Reflexology for hormonal hell!
Lets be honest, hormones have a lot to answer for..... as much as we need them to do all the amazing things our body does, they can cause us a whole lot of problems too. From PMT to PND to menopause.....its a complex process which can leave us feeling confused, fatigued and downright depressed. However, there are ways to combat the extremes of hormone imbalance with a natural and common sense approach which allows the body to calm its stress centre, rebalance and reset. Life isn't supposed to be as stressful as it sometimes is and we aren't built to deal with it all the time, but its up to us to build our toolkit of coping mechanisms to help us adapt to these ongoing changes; switching the way we face stress and training out brains to unplug from the outside world is a key part of this. This case study is an honest and typical example of how the therapist and client can overcome anxiety and hormonal hell together through Reflexology...I hope it inspires you to give yourself the time and space you deserve!
Reflexology case study for client experiencing hormonal issues, PMT with anxiety and possible perimenopausal symptoms as well as work related stress
(Client will be referred to as SR)
Consultation carried out at first appointment identified the following issues:
· Sleep issues
· Decreased libido
· Anxiety : manifesting as a sensation that the throat was closing which was causing panic attacks and a reluctance to go out (especially driving), lack of confidence and general fear in day to day normal life
· Joint pain
· Fatigue and low mood; irritability which was often taking out on her partner in the way of emotional outbursts
· Frequent constipation: poor elimination
SR was 39 years old and had always suffered with PMT which had worsened over the past year but had been experiencing these more intense symptoms mostly in recent months and throughout most of the cycle, worsening during ovulation and a week leading up to her period. SR was working full time in a high pressured environment and was also experiencing work related stress and tension throughout the body.
SR said she had always been a worrier but had not experienced anxiety in this way before and was sure that these symptoms related to hormonal changes
SR had spoken to her GP who suggested she go on a low dose antidepressant to help with hormonal anxiety but SR wanted to give reflexology a go first to see if this helped.
A course of 6 initial weekly sessions in the evening to combat the bedtime anxiety and improve quality of sleep
Treatments to work on balancing the endocrine system, relaxing the mind and body and calming the adrenals
Recommended breathing and grounding techniques to reset the breath and prevent panic attacks
Short meditation recommended before bedtime
Increase in water intake
Discussed nutrition and decreasing alcohol and caffeine and possibility of a magnesium supplement
Recommended regular walks outside during lunch breaks in work
Aromatherapy oils : Bergamot and Ylang Ylang; relaxing and balancing
Client was asked to record any changes experienced between treatments
Review planned following the 6 week course
Session 1 day 20 of cycle
Appearance of feet lacking colour, poor circulation?
All areas of the foot and reflexes were worked over on this first treatment;
Noted tension in the following reflexes:
Generalised head area, pituitary gland, neck, shoulder, solar plexus, adrenals, uterus, descending colon
Feet were tense throughout the treatment until the last 15 minutes where she appeared to relax and switch off
Aromatherapy oils were used to end the treatment with a short massage and relaxation techniques/energy work over the 10 zones of the feet
This was the clients first ever full reflexology treatment
SR reported that she couldn’t switch her mind off for most of the treatment but then towards the end she started to feel a tingling sensation over her head and neck and hr body felt really light, she said she felt like she “zoned out” at the end of the treatment and felt more relaxed than she had in a long time
Areas of tension reported by client:
Inside of big toe, neck, under archway, colon, uterus
Client reported she felt relaxed and “floaty” after the treatment
Client reported feeling relaxed for a couple of days after the first treatment, although sleep was not great after the 1st treatment possibly due to being over stimulated (adjusting to the treatment) PMT not as bad but still there, she had been enjoying the meditation and had cut out caffeine and increased water intake, sleep had got better but last couple of nights had been bad again
Follow up treatments
I continued to work on the same routine but adapted each treatment according to her symptoms that week, stress levels; digestion, sleep, cycle etc
By week 4 SR reported that she was feeling more focused, as if a fog had lifted and was having periods of feeling energised and optimistic, she had booked a few nights away with her partner and was looking forward to it; she had started going to an exercise class and was taking some supplements. The PMT the following month was still significant but she felt she managed it better; she decided to drop the sessions back to fortnightly after the course of 6, one being just before ovulation and one a week before her cycle was due.
By week 6 my client felt she had more control over her anxiety which she believed was due to a better sleep pattern; she had adopted a routine of not drinking caffeine after 12pm and doing a meditation before bed every night and the night of reflexology she said she knew she would have the deepest sleep as soon as she hit the pillow.
She noticed some sharp cramping after her first few treatments and felt a little shivery/shaky and noticed she always opened her bowels the next morning after treatment. However, her periods were less painful than they had been before attending treatments.
After 3 months of reflexology we decided to try and reduce the treatments to monthly, we had to play around with the best time of month for her with the cycle but found that around 9 days before her period was the best time for her, it seemed to prevent the hormonal response the week before and help with her sleep which was most effected that week.
Client noticed her skin was much clearer and her libido was increased, she felt more confident in herself in general, she noticed her hands and feet were not as cold and she she was getting less pain her her knee joints.
Reflexology achieved a positive outcome for this client, the best results always following the treatment. The client believes the reflexology helped her to switch off and rest easier, boosted her energy and improved her general outlook; Elimination was also improved possibly due to changes in her caffeine and water intake alongside the “colon walk” technique which was adopted through each session. Her husband told her she appeared a lot less stressed since receiving the treatments and that he had noticed a change in her response to stress.
In this case, the client decided to continue with monthly treatments long term and increased them as and when she felt she needed it, no extra medical intervention was required and she was satisfied that she was able to manage her anxiety and mod swings with this new “toolkit” of self help methods. This outcome was achieved through not only the reflexology but the willingness and commitment of the client to adopt healthy changes withing their lifestyle, this is where best outcomes are always achieved with stress related symptoms.