Infertility is a growing problem among modern women. Poorer overall health and an increased maternal age are just two of the reasons for this growth. Regardless, for those who are looking to become pregnant, but having trouble, the costs of fertility treatment can be quite high. Unfortunately, one less invasive and more affordable option is often overlooked by fertility specialists, and that treatment through massage therapy.
Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., MTCM, is a licensed acupuncturist with over a decade of experience and licensure in two states. In her extensive study of the field of alternative medicine, she found a distinct connection between massage therapy and increased fertility in women who were struggling to become pregnant. In an article published through the Institute for Integrative Healthcare, she mentioned that massage therapy can help in a variety of ways, including reducing inflammation and adhesions that could be preventing pregnancy, reducing stress that can reduce pregnancy chances, easing muscle and emotional tension and supporting a healthy hormonal system.
Specifically, she mentioned four areas where massage therapy can benefit women struggling with infertility. The first is polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. This common hormonal imbalance interferes with ovulation and can reduce fertility. Massage therapy can benefit women with PCOS by increasing circulation to the ovaries, thereby improving ovulation and menstruation.
Blocked fallopian tubes, which affect as many as 40 percent of women struggling with infertility, can be reduced by massage. Abdominal massage can break up these adhesions and allow proper function of the fallopian tubes.
Endometriosis, which occurs when the uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus, where it can block the passage of eggs, can also reduce fertility. Massage therapy to break up the eudiometrical adhesions can help reduce inflammation and pain, thereby improving fertility.
Finally, uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous tissue and muscle clumps on the uterus, can affect fertility. Improving circulation through massage therapy can reduce the size and impact of these fibroids.
These are just the physical symptoms that can improve with massage therapy. Massage has also been proven time and time again to reduce stress, and stress can reduce hormone balance, causing infertility without another physical cause.
In 2004, the International Journal of Neurosciences published a study that found that massage therapy significantly reduced stress in volunteers. A 2012 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found reduces stress hormone levels in volunteers who participated in 45-minute Swedish massage once or twice a week. Stress hormones have been linked directly to fertility problems, so it’s a logical conclusion that reducing stress can help improve fertility for those who are struggling.
Massage therapy is affordable in comparison to other fertility treatments. It has few risks and benefits overall health and well being. For those who are trying to conceive, it should be considered as an addition to medical fertility treatments to increase the chances of success. While this is a new niche for massage therapy as a profession, it has great promise for the future of maternal health.