Reflexology for Endometriosis
By Samantha Davlouros
Samantha was originally diagnosed with endometriosis in her early twenties, after several years of pain and inflammation. After trying the hormonal route, the pill, the coil, menopause inducing drugs, she had an operation to remove the adhesions. However, the symptoms returned within 6 months.
Frustrated at tackling only the symptoms of the disease and not the fundamental cause, she started to research diet, lifestyle impacts and discovered reflexology.
She worked for several years with an endometriosis support group and changes made to her lifestyle and diet combined with regular treatments have led her to be disease free for almost a decade.
Many women with endometriosis are told that there are no cures and are given tools to manage the disease, not to deal with its cause.
When we are chronically ill, we feel that illness is something that happens to us, we feel powerless at times to control it and become passive. However, this is never the case. We have the power to change anything in our body, we just need to discover the tools to do so.
What is it?
The womb is an amazing place. A place which acts as a food source and nest area for a fertilized egg.
Each month, the womb is prepared for pregnancy. The endometrial tissues (tissues found in the womb) grow, however if no egg is fertilized then this tissue is shed (during your period) and then reforms in preparation for pregnancy next month.
In endometriosis, the tissue normally expelled by the body during menstruation, does not leave but attaches to other parts of the body. The most common adhesions are to other organs, like the ovaries, bowels, fallopian tubes, bladder and pelvic floor. Migration to places outside of the pelvic area is uncommon.
This misplaced tissue will respond to the menstrual cycle in the same way that the endometrial tissue does: each month the tissue builds up, breaks down, and sheds, causing a variety of symptoms.
These endometrial deposits outside of the uterus can grow and eventually bind organs of the pelvic area together, resulting in much pain and discomfort.
Endometriosis can have many symptoms, which makes diagnosis difficult. It is commonly misdiagnosed and research has shown that it can take 7 years to obtain a correct diagnosis.
- Uterus pain
- Lower back pain
- A history of frequent vaginal infections.
- "Chocolate" Cysts
- Painful intercourse
- Excessive bleeding
- Urinary pain or problems
- Bowel pain or problems
- Chronic Pain
- Hidden symptoms
What can be done?
Although, no-one is really sure why endometriosis exists, many women fully recover, either through surgery or alternative therapies or a combination of the two.
However, according to Dian Mills (a leading nutritionist in the field of endometriosis) endometriosis symptoms normally return within 18 months after the drug and surgery treatments are stopped. Therefore, it is vital to support any drug and surgical treatments with a more holistic approach.
Regular reflexology combined with lifestyle and dietary changes are very successful in combating the disease.
Endometriosis needs to be tackled both on a physical and emotional level. The following sections detail factors which can improve endometriosis.
Why does reflexology help?
Reflexology works. Why? Because it works on many different levels addressing the root causes behind the problems, not just tackling the symptoms.
Endometriosis is an auto-immune disease (when the body attacks itself) and as with many other auto-immune diseases, it is quite difficult for conventional medicine to deal with.
Immune system problems tend to be quite complex, often caused by a build up of stress in the body due to physical and emotional factors. Our bodies normally cope very well with what is thrown their way, however after a while, if the burden continues to grow, it can be very difficult to maintain a balance, which will result in illness and fatigue.
Our body is full of nerves and without it we would not survive, since it is the main communicator with the brain. It is like an extension of our brain. We wouldn't feel, see, hear, touch or feel pain or pleasure. Our body would not be able to respond to any of our commands. It regulates our "essential processes" such as breathing, heartbeat, digestion etc.
But why am I talking about nerves and reflexology?
Reflexology is a wonderful way of allowing the nervous system to return to balance, allowing functions in the body to return to normal. Once the body is balanced and relaxed it can repair and renew itself. There are approximately 7,000 nerve endings in your feet and reflexology uses specific nerve reflexes (pressure points) to stimulate these nerves and create positive change in your body. It is fantastic for calming the mind, relaxing, balancing hormones and allowing stress to fade away.
As part of the reflexology treatment, we discuss in detail your current health and lifestyle habits to provide you with information and tools to improve your own self awareness of your body's needs to help accelerate the healing process.
If other changes are made alongside regular reflexology treatments, this will maximize a woman's chances of eliminating the disease.
80% of the body's immune response is believed to come from the colon. Therefore, our digestive health and diet is vital in maintaining a healthy immune system, imperative for dealing with an auto-immune disease like endometriosis.