Massage therapy can help facilitate the conception process both physically by breaking up adhesions and increasing pelvic blood supply, and emotionally by reducing stress… whether you are trying naturally or in conjunction with appropriate medical treatment.
In fact, a study published in “General Medicine” shows the pregnancy rate for women treated with these massage techniques prior to their next IVF transfer to be 63% higher than the national average for IVF success.
Can stress really cause infertility?
Studies show that stress does indeed have a negative effect on the ability to conceive and the ability to avoid a miscarraige. Couples having difficulty conceiving are affected by stress month after month, more often than not leading to anxiety and depression. According to Dr. Alice Domar, Director of the Women’s Health Project at the Mind/Body Institute at Harvard Medical school, women trying unsuccessfully to become pregnant actually have levels of stress equivalent to women with cancer, HIV and heart disease! Stress alters immune function, the regulation of the reproductive hormones produced by the pituitary gland, and interferes with the body’s ability to produce healthy eggs. Male fertility is also affected by stress, resulting in abnormal sperm structure, reduction in sperm counts and decreased sperm motility.
It appears that couples having difficulty conceiving are trapped in a vicious cycle: stress affects fertility and infertility causes stress.
The “Relaxation Response”
Dr. Herbert Benson, Harvard Medical Institute, defined the “relaxation response” as “a physical state of deep rest that interrupts the body’s physical and emotional responses to stress, allowing it to return to a calm, relaxed state.” With the relaxation response there is a measurable decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, stress hormone levels and muscle tension. His research shows that this response is controlled by the hypothalamus. Since the hypothalamus is also responsible for all aspects of reproduction, we can assume that the relaxation response would have a positive affect on fertility.
So….can stress reduction increase the chances of conception?
Yes! In fact, a study published in “Fertility and Sterility” looked at 184 women who had been trying to get pregnant for 1-2 years. 55% of women in the study who received massages and other relaxation techniques became pregnant within 6 months while only 20% of the control group, who received no intervention, became pregnant.
How can Becoming Mom help?
At Becoming Mom, we believe that the body, when under extreme stress, physiologically shuts down and concludes that it is a bad time for pregnancy. In fact a recent study published in “Health Daily News” showed that pregnant women with high cortisol levels (ie. Stressed out) during the first three weeks after conception are nearly three times as likely to miscarry. Our Preconception Massage is designed to bring the body back to a relaxed and healthy state so that conception chances are optimal.
In addition to specialized massage techniques to eliminate restrictions and any adhesions, we incorporate aromatherapy essential oils and reflexology. Aromatherapy can aid in regulating women’s fertility cycles and can also be beneficial for its relaxing and stress reducing properties.