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Clare Minter Therapies Reflexology, Maternity Reflexology & Fertility Reflexology in Saffron Walden, Essex

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Blog. Trauma

Previous Birth Trauma


Have you noticed how animals always retreat to a place of safety to give birth? Human females are much the same and the birthing process doesn’t tend to start naturally, until they are feeling relaxed and unthreatened...

    The vast majority of babies are born two weeks either side of their 'due date' - with only around 4% actually making an appearance on the day itself!

    But a previous negative birth experience can have a big impact on an expectant mum and may delay the natural onset of labour. I am often contacted by those who've been affected, who are still waiting for their little one's arrival, several days post-term.

    As a woman prepares for the birth of her baby, she can’t help but think back to any previous birth experience and, if this was in any way traumatic, her brain will start producing stress hormones... These may flood her body and interfere with the production of the hormones responsible for initiating the onset of labour - so she'll 'hold on' to her baby.

I believe that relaxation is key in allowing the birthing process to start, which is where reflexology can help!

One of my clients, Ellen, came along for a reflexology session, a few days before she was due to have medical induction...

    "When I went to see Clare, I was overdue by about ten days with my second child and miserable with anxiety. My first labour had been long and hard and the experience was completely clouding my outlook on giving birth second time round. I went to see Clare ready to try anything but with very little expectation.

    What occurred during the session, however, was a huge shift in my relationship with my baby. More than simply a foot massage, Clare pinpointed blocks from my first labour. I hadn't realised the extent of these, nor that I hadn't properly connected with my unborn child and this enabled me to do so in the few days of pregnancy I had left.

    I can't quantify the impact of a good gut-spilling chat and some relaxing reflexology. All I know is that as we drove to the hospital to give birth, I wasn't feeling half as fearful as I had been the week before. In fact, I'd go as far as saying I felt in control, empowered and determined that I would have a successful natural birth. Which was huge progress. And with those thoughts in mind, I can honestly say I had the best labour I could have wished for. This made a massive difference to how I felt afterwards, compared to first time round; close to my baby, closer to the rest of the family and pretty hedonistic about motherhood!

    So I recommend a session with Clare, because, at the very least, you'll get a nice foot massage - at best it could seriously change your life!!"

I'm delighted that reflexology made such a positive difference to Ellen's second birth experience!

#birthtrauma #positivebirth

Blog. Sickness

Sickness and nausea during pregnancy


Has the euphoria of finding out that you’re pregnant, been replaced with extreme tiredness and nausea?

Well, you’re definitely not alone, as ‘morning sickness’ is a very common symptom of early pregnancy and may be one of the earliest clues that you’re expecting... Rapidly rising levels of the HcG hormone can cause nausea and/or vomiting at any time of the day - but this is seen as a normal and positive sign that a pregnancy is developing well.

If symptoms are making you feel really unwell, I hope that these tips will help...

  • It’s common to feel extremely tired in early pregnancy, so listen to your body and rest as much as you can. Go to bed earlier and take a nap if you need to. It may only be possible to have a nap at weekends, but make sure you do it then!

  • Never rush, as this will make you feel so much worse! Allow yourself plenty of extra time to get things done or to travel anywhere.

  • Have something to eat before you first get out of bed in the morning. Keep some dry crackers, oatcakes or wholemeal biscuits nearby and have a nibble as soon as you lift your head off the pillow!

  • Avoid strong smells. Cooking smells may cause a strong reaction and perfume/aftershave/deodorant/air fresheners may make you feel worse.

  • Maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day. Choosing low GI (Glycaemic Index) foods will help you feel fuller for longer. Try to avoid fatty foods and opt for brown rice/pasta over white and choose wholemeal, instead of white bread. If you really don’t fancy much, just eat what you can. You can choose healthier options when you are feeling better.

  • Stay hydrated - especially if you have been vomiting... Take sips little and often, preferably of water, but any fluid is better than none at all. Some women find that they can tolerate fizzy drinks that have lost some of their fizz!

  • Ginger can help to settle the stomach. Try infusing a piece of root ginger in boiling water for 5 minutes, remove and allow to cool before drinking. Ginger nut biscuits may also help!

  • Acupressure bands (used for travel sickness) help some women, so may be worth a try.

Reflexology can relax and calm you during pregnancy and specific techniques may help if you are suffering with nausea. Research has shown that treatments aid restful sleep, lift low mood, relieve symptoms of stress, reduce muscular tension and improve your overall sense of wellbeing.

NHS - Vomiting and nausea in pregnancy

Please note that Hyperemesis Gradivarum is a medical condition that causes debilitating sickness during pregnancy and will need medical support. Please speak to your midwife/caregiver if you are having prolonged periods of sickness or if you are at all concerned.

#morningsickness #nausea #earlypregnancy

Blog. Baby feet blue

Case Study - A difficult pregnancy


Ruth was a 38 year old mum of two (aged 8 and 3), who had originally come to see me during her second pregnancy, when she'd been suffering with Pelvic Girdle Pain.

After her first reflexology session, she’d reported feeling a lot more comfortable and by session three, I was delighted that her pain had practically gone! Ruth continued to attend for monthly reflexology sessions to manage her condition and eventually experienced a wonderful four and a half hour labour - delivering a baby girl at home, weighing 9 pounds, 11 ounces!

  • This time around, Ruth told me that her third pregnancy was turning out to be much more physically demanding and she was feeling tired and emotional. She'd reduced her working hours, but still had a responsible and demanding job, so was finding it hard to 'switch off' and become 'mum' again when she returned home. She was also studying for an Open University degree in her spare time and this was creating lots of additional pressure.

  • Ruth had sadly previously suffered a miscarriage at six weeks, but had conceived again relatively quickly. She was therefore cautious and decided to swap her usual high impact exercise classes (that she'd been attending up to 5 times a week), for those that were less challenging. She'd always loved the feeling of freedom she got whenever she did a workout and really missed the endorphin 'high' that she was used to. She was finding it difficult to accept her changing body shape, but had decided to write a blog for a mum's support group, which turned out to be very cathartic.

  • At her 20 week scan it was found that Ruth's placenta had a single umbilical artery (SUA) and she was told that she'd need to have regular scans and would be monitored carefully throughout her pregnancy. There were some additional risks for her baby, so understandably the resulting anxiety made her feel 'on edge' and she wasn't enjoying her pregnancy as she might have done.

  • As Ruth started to put on more weight, her pelvic pain returned (though the reflexology made her more comfortable) and she also developed plantar fasciitis in both feet... This condition can often arrive out of the blue (particularly if there has been a great deal of stress going on), but reflexology treatments help to boost blood flow and promote lymphatic drainage, which may speed up recovery... In between her reflexology sessions, I suggested that Ruth used a tennis ball to roll under both insteps, as this could help bring relief.

    Ruth continued to come along for regular reflexology sessions and eventually gave birth at home to a healthy baby boy. He was delivered by the same midwife who had delivered her daughter!

    During her treatments, I asked Ruth her reasons for choosing reflexology during pregnancy...

    "I'm always keen to take a more holistic, natural approach to health and wellbeing. In pregnancy you are so limited as to any kind of medication you can take, so I was keen to explore ways that I could make it easier for myself, both physically and mentally. You helped me manage my PGP so well, but it became as much about finding time for relaxation as the physical benefits."

    I also asked her how her reflexology sessions made her feel...

    "I always feel at peace. Very relaxed and I enjoy the benefits for several days, if not a couple of weeks. It's such a positive experience and generally leaves me feeling more physically balanced and mentally in control".

    I'm so pleased that Ruth enjoyed her reflexology sessions and felt supported throughout her more challenging pregnancy.

    #pelvicgirdlepain #pregnancysupport

Blog. Mum baby hands

Case Study - IVF Support


Liz was 40 years old and was working as a busy executive in the City - commuting four days each week and working from home on the other day. She'd been diagnosed with endometriosis in 2007 and shortly afterwards had undergone an operation to re-section part of her bowel.

After struggling to conceive for several years, a laparoscopy in 2016 had found an infected Fallopian tube, which was removed and the other tube had also needed to be clipped. This meant that there was no chance of her conceiving naturally...

  • When I first saw Liz, she'd had two unsuccessful IVF cycles (including one FET) and she'd used acupuncture to support her throughout this time. She was feeling apprehensive about going through the process again, but felt comforted to know that reflexology (that she'd experienced before and enjoyed) would help relieve her stress and provide additional support.

  • During her consultation it became apparent that Liz's work was a massive part of her life and we discussed whether she felt that there was room in it for a baby... She admitted that she'd thrown herself into work, to stop herself thinking about her infertility struggles, but I explained that releasing emotional blockages could help bring about physiological changes within the body and perhaps improve the internal environment, which could encourage an embryo to thrive.

  • Liz was having problems with her weight, so we talked about incorporating more low GI foods into her diet (which would help her feel fuller for longer), as losing just a few pounds would be beneficial and could help optimise her chances of success.

  • Although her reflexology sessions would encourage deep relaxation, I stressed that Liz needed to make time for regular self care, so I encouraged her to start having relaxing baths and to 'switch off' from her working life earlier in the evening. She started to make more time for her hobbies (she and her husband loved gardening) and enjoyed spending more time outdoors.

During her sessions, I asked Liz how she felt after her reflexology treatments...

"I feel relaxed, calm and happy that I'm helping myself and my body. That hour of peace is so precious and the rhythm and movements of the treatment help promote that feeling. I also enjoy our chats and thank you for listening to me rabbiting on!"

I also asked her how she felt that the treatments helped her prepare for IVF...

"At a time when life is so hectic, an hour of peace and tranquility shouldn't be underestimated and, whilst I can't see any physical changes, I know within me it's helping and that goes a long way to promote positivity and reduce stress."

    Liz attended for weekly/fortnightly reflexology sessions to ease anxiety and help her cope with her drug regime. She also had a treatment on the day before egg collection and another before embryo transfer - which helped to reduce disruptive stress hormones - and I was thrilled when she let me know that her cycle had been successful!

She continued to come along for reflexology support throughout her pregnancy and I was delighted when she eventually gave birth to her longed-for baby boy!

#ivfsuccess #fertilityjourney

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