Self Fertility Massage: Benefits, Types And Techniques

Self Fertility Massage: Benefits, Types And Techniques

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Trying to conceive (often abbreviated to TTC) can be a stressful period, especially if it is taking longer than you thought it would.

Many women turn to lesser known ways of helping the process along. One of those lesser known ways might be a self fertility massage.

As its name implies, a self fertility massage is simply a type of massage administered by your own hand, instead of a massage therapist.

It consists of a number of massage techniques that are supposed to help with issues such as lack of fertility, endometriosis, and irregular menstrual cycles, as well as other reproductive health issues. 

Infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant despite having unprotected sex for at least a year, or six months if the woman is at least 35 years old.

Women who can get pregnant, but are unable to hold on to the pregnancy, can also be deemed infertile. Statistically, in the United States, 10% to 15% of couples are considered infertile.

Additionally, as most women already know, women’s health problems are often misunderstood or not taken seriously.

In general, healthcare professionals often focus on what is already well-established, while admitting there is still a lot we don’t know about this topic.

Often, people who take an interest in an alternative approach to feminine issues are quickly dismissed by professionals.

One such person is Hethir Rodriguez, founder and president of Natural Fertility Info and a massage therapist specializing in fertility massage.

There are different types of fertility massages.

Some include a deep tissue massage of the abdomen, while others focus on certain acupressure points in and around the feet – a technique known as reflexology.

They can focus on specific organs within the female reproductive system, or on the whole area – it all depends on your personal needs and wants.

A big advantage is that you can choose what works best for your own body and stick to that, instead of having to comply with a one-size-fits-all standard.

What Are the Benefits of the Self Fertility Massage?

woman massaging belly in circular motionThere are no studies at this time that support the idea of a fertility massage directly helping with conception.

However, one certainty is that massage therapy helps lower the amount of stress hormones, which could make you more likely to conceive.

Many women try this as a way of avoiding more complicated and costly procedures, such as IVF, but also as a way to look after their own well-being.

A specific type of this massage is the so-called Mayan fertility massage technique, which tends to differ depending on the practitioner.

The Mayans believed that the proper alignment of ligaments between reproductive organs boosts fertility, and this technique focuses on deep tissue massages that supposedly help realign them.

There are several other approaches to infertility treatment that are not necessarily confined to a hospital setting, ranging from common ones (tracking your menstrual cycle, for example), to ones with unproven benefits (like aromatherapy).

But even if the latter category might be able to help, you shouldn’t exclude everything else.

The best approach is usually combining ovulation tracking with other techniques, like these massages.

In fact, you need to track your ovulation date for the massages to produce the best results.

There is no harm in trying a massage to help you with conceiving (or just help you relax), but be aware that, once you’re pregnant, you should not get any massages during your first trimester, let alone abdominal massages.

After that, you can get a prenatal massage from a licensed therapist.

Types of Fertility Massages

woman holding belly in heart shape for fertility As we’ve already established, there is no single type of natural fertility therapy, massages included, that is guaranteed to solve all your problems.

There is, however, a basic categorisation of massages into four distinct types: uterine massage, ovary massage, full abdominal massage, and reflexology.

A distinct group is Mayan abdominal massage, which we will cover separately.

Reflexology is based on the belief that your feet contain zones correlating to other areas in your body, and that massaging those zones helps stimulate the appropriate areas.

This type of massage is the only one mentioned here that is believed to help both men and women with their fertility issues.

All four types can be done by yourself or by a certified massage therapist, but we will be focusing on self-administered techniques.

How to Give Yourself a Fertility Massage

Self Fertility Massage

Locating Your Reproductive Organs

How you do this depends on which type of massage you’re opting for. However, the first step in almost all of them is locating your uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.

The fallopian tubes connect your ovaries to your uterus – so once you know the location of the latter two, you will also know the location of the former.

If you have a typical uterus (for example, one that is not enlarged, has no fibroids, and is not extremely tipped forward or anteverted), you should not be able to feel it by touch.

This is because it is positioned deep below several layers of the belly. However, there is no need to touch it in order to figure out where it is. 

One tell-tale sign is the place from where your menstrual pain emanates.

If you’re still unsure, you can find the pubic bone slightly above your pubic region, right in the lower middle of your abdomen, and your uterus is at about that height, but tucked away behind your bladder and with its bottom tipped slightly towards your back.

In short, your ovaries are slightly off to each side of your uterus. But if you want to know the specifics, a good guide is visualizing a line between the top of your hip bone to the top of your aforementioned pubic bone.

Your ovaries lie slightly behind those lines, but parallel to them. They’re also tilted towards the back.

The trouble with finding your organs using diagrams and drawings found in biology books is that they’re two-dimensional.

This means that, while you know theoretically where everything should be, it can be easy to forget that not everything is perfectly aligned in most cases.

Another trick for figuring out the location of your ovaries is putting your hands together with your thumbs meeting at the belly button, and the rest of your hands relaxed downward, making a triangle (its top side consists of your thumbs, and the other two of your other fingers).

Your ovaries should be in the area below your pinky fingers. There can be a little deviation from this, as no two bodies are exactly alike, but these are all good starting points.

If you’re visiting your OBGYN soon, you can also ask them to tell you if they have any tricks for this!

Some are even able to tell from which ovary you’re about to ovulate just by pressing on them – if you’re close to that phase of your cycle.

Plus, they can always check with an ultrasound.

Another advantage of consulting your doctor is that they can look into whether everything is aligned as it should be.

Women with tilted uteri can sometimes have issues that cannot be otherwise explained, so it’s good to know what your body is like – both inside and out.

Once you’ve determined the positions of your reproductive organs, it’s time to choose the type of massage you want to try. It’s important to try them all on an empty bladder for easier access.

Don’t forget to breathe and stay relaxed. Visualizing light and healing can also help get you into the frame of mind needed to relax.

If you find these steps hard to follow, there are also massage DVDs available for purchase online. YouTube can also be a tremendously helpful tool.

Choosing a Massage Oil

Choosing a Massage Oil

While any massage oil that you like is a good choice for these massages, some are believed to have better effects than others.

A good choice would be castor oil. Extracted from the Palma Christi plant and used on the outside of your lower abdomen, it has been believed to help with fertility and hormonal balance for thousands of years, including by ancient civilizations such as the Chinese, Persians, and Egyptians.

You can even make your own castor oil packs, best used just before your massage.

To make your own pack, choose a flannel cloth, a bottle of castor oil, plastic wrap (cut one to two inches larger than the flannel), a hot water bottle, and a lidded container. 

Soak the flannel in the oil, place it over your abdomen, and cover with the plastic wrap. Then, place your hot water bottle on top of it, lie down and let it all sit for 30-45 minutes.

If you want, pure castor oil can also be used for the massage itself.

If you would rather place your bets on aromatherapy – which has been proven to have a relaxing effect on the mind and body – you can use diluted versions of the following essential oils: bergamot (only at night, as it is a photo-synthesising drug which may cause burns to the skin if you’re exposed to sunlight), frankincense, and neroli oils, as well as chamomile and eucalyptus. In this case, trust your own taste!

However, some oils are believed to be best avoided, just in case you’re pregnant – and if your massage has already helped you to get pregnant, you may not yet know it.

These include clove, pennyroyal, peppermint, lemongrass, myrrh, parsley, and thyme. 

1. Abdominal massage

  • Lie on a smooth, flat surface and lift your knees slightly. Having a pillow under them helps. Make sure your back is relaxed.
  • Take your oil and rub it between your palms to warm it.
  • Run your fingertips over the area where the top, or fundus, of your uterus should be, applying mild pressure.
  • Increasing the pressure (first moderate, and then if you feel the need, make it deep), massage all around the uterine area in circular motions, checking for any tense spots.
  • Always move downwards; if you need to start from the top of your uterus again, lift your hands when doing so.
  • If you feel any pain or discomfort, stop immediately. Do not perform this massage during your period or when pregnant.

2. Uterine massage

  • Lie on a smooth, flat surface and lift your knees slightly. Having a pillow under them helps. Make sure your back is relaxed.
  • Take your oil and rub it between your palms to warm it.
  • Place your fingertips on your pubic bone (just above your mons pubis, a rounded mound of fatty tissue that covers the pubic bone in the front of your body).
  • Applying gentle pressure, move upwards, towards the top of your uterus.
  • Increasing pressure as necessary, “pull up” your uterus towards your belly button and hold for ten seconds.
  • Repeat at least thrice, or as many times as you like. 
  • If you feel any pain or discomfort, stop immediately. Do not perform this massage during your period or when pregnant.

3. Ovarian massage

  • Lie on a smooth, flat surface and lift your knees slightly. Having a pillow under them helps. Make sure your back is relaxed.
  • Take your oil and rub it between your palms to warm it.
  • Find your ovaries, as explained above, by making a triangle with your thumbs at your belly button and your hands relaxed downwards.
  • At the area where your ovaries are, apply mild to moderate pressure in a circular, clockwise motion.
  • If you feel tension, increase the pressure, but not to the point of pain.
  • If you feel any pain or discomfort, stop immediately. Do not perform this massage during your period or when pregnant.

4. Reflexology

  • Sit in a comfortable position, take your favorite massage oil, and rub it between your palms to warm it.
  • First, give your feet a gentle, all-over massage to relax them.
  • Then, massage every toe one by one. Toes represent the head, and this should help calm your mind.
  • Applying moderate pressure, stroke the bottom of your foot from the big toe to the heel on both feet, to simulate a back rub.
  • Using the sides of your index fingers, massage around the ankles of both feet one after the other, as this area represents your ovaries and uterus, or testes and prostate.
  • Rub the outside of the top of your ankle, which corresponds to the fallopian tubes.
  • This type of treatment can be done at any time (even during pregnancy), but is most effective after the end of your period, but before ovulation.

Mayan Abdominal Massage

Abdominal Massage

It is believed that Mayan women were taught these techniques when they got their first period, and continued practising them throughout their childbearing years in order to increase their chances of conception.

The massage stimulates blood flow, and also supposedly helps your organs take the correct position in your body.

Some even claim Mayan massages have helped them correct their tilted uterus, if the source of the tilt was not purely genetic, but also related to lifestyle.

While the main part of the massage should be done from the end of your period until the time you ovulate, there are also some other techniques that can be employed during the rest of your cycle as a form of self-care. Below, we’ll separate them by cycle phase.

1. Follicular phase

This is the most important phase when trying to conceive and it starts when your menstruation ends and lasts until ovulation, which is also when you should start the massage.

Continuing this technique after ovulation could affect implantation – so be sure to track your cycle so you can stop in time.

  • Lay down with your hands on your uterus pointing downwards, one thumb tucked under the other, and bend your other fingers slightly, cupping them. Place your index fingers on top of your pubic bone. Press your fingertips into the flesh right above it and bring them towards your belly button three times.
  • Moving your fingers to the right side of your pelvic area, make sure the right little finger is on your hip bone and the left on your pubic bone. Keep your hands in the same cup as during the previous step. Inhale, and while exhaling, move your fingers off the bone and towards the belly button three times.
  • Repeat the previous step on your left side.
  • Repeat these steps a total of 10 times.

2. Ovulation phase

This part of the massage focuses on the ovaries, and can be started a few days before ovulation, but you should stop doing it after you have ovulated. 

All you need to do is lie down comfortably and massage your ovaries in circular motions for one to two minutes.

Don’t press too deeply – you only want to stimulate blood flow, not disrupt anything by accident.

3. Luteal phase

The luteal phase comes after ovulation, but before you start menstruating.

This is when you’re hoping you’ve gotten pregnant – and you don’t want to do anything that could affect that, so all you need to do is place your hands on your womb. 

Don’t forget to thank your uterus even if it’s not home to an embryo just yet. It’s doing its best!

4. Menstruation phase

During this phase, you don’t want to massage your uterus.

Instead, sit with your back straight and feel for the sacrum – a bone above your spine, triangular in shape and above your tailbone.

Make your hands into fists and bounce them into your sacrum for a couple of minutes.

This doesn’t only help with menstrual cramps, but with contractions as well.

This means that the techniques you learn while trying to conceive could well help you once you’re there and getting ready to bring a new life into the world!

Other Benefits of Fertility Massages

Benefits of Fertility Massages

Even if you’re not trying to conceive, you may benefit from trying one of these self-massage techniques.

For example, pregnancy might be the last thing on your mind, because you’re dealing with other issues of the reproductive system like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis (caused by endometrial tissue growing outside of the uterus), or the irregularity of menstrual cycles.

A study focusing on the effects of massage therapy on dysmenorrhea, or menstrual cramps, caused by endometriosis, published in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, shows a statistically significant difference between the pain before, immediately after, and up to six weeks after massage treatment.

Endometrial tissue growing outside of the uterus can also cause scar tissue, potentially leading to the twisting of your fallopian tubes.

These adhesions can sometimes be broken up by massage (by focusing on areas that feel tense in our exercises described above), but even having it just lessen the pain can be beneficial.

Self-massage can also help increase blood flow and regulate the hormonal imbalances caused by ovarian cysts. This increased circulation can help clear out congestion and reduce inflammation. 

The increased blood flow has been linked to better egg health, due to the increased amount of oxygen and antioxidants being supplied by the blood. 

Summary

Self Fertility Massage

While there is no conclusive, peer-reviewed evidence that fertility massage therapy can directly help you get pregnant, there is also no indication that it gets in the way of trying to conceive.

It is best used in combination with other tactics, such as tracking your menstrual cycle.

There is most likely no harm in trying this before you turn to more invasive and expensive fertility treatments like IVF, artificial insemination, ovulation induction, or even surgery – all better known ways of treating fertility issues. 

And even if massage therapy does not solve your problem directly, its beneficial effects on your mental and physical health cannot be overstated.

Natural fertility can seem very far away for many people, while those lucky enough to have it usually don’t realize the gift they’ve been given.

But hopefully, with such simple treatments, others can also get to that point.

On the other hand, it is important to remember that there is no single solution to the problem of infertility, so if you don’t see an improvement after using these techniques for a while, you should not be afraid to look for something else that may work for you.

The Natural Fertility Info site also encourages using these massages along with IVF and similar treatments to possibly help the process along.

It is also important to remember that stress levels can affect your ability to get pregnant, and TTC (especially if it doesn’t work) can be extremely stressful.

Even if fertility massage therapy does not help with getting pregnant in the first place, it may help lower your stress levels, so it’s not all in vain.

While you’re looking for ways to help you on your journey, remember that it is all part of your life path.

Just because one thing doesn’t work doesn’t mean another will not, and there is often no reason to lose hope.

If everything else fails, don’t be afraid to reach out to your healthcare professional.

They’re also there to help, and maybe they can offer you something you may not have considered yourself. 

In the meantime, take the journey one step at a time. One day, you’ll look back at it and smile – because it will all be worth it.

Self Fertility Massage

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Written by Emma Martinez

Hello there. I'm Emma, a midwife that has seen all manner of things in the delivery room, good and bad and I'm here to share what I've learned through those experiences with you. Whether it's advice on overcoming your initial pregnancy period, to the anxiety of labor pains, I'll be here to guide you through it.