People often use reflexology to rid the body of pain and stress by applying pressure to significant points on the hands and feet. It is an alternative medicine that is built on the belief that different areas of the body are aligned with nerve endings in the feet. Given in the same way as a massage, reflexology can provide much-needed relief from stress or discomfort. Reflexology can even be used in the induction of labour.
- Skill level:
Apply firm pressure to the centre of the thumbs. Alternate between the right thumb and the left thumb. Sustain the pressure for at least three minutes before switching to the other thumb. Supplying this pressure to the thumb induces uterine contractions. This stimulates the pituitary gland, which releases oxytocin, the hormone that induces labour.
Locate pressure points on the insides of the ankles, 2.5 to 5 cm (1 or 2 inches) above the foot. Search for a spot on the ankle that feels tender, by applying pressure with the fingertips. Continue applying pressure until you feel a contraction. Stop applying the pressure to the ankle if you feel a contraction beginning. When a contraction has completed its cycle, begin to apply the pressure again.
Place yourself in a position that is comfortable. Use your fingers to apply pressure to the space about a finger width between the big and second toes. Continue with the pressure points in 15-minute intervals until contractions begin.
Press a point on the arch of your foot, in front of your ankle. If the spot is very sensitive, press less firmly until you feel relief. This point helps in dealing with pain.
Tips and warnings
- Enlist the help of a certified professional who is familiar with reflexology.