Hormones, we all have them, but are they balanced, and how do we know?
I recently decided to conduct my own study into how regular reflexology sessions may, if at all, be able to help women experiencing hormonal imbalances.
Quite often I have women who come and try out a course of reflexology sessions when they are trying for a baby, with the intention of balancing hormones to increase their fertility. But what about women, who are not trying to become pregnant, who may go by month by month struggling with the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance, but just live with it, thinking it’s the norm. There have been times during reflexology sessions where I have found indications in the feet that suggest that there is some sort of hormonal imbalance, and it is only when I bring it up that most women open up and tell me about things like painful or heavy periods, mood swings leading up to their periods, or even ovarian cysts, fibroids or endometriosis. It seems that there are lots of women suffering every month. I have done a lot of research into women’s hormones, and the general feeling is that if our hormones are balanced, these symptoms really need not be so prominent.
Tuning into our monthly cycle can have great benefits to our health
So, I feel it’s important to raise awareness about our cycles, so that we understand what changes happens within the body each month. If we know how to look for the signs of a possible imbalance, we are more able to do something about it. For instance we can improve our hormones by knowing which foods to eat, knowing what products to avoid and knowing when to take rest.
But what are the signs, and how can we start to find out if we do have an imbalance?
This is where starting to tune into our monthly cycle really helps. An irregular cycle is often an indication that there may be a hormonal imbalance, for example if you sometimes find your period coming earlier or later than normal. Other signs are very painful, heavy or even missing periods.
It sounds a bit cringe, but making friends with your period could go a long way to helping you feel better generally. Quite often our periods are thought of as a pain and something that we wish we didn’t have to put up with, but actually by really paying attention to them we can learn how to get the best out of each stage. For example, during your period your hormones are at their lowest so it’s a good time to rest, and as you move through your cycle there will be times when you are feeling at your most social and your most creative too.
I wanted to delve a little deeper and see for myself what impact regular reflexology sessions, if any, would make to women who know for sure they have an imbalance. So I conducted my own investigative study.
4 women took part in the study, which took place over a 12 week duration. The intention of the study was for each women to see me for a session once a week for twenty minutes for the first month. Then for the following two months every two weeks for twenty minutes. The sessions were focused mainly around the endocrine system (in other words the system in charge of our hormones), and other organs/systems which play a part in re-balancing our hormones.
Client 1 & 2, both knew that they had hypothyroidism, which is low thyroid function, and suffered each month with PMS symptoms, including feeling very emotional on the lead up to their period, and also suffering badly with painful cramping. Client 1 was also perimenopausal and had a history of fibroids. Over the weeks both clients had lessening of symptoms; an indication that their hormones were balancing out. Client 2 commented that she no longer had to rely on pain relief medication.
Client 3 had symptoms of PMS; emotional imbalances and digestive issues before and around the start of her cycle. Similarly to client 1 and 2, client 3 also informed me that she also felt her symptoms improve.
Client 4 could only come for a few sessions and therefore unable to see the long term effects of the study.
Some feedback from some of the women taking part;
Case study client 1: ‘My perimenopausal symptoms definitely improved – better sleep, less hot flushes, and the build up to having a period was less of an emotional roller coaster. It was fascinating how I could feel the changes in my feet during different phases of my cycle‘
Case study client 2: ‘I suffer incredibly each month with pains that leave me bed bound for 24 hours each cycle. I saw Gini for 2 sessions before my period. At first my feet were extremely tender and painful, but after that first session I never felt the same pain again. Whatever happened on that first session stuck. The second was interesting. Gini could tell me things about my cycle even I didn’t know. This period was the first ever in years that arrived without the incredible cramps, feel fainting and having to take a lot of painkillers before it’s arrived’.
Client case study 3: ‘In the first session my feet were very tender, and as the sessions went on, each week there were less and less painful areas and within myself I felt much healthier and calmer and my digestions became in sync with my routine again’
This was such an insightful and worth while study which has shown real indications that reflexology may prove beneficial to women experiencing hormonal imbalances. Overall delving deeper and gaining more understanding into our hormones has given me confidence that improvements can be made which can help to re-balance hormones in a safe and natural way.
Red Moon; Written by Miranda Gray
Balance your Hormones Balance your Life; Written by Claudia Welch
Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdon; By Dr Christine Northrup