Frequently Asked Questions for Fertility + Endometriosis Massage
What is fertility massage? Fertility massage is a specialised massage and bodywork therapy that is designed to help optimize a womens physical well being and enhance their opportunity for conception. The treatment aims to cleanse, align, flush and balance your body while supporting your wellbeing. Best time to come for a fertility massage is the window of after your period up until ovulation. This gives you the option of trying for a baby that month and also the following cycle.
Fertility massage incorporates techniques for:
reducing/releasing adhesions which restrict normal movement and processes of the reproductive organs
increasing and improving pelvic blood flow and circulation
cleansing and releasing tension both physically and emotionally.
decreasing cortisol blood levels, alleviating the effects of stress and anxiety
addresses issues such as tipped uterus, ovarian cysts, repeat miscarriages, poor circulation, scar tissue, a thin uterine lining, and abdominal adhesions.
helpful for digestion problems, bowel issues (IBS) and urinary issues including incontinence.
helpful for early stages of menopause and other hormonal imbalances.
helpful prior to processes like IUI/IVF transfer by preparing body with increased blood flow.
How is fertility massage different from a “regular” massage and how will it benefit me? I use a massage technique with focused pelvic and abdominal massage which may help to break up adhesions and increase blood flow to all digestive and reproductive organs. Fertility massage essentially flushes and stimulates the whole pelvic area, opens up the meridians, realigns your reproductive organs by increasing the bloodflow to the area essentially putting complete focus on your pelvic region.
What is the best time in my cycle to receive fertility massage? Fertility massage can be received any time prior to initiating conception except during menstruation. Timing your session depends on your unique situation.
Natural Cycle Massage can start day 5 of cycle and should end 1-2 days prior to predicted ovulation. (If not trying to conceive this cycle, massage may continue until menstruation starts).
Assisted Reproductive Technology (supplementations) -Same as above. If possible, it is best to start massage well in advance of starting prescribed medication and/or hormone therapy.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) Massage applied up to the day prior to insemination. If possible, it is best to start massage well in advance of starting prescribed medication and/or hormone therapy.
In-Vitro Fertilization Massage (IVF) applied up to the day prior to procedure. If possible, it is best to start massage well in advance of starting prescribed medication and/or hormone therapy.
Endometriosis- Any time during the month up until menstruation. 2-3 massages makes the most difference to pain, then maintenance of one per month/quarter from then on. Pain may stay away for up to a year after Initial 3 massages but regular maintenance massages are required as endometriosis has a habit of reappearing on some clients.
PCOS- recommended to come at any time of cycle 2-3 massages at least 7 days apart will make the most difference in getting your cycle back on track.
What can fertility massage help with? This technique may help women with the following history, endometriosis, PCOS, blocked tubes, unexplained infertility, the IVF or IUI process, repeat mis-carriages, secondary and tertiary infertility (Trying for 2nd or 3rd baby), regulating cycles, ovulation, bowel problems including IBS to name a few. I am always learning new things that this technique helps with with the more ladies I am helping. In any case its worth a try!
How many sessions are recommended? It generally takes between 1-3 massages on a monthly basis to help prepare the body for conception with massage, every single women I massage has a different fertility journey so I treat people individually based on their own personal requirements. As it takes 90 days for the fluid in our cells to replenish, it is suggested, that women who are interested in fertility massage commit to 3-6 months of focus on preconception wellness. This allows for sufficient time for the body to be supported with healthier fluid circulation and can improve the quality of follicles. The frequency of fertility massage sessions will vary with each women’s specific situation. I recommend that having at least 1 fertility massage session per month between the end of your period and ovulation until pregnancy is achieved. I also recommend 3 sessions (at least 7 days apart) for the treatment of endometriosis symptoms, avoiding menstruation, once endometriosis pain relief is achieved, it’s best to have a maintenance massage every few months to keep symptoms from returning.
What does the research say about how massage therapy can enhance fertility by helping to address abdominal adhesions? It has long been theorized that massage helped women achieve fertility. That has now been backed up by two studies that lend credence to this, when using specific fertility enhancing bodywork techniques. The first study, published June 18, 2004, by Medscape General Medicine OB/GYN & Women’s Health, studied two groups of women. One group was seeking to become pregnant on their own, while the other group was preparing to receive in vitro fertilization (IVF). Both groups had suspected or confirmed pelvic adhesions or inflammatory diseases, such as endometriosis. Both groups received targeted bodywork therapy to their abdominal and pelvic area. In the first group, of the 14 patients available for follow-up, 71 percent became pregnant within one year, and three of them became pregnant a second time. Of the IVF group, there was a 66 percent successful rate of embryo transfers, which is significantly higher than the estimated odds ratio. The second study also produced significant results. Published in the January/February 2008 issue of Alternative Therapies, 28 infertile women who had been diagnosed with complete fallopian tube blockages received 20 hours of manual physical therapy treatment to their abdominal area. Within one month, they underwent medical testing to determine the status of the blockages. Seventeen of the 28 patients (61 percent) showed the blockage had been released, and 9 of those 17 became pregnant.
Can you tell me more about abdominal adhesions and how they can impact our ability to conceive? Abdominal adhesions are thick or thin bands of restrictive tissue that form over a person’s lifetime in a variety of ways, as the result of injury, infection, surgery, inflammation, radiation therapy, lifestyle (chronic poor posture and diet). They act like glue and limit the free movement of, and flow through, the reproductive tissues and organs. Adhesions can form within the fallopian tubes, obstructing the path of the ovum to the uterus, as well as around the tubes, ovaries or uterus, pulling, twisting or kinking the tubes, limiting the tubes from catching an egg; engulfing the ovaries, prohibiting the release of an egg; or within the uterine wall, restricting the timely travel of the sperm or blocking the implantation or a fertilized egg on the uterine wall.
How do high levels of stress and stress hormones (cortisol) impact our ability to conceive? Stress is defined as any event that a person perceives as threatening, and to protect itself the body responds to stressors by producing a hormone called cortisol. Small amounts of cortisol can be a positive thing, for example, when test taking, it heightens our memory, it increases our reaction time when driving if we need to avoid an accident, and it can give us that quick burst of energy for survival. However, if the source of stress is constant and the level of cortisol in our bodies increases, it interferes with the function of the hypothalamus, the region of the brain that produces sex hormones. Stress directly interferes with the balanced release of hormones required for the production and release of mature sperm and egg, and the development of the uterine lining. Prolactin, a hormone which is released by the pituitary gland is usually released to stimulate lactation in preparation for nursing. However, under stress, the pituitary gland emits more prolactin in order to impair fertility. It is at this time the body is letting us know we should not be pregnant under stress. Cortisol, a major stress hormone, has been shown to affect reproduction in multiple ways. It interferes with the surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary, delaying it and making the surge less powerful. LH is responsible for the final development of the follicle into the corpus luteum and the release of the egg. This has many negative impacts on healthy ovulation and on the hormones required to sustain implantation. Formation of a healthy corpus luteum is required to produce progesterone which allows for full development of the endometrial lining and hence, implantation. High levels of glucocorticoid (stress hormone) are also known to reduce estrogen secretion by the follicle. Low estrogen levels will reduce fertile mucous and the development of the endometrial lining. In summary, stress and stress hormones can contribute to infertility in the following ways:
Impairs follicle health and development by reducing the secretion of estrogen from the follicles which reduces the thickness of the endometrium and the fertile mucous.
Reduces the secretion of progesterone from the corpus luteum in the luteal phase, and thus affects implantation.
Increases prolactin secretion by the pituitary gland, which inhibits ovarian function.
Affects the surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland which is responsible for stimulating ovarian function.
Affects the part of the immune system responsible for preventing miscarriage in early part of pregnancy.