the therapist and you through to an agreed outcome.
This tailored massage program should centre on being nurturing, gentle, non-invasive and pain free. The focus is on relaxing you, soothing your muscles and calming your emotions with the goal to destress the body, mind and spirit. Massage for the whole body is extremely important to achieve this.
At a minimum the treatment should involve the back, shoulders and neck. There will also be an aspect of massage on the abdominal, sacral and pelvic regions of the body. Some therapists may also include other specialities such as acupressure, reflexology, rebozo techniques and mobilisation and stretching.
#4: What physical and emotional benefits does massage have for my fertility journey?
Massage to the abdomen improves circulation to this region. As a result, this allows better blood flow to the organs and tissues within the abdominal area, including the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes, as well as to the digestive system.
Massage assists in the breakdown of scar tissue. Specifically in the abdominal region, this scar tissue can build up within and around the reproductive organs and digestive system.
Massage helps to align the structures of the pelvic region: the pelvis, sacrum and coccyx. This restores the balance between the structures – bones, soft tissues, organs and releasing trapped nerves. Massage allows this area to reposition, tone and strengthen.
Massage aids in hormonal balance. Negative energy can affect our hormones including the reproductive hormone progesterone, converting it to cortisol, the stress hormone. Using massage as a form of relaxation we are encouraging the body to destress and produce oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine for a positive mood and to be prepared and open for fertility.
Finally, massage allows the client to find emotional healing – providing the space to release tension held within the pelvic area. Massage can be a gentle way of addressing trauma and loss experienced in the past, anxiety, stress and the tension from invasive procedures such as IVF, curette, as well as previous pregnancy loss.
#5: Is massage just for the mother-to-be or can it also be beneficial for partners?
The journey of fertility does not involve just the mother-to-be. Your partner is also sharing the fertility journey alongside you, with the shared goal of parenthood.
Although this journey may have different effects for each person involved, the health and wellbeing of both partners is important and massage can support you both in individual ways.
As a partnership you can work to improve your general health and wellbeing with healthy meals, exercising together, getting good sleep and eliminating bad habits. Including massage therapy for you both is another way to share the journey in a positive and relaxing way.
When IVF is involved in the fertility process, it is the woman who undergoes the physical changes. But emotionally you will both share the stress of IVF. Your partner has a very important role in supporting you on your fertility journey and they should not be forgotten.
Nurtured Birth for Fertility Massage
In Australia, certified pregnancy massage therapists receive training beyond the national standards for massage therapists. They understand the pregnant body and how to address specific needs in pregnancy. They are equipped to care for women on their journey with fertility and conception and take a special interest in women’s health and wellbeing.
At Nurtured Birth our therapists are all trained and certified in massage and pregnancy massage, as well as being registered, insured and continually training and upgrading their skills.
We have a range of specialist practitioners to offer treatment and support with massage, osteopathy, naturopathy, doula birth and postnatal care, childbirth education, prenatal yoga, pregnancy meditation and mums & bubs yoga. If your problem is outside of our scope of treatment we will refer you to one of our recommended practitioners.
Imagine going through your fertility journey feeling supported and relaxed, both emotionally and physically. Our massage releases tension in your body, reducing aches and pains in muscles and joints. It overall improves your mood, your sleep and general sense of well-being.
How frequently you have a massage will depend on you and the plan of treatment you have with your therapist. If massage is going to be an integral part of your fertility plan, our knowledgeable practitioners will suggest what would best suit you, taking into account many factors, including your cycle. We can tailor massage therapy alongside our osteopath and naturopath to ensure your body is well supported during the challenges of fertility, flowing into pregnancy and after birthing.
Written by Sharon Clarke, Remedial Massage Therapist at Nurtured Birth