By Consuella Garreffa, FGHG Remedial Massage Therapist
So you’ve had the chat and decided that having children is on your agenda. There’s a new found freedom as many years trying not to conceive has finally turned tables. Contraception has been thrown out the window and the fun has begun!
Unfortunately it may not be that easy. In Australia only 3 out of 5 couples will conceive within 6 months of trying and 1 in 4 will take anywhere up to a year, with the rest of us taking even longer. All this often leads to a physical and emotionally demanding journey. What can begin as quite an adventure, can lead to stress and fatigue with cortisol (the body’s main stress hormone) often grabbing the reins and taking over.
This is exactly what you don’t need. Cortisol’s intention in the body is to help us deal with stress, it peaks as a reaction from the sympathetic nervous system and was originally intended for our flight or fight response; like that instant a thousand years ago where we were being chased by the wandering beast and needed a little more than the average power of our legs to get out of there. Now-a-days there are many reasons why cortisol spikes and adapted threatening like situations still trigger its hefty rise – that deadline to have the paper in by Friday, the forty-six car build up you’re banked up in, or even a disturbing news headline, not to mention the waiting for ovulation or waiting for pregnancy results.
When trying to conceive, even sex can become stressful as pressure mounts to “get it right” and timing, position, to orgasm or not to… all comes under question and can lead to feelings of pressure. It may be reason to sky rocket your body’s stress response, launching these hormones, in particular – cortisol.
Our bodies are pretty fabulous; they want to nurture a little human to the best of their ability and chemically they are aware that a time of increased stress is not the ideal time to conceive. Instead, in stressful times our reproductive functioning is not on the main agenda, often resulting in hormone imbalance and trouble conceiving. The altered hormones can sometimes lead to altered menstrual cycle in women with anovulation and for men, high cortisol may lead to a low sperm count and decreased sperm motility.
‘Should we quit work and go on a baby making holiday?’ you may be asking. Whilst it’s not such a bad idea, we need to be a little realistic. What your body may be screaming for is to be nurtured and find relaxation closer to home on a more regular basis. A therapeutic massage will do just that.
Massage has been found to decrease cortisol levels by a huge 30% while simultaneously increasing the feel good hormones serotonin and dopamine – at an average of 28% and 31% respectively. Serotonin, the power molecule for mood stabilisation has the capacity to increase focus and calm, and decrease anxiety. Serotonin is also responsible for the production of melatonin – the sleep hormone. By optimising melatonin the body is able to recharge by having a restful sleep when the lights are switched off at the end of the day.
By adding therapeutic massage into your weekly baby making routine it will encourage your hormones to re-balance; lowering excess cortisol, increasing serotonin, dopamine and melatonin and enhancing your body’s ability to nurture a new little human.
By Consuella Garreffa, Remedial Massage Therapist
Consuella Garreffa is a Remedial Massage therapist with years of valuable experience. Since birth Consuella has been immersed in natural living principles, growing up on a vineyard in Mildura where traditional methods were opted to prevent disease and treat any health complaints. For the past two years Consuella has been treating in Brisbane and has relocated to Melbourne to join Fertile Ground Health Group.