Infertility- it's a confusing, frustrating, and heartbreaking condition. And even though it's something experienced by millions of people, that fact doesn't make one going through it feel any less alone.
There are many possible causes, and often the root of the problem involves several different factors. Diet, lifestyle, medications, pre-existing conditions, any or all of these can have an effect on your ability to conceive.
By the time I see women for fertility massage, they have usually been through it all- tests, procedures, surgeries, medications, you name it. Sometimes they have answers as to why they have been unable to conceive, but it is not uncommon for no known reason to have been discovered.
It is also common for first-time patients to have already been through several fertility treatments- anything from hormonal medications to IVF. If they have tried these treatments but are in for an appointment with me, it means that the treatments failed, and they have experienced the painful loss of what could have been.
I start this post by acknowledging this struggle because I believe that to ensure my patients the best results, I need to understand their struggle. It is important for any healthcare provider to listen to their patient and empathize, but especially so when the patient is in such a vulnerable state and has been through so many highs and lows.
When you come in for your fertility massage, the first thing I will do is spend a long time taking an in-depth health history. This is not a chart you are going to fill out. It's more of a discussion about yourself and your fertility journey so far. I will ask you A LOT of questions, some may even have you scratching your head, wondering why I'd need to know that- but they are all designed for me to build a good picture of your overall health. This consultation will take about 15 to 20 minutes.
They next part of your session is the actual massage. I will leave you to undress and get comfortable on the massage table where you will lay face up throughout the whole session. Along with the usual sheets and blankets, I will also provide you with a soft towel to place over your chest so you will feel comfortable and secure throughout the session once I undrape you. For the first few minutes of the massage, I will place a warm castor oil pack on your lower abdomen. I won't get in to the specifics here, but castor oil has long been used to help many abdominal related health issues, including infertilty. If interested, you can learn more about the science of castor oil here.
While the warmth of the castor oil pack relaxes and soothes your abdomen, I will massage your neck and shoulders. This does not have a direct effect on fertility, but it feels good and helps us ease in to the session, rather than going right for the belly. After 5 to 10 minutes, I will undrape your abdominals (this is why I provide the towel for your chest) and remove the warm pack. For the next 15 to 20 minutes I will perform various massage techniques on your abdominal and pelvic region. Your pelvis will never be exposed, it will remain draped with a sheet and blanket the entire session. The lowest point on your body I will touch is right over your ovaries, and during this part of the session, I will be massaging over the sheet. We will end the session with a few minutes of reflexology on both feet, where I will target specific acupressure points known to have an effect on the reproductive and endocrine systems.
After the massage, we will spend the last part of your session going over your "homework". You see, when you come in for a session, I'll be able to use my expertise to determine what needs focus and how to treat various areas, but to get the most out of fertility massage, you need frequent sessions- frequent enough that it would cost a small fortune if you came in to my office for every single one! Therefore, during your sessions will teach you the skills you need to perform fertility massage on yourself! We will go over everything you need to know, I will have information to give you so you don't forget any steps, and we will discuss when I want to see you next and how often you need in-office treatment versus at-home treatment.
Truthfully, I hope you DON'T need many in-office visits- because that will mean we were successful!
Now you know what a fertility massage session is like, but you might still be asking yourself- how does it work? Why would massage help me conceive? What does it do to my body?
I'm glad you asked.
The biggest reason why fertility massage can be effective is because it is holistic- meaning the massage improves overall health throughout your whole body- not just reproductive health!
By massaging the abdominals and pelvis, we will free up restricted tissue around several digestive and reproductive organs. These restrictions can be caused by a sedentary lifestyle, sitting at a desk all day, or even overworking the abdominals (yes, you CAN exercise too much!). Massage will also increase circulation to the area as well as reduce inflammation. This does have a direct effect on your reproductive organs- such as freeing blockages in the fallopian tubes- but it will also improve your digestion and liver function.
Massage also has a powerful effect on your endocrine system and helps to improve hormonal balance, something that is so important not only for increasing chances of conception, but for ensuring a healthy pregnancy, healthy baby, and healthy mom. By decreasing the stress response, we can help your body's over-taxed endocrine system so it can begin to function properly.
I do want every fertility patient of mine to keep something in mind- fertility massage is not meant to be a lone tool. It could be the deciding factor, the one thing missing from your healthcare routine, but on it's own fertility massage is unlikely to be effective. Remember- fertility massage is about improving overall health, and that's where your fertility journey should take you- down a road that leads to overall health. This means you should also be consulting with many healthcare providers including your doctor, your nutritionist, your endocrinologist, your chiropractor, your acupuncturist, even your yoga teacher! Put together a team of experts who work for you with the goal of improving your overall health. Although I want to be part of your team, I should not be the ONLY one on your team.
Ready to book? You can schedule your Initial Fertility Massage with me at Integrative Massage Associates of Albany by visiting the website here. Fertility massage is most effective during specific phases of your cycle, so once you book I will reach out to ensure the dates work for you. (Hint: Try to schedule your first visit right after your menstrual cycle ends).
I am honored to help you on your journey toward conception and motherhood.
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