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One natural consequence of pregnancy is increased fluids, which are beneficial for the body because they help the expectant mom to have a healthy pregnancy and prepare her body for childbirth.


Reflexology in Oedema BEFORE Treatment

Oedema - before reflexology treatment

The increase in body fluids helps tone the muscles so that they can support the growth of the fetus and at the same time they also prepare the pelvis for birth. However, as pregnancy progresses, especially during the last trimester, the expectant mother's capacity to drain her body's own fluids is reduced due to various reasons.


Another possible reason for the development of swelling or fluid retention during pregnancy is a poor return of fluids due to the lack of movement and the pressure of the growing uterus on the veins that carry blood to and from extremities.


A distinction should be made between pathological oedema and physiological oedema, since a large percentage of pregnant women suffer from some swelling of the legs during pregnancy, and it does not always involve considerable risk.


The oedema starts to be considered pathological when the parameters by which it develops begin to threaten the health of the mother and baby. When oedema is physiological, we will not see symptoms such as a rise in blood pressure and protein in urine, along with the other following situations or symptoms:


1) If the expectant mother has gained weight excessively in recent weeks.
2) If she reports symptoms or conditions such as dizziness, blurred vision, frontal or occipital headache, palpitations or tachycardia, sudden rise in blood pressure, or protein in the urine.
3) If the swelling has developed suddenly rather than as a gradual process during pregnancy.


Reflexology in Oedema 200X140

Oedema - before reflexology treatment


If any of these situations is happening, please warn the expectant mom that her pregnancy could be at risk and advise her to contact her hospital and doctor as soon as possible. The risk we want to avoid is the development of preeclampsia, which must be monitored and controlled as soon as possible.


When the oedema is physiological, complaints of pregnant women usually focus on heaviness, difficultly, and pain when walking. In some cases, sleeping becomes difficult because it is hard to find a comfortable position.


The oedema can create a vicious circle, because it is usually caused by the lack of movement and spending long hours standing or sitting. The best remedy for oedema is usually walking and doing mild exercise, as movement promotes better circulation, better oxygenation of the blood and better return of fluids and lymph from the extremities.


Why does this cause a vicious circle? Many women resign themselves to having oedema without realizing that the best they can do for themselves is to move around, and that lack of movement often caused the oedema in the first place. Once the swelling has developed, they discover that walking hurts, so the development of oedema becomes a snowball effect. In most cases, the oedema accompanies the expectant mother until the end of pregnancy without major complications, but in some other unusual cases, it can stimulate the development of disease that may put the life of the fetus and the expectant mother at risk.


In oedema not related to pregnancy, such as chronic oedema in adults with circulatory problems, one of the first remedies given is diuretics to promote fluid drainage and help regulate the osmotic pressure. Diuretics have not been found to help oedema in pregnancy.


Reflexology in Oedema AFTER treatment
Oedema - after reflexology treatment

Diuretics have adverse fetal and maternal effects, including fetal growth retardation, maternal hypotension and electrolyte disturbances. Also, diuretics will not prevent the development of preeclampsia. It should not be used unless clearly indicated -- fluid in the lungs or heart failure (1).


How does Reflexology help?


Reflexology can effectively help to prevent and treat oedema when it appears, if it is recognized as physiological oedema. It is first critical to ensure that the patient has received the green light of her midwife, doctor or caregiver, and that she has recently had tests to measure her blood pressure and discard any possibility of PIH or protein in the urine. It is important that the possibility of pathology has been eliminated.


We cannot always obtain accurate answers from our patient without asking her specific questions; therefore, it is recommended to ask her all the necessary questions before accepting her as a patient.


To avoid unnecessary risks, it is recommended to postpone the treatment until the mom has been properly checked by primary care professionals or by her doctor.


Once we have the approval of medical personnel for treatment, we must ensure that the pregnant expectant mother receives the treatment after having recently ingested adequate food and fluids.


Oedema can be easily preventable with movement, good aerobic exercise and fluid intake.
When giving the first questionnaire to our pregnant patient, we should inquire about her exercise habits as well as the characteristics of her work and lifestyle, because these aspects can provide us with indicators of a possible predisposition to develop oedema.


For example, if a pregnant expectant mother says that she works as a secretary in a company where she sits 9 hours per day, and then she comes home to sit on the couch to watch TV all evening, she will probably have an increased risk of developing oedema than another expectant mother with a similar job who exercises regularly and maintains an active and balanced lifestyle.

Reflexology in Oedema AFTER I 200X119

Oedema - after reflexology treatment



From a holistic point of view, oedema means holding inside without releasing. The physical body holds liquids and fluids. The spiritual body holds fears and creates obstacles to channel them. We must take into consideration that the swelling starts to emerge mostly in the third trimester, at a time when the growth curve of pregnancy becomes more pronounced and the movement becomes more difficult, but it is also important to consider that as the expectant mother gets closer to delivery, she goes through a time of great expectation, uncertainty, ecstasy and fear.


The Reflexology Treatment and the BRULEE Technique


The reflexology treatment is very effective, both for the prevention of oedema and also for its cure. The same questionnaire we

oedema video

Watch video - Maternity Reflexology Treatment for Oedema at the Southern General Hospital Glasgow Scotland


mentionedbefore should also indicate if the pregnant expectant mother has already suffered a previous pregnancy oedema. This element can be of significant value. Although all her pregnancies are different, the expectant mother can have a predisposition to develop the same condition. Knowing as much information as possible about her lifestyle and clinical history helps us to suggest a course of treatment appropriate to her condition.


The most effective technique I have developed for the treatment of oedema is named BRULEE which is an acronym for Pumping (Bombeo in Spanish), Rotating, Urinary, Lymphatic, Endocrine and Evacuation.


The treatment consists of two parts: mechanical (pumping and rotation) and reflex stimulation. The rest of the initials after pumping/bombeo correspond to the proper reflexology treatment of stimulating the respective reflexes: Urinary, Lymphatic, Endocrine and Evacuation.


Reflexology in Oedema AFTER III 200X125

Oedema - after reflexology treatment


To perform the treatment, we invite our patient to lie down with legs to at least 45°. To do this, I recommend to put a pyramidal pillow under her legs or place enough pillows to elevate the feet.


Before the treatment, and in order to confirm its effectiveness, please consider the following parameters and elements:


1) Perimeter of the foot:
-Measure with a tailor tape the perimeter of each foot in three different segments: under the toe, on the ball, and from the heel to the instep.
-The treatment will prove to be effective when a significant reduction in the measurement is observed. Depending on the oedema, you can expect to observe a difference of 0.5 to 3 cms.


2) Subjective evaluation of pain:
-Choose a form of pressure that you can apply repeated times after each round of BRULEE in different points in the reflexes of the intercostals (between bones), but be careful to always apply the pressure over the exact same spots.
-Ask your client to evaluate the pain she feels in a scale from 0 to 10.
-The treatment’s effectiveness is apparent when after one session your client reports a significant reduction in these pain values.


3) Ask the patient to drink water continuously throughout the entire treatment.
It is important for the patient to drink water continuously. The treatment aims to have an immediate response, so fluid intake can trigger an immediate reaction of her body and stimulate her kidneys to work and start draining.


4) Treatment must be intense and must encourage movement.
The treatment itself only contemplates the 6 routines mentioned above and must encourage movement. The movement must be provoked by the therapist's movement.


5) Ask the patient to come with enough time to walk at least half an hour immediately after the treatment. This will facilitate an immediate response in the body.


6) Suggest the patient to bring shoes to the consultation that she could wear before the oedema developed.
In most cases, a pronounced oedema can cause the need to increase the size of the footwear by at least two sizes. If you succeed with the treatment, you will probably observe that her brand new feet feel loose inside her shoes.




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